As most medical students know by now, the Step 1 exam is becoming pass/fail starting in 2022. As disappointed as I am that this is going into effect after I graduate, I see this as a revolutionary change in the right direction for the medical field. It is crazy to think that our candidacy for residency has been in large part determined by three digits. Of course, many other components comprise your residency application besides the Step 1 score, but it is a known fact that currently this may be the most important test of any medical student’s life. It always baffled me that so much emphasis was placed on an exam that tests primarily basic science principles – I wondered why Step 2, an exam that tests your clinical knowledge, did not carry as much weight as Step 1. After all, wouldn’t attending physicians care so much more about whether or not you knew the diagnostic approach and treatment for disease rather than which step in the TCA cycle produces GTP? I feel the pass/fail change will be excellent in that it still ensures you have a good understanding of basic science, but places more emphasis on what is arguably more important in a residency application – rotation evaluations, shelf exam scores, interviews. It also enables students who are not strong test-takers but excellent to-be clinicians on the wards to come to the forefront and demonstrate their strong abilities in becoming a physician, that extends beyond a three-digit score which does not encompass all these significant traits.
Alex is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. As an avid lover of the intellect and interspecialty collaboration associated with medicine, she is excited to be applying for Internal Medicine residency programs. Her interest in medicine largely stems from her volunteer work in free clinics in underserved communities and experiences growing up with a brother with autism.
Before attending medical school, Alex completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 2014 and her Master of Public Health (concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology) at Yale University in 2016.
When she is not working in the hospital or studying, you can find Alex running by the lake, doing circuit workouts outdoors in the fields, drawing and/or writing, or at home spending time with her family in the suburbs of Chicago.