Why does USMLE Security matter?

  • Protects the health of the public by ensuring that doctors are competent to practice.
  • Helps to maintain a testing environment where no examinee has an unfair advantage.
  • Promotes equitable opportunities for training and career advancement.
  • Helps to control increases in exam fees by minimizing the number of items removed from USMLE due to exposure.

How can you help?

  • If you see or hear about breaches in exam security let us know by submitting a report via this website or by phone at (215) 590-9700.
  • You may submit a report anonymously. However, we encourage you to provide contact information that will allow us to seek clarifying or additional information.

DO’s and DON’Ts on exam day

DO:

Familiarize yourself with the Rules of Conduct.

Take a break only when on an authorized break screen.

Place all personal belongings, including watches, electronic devices (cell phones, etc.), study materials, notes, and purses/wallets/bags in your locker or cubicle.

Maintain confidentiality of all USMLE content.

Share general exam day experiences, such as how to dress or where to stay.

DON’T:

Attempt to register for or take an exam unless you are eligible.

Bring study materials, notes, papers or electronic devices (cell phones, etc.) into secure areas of the test center.

Discuss your exam with others at the center or otherwise communicate about test items, cases, and/or answers.

Remove exam materials from the test center in any form (written, printed, recorded or in any other medium) or attempt to reproduce exam materials through memorization or any other means.

Remember the stakes are high. Don’t do something that might jeopardize your future!

Click here for more examples of possible security violations.

Examples of Security Violations

Specific examples of conduct that may be deemed a security violation include, but are not limited to, the following:

Before the examination

  • 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 USMLE-related documents
  • applying for an examination for which you are not eligible
  • 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

During the examination

  • taking an examination for which you are not eligible
  • taking an examination for someone or engaging someone to take an 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 examination staff, or other disruptive or unprofessional behavior during the registration, scheduling, or examination process
  • possessing any unauthorized materials, including photographic equipment, communication or recording devices, fitness and tracking monitors, and cell phones, in the secure testing areas
  • 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

After the examination

  • altering or misrepresenting examination scores
  • any unauthorized reproduction by any means, including, but not limited to, reconstruction through memorization, and/or dissemination of copyrighted examination materials by any means, including the Internet
  • 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
  • failure to cooperate fully in any investigation of a violation of the USMLE rules

Sanctions Imposed for Security Violations

Security violations are investigated by USMLE staff and reviewed by the USMLE Committee for Individualized Review (CIR). If the committee makes a finding of Irregular Behavior, the penalties include one or more of the following:

  • Cancellation of your exam scores
  • Ban on future testing for periods ranging from 6 months – 3 years
  • Permanent annotation of your USMLE transcript
  • Report to the Federation of State Medical Boards' disciplinary databank*
  • Possible legal action

        *State medical boards routinely query this databank as part of their licensing process.

The USMLE Committee for Individualized Review meets periodically throughout each year to review cases involving allegations of irregular behavior by applicants and/or examinees.

At its recent meetings, the CIR heard cases involving the following:

  • falsified information, including the creation of falsified score reports
  • soliciting and/or seeking to obtain unauthorized access to examination materials
  • communicating about specific test items, cases, and/or answers with another examinee
  • applying and/or attempting to take an examination when ineligible
  • making notes on something other than materials provided by Prometric
  • failure to follow test center instructions, including writing past the 'end patient note' announcement during Step 2 CS

Actions taken by the CIR at its recent meetings included annotating the individual’s USMLE record with a finding of irregular behavior, barring access to USMLE for periods ranging from 6 months - 3 years, and reporting the finding of irregular behavior to the disciplinary data bank of the Federation of State Medical Boards.

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. Specific examples of conduct deemed to be irregular behavior can be found in the Bulletin.