Every ABIM exam is subjected to rigorous item and exam development processes, and to psychometric and data forensic analysis as part of the scoring process. This helps to ensure the validity, fairness and integrity of the exam, and to help prevent cheating and other unethical exam conduct. The creation of each exam is a lengthy process that involves considerable expense and time on behalf of both ABIM staff and the physicians who serve on our specialty boards who create the exams. And, maintaining the integrity of our exams is critical to fulfilling our responsibility to the medical profession and the public. Therefore, when ABIM exam questions or other content is compromised, we must remove them from our question pool and create new questions and content in their place. As such, ABIM takes cheating or unethical behavior in connection with exams very seriously.
While they may seem onerous, strict exam day security measures are in place at all test centers to help us ensure the integrity and fairness of the Certification and MOC processes. Failure to adhere to these measures or comply with test administrator instructions can result in:
- Invalidation of an exam;
- Disciplinary sanctions;
- Legal action; and
- Referral to state and/or federal regulatory and/or legal authorities.
See the policy on disciplinary sanctions for more information.
Throughout the enrollment, application, exam registration and exam administration processes, candidates agree to maintain the confidentiality of ABIM exam content. Obtaining, reviewing, copying, sharing, discussing, reproducing, adapting, disclosing or transmitting ABIM exam content – before or after an exam – constitutes professional misconduct and undermines the integrity of the Certification and MOC processes, and are violations of law and the agreements every candidate makes with ABIM.
The following table presents examples of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors regarding exam content.
|Telling a colleague general topics an exam covered, such as the content in the exam blueprint.
||Sharing exam questions or memorable features or cues of exam questions.
|Posting on social media outlets which study aids were the most helpful in your exam prep.
||Posting or discussing online specific topics to review in preparation for specific ABIM exam questions.
|Giving information on the general exam format, such as timing of exam sections.
||Giving details on specific exam images, audio clips or question scenarios.
|Studying from exam prep materials or medical literature concerning the general topics covered in the exam blueprint.
||Requesting or obtaining from anyone—or studying from—materials that include ABIM exam content, such as exam questions, cues from exam questions or other features of exam questions.
Reporting Inappropriate Behavior
If you wish to report inappropriate or irregular behavior before, during or after an exam, call ABIM's integrity hotline at 1-800-884-ABIM or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All reports are kept confidential. Please include detailed information on the violation with your report that includes the following as appropriate:
- Names of individuals involved
- Type of inappropriate activity (e.g., misrepresentation of credentials, cheating, sharing exam content)
- What information was discussed/disclosed
- Time and place
- How the information was compromised and in what context
For more information, please review our policies on examination ethics and disciplinary sanctions and appeals.