Friday, May 10, 2013

Passing Scores

.Long story short, for most of our classes we have to take NBME's which either factor into or count as our final grades. For those of you who don't know what an NBME is, it's basically like a mini version of the USMLE to help make sure that we're on par with American standards.

Recently, my year took the pharmacology, pathology, and physiology NBME's. The pass score is always a 36 and has been for all of our other classes in which these were required. They use 36 as a base line and curve our numerical score based on how everyone did as a whole- only one of these classes has an exception where the pass is 40. So on our scale which is 1-5 a 3 (= 36 on the NBME) is passing and a 5 is like totally amazing. Usually our class has a high of around 70-ish and a low of about 16 with an average somewhere in the mid to low 40's.

Rewind to a few weeks ago, we took one of the NBME's with the 3rd years in the 6 year program. It was the same test, with the same requirements. We all have to pass this particular class and achieve passing scores to take the USMLE at the end of this summer. So when we got the scores back for one of the NBME's those who scored below a 40 were disappointed because had it been another class they would have passed, with no problem because usually they only need a 36.

While discussing this with the 6 year program who we took the exam with, my classmates discovered that their pass mark had been lowered to the normal 36, but our class still had the pass mark of 40.

Not that it affects me or anything but I find this kind of stupid.  It's was the same test, we were taught by the same people, and the requirement to pass this course to take the USMLE are the same- so why was the pass mark lowered for them and not for our class? Shouldn't they be made to live up to the same high expectations as the rest of us, especially seeing as they have way more breaks and time to prepare than we do? Better yet, how is this class 'better' than the others, aren't they all equally important in preparing for the step?

Is it just me or does this not make any sense?

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