These procedures apply to all candidates for PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 whose conduct is under consideration for incidents on or after 1 February 2014.
What is misconduct?
Misconduct includes, but is not limited to:
• sharing exam content in any way, including on social media and other online forums
• not complying with the reasonable instructions of an invigilator or other examination official
• viewing the work of another candidate, or attempting to do so
• removing materials or content (including the use of recording devices) from an examination other than those specifically permitted
• bringing materials other than those specifically permitted into the exam
• releasing content from any exam to a third party/commercial organisation
• communicating with another candidate whilst under exam conditions
• gaining information about the exam questions in advance of your exam date
• impersonation of a candidate
• bribery, or attempted bribery, (of another candidate, exam official, simulated patient or other relevant person)
• disruptive behaviour during an exam
• aiding or abetting any of the above.
Who reports suspected misconduct?
Suspected misconduct may be reported by invigilators, examiners, candidates, simulated patients, our staff or any other person who becomes aware of suspected misconduct.
We also use Anomaly Monitoring System (AMS) computer software to detect cheating, by automatically reviewing all candidates’ answers after every examination to identify correlations in response patterns between pairs of candidates beyond what could be expected to occur by chance.
We will only act on anonymous reports of misconduct if there is supporting evidence.
What happens if you are suspected of breaching exam rules?
The invigilator or duty manager will:
• confiscate any unauthorised material in the possession of the candidate for the duration of the exam
• document clearly the time when the alleged breach was discovered
• allow the candidate to continue the exam and inform the candidate at the end of the exam
• allow the candidate the opportunity to respond either in writing, or by recording verbal statements
• prepare, within three working days of the exam, a written report on the alleged incident and send it to us.
What is the misconduct investigation process?
The investigating officer will review all reports of the alleged misconduct and, after consulting where necessary with other members of staff, shall determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the allegation to be pursued.
If the case is not pursued we will inform the candidate accordingly, where applicable. In all other cases, we’ll inform the candidate in writing, of the allegations that have been made against them.
The candidate then has the opportunity to provide a response to the allegations. During this time the results will remain unconfirmed until we have considered the allegation.
If the investigating officer decides to refer the case forward, they will submit to the Head of Section (HoS) or an assistant director (AD) witness statements, the responses of candidate and any other relevant information. The assistant director will consider whether the disputed facts are proved.
We will inform the candidate by email of the decision and any penalty that has been applied.
What are the penalties for misconduct?
Standard penalties can include:
• written advice
• results of an examination to be annulled
• candidate barred from entry to future examinations for a specified period
• reporting the matter to our registrar so he can take it into account as a matter of good character when considering a future application for registration with a licence to practice
• any combination of any of the above
• no further action.
No candidate whose misconduct has been proved shall be permanently barred from entry to any future examinations.
Will you be able to appeal the outcome?
Where we consider the candidate’s appeal fulfils the requirements, the material considered by the HoS or AD will be passed to the relevant director who will consider whether the disputed facts are proved and whether the penalty applied is proportionate to the misconduct. The director’s decision will be final.