Score Validity and Irregular Behavior
Validity of Scores
The USMLE program assures the validity of scores reported for USMLE examinations by every means available and reserves the right to cancel scores that are at or above the passing level if the USMLE program cannot certify that they represent a valid measure of knowledge or competence as sampled by the examination. Questions about score validity may result from irregular behavior (see Irregular Behavior) or other factors.
The performance of examinees is monitored and may be analyzed to detect aberrancies that raise questions about the validity of scores. In addition, evidence of irregular behavior and/or inadvertent access to test content in advance of test administration may indicate that your scores do not represent a valid measure of your knowledge or competence as sampled by the examination. In these circumstances, your score report may be delayed or any further reporting or verification of such scores may be withheld, pending completion of further review and/or investigation. If your score report is delayed, you and any other party to whom scores would normally be reported will be notified. You will have an opportunity to provide information that you consider relevant.
After review and analysis of all available information, scores will be classified as valid and will be reported, or scores will be canceled, i.e., will not appear on your record and will not be reported or verified to any party. If the scores are canceled, you will be advised of the options for retaking the examination. Anyone who has received a report of scores that are later canceled will be notified.
If irregular behavior appears to have contributed to a decision that your scores are not valid, action will also be taken as described under Irregular Behavior.
Irregular behavior includes any action by applicants, examinees, potential applicants, or others when solicited by an applicant and/or examinee that subverts or attempts to subvert the examination process.
Specific examples of conduct that is deemed to be irregular behavior include, but are not limited to, the following:
Note: Looking in the direction of another examinee's computer monitor or talking to another examinee during the examination may be reported as evidence of giving, receiving, or obtaining unauthorized assistance. The report may result in a determination of irregular behavior. Discussion of examination content or answers on the Internet may also result in a determination of irregular behavior.
- seeking, providing, and/or obtaining unauthorized access to examination materials;
- providing false information or making false statements on or in connection with application forms, Scheduling Permits, or other USMLErelated documents;
- taking an examination without being eligible for it or attempting to do so;
- impersonating an examinee or engaging someone else to take the examination for you;
- giving, receiving, or obtaining unauthorized assistance during the examination or attempting to do so;
- making notes of any kind while in the secure areas of the test center except on the writing materials provided at the test center for this purpose;
- failing to adhere to any USMLE policy, procedure, or rule, including instructions of the test center staff;
- verbal or physical harassment of test center staff or other exam staff, or other disruptive or unprofessional behavior during the registration, scheduling, or examination process;
- possessing any unauthorized materials, including photographic equipment, or communication or recording devices, including electronic paging devices and cellular telephones, in the secure testing areas;
- altering or misrepresenting examination scores;
- any unauthorized reproduction by any means, including reconstruction through memorization, and/or dissemination of copyrighted examination materials by any means, including the Internet; and
- communicating or attempting to communicate about specific test items, cases, and/or answers with another examinee, potential examinee, or formal or informal test preparation group at any time before, during, or after an examination.
If information received suggests that irregular behavior has occurred, statistical analyses may be conducted and additional information may be gathered.
You will be advised of the alleged irregular behavior, and you will have an opportunity to provide information that you consider relevant to the evaluation of the allegation. Your scores may be withheld, if they have not been reported previously. Applications may not be processed, and you may not be permitted to take subsequent examinations until a final decision regarding irregular behavior is made. If the evidence suggests that the alleged irregular behavior affects score validity, the score will also be reviewed as described in Vaildity of Scores.
If it is determined that you engaged in irregular behavior, information regarding this determination becomes part of your USMLE record. Your score report (if applicable) and USMLE transcript will contain a notation regarding the irregular behavior.
Information about the irregular behavior will be provided to third parties that receive or have received your USMLE transcript. Such information may also be provided to other legitimately interested entities. You may be barred from taking future USMLE examinations and/or special administrative procedures may be implemented for your future examinations. The USMLE program also reserves the right to take such actions when information regarding behavior of examinees on predecessor examinations indicates such actions may be necessary to ensure the security of the USMLE.
Anomalous performance and/or unusual testing history may be indicative of irregular behavior or other issues that bear on your access to USMLE. If your performance raises concerns about your readiness to test or your motivation to pass, the USMLE program reserves the right to restrict your future access to its examinations and/or to impose conditions upon future access. Do not test if you are unable or unready to test on your scheduled test date. Taking a Step administration to familiarize yourself with the examination format, or for any reason other than to pass, may result in a limitation being placed on your future access to USMLE.