Most kids, at one time or another, try to fake a note from their parents. It might be because they want to skip school for the day, it might be because they’ve hidden a bad report card from their mom and dad, or it might be because their parents won’t let them go on that awesome overnight trip.

Unfortunately, that’s the only experience most adults have with faking a note. So if the time ever comes when they desperately need to create a fake doctor’s note, they’re working from a very poor experiential background – they’re relying on what they learned as kids, and their excuse letters usually show it.

If you find yourself in the situation where you need to create, or download, a fake doctor’s note, here are some important pointers about what it should contain.

  • The note should be printed on good quality paper, not the cheap stuff you might buy in a 1000-sheet package at Office Depot. Have you ever seen a real doctor’s letter on that flimsy white stuff? Probably not.
  • The note should have authentic names and addresses, logos, graphics and even watermarks, so that it carries the full weight of a real letter written by a real doctor or hospital. Making it look like “the real thing” is often the key to whether it’s accepted without a challenge.
  • The medical language and grammar should be correct and appropriate. The grammar part is obvious, but doctors don’t write like patients; for example, they wouldn’t write “heart attack,” they’d write “myocardial infarction” or “MI” instead. A little bit of online research will give you the right words to use.
  • There’s no need to “overwrite” the note unless it’s being used to cover a long absence. Plenty of detail is appropriate for a fake hospital discharge report, but not for a clinic note written by an overworked staffer, who is simply explaining the case of strep throat which forced you to miss a day of work.
  • The fake doctors note should be believable. It’s unlikely that a 65-year old gets a torn ACL (which is usually suffered by athletes), but it’s easy to believe that she fell down her front steps and broke her foot. Conversely, a 22-year old probably isn’t going to be believed if he presents a fake doctors excuse from a cancer doctor, while it would seem plausible if a 52-year old turned in that same excuse letter. (He’d probably get extra-special sympathy and treatment at work, too.)

Fake doctors’ notes can be a lifesaver when you have to explain an absence from work or school, but if they’re prepared carelessly they can cause you more serious problems than an just an unpaid day, a reprimand or detention. Be careful and pay attention to detail, and you should skate without a hitch.