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May 7, 2010 
Filed under: Irregular Behavior

Examinees are advised in the USMLE Bulletin of Information that USMLE policies and procedures governing examinations have been established to ensure that no examinee or group of examinees receives unfair advantage on the examination, inadvertently or otherwise, thus jeopardizing the standard conditions and the principles on which the examinations are developed and scored. Provision of information relating to examination content by examinees may provide such advantage to individuals who have yet to take the examination. Examinees are directed to maintain the confidentiality of the Step examinations and are directed not to provide information relating to examination content that may give or attempt to give unfair advantage to individuals who may be taking the examination.

The following is a statement from an examinee who disseminated content from a Step 1 examination and, as a result, was determined to have engaged in irregular behavior.

To Whom It May Concern:

As a student at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, I received excellent training and direction as a future physician. I was taught the importance of medicine academically, but failed to realize its importance professionally.

After having taken my USMLE Step 1, I made a nearly career-ending mistake. I returned home, went through my study aid book, and noted from memory any question topics and specific test questions I could remember to help my friends prepare for their upcoming exams. Earlier that morning, I had signed a document stating I will not reproduce, by any means, secure USMLE content. Through my actions, I failed to uphold the integrity of our profession, not appreciating the importance of my signature to the USMLE pre-exam agreement.

After having done so, I was called before the USMLE Committee on Irregular Behavior for a review of my case. I faced a lifetime ban from ever taking a USMLE exam again. I was fortunate enough to be banned for two years, however with permanent annotation of my USMLE transcript of Irregular Behavior, as well as notification to ECFMG and FSMB. I am genuinely grateful for the lesson I have learned. However, I wish I did not have to learn my lesson in this way. My transgression had the potential of undermining the validity of other examinees’ Step 1 scores and, on a broader scale, licensing and other decisions made based on those scores. While I thought I was simply helping my friends, I was actually doing them and our profession a disservice.

I want to bring this to your attention, so as to emphasize adherence to the rules, with preservation of integrity and professionalism. I want to remind all AUC students to take USMLE’s rules regarding the integrity of its testing process seriously for failure to do so, as in my case, could have dire consequences on your future as a physician.

Recent AUC Graduate
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