Going into way too much detail about a topic that’s not closely relevant to the assignment. If the assignment is about Durkheim’s views on religion and your essay includes three long paragraphs about his views on gender, that’s the kind of thing that makes your instructor go hmmmmm.
Turning in an essay with a weird structure. No intro, no conclusion, just two pages that touch on some subject vaguely relevant to the question you were asked.
Putting their names on essays featuring sky-high diction and technical terms they obviously don’t know. Is your prof really going to believe that you went overnight from writing things like, “Honestly when you think about it racism is still a problem in the Us” to “the preponderance of confounding variables presents persistent challenges for reliable analyses of the effects of demographic characteristics on standardized lifetime earnings”?
Awkwardly trying to change a few words to dodge Google. For example, rewriting that last sentence as, “the preponderance of confusing variables presents persistent challenges for reliant analyses of the effects of demographic characteristics on standing lifetime income.”
Citing sources that aren’t in the reference list. First off, if you’re feeling the need to plagiarize, you’re probably not very good at using proper citation style—so the first thing your teacher will notice is that for once, your in-text citations are actually correctly formatted. He or she will then go and look for the sources you cite in the reference list, but they won’t be there because you forgot to go get them from the reference list of the paper you’re ripping off.
Turning in a paper with multiple fonts. Gee, you think your TA will notice that the poorly-written first and last paragraphs are in a different font than the very well-written middle section of the paper?
Leaving hyperlinks in place. In the most egregious version of this, a Word document has random words linking to spam sites, because those links were in place on the content farm where you got the essay. Slightly better is when there are just a lot of links pointing to Wikipedia pages, such as one might find on, say, the Wikipedia article you plagiarized.
Copying the number one search result for the essay topic. Right, like you’re the first person ever to Google the essay topic and steal several paragraphs from the Yahoo! Answers page that’s at the top of the results? More like the first person this week—if you’re lucky.