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ABIM pass rates

Discussion in 'Internal Medicine and IM Subspecialties' started by Roadrunner, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. Roadrunner

    Roadrunner Member
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    What sort of stock do you think should be put into a program's ABIM pass rate? I'm struggling because there's a program that I interviewed at and am interested in but their ABIM rate is only about 85%. All the other programs I've interviewed at are 91% or higher. Is there something wrong with a program that has a less than 90% pass rate?
     
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  3. mackie

    mackie Senior Member
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    I put a lot of stock in it when I was applying. If greater than 10% of a program's residents aren't passing, you have to wonder why. Is there something wrong with the educational framework of the program--poor conferences, lack of teaching from attendings? Or, do the residents simply not have time to study or are so drained from their work that they have no motivation to do so? Sure, there's a supposed 80-hr work week that everyone follows, but some folks are taking work home with them to meet those requirements (dictations, proofreading and authenticating transcribed notes, skeletonizing notes for prerounding the next day, etc).

    This isn't to say that some of the responsibility doesn't lie with the individual, but not all of it does. JMO
     
  4. inositide

    inositide Senior Member
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    I think ABIM pass rate is very important. There are very few ways of judging the quality of teaching at a program just through a brief visit. As long as the ABIM pass rate is above a certain threshold (92-94% is my opinion) then it is fine. If the ABIM pass rate is in the 80s it raises questions about the teaching at a program, the level of interest by program directors and stuff like that.

    ABIM pass rate is just another one of the many small factors that certainly do not by themselves allow you to decide on your program choices, but it is something to consider.
     
  5. quidnunc

    quidnunc Senior Member
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    Another component to keep in mind with programs with poor pass rates (<90%) is to look at the make-up of their residents. From glancing at most of the programs that I've seen with poor pass rates, most of the programs had a large perecentage of FMG's (not trying to start a debate, just my observation), on top of possibly being a program in dissarray or with financial/social problems (a couple specific ones come to mind in LA), and in the end had to fill them with people less interested, qualified, or who simply had to scramble last minute.

    In the end, it's up to the program to establish goals and help remediate problems such as poor pass rates, so I think looking at a pass rate from one year is less important than looking at how poor they've done over a longer period of time. Just my two cents.
     
  6. Bobblehead

    Bobblehead Senior Member
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    Bear in mind that it may not be the clinical competency of an FMG that's affecting the pass rate but perhaps their English reading and comprehension competency. There is a lot of reading to be done on the IM boards and it's definitely not something that's going to come easy to someone who doesn't have a native understanding of English. So while an FMG could perhaps easily answer all the questions if posed in his native language or being allocated more time this could definitely affect pass rates.

    On the other hand the pass rates for first time takers have been going up each year and are now in the high 90s..
     
  7. onceinawhile

    onceinawhile Junior Member
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    Come on, Bobblehead! People are taking boards after 3 years of training - 3 years of taking care of English-speaking patients, communicating with other health-care professionals in English, writing notes and discharge summaries in English, attending morning reports and noon-conferences in English. I find it ridiculous to suggest that not being a native English speaker may affect your ability to pass the boards. And if somebody's English is so poor that it, in fact, does, I don't think that person is competent to treat English-speaking patients anyway.

    To the OP: I definitely would take the ABIM passing rate into account. It reflects 2 things: how the program teaches and prepares for the boards, and how smart are the residents choosing/being chosen by the program (I am not saying good board scores= smart, but having troubles passing the boards might be a red flag.)
     

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