asking for help on homework

When does getting help on an assignment turn into cheating?

asking for help on homework

Policy Fellow, Mitchell Institute, Victoria University

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Peter Hurley is affiliated with the Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy at Victoria University.

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Students – whether at university or school – can get help from many places. They can go to a tutor, parent, teacher, a friend or consult a textbook.

But at which point does getting help cross the line into cheating?

Sometimes it’s clear. If you use a spy camera or smartwatch in an exam, you’re clearly cheating. And you’re cheating if you get a friend to sit an exam for you or write your assignment.

At other times the line is blurry. When it’s crossed, it constitutes academic misconduct. Academic misconduct is any action or attempted action that may result in creating an unfair academic advantage for yourself or others.

What about getting someone else to read a draft of your essay? What if they do more than proofread and they alter sections of an assignment? Does that constitute academic misconduct?

Learning, teaching or cheating?

There are a wide range of activities that constitute academic misconduct. These can include:

fabrication, which is just making things up. I could say “90 % of people admit to fabricating their assignments”, when this is not a fact but a statement I just invented

falsification, which is manipulating data to inaccurately portray results. This can occur by taking research results out of context and drawing conclusions not supported by data

misrepresentation, which is falsely representing yourself. Did you know I have a master’s degree from the University of Oxford on this topic? (Actually, I don’t)

plagiarism, which is when you use other people’s ideas or words without appropriate attribution. For instance, this list came from other people’s research and it is important to reference the source.

Sometimes students and teachers have different ideas of academic misconduct. One study found around 45% of academics thought getting someone else to correct a draft could constitute academic misconduct. But only 32% of students thought the same thing.

Read more: Assessment design won’t stop cheating, but our relationships with students might

In the same survey, most academics and students agreed having someone else like a parent or friend identify errors in a draft assignment, as opposed to correcting them, was fine.

asking for help on homework

Generally when a lecturer, teacher or another marker is assessing an assignment they need to establish the authenticity of the work. Authenticity means having confidence the work actually relates to the performance of the person being assessed, and not of another person.

The Australian government’s vocational education and training sector’s quality watchdog, for instance, considers authenticity as one of four so-called rules of evidence for an “effective assessment”.

The rules are:

validity, which is when the assessor is confident the student has the skills and knowledge required by the module or unit

sufficiency, which is when the quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment evidence is enough for the assessor to make a judgement

authenticity, where the assessor is confident the evidence presented for assessment is the learner’s own work

currency, where the assessor is confident the evidence relates to what the student can do now instead of some time in the past.

Generally speaking, if the assessor is confident the work is the product of a student’s thoughts and where help has been provided there is proper acknowledgement, it should be fine.

Why is cheating a problem?

It’s difficult to get a handle on how big the cheating problem is. Nearly 30% of students who responded to a 2012 UK survey agreed they had “submitted work taken wholly from an internet source” as their own.

In Australia, 6% of students in a survey of 14,000 reported they had engaged in “outsourcing behaviours” such as submitting someone else’s assignment as their own, and 15% of students had bought, sold or traded notes.

Getting someone to help with your assignment might seem harmless but it can hinder the learning process. The teacher needs to understand where the student is at with their learning, and too much help from others can get in the way.

Read more: Children learn from stress and failure: all the more reason you shouldn't do their homework

Some research describes formal education as a type of “ signal ”. This means educational attainment communicates important information about an individual to a third party such as an employer, a customer, or to an authority like a licensing body or government department. Academic misconduct interferes with that process.

asking for help on homework

How to deal with cheating

It appears fewer cheaters are getting away with it than before. Some of the world’s leading academic institutions have reported a 40% increase in academic misconduct cases over a three year period.

Technological advances mean online essay mills and “ contract cheating ” have become a bigger problem. This type of cheating involves outsourcing work to third parties and is concerning because it is difficult to detect .

Read more: 15% of students admit to buying essays. What can universities do about it?

But while technology has made cheating easier, it has also offered sophisticated systems for educators to verify the work is a person’s own. Software programs such as Turnitin can check if a student has plagiarised their assignment.

Institutions can also verify the evidence they are assessing relates to a student’s actual performance by using a range of assessment methods such as exams, oral presentations, and group assignments.

Academic misconduct can be a learning and cultural issue . Many students, particularly when they are new to higher education, are simply not aware what constitutes academic misconduct. Students can often be under enormous pressure that leads them to make poor decisions.

It is possible to deal with these issues in a constructive manner that help students learn and get the support they need. This can include providing training to students when they first enrol, offering support to assist students who may struggle, and when academic misconduct does occur, taking appropriate steps to ensure it does not happen again.

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Teaching Students How to Ask for Help

Students first need to recognize that they need help, and then they need to know that they’ll be supported when they ask for it.

Student raising his hand in classroom

Why do students struggle to ask teachers for extra help? Why do they sit in silence or confusion when raising their hand could bring help? Failure to ask for help can affect students’ academic performance, self-esteem, and potentially their access to learning in the future. There are several reasons why students struggle to ask for help, but the good news is that there are many strategies that can help them become stronger self-advocates for their learning.

Students must first recognize that they’re struggling. This requires honesty and self-awareness—some students don’t think they need help even when formal or informal assessments indicate otherwise.

Once students acknowledge that they’re struggling, they may feel shame or embarrassment. Many students have told me, “I want to be independent and try it on my own. I don’t need help.” They fear that asking for help signals weakness or failure in their character, though adults could tell them that asking for help is instead a sign of maturity and strength .

Teachers can help students understand how they learn best and empower them to be advocates for their own learning by teaching them how to ask for help.

5 Strategies for Improving Students’ Self-Advocacy Skills

1. Strengthen students’ metacognition: One strategy to help students acknowledge that they need help is to strengthen their self-reflection and metacognitive skills. Teachers and parents often act as external monitors of student progress, but they can begin to shift the responsibility of self-monitoring to children as early as elementary school.

Teachers can encourage and guide students with explicit metacognitive teaching to think about their learning. After a test, for example, have students answer questions about how they studied, how much time they spent studying, their test grade, and what they’ll do differently for the next test.

Asking open-ended questions about their learning helps students learn to gauge their progress and identify areas where they’re strong and ones where they need support. Teachers can incorporate metacognitive prompts such as:

  • This project required a lot of hard work. How did you prepare for it?
  • How do you think you’re doing in this class? How do you know? How does this compare with graded work you’ve received so far?
  • Can you identify one strategy you’ve been using that has helped you to be successful? Can you identify one strategy you want to try using more often?

2. Help students understand that teachers want to help: Asking students of any age why an adult would choose teaching as a career can be an eye-opening—and often humorous—activity.

Have students pause and reflect in small groups about why they think Teacher X became a teacher. This is extra fun if Teacher X can visit your classroom to hear the brainstormed ideas. Guide students to the final answer: “Teachers become teachers because they like to help.”

I’ve used this exercise at the beginning of a year for relationship-building and to show students that I care about them and want to help them. This allows me to talk to my students in a lighthearted way about asking for help.

3. Brainstorm conversation starters: Students who are introverted or shy may feel overwhelmed or anxious about initiating a conversation with their teacher. Practicing or role-playing this kind of conversation can help shy students build confidence. Teachers can also suggest that students use just two words to signal that they need help : “I’m struggling.”

Evidence shows that having students brainstorm increases their mental flexibility and creative problem-solving . After they think of ways to initiate a conversation, have them role-play talking with a teacher. This can be done as a small group activity in the classroom or one-on-one with a trusted teacher, social worker, parent, etc.

Students can approach teachers with conversation starters like:

  • I’m struggling with _____. Can we talk about it later?
  • I’m working hard, but I’m still not understanding _____. Can you help me?
  • I’m not sure what I need. Can you please talk with me?
  • Can you give me advice about _____?

4. Create a secure environment: Students need to feel safe in order to be vulnerable and honest enough to ask for help. Would you speak up and admit you needed help if you thought your peers would laugh at you?

Teachers should encourage a climate of curiosity, risk taking, and openness . You can use team-building activities to increase the sense of community in the classroom, create posters that reiterate your classroom rules and values, or hang inspiring quotes on the walls.

Another great strategy is for teachers to model self-talk when doing something that requires risk taking. When I make mistakes as a teacher, I use them as opportunities to talk about imperfection and how to be resilient. Students enjoy catching their teacher making mistakes , and I love it when they catch me too because I get to remind them that everyone is imperfect.

5. Help students see themselves as capable of success: In order to ask for help, students need to believe in their own capacity to be successful . If students feel defeated or helpless, they’ll be less likely to seek assistance .

Create opportunities and activities in your classroom for students to identify and highlight their strengths. One activity for elementary classrooms is creating an “I Am” bulletin board: Ask each student to create five or 10 “I Am” statements: “I am strong,” “I am good at basketball.” Next, have students find images online or in magazines that illustrate their statements and create a collage of words and pictures.

For secondary classrooms, I recommend an “Expertise” bulletin board: Students (and teachers) can identify two or three expert-level skills they have—“I’m an expert at spelling,” “I’m an expert at geography—I can name all the state capitals.” Display these on a classroom bulletin board, and when students need help they can check the board to find a classmate—or teacher—who can help.

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how to ask for help in school

How to ask for help in school: 4 tips for getting what you need

Katie Azevedo August 4, 2017 good habits , self advocacy , study skills , study tips

By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.

We all need help in school at some point. Some of us need help understanding the material, others need help studying , and others might need help staying organized . We all have our strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. The important part is to know what those are, and to know how to ask for help in school before we have no idea what’s going on in class.

Before you can ask for help, you should identify what you need help in — of course. And sure, to a degree I mean do you need help in math or English or history?  But honestly, figuring that out isn’t the hard part, because chances are high that you already know if a particular subject is hard for you.

So I’m talking about a deeper layer here. So why is math hard? What skill are you missing? And then why? Why is English class hard for you? Is it the reading or the writing, and then why?

Take on the inquiry skills of a toddler here when you’re trying to get to the bottom of your school struggles: keep asking why until you hit the core . This process takes some soul-searching and some introspection. And sometimes it can make you uncomfortable as you get closer to the real source of your struggle. (Let’s face it — it sucks to realize that we might not be awesome at something.) But face that discomfort and be open to what’s on the other side of it.

Only when you identify the nugget of your weakness  can you ask for and get the exact help you need.

Before I get to the tips, I have to stress the importance of trying to help yourself first , before asking someone else. I know that might sound lame and counter-intuitive because you’re thinking Uhhh….I’m the one who needs the help!  But don’t underestimate yourself. If you do what I suggested a few paragraphs up (keep asking whyyyyyyyy something is hard for you until you figure out what skill you’re missing), then you might just realize exactly what you have to do. You can find a YouTube video that explains those math concepts in a different way. Re-read your notes and textbook for clarification. Google articles and other resources that take a different approach that might better suit your learning style. Your teacher isn’t the only source of information …. see what else is out there!

Now, if you truly try to solve the issue on your own, but keep hitting dead ends, then it’s definitely time to ask your teacher.

4 steps for how to ask for help in school

The following steps will increase the chances of you getting the right type of help. Read the instructions carefully. Each step is important. If you don’t know how to figure things out, here are my top 5 tips for figuring out hard things .

1.  Have a clearly defined need.

Instead of telling your English teacher, “I need help on this paper,” narrow down what you really need. Do you need help defining your thesis? Do you need help identifying source materials? Do you need help with connecting your ideas from paragraph to paragraph? The more specific you are with your needs, the more your teacher will be able to help you. Before you even set a time to meet with your teacher, you should have isolated your issue and written down your specific question on a piece of paper. Take your time here. Sit and think  what do I really need help with?

If you’re totally stuck on where to start, I’ve created a FREE Student Self-Assessment Checklist / Quiz to help you identify your exact areas of weakness – start with this assessment.

2.  Give your teacher advance notice before meeting.  

If you suddenly become confused by something in class, most definitely shoot up your hand and ask a question. But if your struggle is deeper than that or if you’re confused about something bigger, set up a legit meeting with your teacher to discuss your issue. During this meeting, tell your teacher exactly what you think your issue is (step 1). The more advance notice you give your teacher about setting up a meeting, the better prepared they will be to help you. If they know exactly what you are asking for, then they can take some time before meeting with you to come up with a plan.

how to ask for help in school

3.  Be open to the help you get.

It is literally your teachers’ jobs to help you. Teachers don’t want you to fail, and they certainly don’t want you to suffer through class. But different teachers have different philosophies about helping their students,  and this may vary depending on who you are and how you ask for help. Some teachers will give you exactly what you need, on the spot, while others will offer you guidance as they encourage you to work through the issue on your own. Your chances are higher of getting the level of help you need if you a) have asked a specific question, and b) can show that you’ve made an attempt to help yourself first. Regardless of how your teacher is offering to help you, be open. Certainly speak up during the conversation if you think they’ve misunderstood your issue, but chances are that they see the larger picture and really are giving you what you need.

4.  Practice.

Ask for help a lot. The more you practice asking for help in school, the easier it becomes. Some students have no problem raising their hands in class and asking for clarification the moment the material gets difficult. Awesome! But other students wait so long to ask for help that they fall way behind. Not awesome! Speak up! Teachers are not mind-readers and they won’t always know when they’ve lost you (except if you’re face-down on your desk).

So here’s what you do: constantly check in with yourself during class and when you’re doing your homework. Try to notice the very second that   you start to struggle. Raise your hand immediately or write down your question to ask the next day. The sooner you recognize that you’re confused, the sooner you can ask for help, and the sooner you can get it.

  Knowing how to ask for help in school — also called self-advocacy — is a ridiculously important skill that will serve you way beyond the classroom. Start now. You’ll thank yourself in 10 years.

More self-advocacy resources

Knowing how to ask for help in school is a  communication skill. Other communication skills include working well with others, studying in groups, and making class presentations. Below are resources you might find helpful:

  • 17 tips for working with others
  • How to study in groups
  • 31 class presentation tips for students

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How To Write an Email to a Teacher About Homework

Communicating effectively with educators is a key skill for students. This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to write an email to a teacher about homework . Whether you have questions, need clarification, or are facing challenges with assignments, this guide helps ensure your communication is clear and appropriate.

To write an email to a teacher about homework , include a clear subject line, a formal greeting, a brief introduction, the purpose of your email, an explanation if needed, a request for assistance or clarification, your availability, a closing thank you, and your signature.

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Table of Contents

Preparing to Write the Email

Before composing your email, gather all relevant information about the homework in question. This includes the assignment’s details, deadlines, and specific areas where you need assistance. Organize your thoughts so your email is concise and to the point.

What to Include in The Email to Your Teacher About Homework

  • Subject Line : Be specific and concise, e.g., “Question About [Assignment Name] Due [Date].”
  • Greeting : Address your teacher formally, using “Mr./Ms./Mrs. [Last Name].”
  • Introduction : Start by introducing yourself, especially if it’s early in the school year. Mention your class and the period/session you are in.
  • Purpose of the Email : Clearly state the reason for your email. If you have questions or need clarification on the homework, specify what parts you are struggling with.
  • Explanation : If you’re facing challenges (e.g., illness, lack of understanding), briefly explain without making excuses.
  • Request for Assistance : Politely ask for the help or clarification you need. Be specific about what you’re asking.
  • Availability : Mention when you are available for a meeting or extra help, if necessary.
  • Closing : Thank your teacher for their time and assistance.
  • Signature : End with a polite closing, such as “Sincerely,” followed by your full name and possibly your class/section if it’s a large school.

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Email Templates – Emailing a Teacher About Homework

Template 1: seeking clarification on homework.

Subject: Clarification Needed for [Assignment Name] Due [Date]

Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. [Teacher’s Last Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am [Your Name] from your [Class Name, Period/Session]. I am writing to seek clarification on the [specific aspect] of our current assignment, [Assignment Name], which is due on [Due Date].

I have reviewed the instructions, but I am still unclear about [specific part you are struggling with]. Could you please provide some additional guidance or examples?

Thank you for your time and assistance. I look forward to your response.

[Your Full Name] [Your Class and Section]

Template 2: Requesting Extension Due to Illness

Subject: Extension Request for [Assignment Name] Due to Illness

My name is [Your Name], from your [Class Name, Period/Session]. I am writing to inform you that I have been unwell for the past few days and have been unable to complete the [Assignment Name] that is due on [Due Date].

I have made considerable progress on the assignment, but due to my illness, I am unable to complete it by the deadline. I respectfully request an extension until [Proposed Extended Date] to submit my work.

Thank you for considering my request. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding in this matter.

Best regards,

Template 3: Asking for Help with Difficult Homework

Subject: Assistance Needed with [Assignment Name]

Hello Mr./Ms./Mrs. [Teacher’s Last Name],

I am [Your Name] from your [Class Name, Period/Session]. I am reaching out because I am having difficulties with [specific aspect] of our homework assignment, [Assignment Name].

Despite reviewing the class notes and textbook, I am still struggling to understand [specific problem or topic]. I would appreciate any additional resources or guidance you could provide.

Could we possibly arrange a time to discuss this further, maybe during your office hours or a free period?

Thank you very much for your help.

Yours sincerely,

Writing an email to a teacher about homework requires clarity, respect, and a willingness to seek solutions. By approaching your teacher with a well-structured email, you can effectively communicate your needs and foster a positive learning environment.

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Asking for help is hard, but others want to help more than we often give them credit for, says Stanford social psychologist Xuan Zhao .

Xuan Zhao (Image credit: Anne Ryan)

We shy away from asking for help because we don’t want to bother other people, assuming that our request will feel like an inconvenience to them. But oftentimes, the opposite is true: People want to make a difference in people’s lives and they feel good – happy even – when they are able to help others, said Zhao.

Here, Zhao discusses the research about how asking for help can lead to meaningful experiences and strengthen relationships with others – friends as well as strangers.

Zhao is a research scientist at Stanford SPARQ , a research center in the Psychology Department that brings researchers and practitioners together to fight bias, reduce disparities, and drive culture change. Zhao’s research focuses on helping people create better social interactions in person and online where they feel seen, heard, connected, and appreciated. Her research, recently published in Psychological Science ,  suggests that people regularly underestimate others’ willingness to help.

This fall, Zhao will be co-teaching a two-session workshop Science-Based Practices for a Flourishing Life through Stanford’s well-being program for employees, BeWell.

Why is asking for help hard? For someone who finds it difficult to ask for help, what would you like them to know?

There are several common reasons why people struggle to ask for help. Some people may fear that asking for help would make them appear incompetent, weak, or inferior – recent research from Stanford doctoral student Kayla Good finds that children as young as seven can hold this belief. Some people are concerned about being rejected, which can be embarrassing and painful. Others may be concerned about burdening and inconveniencing others – a topic I recently explored.  These concerns may feel more relevant in some contexts than others, but they are all very relatable and very human.

The good news is those concerns are oftentimes exaggerated and mistaken.

What do people misunderstand about asking for help?

When people are in need of help, they are often caught up in their own concerns and worries and do not fully recognize the prosocial motivations of those around them who are ready to help. This can introduce a persistent difference between how help-seekers and potential helpers consider the same helping event. To test this idea, we conducted several experiments where people either directly interacted with each other to seek and offer help, or imagined or recalled such experiences in everyday life. We consistently observed that help-seekers underestimated how willing strangers – and even friends – would be to help them and how positive helpers would feel afterward, and overestimated how inconvenienced helpers would feel.

These patterns are consistent with work by Stanford psychologist Dale Miller showing that when thinking about what motivates other people, we tend to apply a more pessimistic, self-interested view about human nature. After all, Western societies tend to value independence, so asking others to go out of their way to do something for us may seem wrong or selfish and may impose a somewhat negative experience on the helper.

The truth is, most of us are deeply prosocial and want to make a positive difference in others’ lives. Work by Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki has shown that empathizing with and helping others in need seems to be an intuitive response, and dozens of studies , including my own, have found that people often feel happier after conducting acts of kindness. These findings extend earlier research by Stanford Professor Frank Flynn and colleagues suggesting that people tend to overestimate how likely their direct request for help would be rejected by others. Finally, other research has even shown that seeking advice can even boost how competent the help-seeker is seen by the advice-giver.

Why is asking for help particularly important? 

We love stories about spontaneous help, and that may explain why random acts of kindness go viral on social media. But in reality , the majority of help occurs only after a request has been made. It’s often not because people don’t want to help and must be pressed to do so. Quite the opposite, people want to help, but they can’t help if they don’t know someone is suffering or struggling, or what the other person needs and how to help effectively, or whether it is their place to help – perhaps they want to respect others’ privacy or agency. A direct request can remove those uncertainties, such that asking for help enables kindness and unlocks opportunities for positive social connections. It can also create emotional closeness when you realize someone trusts you enough to share their vulnerabilities, and by working together toward a shared goal.

It feels like some requests for help may be harder to ask than others. What does research say about different types of help, and how can we use those insights to help us figure out how we should ask for help?

Many factors can influence how difficult it may feel to ask for help. Our recent research has primarily focused on everyday scenarios where the other person is clearly able to help, and all you need is to show up and ask. In some other cases, the kind of help you need may require more specific skills or resources. As long as you make your request Specific, Meaningful, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound (also known as the SMART criteria ), people will likely be happy to help and feel good after helping.

Of course, not all requests have to be specific. When we face mental health challenges, we may have difficulty articulating what kind of help we need. It is okay to reach out to mental health resources and take the time to figure things out together. They are there to help, and they are happy to help.

You mentioned how cultural norms can get in the way of people asking for help. What is one thing we can all do to rethink the role society plays in our lives?

Work on independent and interdependent cultures by Hazel Markus , faculty director of Stanford SPARQ , can shed much light on this issue. Following her insights, I think we can all benefit from having a little bit more interdependency in our micro- and macro-environments. For instance, instead of promoting “self-care” and implying that it is people’s own responsibility to sort through their own struggles, perhaps our culture could emphasize the value of caring for each other and create more safe spaces to allow open discussions about our challenges and imperfections.

What inspired your research?

I have always been fascinated by social interaction – how we understand and misunderstand each other’s minds, and how social psychology can help people create more positive and meaningful connections. That’s why I have studied topics such as giving compliments , discussing disagreement , sharing personal failures, creating inclusive conversations on social media , and translating social and positive psychology research as daily practices for the public . This project is also motivated by that general passion.

But a more immediate trigger of this project is reading scholarly work suggesting that the reason why people underestimate their likelihood of getting help is because they don’t recognize how uncomfortable and awkward it would be for someone to say “no” to their request. I agree that people underestimate their chance of getting help upon a direct ask, but based on my personal experience, I saw a different reason – when people ask me for help, I often feel genuinely motivated to help them, more than feeling social pressure and a wish to avoid saying no. This project is to voice my different interpretation on why people agree to help. And given that I’ve seen people who have struggled for too long until it was too late to ask for help, I hope my findings can offer them a bit more comfort when the next time they can really use a helping hand and are debating whether they should ask.


Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 5 best homework help websites (free and paid).

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Other High School , General Education


Listen: we know homework isn’t fun, but it is a good way to reinforce the ideas and concepts you’ve learned in class. But what if you’re really struggling with your homework assignments?

If you’ve looked online for a little extra help with your take-home assignments, you’ve probably stumbled across websites claiming to provide the homework help and answers students need to succeed . But can homework help sites really make a difference? And if so, which are the best homework help websites you can use? 

Below, we answer these questions and more about homework help websites–free and paid. We’ll go over: 

  • The basics of homework help websites
  • The cost of homework help websites 
  • The five best homework websites out there 
  • The pros and cons of using these websites for homework help 
  • The line between “learning” and “cheating” when using online homework help 
  • Tips for getting the most out of a homework help website

So let’s get started! 


The Basics About Homework Help Websites–Free and Paid

Homework help websites are designed to help you complete your homework assignments, plain and simple. 

What Makes a Homework Help Site Worth Using

Most of the best sites allow users to ask questions and then provide an answer (or multiple possible answers) and explanation in seconds. In some instances, you can even send a photo of a particular assignment or problem instead of typing the whole thing out! 

Homework help sites also offer more than just help answering homework questions. Common services provided are Q&A with experts, educational videos, lectures, practice tests and quizzes, learning modules, math solving tools, and proofreading help. Homework help sites can also provide textbook solutions (i.e. answers to problems in tons of different textbooks your school might be using), one-on-one tutoring, and peer-to-peer platforms that allow you to discuss subjects you’re learning about with your fellow students. 

And best of all, nearly all of them offer their services 24/7, including tutoring! 

What You Should Should Look Out For

When it comes to homework help, there are lots–and we mean lots –of scam sites out there willing to prey on desperate students. Before you sign up for any service, make sure you read reviews to ensure you’re working with a legitimate company. 

A word to the wise: the more a company advertises help that veers into the territory of cheating, the more likely it is to be a scam. The best homework help websites are going to help you learn the concepts you’ll need to successfully complete your homework on your own. (We’ll go over the difference between “homework help” and “cheating” a little later!) 


You don't need a golden piggy bank to use homework help websites. Some provide low or no cost help for students like you!

How Expensive Are the Best Homework Help Websites?

First of all, just because a homework help site costs money doesn’t mean it’s a good service. Likewise, just because a homework help website is free doesn’t mean the help isn’t high quality. To find the best websites, you have to take a close look at the quality and types of information they provide! 

When it comes to paid homework help services, the prices vary pretty widely depending on the amount of services you want to subscribe to. Subscriptions can cost anywhere from $2 to $150 dollars per month, with the most expensive services offering several hours of one-on-one tutoring with a subject expert per month.

The 5 Best Homework Help Websites 

So, what is the best homework help website you can use? The answer is that it depends on what you need help with. 

The best homework help websites are the ones that are reliable and help you learn the material. They don’t just provide answers to homework questions–they actually help you learn the material. 

That’s why we’ve broken down our favorite websites into categories based on who they’re best for . For instance, the best website for people struggling with math might not work for someone who needs a little extra help with science, and vice versa. 

Keep reading to find the best homework help website for you! 

Best Free Homework Help Site: Khan Academy

  • Price: Free!
  • Best for: Practicing tough material 

Not only is Khan Academy free, but it’s full of information and can be personalized to suit your needs. When you set up your account , you choose which courses you need to study, and Khan Academy sets up a personal dashboard of instructional videos, practice exercises, and quizzes –with both correct and incorrect answer explanations–so you can learn at your own pace. 

As an added bonus, it covers more course topics than many other homework help sites, including several AP classes.

Runner Up: offers a free service that allows you to type in questions and get answers and explanations from experts. The downside is that you’re limited to two answers per question and have to watch ads. 

Best Paid Homework Help Site: Chegg

  • Price: $14.95 to $19.95 per month
  • Best for: 24/7 homework assistance  

This service has three main parts . The first is Chegg Study, which includes textbook solutions, Q&A with subject experts, flashcards, video explanations, a math solver, and writing help. The resources are thorough, and reviewers state that Chegg answers homework questions quickly and accurately no matter when you submit them.  

Chegg also offers textbook rentals for students who need access to textbooks outside of their classroom. Finally, Chegg offers Internship and Career Advice for students who are preparing to graduate and may need a little extra help with the transition out of high school. 

Another great feature Chegg provides is a selection of free articles geared towards helping with general life skills, like coping with stress and saving money. Chegg’s learning modules are comprehensive, and they feature solutions to the problems in tons of different textbooks in a wide variety of subjects. 

Runner Up: Bartleby offers basically the same services as Chegg for $14.99 per month. The reason it didn’t rank as the best is based on customer reviews that say user questions aren’t answered quite as quickly on this site as on Chegg. Otherwise, this is also a solid choice!


Best Site for Math Homework Help: Photomath

  • Price: Free (or $59.99 per year for premium services) 
  • Best for: Explaining solutions to math problems

This site allows you to t ake a picture of a math problem, and instantly pulls up a step-by-step solution, as well as a detailed explanation of the concept. Photomath also includes animated videos that break down mathematical concepts to help you better understand and remember them. 

The basic service is free, but for an additional fee you can get extra study tools and learn additional strategies for solving common math problems.

Runner Up: KhanAcademy offers in-depth tutorials that cover complex math topics for free, but you won’t get the same tailored help (and answers!) that Photomath offers. 

Best Site for English Homework Help: Princeton Review Academic Tutoring

  • Price: $40 to $153 per month, depending on how many hours of tutoring you want 
  • Best for: Comprehensive and personalized reading and writing help 

While sites like Grammarly and Sparknotes help you by either proofreading what you write via an algorithm or providing book summaries, Princeton Review’s tutors provide in-depth help with vocabulary, literature, essay writing and development, proofreading, and reading comprehension. And unlike other services, you’ll have the chance to work with a real person to get help. 

The best part is that you can get on-demand English (and ESL) tutoring from experts 24/7. That means you can get help whenever you need it, even if you’re pulling an all-nighter! 

This is by far the most expensive homework site on this list, so you’ll need to really think about what you need out of a homework help website before you commit. One added benefit is that the subscription covers over 80 other subjects, including AP classes, which can make it a good value if you need lots of help!  


Best Site for STEM Homework Help: Studypool

  • Best for: Science homework help
  • Price: Varies; you’ll pay for each question you submit

When it comes to science homework help, there aren’t a ton of great resources out there. The best of the bunch is Studypool, and while it has great reviews, there are some downsides as well. 

Let’s start with the good stuff. Studypool offers an interesting twist on the homework help formula. After you create a free account, you can submit your homework help questions, and tutors will submit bids to answer your questions. You’ll be able to select the tutor–and price point–that works for you, then you’ll pay to have your homework question answered. You can also pay a small fee to access notes, lectures, and other documents that top tutors have uploaded. 

The downside to Studypool is that the pricing is not transparent . There’s no way to plan for how much your homework help will cost, especially if you have lots of questions! Additionally, it’s not clear how tutors are selected, so you’ll need to be cautious when you choose who you’d like to answer your homework questions.  


What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Homework Help Sites?

Homework help websites can be a great resource if you’re struggling in a subject, or even if you just want to make sure that you’re really learning and understanding topics and ideas that you’re interested in. But, there are some possible drawbacks if you don’t use these sites responsibly. 

We’ll go over the good–and the not-so-good–aspects of getting online homework help below. 

3 Pros of Using Homework Help Websites 

First, let’s take a look at the benefits. 

#1: Better Grades Beyond Homework

This is a big one! Getting outside help with your studies can improve your understanding of concepts that you’re learning, which translates into better grades when you take tests or write essays. 

Remember: homework is designed to help reinforce the concepts you learned in class. If you just get easy answers without learning the material behind the problems, you may not have the tools you need to be successful on your class exams…or even standardized tests you’ll need to take for college. 

#2: Convenience

One of the main reasons that online homework help is appealing is because it’s flexible and convenient. You don’t have to go to a specific tutoring center while they’re open or stay after school to speak with your teacher. Instead, you can access helpful resources wherever you can access the internet, whenever you need them.

This is especially true if you tend to study at off hours because of your extracurriculars, work schedule, or family obligations. Sites that offer 24/7 tutoring can give you the extra help you need if you can’t access the free resources that are available at your school. 

#3: Variety

Not everyone learns the same way. Maybe you’re more of a visual learner, but your teacher mostly does lectures. Or maybe you learn best by listening and taking notes, but you’re expected to learn something just from reading the textbook . 

One of the best things about online homework help is that it comes in a variety of forms. The best homework help sites offer resources for all types of learners, including videos, practice activities, and even one-on-one discussions with real-life experts. 

This variety can also be a good thing if you just don’t really resonate with the way a concept is being explained (looking at you, math textbooks!).


Not so fast. There are cons to homework help websites, too. Get to know them below!

3 Cons of Using Homework Help Websites 

Now, let’s take a look at the drawbacks of online homework help. 

#1: Unreliable Info

This can be a real problem. In addition to all the really good homework help sites, there are a whole lot of disreputable or unreliable sites out there. The fact of the matter is that some homework help sites don’t necessarily hire people who are experts in the subjects they’re talking about. In those cases, you may not be getting the accurate, up-to-date, and thorough information you need.

Additionally, even the great sites may not be able to answer all of your homework questions. This is especially true if the site uses an algorithm or chatbot to help students…or if you’re enrolled in an advanced or college-level course. In these cases, working with your teacher or school-provided tutors are probably your best option. 

#2: No Clarification

This depends on the service you use, of course. But the majority of them provide free or low-cost help through pre-recorded videos. Watching videos or reading info online can definitely help you with your homework… but you can’t ask questions or get immediate feedback if you need it .

#3: Potential For Scamming 

Like we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of homework help websites out there, and lots of them are scams. The review comments we read covered everything from outdated or wrong information, to misleading claims about the help provided, to not allowing people to cancel their service after signing up. 

No matter which site you choose to use, make sure you research and read reviews before you sign up–especially if it’s a paid service! 


When Does “Help” Become “Cheating”?

Admittedly, whether using homework help websites constitutes cheating is a bit of a grey area. For instance, is it “help” when a friend reads your essay for history class and corrects your grammar, or is it “cheating”? The truth is, not everyone agrees on when “help” crosses the line into “cheating .” When in doubt, it can be a good idea to check with your teacher to see what they think about a particular type of help you want to get. 

That said, a general rule of thumb to keep in mind is to make sure that the assignment you turn in for credit is authentically yours . It needs to demonstrate your own thoughts and your own current abilities. Remember: the point of every homework assignment is to 1) help you learn something, and 2) show what you’ve learned. 

So if a service answers questions or writes essays for you, there’s a good chance using it constitutes cheating. 

Here’s an example that might help clarify the difference for you. Brainstorming essay ideas with others or looking online for inspiration is “help” as long as you write the essay yourself. Having someone read it and give you feedback about what you need to change is also help, provided you’re the one that makes the changes later. 

But copying all or part of an essay you find online or having someone write (or rewrite) the whole thing for you would be “cheating.” The same is true for other subjects. Ultimately, if you’re not generating your own work or your own answers, it’s probably cheating.


5 Tips for Finding the Best Homework Help Websites for You

Now that you know some of our favorite homework help websites, free and paid, you can start doing some additional research on your own to decide which services might work best for you! Here are some top tips for choosing a homework help website. 

Tip 1: Decide How You Learn Best 

Before you decide which site or sites you’re going to use for homework help, y ou should figure out what kind of learning style works for you the most. Are you a visual learner? Then choose a site that uses lots of videos to help explain concepts. If you know you learn best by actually doing tasks, choose a site that provides lots of practice exercises.

Tip 2: Determine Which Subjects You Need Help With

Just because a homework help site is good overall doesn’t mean that it’s equally good for every subject. If you only need help in math, choose a site that specializes in that area. But if history is where you’re struggling, a site that specializes in math won’t be much help. So make sure to choose a site that you know provides high-quality help in the areas you need it most. 

Tip 3: Decide How Much One-On-One Help You Need 

This is really about cost-effectiveness. If you learn well on your own by reading and watching videos, a free site like Khan Academy is a good choice. But if you need actual tutoring, or to be able to ask questions and get personalized answers from experts, a paid site that provides that kind of service may be a better option.

Tip 4: Set a Budget

If you decide you want to go with a paid homework help website, set a budget first . The prices for sites vary wildly, and the cost to use them can add up quick. 

Tip 5: Read the Reviews

Finally, it’s always a good idea to read actual reviews written by the people using these homework sites. You’ll learn the good, the bad, and the ugly of what the users’ experiences have been. This is especially true if you intend to subscribe to a paid service. You’ll want to make sure that users think it’s worth the price overall!


What’s Next?

If you want to get good grades on your homework, it’s a good idea to learn how to tackle it strategically. Our expert tips will help you get the most out of each assignment…and boost your grades in the process.

Doing well on homework assignments is just one part of getting good grades. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about getting great grades in high school in this article.

Of course, test grades can make or break your GPA, too. Here are 17 expert tips that’ll help you get the most out of your study prep before you take an exam.

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Dec 15, 2022

How to ask for help in email with 4 samples and a template

Here we give you 5 tips and provide 4 example emails to help you write better help request emails.

Blog writer

Lawrie Jones

Table of contents

Asking for help in an email can feel pretty heavy – but trust us, it’s not that hard.

When writing an email asking for help, you must clearly explain what you want, why, and when.

This article describes when to ask for help in an email, the essential parts of every help request email, and provides 4 email samples and a template.

Follow our advice, and you’ll get all the help you need!

Should you ask for help in an email?

You may need help moving a shelf, writing a CV, choosing a car, or anything else. There are no rules about what you can ask for help and how.

Some people suggest you always do it in person, but this isn’t possible in many cases. You may not be in the same company or country, or you may be separated by time zones or even speak different languages.

Emails are quick to write, easy to send, and free – but there are additional benefits, including:

  • You can provide precise details (date, time, and specifics relating to your request)
  • It’s easier for the person to say no if they want or need to
  • You can send the same request to several people (be careful to check the names!)
  • It can save the embarrassment that some people feel asking for help in person

The benefits are obvious, so let’s show you how to write effective emails asking for help.

How to write an email asking for help

Writing emails requesting help is expected; it’s the basis for a learning module from the British Council . They’ve done this because we’ll all need to ask for a helping hand at some point in our personal and professional lives.

While we salute the British Council for their promotion of how to write messages asking for help, we’re not too impressed with their email help template (sorry, British Council). Their emails are fairly long and beat around the bush when a simple, straightforward, and basic email is much more effective. 

Don’t worry; we illustrate our approach in the 4 email help samples below. But before we get to that, here are 5 basic principles for writing the best help emails:

  • Be clear and concise – Time is tight, and life is short, so don’t waste it by writing long emails. Instead, the best help emails are clear, concise, and short.
  • Make the request upfront – Isn’t it annoying having to read through paragraphs of text to find out what you want to know? Don’t be this person. Be upfront about what you want in your help request messages. Most people will appreciate this!
  • Don’t assume favors – You’re asking for help, but there should never be an expectation it will be given. This means you must consider your tone at all times. Also, if your request is big, you should give people an easy get-out. Never assume someone can help you.
  • Provide all details – Use lists, bullet points, and bold text to specify exactly what you want. Make it as simple and easy as possible for people to do what you want them to do.
  • Don’t forget to say thank you (if they can help you or not!) – It sounds crazy, but in many cases, people can forget to say thanks. In our examples, we offer a compliment upfront and then say thanks several times to ensure the message gets through.

Asking for help email format

The email format used to ask for help should be familiar if you’ve ever written an email before.

To make it as simple as possible, we’ve split it into three sections: the subject line, the body copy, and the ending. Let’s take a look at each section in greater detail:

1. Email subject asking for help

So, what makes a good email subject line asking for help? Using the word help in the subject line is a good start! Like anything in life and business, it’s best to be as clear and upfront as possible, like this:

  • Can you help me?
  • I need your help
  • Are you available to help me?

There’s no way that the meaning of this message will get lost. However, it can appear a little desperate so you can add some extra information, like this:

  • Could you help me at my latest event?
  • Would you be prepared to read my CV?
  • Are you available on (date) to help?

These subject lines are suitable for friends and family and formal requests for colleagues and coworkers. Of course, if you’re emailing a friend or family member, you can be much less formal and funny.

2. Help request email body

So, we’re getting into the details of any help message. We’re fans of being upfront, so just ask for what you want.

  • I’m getting in touch to ask for your help.

Is this effective? Absolutely. If you’ve not met the person before, haven’t spoken in a while, or want to add some extra sweetness to the message, here’s how:

  • We haven’t chatted in a while. How are things? I know you’re really busy, but I wanted to ask if you could help me with (insert details). I wouldn’t usually ask, but you’re 100% the best person for the job!

Whichever route you take, you’ll need to add more details, including what you’re asking the person to do and why.

  • I’m getting in touch to ask for your help. I’m arranging an event on (date) and looking for people to work with us on the stand. Is this something you can do?

Next, provide details about the request.

  • If you can help, here’s what I need you to do.
  • We love bullet points

It can be a good idea to provide people with an easy get-out. Sometimes they may be unable to help you for genuine reasons, or they may choose not to help you. Either way, it’s a good idea to offer an out.

  • I appreciate this is a lot to ask, so there are no hard feelings if you can’t help me this time.

3. How to end an email asking for help 

Ending an email asking for help follows a familiar format. You’ll want to include your contact details and, in most cases, provide a deadline for a response. 

  • Thanks for reading this far; I appreciate it. Can you help me? My contact details are below. I’m already putting the team together for the event and will need to if you want to join us by (date).

Finish with a polite ending (thank you, kind regards, cheers, etc.), your name and signature and you’re done.

Ask for help in email examples

By now, it should be clear that writing help emails isn’t too hard. Here we bring it to life with some samples.

These provide an excellent introduction to the basics, but as always, you must edit and adapt these.

As previously mentioned, in many cases, you’ll want to ask several people for help, so always check all names, dates, and contact details!'

1. How to ask for help politely in an email sample 

Asking for help politely in an email is as simple as this sample. We start with a positive greeting and get straight into the details.

This sample asking for help follows all our basic rules and advice above.

  • (You knew there would be bullet points, right?)

2. How to offer help at work via email sample 

In this example, we offer help to someone who needs it. This could be helping at an event (as above), offering to read a job application, or dealing with domestic issues.

The structure is obviously slightly different, but the core of the messages – an intro, body copy, and end remains the same. See how it works in this email offer to help.

3. Happy to help email sample 

If someone has asked for help, how do you respond? Here’s one option, that says you’re happy to help!

A happy-to-help email could literally say just that, but we add more details about dates and levels of support. You’ll see what we mean in this happy-to-help sample. 

4. Ask a colleague for help email sample

It’s common to ask a colleague for help, but it’s not always easy. You may be making a sensitive request or dealing with someone stressed, so we’ve kept this as simple as possible.

You’ll also see that we’ve provided opportunities for the person to say no if they simply don’t have the time. 

Ask for help email template

The samples provide context for common email help requests, but what happens if your circumstances are different? You can use this help email template. We’ve produced a basic help email message that you can cut, paste, and adapt to your specific circumstances. Have fun with this ask for help email!

Email template asking for help with Flowite

Flowrite is an AI writing assistant that turns your instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages, like this:

Our Chrome extension covers the email format, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation.

In other words, you can focus on the message, and Flowrite will take care of the delivery. We dare to claim that it's the easiest way to request something in an email.

Our email template collection features dozens of templates to help you. To grasp how easy is is to write an email asking for something by using Flowrite, check out an example of how to use our all-purpose general template below:

Final words

It’s hard to ask for help, but never be afraid to do so. The structure, samples, and templates here should provide a guide but go with your feelings.

Be clear, say what you need, and feel free to demonstrate vulnerability. People will respond positively to a genuine request and in most cases, will offer to help.

We hope we’ve helped you get the help you need.

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How to Politely Ask for Advice From Friends, Family & Work

Updated 05/9/2024

Published 06/19/2020

Erika Krull, MSEd, LMHP

Erika Krull, MSEd, LMHP

Licensed Mental Health Practitioner

Figure out the best way for you to ask for advice from a friend, family member, or coworker with these tips.

Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure .

You’re stumped, stuck, and frustrated. You have a sticky problem, and you could use some good advice. So who do you call for help? 

That answer depends on what you need. Are you having trouble with a work situation? Ask a colleague for help. Need advice on child-rearing? Maybe a friend or family member is a better choice. Chances are you’ll need advice on many topics throughout your life.

This guide can help you identify who to ask, what to say, and what to do with their ideas.

Jump ahead to these sections:

  • Tips for Asking Advice From Friends

Tips for Asking Advice From Family

  • Tips for Asking Advice From Colleagues

Tips for Asking Advice From Friends 

True friendships are there through thick and thin. But not all friends can give you the advice you need. Use the following tips to help you approach the right person and get the most out of your conversation.

1. Choose the right person to ask

You know the specific friends you’d ask for cooking tips, financial guidance, and relationship advice. In other words, don’t ask just anyone to help with your situation. Approach the person with the best background in what you need to know. Also, consider other personal qualities such as:

  • How well you know each other
  • Their willingness to discuss your topic
  • Their honesty with you
  • Their genuine interest in being helpful

2. Be clear about what you want

Be clear about the advice you need. Prepare your comments before you ask for help with plenty of details. A long rambling story may be fun to tell, but your friend may get distracted and confused. The point is to get some advice by the end of the conversation. 

Don’t make your friend put the clues together on their own. Here are a few ideas for getting more focused:

  • Give some background and context to your question
  • Prioritize the important information
  • Ask a specific question 
  • Mentally rehearse what you’ll say to keep it focused and short enough to digest 

3. Understand your friend’s bias

When you ask a friend for advice, it comes through their personal filter. No matter how kind and respectful your friend is, their viewpoint isn’t exactly like yours. Empathy and listening can be helpful, but your friend will tailor any advice they give to their perspective. 

Does this mean that asking advice is pointless? Not at all. The differences in their viewpoint are valuable and can open your eyes to new ideas. But you need to do your own thinking as well. Don’t blindly do what your friend says, even if it is all given with the best intention. Make sure each suggestion aligns with your beliefs and values before taking any action.

4. You may get advice you weren’t expecting

Sometimes discussing one topic can lead you down an unexpected path. This can be a good thing and doesn’t mean you’re off-base. Talking out loud with someone can lead you to topics you might not think about most of the time. 

An honest discussion with a supportive friend can help you get to the meat of your problem. If your conversation took a surprise turn, don’t dismiss your friend’s advice. Think it over and let your thoughts simmer for a while. Sometimes the most useful advice can be the kind you don’t see coming.

Family relationships can be supportive, but not everyone can give helpful advice. And sometimes, family dynamics and emotional ties can make seeking advice tricky. This section will help you understand how to approach family members and get the help you need.

5. Know that family dynamics can make things tricky 

When you ask advice from someone in your community, your first concerns might be their area of knowledge and how easy they are to talk with. Because they are looking at your life from the outside, your relationship can be fairly neutral. Asking for advice within your family changes the picture by introducing family dynamics.

Family dynamics are the behaviors, emotions, and communication patterns that connect each member of a family. They set the expectations within a relationship and affect how close you feel to a family member. Consider your attachment and loyalty when you ask family members for guidance. A positive relationship may not qualify a family member as a good source of advice. In families where loyalty is valued, asking the wrong person can set off a chain reaction of disapproval from others.

Here are a few examples to show this better:

  • It’s so easy to talk with your cousin Mary, and you’ve known her your whole life. She has a long history of being in debt, but talks a good game about her financial situation and always sounds confident. You may be tempted to ask her for advice about handling money because you enjoy her company, but this would be a mistake. 
  • Your uncle Paul has been a financial advisor in your community for 30 years. He has lots of experience helping others handle their money. However, he has privately had some trouble with excessive drinking and has had conflict with some family members. You like him, but you aren’t sure you could trust his judgment.

6. Consider positive and negative bias

Family member bias can be even more potent than a friend’s bias. Being part of a family stretches from the beginning to the end of a person’s lifetime. With those connections often come expectations, hopes, and responsibilities. Family members can pass down both positive and negative patterns through the generations. All of these experiences create biases in every family member that can skew the advice they may give.

Depending on your situation, getting well-rounded advice from family members could be a challenge. Even a family member with a balanced outlook will automatically have some bias in their viewpoint. This bias can be a good thing. We want to look out for our family members, and a group identity helps everyone feel like they belong. 

Bias helps make up some of our family culture and can be a way to encourage positive expectations. For example, some families expect everyone to graduate from high school and go on to a higher level of education. Other families expect their children to live close to their family of origin after they leave their home.

However, anyone who takes a different path goes against the grain of family culture. In more open-minded families, this can be acceptable. But in other families, a person going in a different direction may be labeled an outsider or a black sheep. 

These biases can affect the advice they may give you, sometimes making their guidance harmful. These examples show how overly positive and overly negative biases can color a family member’s advice.

Positive bias: Rose-colored glasses

  • Advice: Suggesting a student major in a science field because it pays well, and the student is smart like their siblings. 
  • Reality: This student only got average grades in science classes, and they are more skilled in other areas.
  • Advice: Urging a person to take an expensive trip to try out for a national singing talent show because musical talent runs in the family.
  • Reality: The person enjoys singing, but has no recognition for outstanding singing talent by anyone with authority or experience.

Negative bias: Gray-clouded glasses

  • Advice: Advising a student to avoid college because it’s better to get a job right out of high school like everybody else in the family.
  • Reality: The college degree would prepare the student for a career that will pay well, and they have the grades to succeed in higher education.
  • Advice: Discouraging a young person to take a new job because it’s better to stick it out and show loyalty.
  • Reality: The person’s job doesn’t pay well, and the work environment is unsupportive. Better paying jobs are available, and the person sought advice about choosing one.

Tips for Asking Advice From Colleagues 

Your work environment can be an opportunity to meet a variety of people. If you want to ask colleagues for advice, consider these tips for respectfully asking for the help you need. 

7. Do your homework first 

Do what you can to solve the problem on your own. Coworkers will be less likely to help in the future if you don’t try some simple methods first.

Let them know what you’ve done so far and where you got stuck. By doing this preparation, you show yourself as a motivated person who needs just help getting past a roadblock. Everyone has work on their plate, so being prepared makes your request more efficient and easier to handle.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask 

You may feel like asking for help makes you look incompetent or defeated. But wasting time on a problem that could easily be solved with some help isn’t the best approach either.

Do your homework as suggested above, but don’t let the problem drag on for too long. Dust off your pride and ask for help. Be persistent, but understand that it’s better to stop going at it alone at some point and rely on teamwork to get the job done.

9. Ask your coworker out to lunch 

Ask your coworker to join you for lunch and let them know you could use their input on something. If you can afford it, you could also offer to pay, but this isn’t necessary.

This approach creates positive vibes in several ways. You and your coworker get to socialize, get out of your usual lunchtime rut, and can have a one-on-one conversation. Even if your coworker can’t commit to a full lunch hour, you may be able to swing a coffee break. 

The Art of Asking for Advice 

Some problems are too difficult to tackle alone. You need to know how to lean on other people’s wisdom and knowledge sometimes. Whether you seek advice from friends, family, or colleagues, the time and experience they share are true gifts. 

  • Goodman, Michelle. “The Right Way to Ask for Career Advice.” Professionals & Continuing Education , May 29, 2015,
  • Goldstein, Meredith. “How To Give Advice: Less Fixing, More Listening.” NPR, February 25, 2020,


  • Relationships

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Getting Help Lesson Plan: Social and Emotional Learning

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Getting Help Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic, Getting Help , and addresses self-awareness standards related to knowing how and when to seek help for social and emotional issues. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of  projects.


Write the following phrases on the board:

  • I can’t do it.
  • I don’t know how to do this.

Ask students to think about these phrases and to respond to the following questions in a journal: 

If you’ve ever said one of these sentences to yourself, what was the circumstance or situation?

What do you do when you feel this way?


  • Read aloud the description on the Getting Help topic page.  
  • Play the Movie , pausing to check for understanding.
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the following articles: “Quotables” or “In Depth.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.


Assign Getting Help Challenge and Quiz , prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about getting help while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie : Produce a movie showing a student asking someone for help with a challenging homework assignment. In your movie, address this question: How might the student feel before and after asking for help?
  • Make-a-Map : Create a concept map showing different scenarios where people might need to ask for help and strategies they can use.
  • Creative Coding : Code a meme that encourages people to get help when they are stuck or when something feels challenging.

More to Explore

Social-Emotional Learning Collection : Continue to build understanding around empathy and respect with BrainPOP’s six-week SEL curriculum that addresses the five CASEL competencies.  

Teacher Support Resources:

  • Pause Point Overview : Video tutorial showing how Pause Points actively engage students to stop, think, and express ideas.  
  • Learning Activities Modifications : Strategies to meet ELL and other instructional and student needs.
  • Learning Activities Support : Resources for best practices using BrainPOP.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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How to Deal With Classmates Who Want Answers to Homework

Last Updated: February 18, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 121,546 times.

If you're a responsible and hardworking student, then it's likely your peers have asked for your homework answers. You may be tempted to break the rules and share your answers because of social pressure, but this hurts both you and the person who copies you. Protecting your answers from would-be cheaters is the right thing to do, and actually helps them become better students in the long run. You can prepare to resist peer pressure and avoid cheating by learning ways that you can say "no" to other students, as well as how to manage their expectations of you. Finally, consider starting a study group that allows you and your peers to learn together. It'll all be more productive for you and your friends.

Step 1 Say no explicitly.

  • You may accidentally encourage your classmate to apply more pressure if you soften your “no” in an attempt to be friendly. Avoid using statements like “I don’t know” or “this may be a bad idea.” Instead, trust the clarity and power of a direct “no.”
  • Do not provide a complicated answer, just say no. A complicated explanation that emphasizes unusual circumstances may seem friendlier or more helpful, but it can provide an opportunity for your classmate to challenge your refusal and to ask again.

Step 2 Repeat yourself.

  • You can say “I know this is important, but my answer is not going to change,” or “I know that you are worried about grades, but I never share my answers.”
  • If you feel yourself weakening, remind yourself of the consequences you could face if you're caught sharing answers. Your teacher could deny you credit for the work you've done since by sharing your work you've engaged in cheating.

Step 3 Call your classmate’s request cheating.

  • Remember that the long term repercussions outweigh the immediate pressure. A school year can seem like a very long time, and you may worry about awkward situations if you disappoint a classmate. If you say no to a classmate, you may feel uncomfortable for a few days or weeks. If you are caught cheating, the consequences can last for years.
  • Point out to the student that the consequences remain even if you don't get caught. Copying homework answers doesn't help you learn the information, so the student who copies you won't be prepared for bigger assignments, such as the upcoming test. Even if they don't get caught now, they may not pass the course if they fail the test.

Step 5 Read your school’s academic conduct code.

  • Pay careful attention to your school’s rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism can seriously damage your academic record. Since what counts as plagiarism may not always be instinctive, speak with your teacher to clarify confusions that you may have. Your teacher will appreciate the opportunity address these questions before potentially plagiarized work is submitted.

Step 6 Avoid physical confrontation.

  • Remember, if the other student doesn't do the homework, then they aren't learning the course material. Most likely, they will fail the big assignments, such as tests.
  • Keep in mind that sharing answers would make you guilty of cheating, as well. You could jeopardize your future if you decide to share your answers.

Managing Your Classmates’ Expectations

Step 1 Avoid bragging about your academic performance.

  • When discussing your progress, highlight the effort you're putting into the class, but acknowledge that you won't know how well you know the subject until after your work is graded. Say, "I'm taking good notes and reading the material, but I won't know if my answers are right until I get my paper graded."
  • Keep your homework concealed until the moment it is due. Discourage your classmates from asking for your homework answers by not publicizing it. If someone asks you for answers to homework that isn't due for quite a while, you can always lie that you haven't finished it yet.

Step 2 Express appreciation.

  • Anticipate cheating around test times. Due to the high value placed on providing specific answers for assigning grades, stress can increase before major tests. This may make cheating seem more attractive. Before a test or major assignment, encourage a student that may ask you for answers or offer to study with them. This may reinforce proper study habits and discourage cheating.

Creating a Study Group

Step 1 Explain rather than cheat.

  • Ask your classmate about their study habits. You may be able to explain how they can do homework more effectively.

Step 2 Propose collaboration.

  • Pay special attention not to emphasize the depth of your understanding. Your goal is to work with the student, not to give them answers. Make sure that they are actively involved.

Step 3 Express interest in the work of your peers.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Offer to help struggling classmates. You will learn as much as you teach, and you will lessen the need for and appeal of cheating. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 2
  • Ask the teacher for advice in confidence. Most high school and college teachers understand the complex nature of social structures in their classrooms. If you are dissatisfied, consult another teacher in the department, your adviser or your dean (principal). Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

asking for help on homework

  • Being an accomplice to cheating is usually punished as harshly as cheating. If you feel that your study group may be close to being a cheating ring, immediately seek consultation from a trusted adult. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 0
  • Be sure that the teacher knows about your study group. Otherwise, when a few students miss the same questions on an assignment, the teacher will assume cheating has taken place. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0

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3 Ways to Make a Request That Doesn’t Feel Coercive

  • Rachel Schlund,
  • Roseanna Sommers,
  • Vanessa Bohns

asking for help on homework

To get an authentic yes, give your employee room to say no.

Research shows that people feel more pressured to agree to requests than we realize, frequently agreeing to do things they would rather not do, such as taking on burdensome, low-promotability work tasks. As a manager, what can you do to ensure that your employees aren’t taking things on because they feel like they have to, but because they actually want to? In this article, the authors share three research-backed suggestions for how to elicit a more voluntary “yes” when making a request: 1) Give people time to respond. 2) Ask them to respond over email. 3) Share an example of how to say “no.”

When staffing a project, asking your team to work overtime, or finding someone for a last-minute task to meet a deadline, it can sometimes feel like you need to get your employees to say “yes” at any cost. But what is that cost? When employees feel pressured or guilted into agreeing to a request they personally find disagreeable it can lead to feelings of regret, frustration, and resentment. An employee who begrudgingly agrees to a request in the moment may provide lower-quality assistance or back out of their commitment at a less convenient time.

asking for help on homework

  • Rachel Schlund is an incoming Principal Researcher at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. She is currently finishing her PhD in organizational behavior at Cornell University. You can learn more about her research here .
  • Roseanna Sommers (JD/PhD) is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, where she directs the psychology and law studies lab. Her teaching and research interests revolve around the many ways in which the law misunderstands people and people misunderstand the law. You can learn more about her research on consent and related topics   here .
  • Vanessa Bohns is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University and the author of You Have More Influence Than You Think . You can learn more about her research on social influence and persuasion here .

Partner Center

asking for help on homework

Kirinyaga Mum Turns to Internet in Quest to Aid Son with Algebra Homework

  • Grace Githinji said she experienced a challenge in helping her Grade 7 son with his maths homework
  • Her son asked her to help him with an algebra assignment which she had no clue how to go about it
  • The woman from Kirinyaga opened up on the new curriculum and its challenges that compelled her to seek assistance online

Kirinyaga - A woman has taken to social media to express a challenge she encountered with her son's homework.

Grace Githinji shared a post seen by about mathematics questions that challenged her.

She turned to netizens, asking for help to save herself from the embarrassing moment.

"How do you communicate to a pre-teen, those algebra maths, you do not understand anything without those awkward moments of embarrassment? Do you tell them you do not know or refer them back to their teachers?" she painfully asked.

Speaking to , the doting mother said she always encourages her kids, saying maths is usually the easier subject.

Which studies are incorporated in maths?

However, she said her son's Grade 7 maths question challenged her and sought a solution online.

"Their curriculum is not the way we were taught; it is more like high school, where you have to show how you arrived at that answer. They have also incorporated chemistry and physics into their studies, and as a parent who was poor in sciences and maths, you will sweat.
To be honest, my child has never requested me to assist with his homework because he is quite bright in maths and science. I think yesterday he had a bit of trouble with algebra, and he asked me, and quite frankly, I was blank. Luckily, I have a Form 4 leaver who came in handy, but not after being tasked to explain how I couldn't hack a Grade 7 maths test becuse I could not understand," she said.

Why do kids look up to their parents?

The woman from Kirinyaga noted that most children always believe in their parents and look up to them when faced with challenges.

Githinji noted it was a tricky situation as she did not want to let her pre-teen boy down despite not knowing what to do.

Can young girl draw 20 different sketches?

In another story, a mother was unhappy with how much homework her daughter returned home with.

She shared the art teacher's assignments online, showing the number of art sketches her daughter had to draw.

She said her daughter was asked to draw 20 different sketches in her drawing book, which she struggled to do.

Kirinyaga Mum Turns to Internet in Quest to Aid Son with Algebra Homework

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  23. Getting Help Lesson Plan: Social and Emotional Learning

    Make-a-Movie: Produce a movie showing a student asking someone for help with a challenging homework assignment. In your movie, address this question: How might the student feel before and after asking for help? Make-a-Map: Create a concept map showing different scenarios where people might need to ask for help and strategies they can use.

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