Acceptable Turnitin similarity: How much is too much percentage (2023)

The question of acceptable Turnitin similarity and how much percentage is too much arises when your paper contains copied content. It is important for any student to know the best Turnitin similarity index, especially when you want to escape any issues with your professor.

First and foremost, let us know what Turnitin is. It is an online tool used for checking plagiarism in submitted documents and displays what percentage of plagiarism your assignment has. All this is processed and presented as a report with percentages.

This is really where our focus question arises from. In this post, we delve into this issue in detail.

Turnitin Similarity how Much is Too Much

Turnitin similarity of 20% and above is too much because it illustrates that a fifth of your paper’s content was copied and not original. However, this varies with universities due to different referencing and citation guidelines. But with no universally specified similarity score, the widely acceptable Turnitin percentage is less than 10%

Acceptable Turnitin similarity: How much is too much percentage (1)

For example, a doctorate original dissertation reference should be less than 10% to consider the review of literature in which direct quotes that are quoted properly from an expert’s subject matter will most likely occur.

However, in the case of a dissertation, you will be requested to synthesize material, after which you generate your information so that the content is primarily original.

On the other hand, a master’s thesis can be allowed up to 20% since the larger part of the paper is heavily dependant on existing authorities. If you take an example of an essay like literature, a plagiarism score of 5 % and below would be acceptable.

When writing a publication manuscript, there should be a very little amount of plagiarism like 5-7% apart from the few quotations with their proper citations. However, it should be noted that all is not about a low score.

While having a 0% score is ideal, sometimes there are scores due to unavoidable content or phrases. Therefore, many people still want to know which is the Turnitin score that is safe for them to submit their assignments.

Turnitin similarity varies from one University to another

The acceptable plagiarism score varies from university to university because of the differences in the plagiarism policies they use to administer their testing procedures. Some universities are more strict than others because they adopt different citation and referencing rules.

This is because determining the acceptable similarity index is the role of examiners or supervisors as well as the institutions’ prerogative. They decide if or if not, the presented document is plagiarized and how much plagiarism is committed.

The reason is that Turnitin highlights all the matching materials in a paper. Just like SafeAssign, Turnitin flags off all matching content. However, you can cheat SafeAssign and Turnitin by cleverly uploading your task or paraphrasing content to avoid a plagiarism score.

Why a Little Plagiarism is Good

A little plagiarism is good because it indicates that a paper is well-researched and contains external information from other writers and sources. It is not possible to write a paper with external sources and fail to have a few matching tests to give low scores on the scanner.

A plagiarism score of between 1% and 10 is really good. In fact, we encourage writers to use external sources to back up their arguments, and this is the reason why good quality and well-researched papers will always have some low plagiarism.

It is for this reason that some scholars argue that little plagiarism is healthy. However, if plagiarism goes beyond 25, then it is bad and should be corrected.

While some educational institutions allow up to 40% for well-referenced papers, we do not allow anything above 15% as a matter of precaution. We only allow anything higher in cases where it is unavoidable.

The cases of unavoidable plagiarism include the names of books, government bodies, and organizations. When such are repeated many times in a paper, the paper can show a high score of plagiarism yet no copy-pasting was done.

What Percentage on Turnitin is bad?

Turnitin similarity score is considered bad if it is beyond 30% on the originality report, and the matching content is not cited and referenced. While the exact bad score varies with different universities, anything beyond 49 is generally considered unacceptable since it shows that you copied too much from the internet or other sources.

The Turnitin score tells how much you have copied. If you have a report you deem as bad, you need to remove the plagiarism. Supposing you are writing an essay, a term paper, a research paper, a thesis, or a report, you can apply two ways in which to reduce the plagiarism score;

  1. One is by paraphrasing the source content; however, this approach could result in omitting some important details since you are tr ing to be free of plagiarism. You need to paraphrase well and retain the points.
  2. Two is by summarizing in your own words the source material, this will make your professor happy since you understood the source and wrote the paper in your own words hence you will have 0% plagiarism because summarizing is all your own words.

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The Acceptable Percentage for Turnitin

The widely acceptable Turnitin percentage is 15% and below. However, there is no universally specified similarity score, because plagiarism policies vary with institutions. Some universities accept Turnitin scores of 10%, others entertain as high as 45% if the sources are well cited. No matter the accepted score, anything above 20% is just too much plagiarism and shows a lot of copying.

There isn’t any acceptable plagiarism percentage in Turnitin; however, this could vary with your university’s guidelines. If the guidelines and assessment file of your university states 100% original, then it must be 100% original — no buts or ifs.

In case the plagiarism report reads above 10% similarity. Your paper will get grades with negative scores for plagiarism if your school’s acceptable percentage for Turnitin is 10%.

However, in the case that your professor permits a range of 5% plagiarism, against the norms of the university, then you will be fine with your assignment.

What contributes to the Acceptable percentage of Plagiarism?

Acceptable Turnitin similarity: How much is too much percentage (2)

For the very strict institutions, a single plagiarized sentence will result in being charged with violating the academic integrity policy of your school.

The percentage rating given by Turnitin is simply a guide for the score of similar content copied from other sources.

It enables the professors to determine how much of the student’s work is original.

However, a custom essay with a low percentage of plagiarism on a paper is still not acceptable, and an essay with a high percentage could be Ok.

This is determined if the high percentage is a result of the wrong settings of Turnitin in such a way that properly quoted material is flagged as plagiarized mistakenly.

References also contribute to a good and acceptable similarity score. it is worth noting that Turnitin percentage is always 0 when no external sources are used as references.

However, whenever you use sources, you will always have a low similarity score or either 5% or less than 10% utmost. In fact, a 0% score is not healthy for a research paper because it indicates that no sources were used to back up the arguments/points/findings presented

Why is your Turnitin similarity index too high?

Turnitinhighlights the similarities of your content to other sources; it doesn’t determineif your paper is plagiarized, that is the assessor’s prerogative. The assessordetermines if the similar text is attributed accurately and quoted correctly.The context is very important; however, Turnitin doesn’t account for context.

In many cases, a high similarity index is usually due to either or a combination of the following:

1. Not crediting the source

You are copying every word from some other source without including the original words inside the quotation marks and including a citation about the source of the original text. Although you put the ideas from a particular source in your own words, you have to credit the source.

2. Paraphrasing too closely, although you credit the source

You can’t take ideas from some other text, even if you put them into your words, and failing to cite the source. However, there is another kind of plagiarism when you paraphrase someone else’s work.

When you put ideas and words in a different order from the original text and mix your words and the original words, you will still be plagiarizing, although you cite the source.

3. Using statistics without crediting the source

Statistics, charts, or tables inside a text are the property of whoever created them. And from this fact, you must credit the original creator in your text.

There is an oratorical advantage when you cite the source because an author has reached statistics that support the claims which you have put in your paper gives strength to your argument.

4. Using photographs, images without citing sources

The practice is similar to identifying a figure or a table. If you take someone else’s photograph and place it in your text, and write a description, to make it apply to your paper and show a point you will be arguing without acknowledging the source is plagiarism.

Even when you have taken a photograph, it is advisable to cite yourself since you are the creator, and the source will be clear to all readers.

5. Copying or buying someone else’s paper

It is obvious that hiring someone to write your essay is plagiarism and copying someone else’s work is equally bad. This brings into question the issue of safety when buying essays or from someone else. This can also happen by contracting the essay-writing services to do your assignment

Copying some parts of a paper or the whole paper from old lab reports or old papers essay bank is a good example of this type of plagiarism.

6. Padding a reference list or bibliography, to show that you have researched when you haven’t

This is academic misconduct that mostly happens when students don’t complete their assignments and leave them till the last moment, especially when their professors have requested that they include various articles and books to their reference list.

If you face this problem, you can easily learn to put your paper in APA for free or ask our editors for some little help.

How to reduce similarity on Turnitin for your essay

In most cases, it’s not possible to reduce alerts of plagiarism on Turnitin. However, you can decrease it by following these steps to make sure your essay is free of plagiarism:

Acceptable Turnitin similarity: How much is too much percentage (3)

1. Paraphrase your content

You have found information that suits your research paper, read it, and understand it then put it in your own words.

Make sure you do not write above two words consecutively from the text you found.

In case you write above four words in a row, it is advisable to use quotation marks.

2. Cite your sources

Citing is the most effective way to avoid plagiarism. Follow the formatting guidelines of the document such as MLA, APA, or Chicago used by your college. Citing a quote is different from citing paraphrased material.

This practice involves adding a page number or when writing web content, adding a paragraph number. To ensure a better score, get someone to format the paper for you if you do not know these referencing styles,

3. Properly use quotation marks

You must use quotation marks when you write a quote exactly as it appears from the source. No one likes to be misquoted. A scholar must be able to paraphrase most material effectively.

The process takes time, but the efforts are rewarding. Quoting should be done well to be free of plagiarism allegations.

4. Referencing your sources

The most effective way of avoiding plagiarism is by adding a page of cited works or reference pages at the very end of a research paper.

Also, the page should also meet the formatting guidelines of referencing used by your college. More importantly, read more on how to cheat Turnitin and you will get these points in deeper detail.

Difference between Similarity and Plagiarism

There is a difference between similarity and plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined by the teacher, by making a judgment that someone copied. Similarity on the other hand is the matching of content with another, as shown by the scanner’s report

Scanners like Turnitin and SafeAssign cannot scan for plagiarism, they only scan for similarity. It is from the similarity report that a professor can judge whether there is plagiarism or not.

Those two are different, and a similarity score does not imply plagiarism. Sometimes, you can get a false positive, where Turnitin says you plagiarized but you did not, which needs the intervention of your teacher.

In most cases, some systems can have errors once in a while and scan the references. If the match is on the references, that is not considered plagiarism.

Final Take: Avoid Plagiarism at all cost

Turnitin is a plagiarism detection tool that detects the plagiarized content in your paper. It is always advisable for students to stay away from plagiarism by following the steps given in this write-up.

To avoid issues with your instructor, it is important that you know the acceptable percentage for Turnitin. This will help you know how much plagiarism is allowed for your essay in your institution.

However, if you are not confident that you will write an original paper you can contact us to give you help with your essay and guarantee you with an original paper. NO PLAGIARISM HERE.

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FAQs on Acceptable Plagiarism Percentage

What does it mean when Turnitin says 0 similarity?

A Turnitin similarity of 0% means that you did not copy anything from online sources word for word or directly. While it shows your work is original, it may also indicate your prowess in paraphrasing.

You might have copied but paraphrased to cheat Turnitin. As it is recommended by academic writing experts, it is ideal to have a 0% plagiarized paper if you want to score higher. However,

Is a little plagiarism good? If so, why and how little is too little?

Well, it’s true that a little plagiarism is good because it shows that you included ideas and arguments by other writers or credible sources. Having a 0 score may indicate a lack of resourced content since a little plagiarism shows that you researched well.

However, it should be noted that what is liked is a little plagiarism but not a lot. Anything less than 5-10% is good if well referenced and cited using the right referencing formats like APA, MLA, and Chicago among others. A little is good but not too much.

How do I remove similarity from Turnitin?

Ideally, the best way to remove similarity from Turnitin score for your paper is to rewrite the affected content. You can read and understand the content, then write from your mind.

The other best way is to paraphrase the affected areas. Be sure to properly cite and reference the sources of your content.

Does Turnitin count References

Ideally, Turnitin does not count references because they are not part of the main content of a paper or an essay. However, this depends on the settings that your faculty/university has preferred on the plagiarism scanning system. In most cases, most universities do not allow scanning of references, therefore this should not be a worry for you.

Either way, references should not worry you because they are good for a paper, and do not constitute plagiarism. In reality, references do not comprise the plagiarism report, even if they are scanned and highlighted for matching.

Watch this video to learn more about this.

Acceptable Turnitin similarity: How much is too much percentage (4)

Acceptable Turnitin similarity: How much is too much percentage (5)

Jessica Kasen

Jessica Kasen is experienced in academic writing and academic assistance. She is well versed in academia and has a master’s degree in education. Kasen consults with us in helping students improve their grades. She also oversights the quality of work done by our writers.


What is too high a percentage on Turnitin? ›

Turnitin may highlight these correctly cited passages. For the report to be useful, you have to check what is highlighted. Too high? A score above 25% could indicate plagiarism, or it might just mean that the assignment has a long bibliography and a number of direct quotes.

Is 40% too high on Turnitin? ›

Turnitin Originality Checks

You should mark the assessment as seen taking account of poor academic practice if appropriate. 20 – 40% with less than 10% from one source This score would suggest poor academic practice and would require some further consideration.

Is 18% on Turnitin high? ›

FAQs: Turnitin FAQs

Saying this, having too high a similarity score, while not meaning a student has plagiarised, may mean a student is relying too much on direct quotes or secondary sources. As a guide, somewhere between 15-20% might be considered a good score to aim for.

Why is my Turnitin 100% similarity? ›

A similarity score of 100% indicates that Turnitin found 100% matching text to one or more sources stored in the Turnitin database. When the source of the match is another submitted paper, it is likely that the source is the student's own work. This may be defined as a self-match.

Is 30% on Turnitin high? ›

As a guide a returned percentage of below 15% would probably indicate that plagiarism has not occurred. However, if the 15% of matching text is one continuous block this could still be considered plagiarism. A high percentage would probably be anything over 25% (Yellow, orange or red).

How do I lower my Turnitin percentage? ›

If your similarity index is high and you want to reduce it, check that: (a) Quotation marks (“...”) are used around every quote and the source is cited, (b) you are not over-using quotations, and (c) your own words are not too similar to the original text.

What does a 40% on Turnitin mean? ›

The 40% is NOT a plagiarism score - it is a similarity score. If you are using similar citations/paraphrases, as long as they are properly referenced or have 'quotation' marks it should be fine.

Is Green on Turnitin good? ›

Green means less than 24% of the paper matched an outside source. This is ideal if sources are integrated well and cited correctly. Yellow means 25% - 49% of the paper matched an outside source. If there is no plagiarism, this paper would likely benefit from more paraphrasing and analysis.

Is 37 a high Turnitin score? ›

37% as the plagiarism and similarity percentage is concerning and exceeds the commonly used acceptable ranges of similarity that education institutes use for academic writing. Normally, up to 10, 15, or 20 percent is considered acceptable as a percentage of similarity.

What does a 17% match on Turnitin mean? ›

At 17%, it is likely due to headings and references, but there may be some in-text passages that require improved originality via paraphrasing. Along with this review, your instructor may also ensure that all work is properly cited to ensure that plagiarism does not exist.

Does Turnitin detect paraphrasing? ›

Plagiarized ideas or concepts, or paraphrasing

Turnitin does not flag essays that include plagiarized ideas or concepts, nor can it detect paraphrasing that dramatically changes the wording of an original source while maintaining that source's organization.

Can you resubmit on Turnitin? ›

You are allowed three resubmission attempts where the Similarity Report will generate immediately. After three attempts, you'll have to wait 24 hours before a new Similarity Report can be generated. Resubmission attempts are shared between you and your instructor.

What does a 50% Turnitin score mean? ›

Yellow means 25% - 49% of the paper matched an outside source. If there is no plagiarism, this paper would likely benefit from more paraphrasing and analysis. Orange means 50% - 74% of the paper matched an outside source. This is not good and needs significant revision whether or not plagiarism has taken place.

Is 37% on Turnitin high? ›

Depends entirely on what that 37% is. If it's made up (generally) of footnotes and references, it's unlikely to be a problem. There are only so many ways you can cite sources, after all. Just make sure that you're not self-plagiarising, and you should be fine.

What is 20% Turnitin? ›

A 20% similarity means that 20% of the submitted text was found to be similar to other people's work (plagiarism) and matched against those sources.

Is 5 a good Turnitin score? ›

Above 25% Turnitin similarity score percentage is too much and could be flagged as plagiarism. Our solid advice is to maintain a similarity of 5% for a perfect and top-grade paper. If you submit work through Turnitin, you are allowed 24 hours or a day to resubmit the edited assignment.


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