The USMLE Committee for Individualized Review (CIR) meets periodically throughout the year to review cases involving allegations of irregular behavior by applicants and/or examinees.
At its recent meetings, the CIR considered multiple cases involving the following:
- falsifying information, including the creation of falsified score reports
- seeking to obtain unauthorized access to examination materials
- communicating about specific test items, cases, and/or answers with other examinees
- providing unauthorized access to examination content on the internet
- applying for and/or attempting to take an examination when ineligible
- making notes on test day on something other than materials provided
- failure to follow test center instructions, including typing past the ‘End Patient Note’ announcement in Step 2 Clinical Skills
Actions taken by the CIR at its recent meetings included:
- annotating individual USMLE records with a finding of irregular behavior
- barring access to USMLE for periods up to 3 years
- reporting the finding of irregular behavior to the disciplinary data bank (Physician Data Center [PDC]) at the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). State medical boards routinely query this data bank as part of their licensing processes
- canceling the examinee’s score because the validity of a passing level score is in question
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 deemed to be irregular behavior.
Applicants and examinees are also encouraged to watch the USMLE Security Video.
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. Applicants and examinees are advised to observe all USMLE policies and procedures to avoid the potentially significant implications arising from a finding of irregular behavior.
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 Regarding 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.