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USMLE takes action against individuals found to have engaged in Irregular Behavior

Posted: November 07, 2016

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 (including the solicitation of exam content via online web forums)
  • communicating about specific test items, cases, and/or answers with other examinees (including the sharing of examination content via online web forums and file sharing websites)
  • applying for and/or attempting to take an examination when ineligible
  • accessing unauthorized items, equipment, or materials while on an unauthorized break
  • making notes on test day  on something  other than the writing materials provided by test center staff
  • 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 5 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
  • cancelling 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 our contact form to report such information.


Step 2 CS videos available

Posted: November 05, 2018

Brief videos depicting reenactments by actors of actual examinee performances on the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination are now available. The names of the examinees and standardized patients have been changed. All videos are less than two minutes in length.

You can view them here. These videos provide examples of an actual examinee performance at an acceptable level, and may be helpful to individuals preparing to take the exam.


New score report format – USMLE Step 3 examination

Posted: October 03, 2018
Updated: October 23, 2018

The USMLE Step 3 examination score report has been redesigned to reflect both advances in the underlying science of assessment and changes to the USMLE program over time.  Examinees testing on or after October 1, 2018 will receive score reports in the new format.

The redesigned report features a chart showing an examinee’s performance compared with recent first-time takers from US and Canadian medical schools, the examinee’s performance in individual content areas relative to their overall Step 3 performance, and information about the allocation of items across each content area.

You can view the new score report here [Understanding Your Step 3 Score Report]. Click on the comment boxes for explanatory/informational text. FAQs about the score report are also available.

The USMLE program solicited feedback on the new design from a number of stakeholders, including examinees, medical school faculty, and residency program directors.

The new examinee score report format will be implemented for Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examinations in early 2019. A new score report format for the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) examination is under development.

Questions or comments? Please send here.


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