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There are 25 percent fewer cases of suspected cheating on matriculation exams this year than last year, the Education Ministry said yesterday.

There are a total of 9,200 suspect exams this year.

Last year the ministry took several steps to reduce cheating on matriculation exams, including conferences for principals at schools where cheating was particularly rampant.

The ministry also started placing two proctors in the room with examinees, instead of one. Two monitors also are stationed in schools where exams are being held, in order to report on the behavior of students, proctors and faculty during exams.

Penalties for students caught cheating on more than one exam during one exam period are now more severe. These students will not be allowed to take exams for three consecutive periods.