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ABIM Board Pass Rate to Assess Competency?

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Trailing along the interview season, I'm starting to feel that the programs are starting to look very similar to each other. Other than location, feel, research opportunities, and fellowship match results, I'm also looking at the ABIM board pass rates of each program for ranking purposes. Is this a fair indicator to use to assess the competency of the resident's medical knowledge or IM program? It's interesting how there are some academic programs (won't name them) that have rates of only 80% or lower. I've been told that it shouldn't be a strong factor because exam skills are more dependent on the individual/resident's ability than the program itself. Can anyone provide some insight? Thanks.
 

bobow98

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Trailing along the interview season, I'm starting to feel that the programs are starting to look very similar to each other. Other than location, feel, research opportunities, and fellowship match results, I'm also looking at the ABIM board pass rates of each program for ranking purposes. Is this a fair indicator to use to assess the competency of the resident's medical knowledge or IM program? It's interesting how there are some academic programs (won't name them) that have rates of only 80% or lower. I've been told that it shouldn't be a strong factor because exam skills are more dependent on the individual/resident's ability than the program itself. Can anyone provide some insight? Thanks.

If a program is having issues getting its trainees to pass, something is either wrong with 1) study schedule during third year or 2) the training for the first 2 years. Most decent programs have near 95-100% board pass rate meaning only 1 - 2 per year should be failing at most. If you are being used for scut b*itch work you will not be learning the key concepts that will allow to pick the correct answers on the ABIM test. So you should ask how hard the residents are working. If they have a tough first year balanced by an easier 2nd and 3rd year that works as well. I'd be worried if a program told me pass rate was anywhere under 90% overall.
 
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cards67

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I generally agree that it shouldn't be a strong factor, I've known a few solid residents who failed since they didn't really study due to outside factors such as fellowship and such. I'd say if the program mentions under 90% regularly then that's a yellow flag, but above that then it's all the same imo. But I think usually location, fit, match comes far far ahead of board pass rates.
 
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IMrad

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Sometimes the board pass rates can be a reflection of the test taking skills of the residents and not the quality of their clinical training. If a program only takes applicants with excellent step scores vs a program that is willing to give applicants with lower step scores a chance that can affect a program's passing rate on the boards. Test taking skills and time to study are the major factors in passing the boards. You probably won't see enough cases of Wegener's and Churg-Strauss to affect your vasculitis knowledge meaningfully but this can be overrepresented on standardized tests.
 
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