Students hate it, professors love it. Turnitin can be a reason why you get accused of plagiarism and your whole academic career gets destroyed in a few seconds. If you're wondering how to beat Turnitin, you're probably in trouble and don't have much time to write your paper yourself.
Even though I’ve recently graduated from college, I still hate Turnitin because my college life would be much easier without it. Students always procrastinate, and even those who don’t, may not have enough time to write countless essays. It takes a lot of time to produce a well-researched, original paper. Given that deadlines are often too tight, writing original papers becomes a real problem. So there’s no surprise that many of us try to rewrite content that belongs to somebody else.
To avoid plagiarism issues, students constantly come up with new methods that will help them fool Turnitin. But here’s a problem: its algorithm also gets improved all the time. Is it possible to beat one of the best plagiarism detection programs? Yes, and I’m going to tell you how. But first, let’s figure out what Turnitin is and how it works.
Things You Should Know About Turnitin
Turnitin is one of the most popular plagiarism detection tools. It was created for professors and teachers so that they can make sure that their students submit original papers. Professors also used this tool to improve quoting and paraphrasing in their academic works. Today, Turnitin is a commercial tool that requires you to create an account. More than 30 million people around the world use it on a regular basis and many professors choose it over other plagiarism checkers for its accuracy.
To detect plagiarism, Turnitin compares papers to the indexed content from the internet. It also has a huge database that includes three main elements:
- A database of academic papers that have already been submitted by students. Here’s a fun fact: given that students don’t give Turnitin permission to store and use their works, this service has been accused of copyright infringement multiple times.
- Turnitin also compares the submitted papers to all the accessible materials on the internet.
- Besides, Turnitin’s algorithm takes into account commercially accessible materials from various journals, books, and magazines.
When you submit your text for plagiarism check, Turnitin analyzes all these factors and highlights passages that have been plagiarized from other sources. The results are presented as the percentage of originality, and you can check all the details in the Similarity Report.
After this service became commercial, students became able to use it, which is an advantage. Now you can check your papers for plagiarism before submitting them to your professor, which makes it easier to avoid plagiarism accusations. It’s good that Turnitin helps students make sure that all their sources are cited properly. However, it also causes a lot of problems because sometimes, it can detect plagiarism even when students don’t try to cheat and present somebody else’s work as their own. The algorithm is looking for similar combinations of sentences and words so it may see original content as paraphrased or copied. That’s why I think that all students must know how to beat Turnitin.
6 Proven Ways to Cheat Turnitin
1. Use a custom writing service
Let’s think of why you’re trying to plagiarize someone else’s papers in the first place. The chances are that you’re in a hurry or you know nothing about the topic of your assignment. Or maybe you’re just not that good of a writer. Ordering your papers online can solve all of these problems at once. However, make sure to use a reliable service.
Some websites store essays so their papers fail to pass plagiarism check even if they were written from scratch. Fortunately, such services quickly disappear because this business is very competitive and maintaining a good reputation is crucial. Professional writers will write original and well-researched content for you and deliver it on time. Just provide your requirements and tell them what your topic is. Moreover, you can also get a plagiarism report so that you won’t need to worry about Turnitin anymore.
2. Paraphrase your sources
Proper paraphrasing and rewriting are the most effective ways that will help you beat Turnitin and other plagiarism checkers. Yes, Turnitin’s algorithm is very smart and it can see similar passages. However, it won’t be able to detect plagiarism if you rewrite the original content in your own words, presenting a completely different sentence structure. The only problem is that paraphrasing can be difficult and you may need some practice to learn to do it right.
Make sure to rephrase each and every sentence of your sources, replacing keywords with synonyms, and try to write sentences of different lengths. The goal is to make your text look completely different from the original one. Keep in mind that if you only change some parts of a sentence, it won’t work because the algorithm analyzes sequences of words. If two or more words in your text look exactly as in another text, the algorithm will highlight this fragment as plagiarism. So, take your time, and approach your task creatively.
3. Change the sentence structure
Changing the sentence structure might be one of the most effective tips on how to beat Turnitin. Simply put, you have to start your sentences with the words that appeared last in the original sentence, and vice versa. However, this method is tricky because some sentences may lose their meaning and your text may become hard to read. I recommend that you don’t rely on this approach solely but use it sometimes when you see that the sentence structure can be changed without making your text look weird. If you choose to play with sentence structure, make sure to double-check your grammar when the essay is ready.
4. Use the passive voice
Don’t use this method if you’re a beginner and make sure that the type of your paper allows you to use the passive voice. This trick may work with some academic papers but if you need to write a narrative or argumentative essay, the passive voice will only make it worse, even though your paper will be more original.
5. Convert to PDF
First, you should convert your text to PDF. Secondly, you need to change the character map. The character map is a sequence of characters used in your content. When you change the character map, you break the link between the text and its printed version so that Turnitin won’t be able to read it. At the same time, the text will remain the same visually. You can go even further and turn your textual content into a series of Bezier curves, mimicking the shapes of letters instead of using these letters themselves.
6. Translate from another language
If you are fluent in another language, this method may work. When selecting sources for your paper, look for sources in another language and translate them in your own words. Or you can even find a complete essay on your topic and do the same.
Many students are used to plagiarism checkers so they may try some tricks that work with other checkers in an attempt to fool Turnitin. So, I think it’s important to point out methods that don’t work with this service.
Things That Don’t Work Anymore
1. Using Thesaurus
Turnitin is getting smarter day by day and those days when you could replace a few words with their synonyms to pass the originality check are long gone. If you try to replace some words in the original material with synonyms, Turnitin will see it.
2. Changing letters
For instance, you may try to replace the letter A with a Cyrillic A that looks the same. Don’t try to do it because Turnitin has a database of similarly looking characters and it will automatically replace “ի” with a regular “h” when scanning your text.
3. Using macros
Some people claim that Microsoft Word’s macros can help mask plagiarized content but it isn’t true. Turnitin can scan macros in Word files. For example, if the original file starts with an “~a” and you replace it with the regular “a,” the original “~a” will appear in your Similarity Report.
4. Writing in white
Desperate students may also try to use invisible characters instead of spaces. For instance, yourXtextXmayXlookXlikeXthis but when all the X's in this text are whited out, it will look normal. This trick won’t help you cheat Turnitin because it will display all the text regardless of its color. Besides, such text will fail to pass the test because of the unusual lengths of your words — even a machine can tell that such text looks weird.
5. Using quotation marks
“My whole essay is in quotation marks so it’s a properly cited quote that won’t be highlighted as plagiarism, right?” No. Turnitin doesn’t ignore text in quotation marks. In fact, it has such an option but your professor may choose not to turn it on. And even if your professor chooses to exclude quoted content, Turnitin will show a warning message because the quote is unusually long.
The good news is that, even though all the methods above don’t work, you can still cheat without being caught. However, effective methods are also more difficult and some of them have their downsides.
Turnitin is a very effective plagiarism detection service that has become a nightmare for millions of students around the globe. When deadlines are approaching, you may feel tempted to “fake it till you make it,” using papers written by other people and presenting them as your own. However, it’s not as easy as it seems because professors use Turnitin and they will know if your content is not original.
Fortunately, you can fool Turnitin if you know how it works and what it’s capable of. For example, it will quickly detect plagiarism if you simply replace some words with synonyms or try to present your content as a single quote. However, you can still beat this algorithm if you put some effort into paraphrasing or use other effective methods from this article.