do they fail any students in med. school?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by youngjock, Nov 19, 2002.

  1. youngjock

    youngjock Banned
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2000
    Messages:
    483
    Likes Received:
    0
    i was just thinking. if a med school grade its students from A to F, then no matter how hard the students try, there will be someone who end up with Ds or Fs. So what is it like as for the grading system in med schools?
     
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. mikecwru

    mikecwru M.D. = Massive Debt

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    948
    Likes Received:
    12
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    My school set a pre-determined percentage for passing any exam. Some schools then give grades beyond pass for a certain percentile above the mean, etc.

    When you get to the last two years of school, the criteria for grading are usually more nebulous.

    mike
     
  4. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    Messages:
    11,573
    Likes Received:
    496
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    25% of my first year class failed or dropped out. A large number of these were allowed to repeat the first year, and are now doing quite well (they are now in their second year). I include those that dropped out because who knows if they were passing or not.

    Usually less than 5-10% of each class gets into this kind of trouble. My class was unusual to say the least.
     
  5. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse The luckiest man

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2002
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
    :eek:

    25% is HUGE. One has to start asking questions about the program when 1 out of 4 students fails/drops out. That is very unusual these days.

    BTW, no offense Geek Medic, just shocked at those numbers.
     
  6. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2000
    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    0
    A few things...

    1) Most med schools (not all) do not grade A-F, they grade P/F or H/HP/P/F.

    At my school, Honors is the top 15% of the class, High Pass is anyone with a grade above the average for the class. Pass is any grade down to a 70 (this is somewhat flexible - passing on each exam is defined as 70 or 2 standard deviations below the mean, whichever is lower), and failing is <70.

    However, we also have a little trick to our grading system. We have several components of each course - lab, PBL, and tests. We must pass each component to pass the class - so even if PBL is only 5% of our grade, if you receive unsatisfactory evaluations, you fail the entire class - even if you scored 100 on all tests and labs.

    If you fail one class, you are allowed to make it up during summer break. If you fail two, you have to take the year over again. If you cant get it together on your second shot, you're out.

    Despite this, very few people actually fail OUT at my school. In our class of 200, I think we have lost 10 or so to repeating a year, we have 8 people in our class who were in the class ahead of us. Of those 8 who are repeating, 4 have already failed one class this year (we have blocks, instead of 3-5 concurrent classes). 4/~200 is about 2% - not too horrible. Some people have dropped out as well, not sure exactly how many, though - and from what Ive heard its people with major personal or medical issues. Anyways.

    Star
     
  7. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    Messages:
    11,573
    Likes Received:
    496
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Yep, so was my class and the school.
     
  8. Pubis

    Pubis Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2002
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    But it's really the last thing they want to do...unless you go to one of those greedy schools (and you know which ones these are!) that only exist b/c they want to extort money from you.

    From what I have been told (and witnessed), people that fail usually have motivational problems...it's rarely (if ever) a lack of ability.

    And the other thing is never buy into the hype about "we don't have grades." You will ALWAYS, _ALWAYS_ be evaluated...and when you think about it, it will ALWAYS be in comparison to your peers. part of life. The whole P/F stuff seems cool at first, but is truly crap in the end.

    P
     
  9. yaoming

    yaoming Banned
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    at ucsf, a student told me at least 1/4 student fails one class. he told me he's more relieved after hearing it since if he fails, he wont feel like an oddball.
    we had one student fail biochem and another cell bio in the first block. there was no curve. >70 is pass, <70 is fail. the class is still very helpful to each other because there is no curve. i have been consistently above the mean so i'm good for now. hope it will be like that for all my classes.
     
  10. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    3
    I think that this is especially true with the H/HP/P/F sustems. I don't see how they are different than an A-F system at all. All they really do is eliminate the D, which is essentially a failing grade anyway. I am sure that residency directors have some sort of informal calculation of "GPA" for the P/F systems.
     
  11. JJNY

    JJNY 0-MD in 4.0yrs Buckle up!

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    0
    JBJ,

    How do you think this could be done? DO transcripts list anything other than P/F? I just figured they would place primary emphasis on board scores....
     
  12. KyGrlDr2B

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2001
    Messages:
    2,045
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was under the impression that they used class rank. I mean that tells you more about the student even if they do have a GPA, like my school does. We just had one class where I could probably count the A's on one hand, but the majority of the class got B's. But by looking at class rank, they'd see that those people are still up at the top.
     
  13. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse The luckiest man

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2002
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you're right. Even those schools that claim that they don't state rank can use code words/phrases to indicate class standing.
     
  14. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    6
    yao,

    i think you may have misunderstood that student. perhaps 1/4 will fail an exam at some point in their two years, but basically everyone passes each class (if they fail an exam, they take a second exam or do make-up work). after the first year for the class of 2005, all but one moved on to second year. just about every one who gets in passes their classes (unless they stop studying and stop attending school, which doesn't really happen).
     
  15. DrBlueDevil

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    1
    Couldn't have said it better myself.
     
  16. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  17. TysonCook

    TysonCook Senior Member
    Physician Faculty

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    644
    Likes Received:
    7
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Regardless of the P/F or the H/HP/P/F system, realize that you will still have a class standing that is on a Deans Letter. So you may think that a P/F is less competition, but in reality (as was said above) you are always always always competing. Class standing is key, how many P's (or H's) you have is secondary to what your position is in the class.

    A bonus of the H/HP/P/F is that you still have extra opportunities to get honors during your first year, instead of waiting for your second etc.
     
  18. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    6
    The ONLY grades that will be on our Dean's Letters will be the grades from our clerkships and whether or not we passed the blocks of the 1st and 2nd years. They do not break the class up into different tiers depending on how well they passed in the 1st two years at UCSF. They reason that board scores will ultimately let residency directors decide how well you did in your first two years. They want to take the edge of learning in the first two years here. I've heard a lot about behind the scenes rankings at other schools, but I heard straight from the horse's mouth that a 99 and a 71 look the same on the dean's letter. They both look like a P.
     
  19. yaoming

    yaoming Banned
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    well, i dont know about the peer comparison argument. first, basic science grades are one of the least important factors to get into residency. second, class rank is also one of the least important, since each school keeps track (some dont even keep track of that) in their own ways (count even quizzes, exams, or just final grades, and what about patient-doctor?). third, most of my peers are interested in other specialties, so when i apply for residency the residency directors will not even see or care about my peer's application to other programs. Class rank in this case wouldn?t matter too much in this case because your class can be super smart that year and you?re still a kickass student compared to people from most of other schools, and most of your peers who did better than you didn?t apply to your residency targets.

    what matters most is boards scores, and you will be taking it against everyone nationwide. clinical rotation score matters too, and as long as your lazy, you'll get a bad score no matter how lazy your peers are. that's wut i think, but u might have a different opinion about your school. from what i've heard, residency directors really dont have time to "calculate every applicants' GPA from their P/NP and H/P/NP." all they have to do is simply compare the boards scores.
     
  20. Lara

    Lara Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    538
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I had an interesting conversation with a classmate yesterday. He said that although our school is P/HP/H starting M1, third year is worth at least twice as much as the first two years *combined* in terms of calculating overall GPA and class rank for AOA status. His advice was to not get burned out and that in some cases it might be more worthwhile to volunteer in the ER, shadow docs etc to start establishing contacts in the preclinical years. I want to do a lot more of that next semester anyway (and will once the Spanish translation program starts up). :)

    Lara, wondering where the stamina needed to do well third year will come from! :eek:
     
  21. UCLA2000

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2001
    Messages:
    2,314
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I have a really good friend who failed out of UCLA medical school last year. It really pissed me off, and it was one of the reasons why I didn't attend their med school.

    They basically told him "withdraw or we will kick you out ..failing out will affect your chances to get into any grad program ever again."

    Then they freaking wrote him up as someone who withdrew for personal reasons (gotta protect their image)

    It really pissed me off
     
  22. Grading is H/P/F, with the criteria for Honors determined by the individual course director and Pass is set at 65 except in extreme circumstances. It is VERY hard to fail out here; in order to do this you must earn a grade of Fail in 5 or more courses during the first year. You then have a hearing to determine if you will be dismissed from the MD program or merely held back to repeat the first year. In order to fail the first year and repeat the courses that you failed, you must fail the same course twice, first during the regular semester and then again during the summer. In our class, 15 people failed anatomy or physiology (more often the latter) and 1 person took a leave of absence and rejoined the M'06 class b/c he was in danger of failing out. Out of the 15, only 2 were held back in the M'06 class. About 80% of the average class here fails one or more exams during their first 2 years, and there are some very bright people here. Yet we have a 98%+ board pass rate, which serves to me as a reminder that one exam is nothing to get freaked out over. Also, the people who failed in my class were far from lazy and unmotivated. One girl was an academic superstar from MIT who studied all the time and then stressed herself out come exam time, and the guy who took a leave of absence was very much the same way. I think you have to take breaks to exercise and spend time with your family, friends, pets, sig. other, etc.. or you will go crazy in med school. a lot of people think if they can just study all the time that they will get through and be great doctors, and it can really backfire on them. It is important to work hard and learn the material (not just for short-term regurgitation), but to completely sacrifice a personal life is just NOT reasonable. I think the P=MD mantra really works out well..;)
     
  23. EMBess

    EMBess Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    As you can see, the grading system is extremely variable at all different schools, and to some extent determined the overall climate. Where I go, it is H/HP/P/M/F, the M being 'marginal' - I'll get to that in a sec...but my point is that here the difference between H/HP/P is solely determined based on the number grade you receive, which makes it a little less 'if you do bad then i do better'.

    As for the marginal, this is a grade close to failing but not quite - you can only get this on a test, not in a class, and at the end of the year if you marginaled more than 1 exam they generally make you do some kind of retest, but this is somewhat subjective, based on the promotion committee decision.

    Med schools, even the "greedy ones that just want to extort $ from you" still want you to stay in for a couple of reasons:
    a) most get $$ from the state/federal (?) government for the # of docs they produce
    b) the more people drop out, the less people apply and therefore they lose an edge in competing for you tuition $. The same goes for the %ages that pass the boards.

    I agree, and have heard from tons of people, that the grades you get in clinical years are WAY more important in getting in to the residency of your choice. As for AOA, I am under the impression that it's the top 16% of the class (I'm not sure if that's the same everywhere...)
     
  24. DrBlueDevil

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't get it...would you rather have had them fail your friend out? What good would that do anyone?
     
  25. UCLA2000

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2001
    Messages:
    2,314
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    You're right, you don't get it. The bottom line is that they FORCED him to withdraw from medical school in order to be able to tell other applicants that they NEVER fail people out.

    The end result is the same (i.e. he's no longer in medical school), however by forcing him to withdraw UCLA came out smelling like a rose.

    The situation is complicated and hard to explain but the gist of it is that UCLA really didn't have grounds to kick him out, because it was their own breach of policy (and state law for that matter) which put him in the position to fail in the first place. (sorry I can't get more specific than that).
     

Share This Page