Is there a word for a person who is writing exams in place of/in the name of other persons?

  • 5
    I'd call them a cheater. Mar 12, 2014 at 9:02
  • I would like more information. Do you mean someone who was legally commissioned to write in someone else's name? It's not exam-specific, but the word I would recommend is ghostwriter, which Google says means "a person whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author."
    – user39720
    Mar 12, 2014 at 21:58
  • @dingo_dan I'm pretty certain they mean cheating on exams. They're using writing exams in the way we say taking exams. Outside AmE this is the normal way to express this.
    – David M
    Mar 13, 2014 at 1:00
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Jun 7, 2014 at 20:55
  • 1
    @tchrist Assuming British English, this question is completely clear and asks for a term for a specific, important form of academic dishonesty, not an esoteric rude word.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jun 13, 2014 at 2:20

7 Answers 7


Looks like the concept of a Ringer has been used in this context.

  • That is a slang expression.
    – mplungjan
    Mar 12, 2014 at 12:48
  • @mplungjan Why would that discredit it? It's a fairly common bit of slang.
    – David M
    Mar 12, 2014 at 17:10
  • OP did not ask for slang. Most word requests here are not for slang words.
    – mplungjan
    Mar 12, 2014 at 18:30
  • @mplungjan I think you'll find that the line between slang and acceptable usage is very vague, and depends a lot on context. The fact that other dictionaries don't mark it as slang is a good indication of that. Mar 12, 2014 at 20:27
  • 1
    @AvnerShahar-Kashtan the other dictionary you mention does not give ringer as someone who cheats, but as someone resembling someone, the much more used "dead ringer" I have never heard the word ringer used for an academic impostor. I can see a dead ringer being necessary if a picture ID is required to take the exam, but not otherwise
    – mplungjan
    Mar 13, 2014 at 5:19

It is called Impersonation and the person perpetrating it is an impostor as mentioned elsewhere

Impersonation is a form of cheating whereby a different person than the student assigned an assignment or exam completes it.

  • When done fraudulently, such as at an exam, or voting, it is often, in the UK, described as 'personation'. There is indeed an electoral crime of 'personation'. 'Impersonation', is more the theatre usage.
    – WS2
    Mar 12, 2014 at 10:16
  • 2
    We don't use the word 'personation' in the U.S. The same word is used for both fraudulent and innocuous 'impersonation'. Mar 12, 2014 at 12:47

I once knew an English language examiner who had to sit and write an English exam paper for a candidate. The exam candidate would dictate his answers to the scribe, and because the scribe was an examiner, she knew when to ask the candidate to spell out words learners typically had difficulty with. The candidate in question had severe dyslexia and difficulty in holding a pen. Obviously the candidate was in a separate room, and extra time was awarded to complete the writing paper.
The Cambridge English Language Assessment exam board calls this helper/aide/scribe, a reader.

8) Having someone read to you or write down your answers

A reader is a person who will read the questions out to you. Note that the reader will not explain the questions to you and cannot give you any advice. They can also read back your answers to you. In Reading papers, a reader is not normally allowed to read out texts to you and you are not normally allowed to use screen-reading software to do this.

If you want someone to write down your answers, you should note that:

  • you will be asked to spell certain words
  • you must also give the punctuation.
  • 1
    Since the question was not that clear (to me anyway), I think this is a possible answer, and it's certainly interesting and useful information.
    – rabbit
    Jul 20, 2015 at 9:17
  • @rabbit Thank you for telling me the post was useful. It may not be the answer the OP was looking for, we'll never know, but I'm glad someone found it informative.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 20, 2015 at 11:01

That person is an impostor. They are pretending to be someone else for the purpose of deceit.

The act of taking someone else's exam is cheating. There were numerous scandals of this type a few years ago.


To answer your question more specifically, I would have to say the only word you can use is "assistant." You specifically asked about writing tests/exams, not the person answering or taking it.

Often in contemporary American universities, that person is a Teachers Assistant.

  • 1
    Writing exams in other dialects (BrE, CanE, AuE, InE) means the same as taking exams in AmE. So, your answer is not correct here.
    – David M
    Mar 13, 2014 at 0:58

I think it's called a "proxy", as in a substitute.


I think this person is often referred to as a stand-in.

a person who stands in for another, esp. in a performance; a substitute.

I have also heard of proxy being used and online services refer to them as tutors or experts.

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