American Medical Students Should Receive Their Degrees Without USMLE or COMLEX Stipulations…

Medical Schools Accelerating Graduation to Combat COVID-19: To facilitate more frontline workers against the COVID-19 Pandemic, American universities are progressively implementing early graduation for their medical students. This phenomenon reignites Dr. E’s quest for abolishing the practice of requiring passing USMLE and COMLEX scores for awarding medical degrees to the American medical students!

The Irony: Requirement of passing USMLE or COMLEX scores for awarding MD or DO degrees to the American medical students is fundamentally flawed. The fact is that all American medical schools must be accredited. They all must prove that they can train their incoming students for optimal performance in the American medical market. This means that they should have a sound and reliable curriculum. This means that by design and rigorous accreditation and certification, each medical school is qualified as an entity to qualify or disqualify students for receiving their medical degrees. On the other hand, if the curriculum of any medical school is doubtful and unreliable, they CANNOT be allowed to continue doing business or accepting any students. The medical board exams, and particularly USMLE are designed to evaluate the quality of training of international medical graduates (IMGs). Treating American medical students and IMGs alike is shameful, and undermines our medical accrediting agencies, and legitimacy of the faculty and training programs in our medical schools. To be fair to the NBME and NBOME organizations, the only exam that American medical students may potentially sit for should be USMLE and COMLEX Step/Level 3 exams.

Speedy graduation of the American students to satisfy the unprecedented increased demand that has resulted from COVID-19 pandemic, reignites the controversy of the utility of these exams for qualifying our students to practice in our own country. Additionally, these exams add thousands of additional dollars to the hefty debt of our medical students, who are currently putting their lives on the line to serve our people. In preparation for the post-COVID universe, it is now time to end the unnecessary and burdensome practice of forcing USMLE and COMLEX exams on the stressed out American medical students.

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Also known as "Dr. Testbuster", Dr. Eftekar (Dr. E) is the founder, head coach and lead lecturer of the medical board training programs at Northwestern Medical Review. A unique attribute of Dr. E is his well-rounded academic background that, in addition to the science of medicine, extends over several other disciplines such as physiology of aging and longevity, philosophy of science and medicine, and integrated kinesiology.

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  • Dr. E

    Extraordinary Situations Require Bold Measures! Until such time that the issue of COMLEX and USMLE is debated and resolved, and to deploy more MDs and DOs onto the frontline of defense against the Covid-19, here is a remedial suggestion: it would be helpful to our country if osteopathic and allopathic medical schools lower their passing bars to 350 and 196, for the CE and CK exams respectively. This rule should be applicable only to the American students, and to those who have completed almost all their graduation requirements, but they have scored less than the current minimum passing scores on their latest exams. Let’s the residency programs decide if they want to allow these medical grads into their programs or not. I must emphasize that (1) the specialty boards are extremely rigorous in awarding their specialty certificates, and (2) with the exception of their medical commonsense, most current practicing medical specialists ONLY use part of the vast volume of knowledge that they gain during their four years of medical schooling.

    I leave you with this question: “what percent of current practicing medical specialists do you think are able to pass Steps/Levels 1 and 2 examinations if they take them today?”

    Dr. E Reply

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