If you receive notice that the USMLE suspects you of “irregular behavior” during your licensing exam, you are probably getting worried. First, don’t panic. It’s important that you understand what this means and how to deal with it. Here are some of the main things you should do when you get that notice.

Call an attorney

An irregular behavior accusation can follow you for the rest of your career, so don’t try to solve it on your own. Get in contact with an attorney in your area, who can represent you in person and has experience in these types of cases.

Understand what it means

The term “irregular behavior” refers to conduct during the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE). This can mean that you are accused of impersonating someone else during the test, using false information, using unauthorized testing materials, changing scores, harassing the testing staff or similar actions.

Understand the consequences

An irregular behavior accusation can end in serious consequences. The accusation will stay on your USMLE history and if they find you guilty, your school will be told and it can keep you from taking future exams.

Request the investigation materials

In writing, request complete copies of all investigation materials including reports, videos and files from the USMLE.

File your statement or request an extension

File your statement by the deadline, including all proper documents and explanations, and document your receipt. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself. If you need an extension for sending your statement, be sure to do so in time. Be sure to work with your attorney in creating your statement and explanation.

Request your hearing

Always be diligent in requesting your hearing. It’s best to do so in two forms, which can be by mail, fax or email.

Keep all receipts

Always be sure to keep receipts and copies of everything involved in the case. This includes making copies of your statements, keeping emails and even holding onto proof of delivery when you mail documents.

It’s so important that you follow the steps of dealing with an irregular behavior accusation carefully. It can haunt you for the rest of your career if you don’t.