Students taking a matriculation exam (illustrative)
Students taking a matriculation exam (illustrative)Flash 90

Ahead of the winter 2020 matriculation exams, Israel's Education Ministry has increased punishments for those caught with a cellular phone or smart watch during an exam, and anyone caught "systematically" copying answers, Israel Hayom reported.

"Systematic" copying refers to answers written in a uniform style which repeats itself.

Any students suspected of the above offenses will lose their ability to take the exam during the next two test periods, Israel Hayom reported. For those taking matriculation exams this winter, that means an inability to test until next winter.

Previously, students caught copying on a matriculation exam had their test paper confiscated and their test canceled, but were allowed to retake the test at the next opportunity.

Approximately 200,000 students will take exams during the winter matriculation period, which begins Monday and ends on the tenth of February.

Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz (Jewish Home) said he believes the winter matriculation exams "are extremely efficient and help students make the most of their tests. Spreading the tests over two test periods contributes much to this. Dear students, I am sure that each and every one of you will aim for academic excellence, which will be reflected in the coming exams. I wish you much success."

Israel Hayom also noted that for the first time, grades will be reported solely via electronic means, and students will not receive a paper forms with the grades for their matriculation exams.