How to Beat Turnitin… What Works and What Doesn’t

How to Beat Turnitin… What Works and What Doesn’t

There is much existing writing about Turnitin. Knowledge is power when you’re trying to figure out how to cheat Turnitin.

It is definitely not a perfect piece of software. Consider some of these excerpts from relevant articles.

Paper Writing Services

Of course, a paper being written from scratch does not mean that it is a legitimate paper that follows honor codes. You can still cheat with an original paper.

A major flaw with Turnitin is that it can only detect plagiarism. Other types of cheating can get by. I found this excerpt on a custom writing service’s website who claims that it can help students cheat Turnitin by writing their papers for them:

So what is the trick to get a perfect, original paper that will let you bypass Turnitin and get you a stellar grade? Have someone else write your paper. If someone writes you a fresh paper, it will be plagiarism-free!

Turnitin can’t detect this because it isn’t plagiarism! Turnitin isn’t effective at solving for all types of academic dishonesty.

There is no way in hell that a computer algorithm can detect this kind of cheating. It isn’t designed to. And really, there is no way that it could be designed to do this. During my time as a teacher, this is one way of cheating that I could never stop.


Hiring someone else to write your paper is basically the Contra Code of getting around Turnitin. With the right writer, you can get plagiarism-free, original papers every time.

False Positives

Turnitin works by identifying phrases used elsewhere on the Internet and in previously submitted phrases. The problem is that there are many legitimate reasons why an author might use a phrase that has previously been used somewhere else. Consider this excerpt from a news article.

One major problem with the Turnitin software is that many of the phrases flagged by its detection system are not incidents of plagiarism, but commonly used phrases that define the topic of the paper, such as “global warming.”

This can be unfair to students and can artificially raise plagiarism percentages, especially for more general papers. Papers for colleges that reuse prompts are especially subject to this shortcoming.

Content Spinning

The practice of content spinning is to take existing information, such as part of a Wikipedia article, and changing it to be phrased differently, generally by switching words to other words with the same meaning. For example, changing “the dog was really fat” to “his dog was super obese.”

Turnitin says that it has scripts that can figure out if a paper has simply been run through a thesaurus. However, these scripts are flawed. When done correctly, Turnitin can’t detect this.

Essentially, this is uncited paraphrasing. It is an effective method to beat Turnitin. This is perhaps the best method to beat Turnitin besides writing a paper from scratch.


All in all, Turnitin is a tool that is imperfect. It can detect plagiarism in some cases, but can be flawed. Take it with a grain of salt. And for students: If you need to get around Turnitin, there are some tricks that you can use. Consider the content of this article and you now know how to beat Turnitin.

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