Review Article

Cheating in Medical School: The Unacknowledged Ailment

Authors: Anita V. Kusnoor,MD,, Ruth Falik, MD


The reported prevalence of cheating among US medical students ranges from 0% to 58%. Cheating behaviors include copying from others, using unauthorized notes, sharing information about observed structured clinical encounters, and dishonesty about performing physical examinations on patients. Correlates of cheating in medical school include prior cheating behavior, burnout, and inadequate understanding about what constitutes cheating. Institutional responses include expulsion, reprimands, counseling, and peer review. Preventing cheating requires establishing standards for acceptable behavior, focusing on learning rather than assessment, involving medical students in peer review, and creating a culture of academic integrity. Cheating in medical school may have serious long-term consequences for future physicians. Institutions should develop environments that promote integrity.

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