Now that I am done with my second set of board examinations and have one more board examination to take next year, I thought it would be an interesting idea to discuss these examinations and how they are graded.
Board examinations similar to other entrance exams are not only created to test medical school candidates’ knowledge base as they progress through the different stages of medical school, but they are notoriously known to determine eligibility for various residency programs. Although it is tough to say that a board score determines a candidate’s potential future career choice, it does play a huge role in addition to other factors such as extracurricular activities, rotation scores, and the interview.
These exams as important as they are are also very stressful given the role they play in determining what residency and where candidates will potentially match into. So then why aren’t they pass/fail? One of the theories that I had was the fact that these exams serve as a standardized way to categorize individuals who are applying given that other factors such as medical school grades, rotations, and experiences are different from one individual to another.
However, what if they were pass/fail? Would there be even more emphasis on holistic review of applicants? Would it make it more difficult to categorize applicants when they apply for residency? I guess we would never know the answer unless the change actually does occur.
How do you feel about making the board examinations pass/fail? Comment down below!