AAMC revised this policy. Some of the key changes are outlined below, but please take time to read the full policy.
Update made February 8, 2023:
- Added reference to the PREview exam
- Updated permissible reasons for arbitration
- Edits throughout for clarity
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has a responsibility to promote integrity in the processes associated with entry into medical school or a graduate medical education program, and therefore holds individuals using the AAMC's services to the highest standards in the processes leading up to and including enrollment in medical education programs. These policies and procedures apply to violations occurring: during the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) or Fee Assistance Program (FAP™) application processes, in connection with the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) or PREview™ registration processes or administration, and other AAMC admission and enrollment standards agreed to by the individual. Please note that these policies do NOT apply to the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®). These policies and procedures have been developed to advance this purpose by addressing cases which arise in the following areas while respecting the rights of all concerned parties.
The AAMC requires candidates for examination to present accurate and current information at the time registration materials are submitted and to adhere to all Test Center or Proctor Rules as outlined in the MCAT or PREview Essentials. It is the policy of the AAMC to investigate discrepancies, attempts to subvert eligibility requirements, violations of Test Center or Proctor Rules, and irregular behavior exhibited in connection with the administration of an AAMC-affiliated exam.
This investigation is distinct from a Score Validity Inquiry by the MCAT or PREview programs pertaining to the legitimacy of test scores as accurate representations of the individual's performance levels.
Application and Admission Cases
The AAMC requires applicants to present accurate and current information at the time application materials are submitted and during all phases of the admission process for entry into medical school or a graduate medical education program. It is the policy of the AAMC to investigate all discrepancies in credentials, attempts to subvert the admission process, and any other irregular matter which occurs in connection with application activities.
The AAMC may investigate or facilitate the reporting of certain cases that occur subsequent to an individual's enrollment in medical school. Such cases include, but are not limited to, academic and ethical violations and criminal activities. In addition, reports documenting cases submitted by other educational agencies may be disseminated by the AAMC to legitimately interested parties after notice and opportunity to comment are afforded the subject of the report.
Legitimately Interested Parties
Legitimately Interested Parties include all medical schools to which an individual has applied or matriculated during the current cycle and medical schools to which the individual applies or matriculates in the future. If, at the time of the investigation, the individual is enrolled in a medical school or graduate medical education program, the report will be forwarded to the current institution of attendance and will be distributed in response to any future application or matriculation activity.
In addition to its members, the AAMC provides services to other educational institutions. For example, the MCAT examination is used by a variety of health profession and graduate programs in addition to medicine. The report in final form is therefore subject to issuance in response to an application or matriculation at such legitimately interested parties of which the AAMC has knowledge.
Legitimately Interested Parties do NOT include residency programs if the violation at issue is related to the MCAT or PREview exams, or the AMCAS or FAP applications.
Reports may contain information relevant to academic or disciplinary proceedings, criminal investigations, and decisions relative to entry into graduate medical education programs and professional licensure. Duly constituted agencies that make an official request to the AAMC for a report are considered legitimately interested parties.
Initiation of Proceedings
An investigation is initiated when the AAMC becomes aware that an individual has potentially violated one or more of the AAMC's policies during the AMCAS or FAP application processes, or in connection with the MCAT or PREview exams (including violations that occur during the registration process). The AAMC has in place systems that detect many potential violations, and receives notification of additional potential violations from outside parties, including but not limited to medical school admissions representatives. We appreciate and investigate all potential violations that are brought to our attention.
Investigation of Potential Violations
Once an investigation is initiated, the AAMC reviews the potential violation and determines whether a violation has occurred, based on information submitted by the subject of the investigation, AAMC current and historical records, information provided by external parties, related AAMC policies, and any other available information.
Communication with the Subject of an Investigation
Once the AAMC determines that a violation appears to have occurred, the AAMC contacts the individual under investigation to:
Notify the individual that an investigation has been initiated;
Provide the individual with a summary of the matter being investigated;
Inform the individual of policies and procedures related to the investigation; and
Provide the individual with an opportunity to respond, including a statement that may be appended to the report.
Based upon the individual's response, or failure to respond, the AAMC will either 1) dismiss the case, in the event that the individual is able to provide evidence that no violation has occurred or 2) develop a draft of the Report to be issued to legitimately interested parties, as defined above. If the AAMC proceeds with the development of a draft Report, this draft will be sent to the individual to:
Provide the individual with a copy of the Report as it will appear to the legitimately interested parties; and
Provide the individual with an opportunity to advise of any inaccuracies.
If the individual does not advise the AAMC of any inaccuracies within the prescribed time period, the AAMC will finalize the Report to be issued to legitimately interested parties. A finalized Report is considered to be Confirmed and ready for issuance.
In addition to the issuance of a Report, the AAMC reserves the right to take other action as is warranted in certain circumstances.
Reporting of Cases
The AAMC prepares and issues a Report documenting the factual findings of the investigation and any attachments provided by the individual in accordance with the procedures outlined above. With the issuance of a Report, the AAMC makes no judgment as to the culpability of any person with respect to matters reported and does not assess the suitability of an individual to study or practice medicine. Rather, the AAMC strives to communicate complete and accurate information to legitimately interested parties. Consideration and use of the information in the Report is the responsibility of the recipient of the report.
Should an individual conclude that a draft Report contains a material inaccuracy regarding the matter under investigation, the AAMC offers the individual who is the subject of the Report an opportunity to request arbitration. Arbitration must be requested prior to the issuance of a final report.
Arbitration is conducted by a single arbitrator appointed by the Washington, D.C. office of JAMS. The arbitrator acts solely on the basis of a written record submitted by both parties, and no hearing or oral arguments are held. The sole issue for arbitration shall be whether the AAMC acted reasonably and in good faith in preparing the report. The arbitrator will have final authority to conclude whether: (1) the report should be distributed as written; (2) the report should be modified in accordance with the arbitrator's directions before distribution; or, (3) no report should be distributed. In addition, the arbitrator determines which party is responsible for JAMS' case management fees and the arbitrator' s fee. All other costs associated with arbitration (for example, attorneys' fees) are borne by the party incurring them.