32% of University Students Admit to Using ChatGPT Weekly

by | Oct 31, 2023

ChatGPT

Since ChatGPT’s launch in November 2022, AI development and usage has been an increasingly prevalent topic within the education sector, prompting debates around its benefits, and potential misuses. 

Interested to learn more about how students utilise ChatGPT in their studies, The Knowledge Academy conducted a survey of 2,000 UK students in order to identify how many students use ChatGPT, as well the most common uses. Martha Folkes, Head of Apprenticeships at The Knowledge Academy, also provides expert comment on the findings.

University courses where ChatGPT is most commonly used

RankCoursePercentage of students that use AI (%)
1Digital Law/Legal72%
=2Psychology/Philosophy/Religious Studies68%
=2English68%
=4Computer Science66%
=4Politics66%
6Economics65%
=7Educational Studies64%
=7Science64%
=7Languages64%
=7History64%
*The link to the full data set including all survey questions can be found here.

New data from The Knowledge Academy has revealed that almost three quarters (72%) of respondents studying Digital Law or Legal courses at university admit to utilising ChatGPT in their studies. 

The bot is said to be able to help extract key facts and arguments from sources, however, some say the tool may fabricate content, making it important that those using it always independently verify their work.

Ranking in joint second position, almost seven in ten (68%) of those studying Psychology, Philosophy, Religious Studies and English have also made use of ChatGPT in their studies. 

However, there has been speculation over whether AI algorithms are trained on biased data, revealing ethical dilemmas.

Both Computer Science and Politics ranked joint third, with two thirds (66%) of respondents on these courses stating that they use ChatGPT in their studies.

University students’ most common reasons for using ChatGPT

RankReason for usePercentage
1For exam prep e.g., testing on questions34%
2=Checking spelling and grammar33%
2=Brainstorming and ideation33%
2=Writing emails/communications33%
2=Planning for exams/planning study timetables33%

According to the findings, exam preparation such as practice questions, is the most common reason for utilising ChatGPT, with over a third (34%) of university students stating this as their reason.

A third (33%) of university students also revealed that they use the bot for checking spelling and grammar, brainstorming and ideation, writing emails, or planning study timetables.

How frequently is ChatGPT used in University work

RankFrequency of usePercentage
1Not often, I use it from time to time(a few times a year)33%
2I use it a few times a week32%
3I have never used AI in my studies at any level23%
4I use it every day13%
*The link to the full data set including all survey questions can be found here.

A third (33%) of university students say they make use of ChatGPT a few times a year, with just under a third (32%) using the bot a few times a week.

Interestingly, just over a tenth (13%) of university Students admit to using ChatGPT every day in their studies. 

Martha Folkes, Head of Apprenticeships at The Knowledge Academy says:

The prevalence of AI has been growing recently, and has prompted much debate in the education sector among students. With recent reports of students having their work disqualified for plagiarism reasons linked to the use of ChatGPT, it is crucial for students to ensure they aren’t using it excessively, or in any manner which can impact their results or the legitimacy of their own work.

“ChatGPT has been reported to be useful for brainstorming ideas, organising, planning, and analysing text. It can have benefits when helping those students organise study plans, and methods of revision. However, it still remains crucial that students exercise their own abilities to be creative, think critically, and analyse as much as they can, with human creativity still being found to be of high importance in all areas of study. It can therefore be helpful for educational institutions to utilise ChatGPT specific disciplines and regulations, to help students know the best ways to use the bot, and those tasks or methods which should be avoided.”

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