Caught in a Cheating Crossfire

Catching someone cheating isn't easy. It's worse when it's a good friend.

June 12, 2023

I’m a first-year medical student, having worked hard to get into medical school. Obviously.

I am truly excited to be here and eager to learn.

During one of our exams, I noticed that my classmate, John (names have been changed to protect the people involved), was copying my answers.

I saw him looking at my paper and then write down what appeared to be the same answers I had written down.

He did this repeatedly, even though I looked over at him sternly to try and dissuade him.

I was shocked and didn’t know what to do.

Maybe many of you have had it happen, too, but I don’t know anyone I can confide in.

I don’t want to cause any trouble, but at the same time, I felt like I, myself, am being cheated.

I decided not to say anything and let it go for a while. But it hasn’t been easy.

I’m struggling with my decision to keep quiet.



You can now watch the lectures our verified health professionals deliver anytime, anywhere. Choose from various topics using our filters, and sit back and learn.


On the one hand, I don’t want to be a snitch or cause drama.

On the other, I feel like I am being taken advantage of, and that just isn’t fair.

As time has passed, I’m starting to feel more and more guilty about not speaking up.

We all know that cheating is wrong, and I don’t want to be a part of it.

But at the same time, I don’t want to be the one who gets John in trouble. He’s been a friend to me, especially in other parts of my life. Telling on him would surely mean losing him.

I started to think about the pluses and minuses of the situation.

On the one hand, if I speak up, John will get what he deserves. Who cheats on a medical exam? But he’ll possibly get kicked out.

That doesn’t sit well with me, since he’s worked hard to be here, too. We all make mistakes, after all.

On the other hand, if I keep quiet, I won’t have to deal with any drama, or the consequences of my “telling”. Ther won’t be backlash of any kind.

I’m still struggling with what to do.

It feels good to share my experience here, so I appreciate this outlet. I know many medical attendings follow this page and I’d love to get some more “adult”, or experienced advice.

Should I speak up and report John’s cheating? Or should I keep quiet and hope he doesn’t do it again?

Either way, I appreciate getting published anonymously. Obviously there are sensitive issues involved here, and I’d like to keep things safe.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.


One Response

  1. The first step is to directly talk to “John”- have you done that? That conversation will be uncomfortable and hard, but it’s unlikely to be the last of its nature during your career. Today it’s cheating on an exam; tomorrow it may be a work partner abusing medications or committing insurance fraud. Draw your personal line now (as you tried to do with the discouraging stern looks) but always start with a frank conversation directly with the person involved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Of Interest

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

The Unhappy Physician

The Unhappy Physician

Daniel Paull MD explains why he thinks that despite what the public thinks, most physicians are unhappy.

Social Dissections

[SERIES] Social Dissections

Join us in a visual and audio show, where we host light conversations with some of today’s standout healthcare experts.

David Norris, MD, MBA

Negotiate as a Physician and Win

Catch this 8-part series, hosted by physician & business consultant David Norris, MD, MBA & produced by Dana Corriel, MD. Learn to be a stronger negotiator with these important tactics.

Brand Your Social Media Content in a Day

Doctors Exploring Social Media

Raw and real social media-related questions, discussed in a video collection, hosted by Dana Corriel, MD, over a casual – but fun! – virtual setting.

Trupti Gokani MD

Trupti Gokani, MD

I exist to compassionately guide others to find balance bridging eastern wisdom with western medicine.

Maria Simbra, MD, MPH

Maria Simbra, MD, MPH

Word finder, wordsmith, and crafter of stories. Supporting writers and storytellers with conferences, feedback, and more. If you can dream it, you can write it!

Want More?

Be a part of our healthcare revolution. Don't miss a thing SoMeDocs publishes!

Disclaimer: SoMeDocs assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, claims, or content of the individual experts' profiles, contributions and courses. Details within posts cannot be verified. This site does not represent medical advice and you should always consult with your private physician before taking on anything you read online. See SoMeDocs' Terms of Use for more information.

follow us

© 2024 SoMeDocs. All Rights Reserved.

Soak up our content & grow

Earn CME

Drop your email address below and we’ll email you the link for earning CME (through CMEfy). Please check your spam folder if you do not receive our email. We’ll also add you to our Sunday newsletter, so you can earn more CME’s reading our content!

Support A Platform that Celebrates Real Doctors

For just $10 a month, you can help keep this openly accessible site available to all & help us sponsor in more doctors.

Interested in subscribing
to our unique content?

Interested in subscribing to our unique content?

I acknowledge that this site is not to be used for medical advice.

Play Video
Our Founder Answers Your BURNING Question


“Why should I become a member of SoMeDocs if I already have my own space online?”

Site SoMeDocs Logo, square