USMLE Takes Action Against Individuals Found To Have Engaged in Irregular Behavior
The USMLE Committee for Individualized Review (CIR) meets periodically to review cases involving allegations of irregular behavior by applicants and/or examinees. At its recent meetings, the CIR heard multiple cases involving a range of alleged irregular behavior, including the following:
- Supplying inaccurate information in connection with the application process
- Altering or misrepresenting examination scores, including providing counterfeit score reports, to third parties
- Impersonating an examinee
- Engaging someone to take the exam in one’s place
- Possessing unauthorized materials in the secure testing area
- Making notes on something other than the erasable boards provided for that purpose
- Failing to follow test center instructions, including writing past the ‘end patient note’ announcement during Step 2 CS
When the CIR found conduct was irregular behavior, it imposed sanctions that in some cases included annotating the individual’s USMLE record with the finding, barring the individuals from access to USMLE for periods up to five years and reporting the finding of irregular behavior to the disciplinary data bank of the Federation of State Medical Boards. (State medical boards routinely query this data bank as part of their licensing processes.)
As evidenced by the sanctions listed above, a finding of irregular behavior carries significant potential impact. USMLE applicants and examinees are reminded to read the USMLE Bulletin of Information carefully, follow the rules of conduct during testing and refrain from any pre- or post-examination conduct that might constitute irregular behavior. In particular, examinees should scrupulously avoid reproducing and/or communicating about examination content. Additional specific examples of conduct deemed to be irregular behavior are listed in the Bulletin of Information.
The USMLE is committed to maintaining the integrity of its examination so that state medical boards may continue to rely upon it as an integral part of their decision-making process for licensure.
USMLE encourages you to provide information about cheating and other activity of which you are aware that may compromise the security and integrity of USMLE. Please use the contact form on the USMLE website to report such information.
ECFMG Policies and Procedures Regarding Irregular Behavior
ECFMG also regularly reviews allegations of irregular behavior in conjunction with its programs and services. ECFMG programs and services include but are not limited to, registering international medical students and graduates for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS; ECFMG Certification; ERAS Support Services at ECFMG; the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program; the ECFMG International Credentials Services; and the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials.
If the ECFMG Medical Education Credentials Committee determines that an individual engaged in irregular behavior, a permanent annotation to that effect will be included in the individual’s ECFMG record and will be provided to third parties in certain reports.
If it is determined that an individual engaged in irregular behavior, the individual also will be subject to serious sanctions. These sanctions may include, but are not limited to:
- Barring the individual from future examinations;
- Barring the individual from ECFMG Certification and/or other ECFMG programs; and
- Revoking the individual’s Standard ECFMG Certificate.
Individuals who apply to ECFMG programs and services should be familiar with the ECFMG Policies and Procedures on Irregular Behavior, which define irregular behavior and outline possible sanctions. Representative examples of allegations of irregular behavior and actions taken by the ECFMG Medical Education Credentials Committee are also available on the ECFMG website.