Defining Irregular Behavior (USMLE)

Posted August 12th, 2020 by .

Categories: USMLE.

What is “irregular behavior”?  The phrase lends itself to multiple interpretations.  The definition, per, is “any action by applicants, examinees, potential applicants, or others that could compromise the validity, integrity, or security of the USMLE process.”

In practice, the USMLE Office of Secretariat – which investigates, brings, and presents allegations of irregular behavior to the USMLE’s Committee on Individualized Review (CIR) – traditionally brings such allegations in the face of an appearance of an impropriety or irregularity in connection with any USMLE examination.   Although a quick reference list of examples of what the USMLE Program considers irregular behavior can be found at, the list is by no means exhaustive.

In the 10+ years that I have been defending individuals alleged by USMLE to have engaged in irregular behavior, I have made more than 3 dozen personal appearances before the CIR.  While the CIR is concerned about rule violations of all types, it is most troubled in cases where individuals attempt to seek or obtain an unfair advantage over other examinees.  The punishment meted out by the CIR, in my experience, is frequently predicated upon the extent to which an individual has gone to seek or obtain an advantage.

Having skilled, experienced counsel familiar with USMLE Policies and Procedures, its CIR, and the rights of individuals accused of irregular behavior can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful outcome.

If you are confused about whether certain conduct may be considered irregular behavior, or if you find yourself accused of having engaged irregular behavior, our office can assist.

For more than 10 years, Dennis L. Abramson has dedicated a significant portion of his practice to counseling and representing medical students, IMGs, residents, fellows, and practicing physicians in compliance and disciplinary matters related to ECFMG, USMLE, NBME, and NRMP, including responding to and defending allegations of irregular behavior and violations of the Match® agreement. Should you need advice or counsel with a related issue, please contact Mr. Abramson at 610-664-5700 or

Mr. Abramson regularly updates this page with the latest developments related to ECFMG, USMLE, NRMP, ABIM, irregular behavior, and physician licensing and credentialing issues, so check back soon.

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