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Perspectives on Transitioning Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination to a Pass/Fail Scoring Model: Defining New Frameworks for Medical Students Applying for Residency

Authors Blamoun J, Hakemi A, Armstead T

Received 8 December 2020

Accepted for publication 23 January 2021

Published 11 February 2021 Volume 2021:12 Pages 149—154


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Azim Majumder

John Blamoun,1,2 Ahmad Hakemi,3 Teresa Armstead4

1Central Michigan University, College of Medicine, Mt Pleasant, MI, 48859, USA; 2Physician Assistant Program, MidMichigan Health, Midland, MI, 48670, USA; 3Central Michigan University, College of Health Professions, Mt Pleasant, MI, 48859, USA; 4Central Michigan University, College of Education and Human Services, Mt Pleasant, MI, 48859, USA

Correspondence: Ahmad Hakemi
Central Michigan University, College of Health Professions, 1280 East Campus Drive, Mt Pleasant, MI, 48859, USA
Tel +1 989-774-1273

Abstract: For years, the USMLE Step 1 has acted as an unofficial “concours” for medical students applying to residency positions in the United States. The three-digit numeric score has been used to rank thousands of applicants without any evidence of validity. The USMLE will soon change score reporting to a pass/fail outcome. The main reason given was to address the concerns about its effects on the well-being of the students and medical education. It is argued that time for change has come. The authors discuss the various viewpoints of the stakeholders and the effects of this change on applicants and potential changes on the undergraduate medical curriculum. Furthermore, this article discusses several metrics that can be utilized in the application process in lieu of the USMLE Step 1. Additionally, some novel key metrics in the application process are identified, and their unique dynamic and adaptive characteristics are deliberated. Finally, the benefits of a transparent and holistic process are strongly advocated.

Keywords: USMLE step 1 residency, multiple mini interviews, holistic graduate medical education admissions

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