One of the biggest milestones in your medical school studies occurs when you take your Step exams, which are the three stages of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (or USMLE). The USMLE assesses your ability to apply your learning from medical school. Together, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) administer these exams. They expect that you'll demonstrate patient-centered skills as well as apply key concepts, principles, and knowledge to show that you will practice safe and effective patient care. If you are an international student, you may have to get your ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) certification before being allowed to take your Step 3 exam.
With so much money and time invested in your medical career, running into student discipline issues when you attempt to take your licensure exams can have a huge impact on your future medical career.
Most often, the NBME, USMLE, or ECFMG notifies a student of reports of irregular behavior, and while this may seem insignificant, it's important to challenge these allegations, refute them, and request a hearing. If you don't submit a challenge and are found to have committed “irregular behavior,” this has the same implication as cheating. If the boards find you guilty of this, it will follow you on your transcript and has a significant chance of impacting your ability to match with your ideal residency program. The residency that you participate in can drastically impact your future career as a physician, and after so much effort to complete your medical school studies, you must challenge this charge if it is brought against you.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF IRREGULAR BEHAVIOR?
Some instances of irregular behavior are what you would expect. Others are behaviors that you might consider harmless.
Here are some examples:
- Attending a USMLE prep course offered by a third-party where they use actual exam questions
- Talking with another person during the exam
- Using your phone during a break
- Applying for the exam after withdrawing from your medical school
- Completing your USMLE application incorrectly
- Setting fire to the testing center so that your test is postponed
As you can see some of the examples above appear more serious than others. Often it turns out that the allegations of irregular behavior can be easily overcome by an attorney who has experience in student disciplinary action.
WHAT ACTION SHOULD YOU TAKE?
If you've been notified of irregular behavior, it's important that you find the best lawyer to assist you. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped students across the country fight disciplinary action. As a medical student, you want someone committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that due process occurs so that you are not penalized for the alleged irregular behavior or other disciplinary actions. You've worked too hard and put too much effort into your medical school studies for something like this to negatively impact your medical career. Contact us today at 888-535-3686.