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February 22, 1995

Performance on the NBME Part I Examination

JAMA. 1995;273(8):617-618. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520320025024

To the Editor.  —The recent article by Dr Dawson and colleagues1 draws attention once again to the question of why Asian/Pacific Islander medical students do not perform as well on average as white students on written tests such as Part I of the NBME. We studied this question by tracking the academic and clinical performance of such students in 12 medical school classes and reported similar findings in 1993.2 Both studies showed that Asian/Pacific Islander medical students had higher means than white students in each of the MCAT subtests with the exception of the MCAT reading score, which was significantly lower than that of white students. However, the Asian/Pacific Islander students performed less well than the white students on the NBME Part I examination.It seems to us that Dawson et al left unanswered several questions that we addressed in the earlier study. We tracked physicians' performance throughout

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