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Hi everyone,

I am currently in serious trouble and need some real advice.

Long story:

I was placed on mandatory Leave of Absence (basically suspended for a year) on the second day of medical school all because there was a clicker question in class (not using exam software that would be used for regular quizzes and exams) for 1 point that I did not know I wasn't able to use resources to answer. At least half of my class had resources opened AND were discussing the answers among themselves but unluckily for me, the associate dean saw me check my answer and whisper to my classmate and THEN announced to the whole class that no resources were allowed. Then he/she (do not want to reveal too much info) pulled me aside and told me to report to his/her office the next morning.

Well in the meeting assoc dean accused me PURPOSEFULLY cheating and asked how do they know if I have not cheated previously. He/she then asked me why I would decide to start cheating in medical school? I tried to tell him/her that I legitimately did not know we weren't allowed to use resources since it was a clicker question and we were always working together during clicker questions in previous classes. He/she retorted saying that the instructor said in the beginning of class that the question would be like a quiz that's graded (but did not specifically say to put everything away). Plus, everyone was talking during the questions. But he/she spun the story and accused me of looking for the answer, that I saw he/she was looking at me, and quickly closed it (so that I was "cheating" on purpose) BEFORE she made the announcement.

Even worse, he/she attacked my character and said "who knows what you could do if you were alone with a patient" when they have no idea what kind of person I am and make ALL judgements with no empathy on one innocent mistake.

Thanks for making it this far. Despite how this sounds, I am not trying to make excuses or gain pity. I am extremely grateful that I was not entirely dismissed. I understand that this is professional school and that we are held to a much higher standard but I am still very hurt that they would attack me as a person for a (in my eyes) small mistake.

I am just wondering if you guys know anyone who has experienced this and/or know of possible further actions I could take? I asked how it would appear on my transcript and he/she said that The school will see it as disciplinary action whereas to others it will say "Leave of Absence" (which I obviously will need to explain and can't possibly lie about this). Am I completely screwed for residency? Also, would it be worth it to attempt to arrange a meeting with the head Dean?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts/inputs.
 
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laura_24601

I may be nowhere near medical school (so take this with a grain of salt), but this school sounds....interesting, for lack of a better word. If you can't make the dean see it your way, I would reapply next cycle to a new school that is not run by skeptics. It may suck to reapply and interview and everything, but if you have to take a mandatory leave of absence for a year, you might as well. I know I wouldn't want to go to a med school that is run by people who won't trust me even when they know nothing about me. Hope everything works out for you!
 

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I doubt many people have experience with this, but I would go back to the associate dean and beg for mercy. Do whatever you have to in order to stay with your current class. The earlier the better. Be genuine. Be Professional. Go in prepared and show that you truly understand the seriousness of your situation and that you would never let this happen again.
 
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I would try to talk to the head Dean. If
I may be nowhere near medical school (so take this with a grain of salt), but this school sounds....interesting, for lack of a better word. If you can't make the dean see it your way, I would reapply next cycle to a new school that is not run by skeptics. It may suck to reapply and interview and everything, but if you have to take a mandatory leave of absence for a year, you might as well. I know I wouldn't want to go to a med school that is run by people who won't trust me even when they know nothing about me. Hope everything works out for you!
I disagree because the OP will have to explain what happened, and it will be hard to come across as honest. (Even though it sounds reasonable based on what is written here.)

I agree with begging for mercy. It sounds a bit extreme for the second day. No one knows what they are doing on the second day.
 

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I may be nowhere near medical school (so take this with a grain of salt), but this school sounds....interesting, for lack of a better word. If you can't make the dean see it your way, I would reapply next cycle to a new school that is not run by skeptics. It may suck to reapply and interview and everything, but if you have to take a mandatory leave of absence for a year, you might as well. I know I wouldn't want to go to a med school that is run by people who won't trust me even when they know nothing about me. Hope everything works out for you!
This is really terrible advice.
 

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I may be nowhere near medical school (so take this with a grain of salt), but this school sounds....interesting, for lack of a better word. If you can't make the dean see it your way, I would reapply next cycle to a new school that is not run by skeptics. It may suck to reapply and interview and everything, but if you have to take a mandatory leave of absence for a year, you might as well. I know I wouldn't want to go to a med school that is run by people who won't trust me even when they know nothing about me. Hope everything works out for you!
You can not be serious!
 

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So you're saying this med school would lose $60,000 this year over an informal clicker question... Sounds either severely unreasonable or not true
 
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Crayola227

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You can't just apply elsewhere in AMCAS (if things are still similar to when I did it years back) because the app will ask if you are currently enrolled elsewhere (don't willingly give up this slot yet) and even if you tell this school to **** off there is still a checkbox asking about any prior attendance at any other med school.

See if there is an ombudsmen!!!!!
They are supposed to be a neutral and confidential party. Make sure that is the case before saying anything to them. See if they or someone im admin who might really be your advocate can help counsel you or be present at any further meetings between you and admin.

See what academic appeals process there is.

When you explain this you must keep your story very consistent, try not to focus on others at all but claim ignorance ignorance ignorance. You seriously missed the part where this was graded. You don't want to focus on the behavior of students around you except to say given prior class experience, having missed that this was graded, and what was going on around you, you really truly did not believe you were breaking any rules or cheating at all, that was never your intent, and you understand how serious is, would never do something like this, will have utmost care re: professionalism in the future.

Point out that having just started med school, even assuming you knew this was graded and closed book (which you most certainly did NOT, sincere error on your part) it would make no sense for you compromise your entire career so brazenly. If you quickly closed your materials when the dean looked at you, it wasn't to hide anything just that the look she gave you filled you with terror that you may have made a mistake, one you most certainly were not aware of when this was taking place. Tell them that you have no way of proving your good intentions, but hope at least that just in light of the how illogical this course of action would have been for you to take, they will give you the benefit of the doubt that this was a mistake, your intent not to cheat, because cheating in this manner doesn't even make sense even from the point of view of someone dishonest (which you are not).

If they want you to sign ANYTHING that even sniffs of you admitting this was any sort of academic dishonesty or professionalism problem, politely decline because you cannot sign anything that isn't accurate about your intent. You are willing to acknowledge what they have presented you in a meeting but anything you do not wholeheartedly agree with you would like to decline signing at this time.

Contact a lawyer ASAP. Go begging to family anyone for money if need be. This is your career on the line. This could haunt you forever don't believe a word they say about that at this point. Consult this attorney but keep it to yourself for now.
Contact your local bar association online to find an attorney. They can at the least refer you. Look for someone who specializes in educational affairs if you can.

Do not talk about this to anyone but attorney, not your classmates certainly.

Watch your words with admin, writing is always best, emails, letters. Document any conversations ASAP after they occur, time and date, as much as close to verbatim as you can.

Look to see if this is a single party recording state, think about how to clandestinely record things.

You can consider contacting someone above this dean but be very careful as I've said above. Do not criticize the mean dean. In fact, you may email mean dean first asking if there is any way to appeal this, or that you would like to talk to someone else regarding this descision, perhaps the dean above? They will say whatever. You can still go above their head but be sure not to paint them harshly "just you feel there is a misunderstanding" and CC them on emails so as not to seem to be slinking about.

You need to fight this as kindly and firmly as you can if you really have a case about this.

I said don't talk to classmates, but come up with a list of the classmates involved.

I don't know where your professors of the class stands in all this.

See if you can come up with any character witnesses, past professors or employers etc who can speak to your character.

Anyone who might say you are easily confused but honest (playing dumb here is better than being painted a liar or cheat).

Good luck.

PS - I took your story at face value. I don't know if there are any other reasons they would be targeting you so early in the year. Another reason for a lawyer. I'm not going to assume you were cheating and got caught, because what's the point? If things are as unfair as.you say (I have no way of knowing either way) I like to err on the side of helping you if it is this unfair. I've seen this happen to my friends for reals, unfair and ridiculous accusations.
 
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I may be nowhere near medical school (so take this with a grain of salt), but this school sounds....interesting, for lack of a better word. If you can't make the dean see it your way, I would reapply next cycle to a new school that is not run by skeptics. It may suck to reapply and interview and everything, but if you have to take a mandatory leave of absence for a year, you might as well. I know I wouldn't want to go to a med school that is run by people who won't trust me even when they know nothing about me. Hope everything works out for you!
What kind of advice is this? Do you know how the application process even works? Or that his new med school, even if he were to get it, would want documentation from his old med school?
 

Crayola227

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This could be entirely true this early in the year if some other candidate they want more just came available. It's early enough to kick this one to the curb and start another med student in their place, and not lose a dime or filled slot.

They take professionalism very seriously, which I understand, but I have seen it border on paranoid in more than one instance.

Cutting someone now is infinitely better than further down the line.

Even if this isn't just to trade this candidate in for another, it's still very easy at this point just to move on down the waitlist and fill the slot.

I'm giving OP benefit of the doubt despite it sounding odd, or even like there's more backstory I'd like to know, because I've seen a number of just ridiculous med school accusations.
 
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This could be entirely true this early in the year if some other candidate they want more just came available. It's early enough to kick this one to the curb and start another med student in their place, and not lose a dime or filled slot.

They take professionalism very seriously, which I understand, but I have seen it border on paranoid in more than one instance.

Cutting someone now is infinitely better than further down the line.

Even if this isn't just to trade this candidate in for another, it's still very easy at this point just to move on down the waitlist and fill the slot.

I'm giving OP benefit of the doubt despite it sounding odd, or even like there's more backstory I'd like to know, because I've seen a number of just ridiculous med school accusations.
I agree, I've seen very weird professionalism accusations thrown against classmates, but this has to be the weirdest one by far, in terms of punishment. I'm sure the usual brigade will say he deserved it.
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies. Unfortunately, this is all very true and I am still thinking of how to make my case.. thanks everyone
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies. Unfortunately, this is all very true and I am still thinking of how to make my case.. thanks everyone
I think you can genuinely state that you feel this is a misunderstanding. Why would you cheat on the 2nd of school? Its silly. You can make amends and state you won't do this again, and will change so that there is no confusion in the future.

Oh, and beg like a mfer.
 
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fancymylotus

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Thanks everyone for your replies. Unfortunately, this is all very true and I am still thinking of how to make my case.. thanks everyone

Lawyer up like yesterday. Document everything carefully. Limit verbal interactions.

(I tend to not trust the administration anywhere and think they're all out to get their students at baseline though. So take my words with that into consideration.)
 

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Appeal it. Seriously. Talk to the professor who gave the quiz if need be to discuss what happened and then say that they never once stated that the use of classmates or resources wasn't allowed.
The assistant Dean had to even announce it because it wasn't clarified in the beginning.
You have classmates who will literally agree that this wasn't announced at all until midway.
 

Crayola227

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I wish I would have recorded this... how i regret not doing it. I am almost laughing because most of you guys think this is not true. *sigh* if only.
I choose to give you the benefit of the doubt, because I know from experience what you are saying is possible (I'm not going to assign odds here), and if so this is some horrible horse**** and unfair and you really need help

If you're a lying sack of ****, the advice I've given giving you the benefit of the doubt ultimately will not help you much.

Therefore I think there is more to gain to help you than to blame you.

I see good people go down for ridiculous **** and total sociopaths get away with everything.

I think I can do more to help the former than I can to prevent the latter via anonymous internet advice.

So for the record, I choose to believe you because that helps the truthteller more than disbelief to the liar (or truthteller).

This is a problem in a lot of medicine. I wish docs in life and on SDN considered more what are the consequences of believing/disbelieving something brought forth from a colleague or patient.

I'll answer all the cries of wolf because if I don't there's a risk a child gets eaten. Nevermind the bad child that is "winning" attention. Letting a child get eaten because you don't want to give idiot children attention, seems like a no brainer idiot trade off.
 
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Story is bogus, and this line



is particularly egregious.
While egregious, that is exactly what I would expect a med school administrator to say. Professionalism, or at least going thru the motions, is taken seriously. So seriously that AOA has written a handbook on it on the website. One of the stories broke my heart.
 

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I've been on sdn for a while. And everytime a story like this comes up, it always ends up the OP doing something more serious then he intially put on. Then it starts to make sense. So all we can do is wait for the full story to come out
 
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Señor S

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While egregious, that is exactly what I would expect a med school administrator to say. Professionalism, or at least going thru the motions, is taken seriously. So seriously that AOA has written a handbook on it on the website. One of the stories broke my heart.
Maybe...I don't know though. Most med school administrators have a tendency towards blowhardism, true, but any person with any clinical experience should reflexively cringe at such a ridiculous comment.
 

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The problem is that line crosses Poe's Law. Sure, it's egregious, but so are many, if not most, med school adminicritters.
Yeah, bogus story or not, I could basically picture an idiotic line like that coming out of the mouth of the associate dean of my med school. (though I'd wonder what the hell the dean was doing in the lecture. Don't they have better things to do?)
 

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Hi everyone,

I am currently in serious trouble and need some real advice.

Long story:

I was placed on mandatory Leave of Absence (basically suspended for a year) on the second day of medical school all because there was a clicker question in class (not using exam software that would be used for regular quizzes and exams) for 1 point that I did not know I wasn't able to use resources to answer. At least half of my class had resources opened AND were discussing the answers among themselves but unluckily for me, the associate dean saw me check my answer and whisper to my classmate and THEN announced to the whole class that no resources were allowed. Then he/she (do not want to reveal too much info) pulled me aside and told me to report to his/her office the next morning.

Well in the meeting assoc dean accused me PURPOSEFULLY cheating and asked how do they know if I have not cheated previously. He/she then asked me why I would decide to start cheating in medical school? I tried to tell him/her that I legitimately did not know we weren't allowed to use resources since it was a clicker question and we were always working together during clicker questions in previous classes. He/she retorted saying that the instructor said in the beginning of class that the question would be like a quiz that's graded (but did not specifically say to put everything away). Plus, everyone was talking during the questions. But he/she spun the story and accused me of looking for the answer, that I saw he/she was looking at me, and quickly closed it (so that I was "cheating" on purpose) BEFORE she made the announcement.

Even worse, he/she attacked my character and said "who knows what you could do if you were alone with a patient" when they have no idea what kind of person I am and make ALL judgements with no empathy on one innocent mistake.

Thanks for making it this far. Despite how this sounds, I am not trying to make excuses or gain pity. I am extremely grateful that I was not entirely dismissed. I understand that this is professional school and that we are held to a much higher standard but I am still very hurt that they would attack me as a person for a (in my eyes) small mistake.

I am just wondering if you guys know anyone who has experienced this and/or know of possible further actions I could take? I asked how it would appear on my transcript and he/she said that The school will see it as disciplinary action whereas to others it will say "Leave of Absence" (which I obviously will need to explain and can't possibly lie about this). Am I completely screwed for residency? Also, would it be worth it to attempt to arrange a meeting with the head Dean?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts/inputs.
Does your school have A/V recording for lecture? That could help prove/disprove your case.
 
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I may be nowhere near medical school (so take this with a grain of salt), but this school sounds....interesting, for lack of a better word. If you can't make the dean see it your way, I would reapply next cycle to a new school that is not run by skeptics. It may suck to reapply and interview and everything, but if you have to take a mandatory leave of absence for a year, you might as well. I know I wouldn't want to go to a med school that is run by people who won't trust me even when they know nothing about me. Hope everything works out for you!
That is awful advice. Like...so much no.
 
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I understand that schools want to have a scape goat, and cheating is a HUGE problem in today's medical school environment. That said...I find this scenario very unlikely.
 

fancymylotus

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For me the weirdest part of this story is that a dean was even present for an in-class quiz.

We had deans wander in randomly during quizzes. "Just observing" was their standard bull**** response.
 

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I've been on sdn for a while. And everytime a story like this comes up, it always ends up the OP doing something more serious then he intially put on. Then it starts to make sense. So all we can do is wait for the full story to come out
Completely agree.

This story reads like one of the tales that defendants on Judge Judy spin
(I'm amazed at how many intubated and sedated ICU patients like to watch Judge Judy... it's on in every other room)
 

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We had deans wander in randomly during quizzes. "Just observing" was their standard bull**** response.
I rarely went to class. For all I know the deans were there every day. It still strikes me as weird that a dean would be there for a quiz and would call out one person for behavior that multiple people were engaging in. As opposed to the professor doing so.
 

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We had deans wander in randomly during quizzes. "Just observing" was their standard bull**** response.
it must be nice to never have to see patients.
 
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How is cheating a huge problem
Idiot gunners trying to get another 0.05% on the one of 5 tests in a class to go from an Honors to an Honors
 

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I rarely went to class. For all I know the deans were there every day. It still strikes me as weird that a dean would be there for a quiz and would call out one person for behavior that multiple people were engaging in. As opposed to the professor doing so.
Also, usually these decisions are not unilaterally the dean's to make. Usually this would go to the honor court or similar committee before someone getting a mandatory LOA on the second day for a professionalism/academic conduct violation.
 

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honestly, if you can't get them or the head Dean to overturn this and let it go, two words, LAWYER UP.

seriously. do it. get a lawyer immediately that specializes in educational suits and get your life back.
 
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Crayola227

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Also, usually these decisions are not unilaterally the dean's to make. Usually this would go to the honor court or similar committee before someone getting a mandatory LOA on the second day for a professionalism/academic conduct violation.
True but keep in mind those committees can be awfully small and this early in the year without much data to review on this student and without the student getting much input, it can easily just be the Dean's rec getting rubberstamped by like 3 people.

Student may have to appeal to have more than just their one meeting with the Dean taken into consideration.
 
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Idiot gunners trying to get another 0.05% on the one of 5 tests in a class to go from an Honors to an Honors
By doing what? How are they actually cheating? I didnt see any of this at my school, unless youre counting adderall use or something.
 

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By doing what? How are they actually cheating? I didnt see any of this at my school, unless youre counting adderall use or something.
I've seen people sharing answers during practicals and going to the bathroom to look something up during tests. That **** happens.
 

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I may be nowhere near medical school (so take this with a grain of salt), but this school sounds....interesting, for lack of a better word. If you can't make the dean see it your way, I would reapply next cycle to a new school that is not run by skeptics. It may suck to reapply and interview and everything, but if you have to take a mandatory leave of absence for a year, you might as well. I know I wouldn't want to go to a med school that is run by people who won't trust me even when they know nothing about me. Hope everything works out for you!
Why pre meds should never be allowed to post outside of pre-allo
 

cbrons

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Look in the published student policies of the school/code of conduct. Being unilaterally placed on leave of absence does not seem at all like the first step in any academic dishonesty proceeding. If it was me, I would have done that first step and then hired a lawyer the very same day.
 

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By doing what? How are they actually cheating? I didnt see any of this at my school, unless youre counting adderall use or something.
All sorts of weird ****.
Wearing a baseball cap not only so they can try to look at someone's answers, but as one of many methods to hide earbuds reading Goljan's or whatever podcast, using it to hide some camera capture device to take pics of the test to do God knows what with, give it to next year's class (a lot of times questions are recycled merely the order of questions or answers changes, teachers do this more than you know) writing notes on their arms, secret hand signals, med students can be smart, ruthless, creative, and won't stop at applying those skills to studying but extend them to cheating.

My school had a class after us that was particularly "collaborative" and somehow a few tests got passed year to year or test forms leaked, so more than one course director had to have a number of like hundreds of test questions completely rewritten.
Keep in mind too there's a good deal that goes into those questions because you have to kind of "validate them" meaning track if they're fair or not by keeping stats and stuff. If you write a new test and 30% of the students flunk it because questions were poorly worded and didn't have enough relevance to material, this is a massive problem for the school.

OSCEs for a class of 200 can't all happen the same day, so some of the scenarios were passed along systematically.

School was PISSED. Massive ****show.
 
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Me?! Or the dean? I see plenty of patients ><
The admins. There were some good deans where I went to school but one or two of the highest up ones I swear were in it not so much to be a leader in medicine, but because they were burned out with patient care.
 
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Crayola227

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The admins. There were some good deans where I went to school but one or two of the highest up ones I swear were in it not so much to be a leader in medicine, but because they were burned out with patient care.
And yet others seemed like a better outlet for control issues and sadism. Let's face it, patients have a lot more freedom than med students, because they can always say "no" or walk out the door or sue. So even the most sadistic surgeon cutting on unconscious people has more of a leash than admin towards med students.

Sure, you have to try to graduate the students and make them seem attractive grads, but you can put them through any amount of torture you like. You can be as controlling and make them suffer as much as you want. When was the last time a med student class fired a doc?

The monkey must dance for its supper.
 

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I've seen people sharing answers during practicals and going to the bathroom to look something up during tests. That **** happens.
All sorts of weird ****.
Wearing a baseball cap not only so they can try to look at someone's answers, but as one of many methods to hide earbuds reading Goljan's or whatever podcast, using it to hide some camera capture device to take pics of the test to do God knows what with, give it to next year's class (a lot of times questions are recycled merely the order of questions or answers changes, teachers do this more than you know) writing notes on their arms, secret hand signals, med students can be smart, ruthless, creative, and won't stop at applying those skills to studying but extend them to cheating.

My school had a class after us that was particularly "collaborative" and somehow a few tests got passed year to year or test forms leaked, so more than one course director had to have a number of like hundreds of test questions completely rewritten.
Keep in mind too there's a good deal that goes into those questions because you have to kind of "validate them" meaning track if they're fair or not by keeping stats and stuff. If you write a new test and 30% of the students flunk it because questions were poorly worded and didn't have enough relevance to material, this is a massive problem for the school.

OSCEs for a class of 200 can't all happen the same day, so some of the scenarios were passed along systematically.

School was PISSED. Massive ****show.
If the school is allowing stuff like that, then they're just being idiots. Our school has proctors for every test so only x number of people can go to the bathroom at once, people have to wear hats backwards at all time, no hoods up, and no food or drink in the exam room. There's a proctor in the hall to make sure if you go to the bathroom that's the only place you go, and all of our tests are on ipads with the profs making new questions each year, so we couldn't really 'smuggle' out answers if we wanted to. I also have no idea how practicals are set up that people could share answers, but it sounds really disorganized if that's the case...
 

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If the school is allowing stuff like that, then they're just being idiots. Our school has proctors for every test so only x number of people can go to the bathroom at once, people have to wear hats backwards at all time, no hoods up, and no food or drink in the exam room. There's a proctor in the hall to make sure if you go to the bathroom that's the only place you go, and all of our tests are on ipads with the profs making new questions each year, so we couldn't really 'smuggle' out answers if we wanted to. I also have no idea how practicals are set up that people could share answers, but it sounds really disorganized if that's the case...
Where there's a will, there's a way.
 
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Oct 16, 2013
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You need to be as apologetic as possible, without saying you were purposefully cheating, obviously. Ask if there is anything you can do to fix the situation and continue with your class - take a zero on an upcoming quiz? Agree that no matter what numerical score you get in that course, it will be marked as a pass on your transcript? Etc. Obviously it sucks to have to do something like that if you truly were not trying to do anything wrong, but it's worth it to not take a leave of absences. Treat the dean as a friend, not an enemy, don't be defensive, be proactive. Tell him you want to solve this, you're willing to do whatever it takes. Ask if there's a formal appeals process you can go through.

And in the midst of doing this, try to keep up with your class in some way. If you still have access to class capture, powerpoints, etc., I'd suggest watching them and studying. Tell the dean that you're doing that too - that if you're allowed back in, you'll be ready to go right away.

Sorry this happened to you, I hope it works out.
 
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