Ask Survivor DO: Caught Cheating in Medical School

med school cheater

Hey! Been awhile! Although I haven’t been posting frequently (I really do plan on getting back to writing soon!) I have been replying to e-mails. I thought you all might find this one interesting.

Hello Survivor! I am super addicted to your website and found it very entertain over the past few months. But my friend named Danielle was caught cheating on a medical test (I don’t remember the name) and she is currently freaking out. I am a to-be researcher so this is not my area of knowledge and i can’t calm her down.Will she be able to get her M.D and is this going to affect her later on?

First off I’m not an administrator of any kind so obviously take this with a grain of salt. However, I would say she has every right to be freaked out. I have no idea why people would ever risk cheating in medical school! I know there is a lot of pressure but think of the risk/benefit. You might get a slightly better grade but if you get caught #1 you could risk your career #2 it’s a crazy amount of stress!

All schools will treat it differently. I would say it would matter how involved the cheating was. For instance, a group of people in my class collaborated on an online quiz we were supposed to take independently. The requirements were kinda hazy and it was a stupid quiz, not really important and I’m not too sure why they did it. Regardless, they had to do some makeup things but it ended up being basically swept under the rug. If your friend did something more active like having a cheat sheet during a test or looking up notes on her phone I would say that may be handled a bit more strictly.

The best thing to do now is damage control. Admit to it. Figure out how she can make amends with the school (if she can). Most importantly is to figure out how it will be represented on her Dean’s letter which is sent to all residency programs. If there will be a note of it she will have to explain what happened and most importantly how she learned and changed from it during her interviews.

Good luck to your friend,

Survivor DO

Just to editorialize a bit more. Why?WHY? WHY WOULD YOU RISK CHEATING IN MEDICAL SCHOOL?!? I’ll save all the moral “you’re going to be a doctor” blah blah blah for someone else. You are in med school. You have worked your ass off to get here. Yes there is a TON of stress. Yes it feels like you will just never learn it all before the test. Here’s a hint. You will NEVER learn it all before the test. This will be a new experience for many of you perfectionists but you will need to figure out a way to deal. Cheating is NOT the answer. Although they may seem critically important right now as long as your pass there is VERY little emphasis put on the grades during your first two years of medical school. If you are caught cheating and it is reported to residencies it will make a HUGE impact. Don’t do it!



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