Invited Commentary

Commentary on “Cheating in Medical School The Unacknowledged Ailment”

Authors: Rachel M.A. Brown MBBS, MPhil


Most physicians know someone who exhibits the behaviors of the cheating medical student. We all know or know of colleagues who have documented clinical examinations not done, who have copied passages from published material without attribution, or who have taken credit for work done by others; therefore, it is not surprising to read that some medical students cheat some of the time. Many medical students are greatly stressed by the pressures of medical school. To some of them, the short-term benefits of cheating (eg, success on a high-stakes examination) may well outweigh the risks, particularly when the chances of being caught are not great, the likelihood of the episode being reported to a future employer is small, and the potential long-term negative consequences seem distant and unlikely.

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1. Kusnoor AV, Falik R. Cheating in medical school: the unacknowledged ailment. South Med J. 2013; 106: 479–483.
2. Papadakis MA, Teherani A, et al. Disciplinary action by medical boards and prior behavior in medical school. N Engl J Med. 2005; 353: 2673–2682.