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February 27, 1991

Now Hear This, Slacker Gome Doctors: Anal-Retentive Gunner Shoots Down Pass/Fail

Author Affiliations

UCLA School of Medicine

UCLA School of Medicine

JAMA. 1991;265(8):976. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460080046022

To the Editor.—  The report by Linger1 as well as the American Medical Association-Medical Student Section advocate pass/fail reporting for the new US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which will soon replace the current National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) tests. One reason for this position is that some residency program directors use the numerical scores to screen residency applications: 86% of 405 directors would not rank an applicant who had not passed NBME part 1, and 25% of directors would not rank applicants with scores under 450 on NBME part 1, even though 380 is a passing score.2 Therefore, by making the USMLE pass/fail, program directors will have to rely on traditional evaluations by medical school faculty, medical school grades and clerkship evaluations, and dean's letters.I strongly disagree with Linger and the American Medical Association-Medical Student Section. Let us examine the method for advancement that permeates higher