Allegations of cheating during an Otago University medical exam are being investigated, the Medical School has confirmed.
The school has identified some third-year students did communicate to others about the contents of the end-of-year Objective Structure Clinical Examination as they waited for their chance to sit it.
"This was expressly forbidden, as it provides an advantage to be forewarned of the exam content/task," Dunedin School of Medicine Dean Professor Barry Taylor said in a statement.
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He confirmed the medical school is investigating the incident.
The exam asked students to demonstrate a clinical skill such as noting patient history or examining a patient who presented with headache symptoms.
The purpose of the exam is to observe students' ability to actively engage and appropriately question and gather information from a patient. Actors are used as subjects rather than real patients during the exam.
Professor Taylor says all students involved in the exam breach will be interviewed, and he will be extremely disappointed if the alleged behaviour proves to be true.
"However, the public should be reassured that the standard of Otago Medical School graduate has not been compromised," he says.
"The nature of the examination means candidates cannot quickly learn the examined material to pass. Foreknowledge gives some advantage, but we think only a small advantage.
"These students still have three years to go in their training and in each year they are very carefully assessed in great depth."
Disciplinary action for those involved and the outcome for all students who sat the exam is yet to be determined.
The school hopes to have an outcome of the investigation by the end of the week.