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PASS-FAIL vs. A-B-C-D-F vs. 0-100 scores

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by IRON_DUKE, Jun 26, 2001.

  1. IRON_DUKE

    IRON_DUKE MEDICAL RED NECK ROYALTY

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    DEAR READERS ,


    I WAS WONDERING HOW YOU IN YOUR PERSONAL OPINION EVALUATE THE PASS-FAIL SYSTEM .

    HERE ( COSTA RICA ) THEY USE THE 0-100 point system..................but without the A,B,C,D,F that goes along with it .

    In panama they use the 0-100 point system with the A,B,C,D,F system .


    so I was wondering what do you guys think about your own grading system and do you think that it is fair ?
     
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  3. doctorperez

    doctorperez Jesus was a dissident

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    The 0-100 is harder and may be more useful in reflecting the actual performance of a student when compared to his other contemporary classmates.


    Dr.Perez
     
  4. IRON_DUKE

    IRON_DUKE MEDICAL RED NECK ROYALTY

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    CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN HOW THE PASS/FAIL SYSTEM WORKS ?
     
  5. Snoopy

    Snoopy Senior Member

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    Well, at CWRU, which is a pass/fail school the first two years, there is a pass mark set for each examination. Usually it is 65% but sometimes it is 60%. If you get above the pass mark you pass the committee. If you fail you have to remediate which in second year includes retaking the exam. In the clinical years grades are Honors/Commendable/Pass/Fail.
     
  6. Mustafa

    Mustafa Member

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    Schools like Harvard, Yale and Stanford don't have grades in the preclinical years, ie pass/fail. They also don't rank their students

    Other schools like Penn and Duke and others are honors/pass/fail. Others are strictly numerical. Some of these rank their students broadly into groups like quartiles etc.

    Do you believe quality of life in terms of competitiveness is significantly different in pass/fail schools vs. the others? Appreciate your honest answers... Emily, Snoopy, any others would care to reply?

    All other things being equal except for location, would pass/fail preclinically be a deciding factor, or is it way too overrated?

    Moose
     
  7. PimplePopperMD

    PimplePopperMD Senior Member

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    It's difficult for us to compare, since we only experience one system!

    However, my input would be that it would absolutely SUCK to have grades. Ours is H/P/F preclinical, and it takes SO much stress off. You find yourself learning to learn, not to get every little picky question right.

    When picking medical schools, I would rank this very high on the list of things to think about (along with location, tuition, and clinical sites)

    Best of luck!
     
  8. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator
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    You're right that Harvard, Stanford and Yale don't have grades in the preclinical years, but Yale does rank it's students. Yale has AOA, so it must do rankings to appoint students to it. Harvard and Stanford do not rank its students, and they are 2 of the 3 schools in the country that do not participate in AOA. (I don't remember offhand what the 3rd school is - UCSD, maybe?) Be wary of any program that tells you that it does not rank its students but it still has AOA. (of course, I'm a little biased, being from Stanford, so take this comment with a grain of salt).

    Stanford is the only school that I know of the not only has straight pass/fail during the preclinical years, but also pass/fail during the clinical years as well. We do, however, get written evaulations in the clinics.

    I also can't really compare programs because I only know what the feel is at mine. I will say that I LOVE not having grades. Most students here appreciate that we don't even have honors, because they think that honors is a secret way of still having grades. I'm not so sure about that idea, but there are a bunch of schools out there that say that they don't have grades, but they do have an Honors/High pass/Pass/Fail system, which to me breaks down to A/B/C/F. Again, my bias shows through.
     
  9. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator
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    I should also mention that a Pass/Fail system can be a double-edged sword. I do think that having Pass/Fail makes a huge difference in quality of life. We have a saying here that I'm sure the other pass/fail schools have: P=MD. Students help each other out in their classes, they email out to their classmates study materials that they made, they study in groups, and students study to learn the material, not to get the extra point. It creates an atmosphere of cooperation.

    On the other hand, by having pass/fail, it makes your performance on Boards that much more important, because it's the only measure residency programs have of how good you are academically. Given that downside, if I were to do it all over again, I would still go to a Pass/Fail school.
     
  10. Oceandust

    Oceandust Senior Member

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    From what I've heard, Yale does not make known AOA until after graduation, and [thus] does not provide residency directors with AOA status [and ranking] prior to matching.

    But I like your comments, ajm.

    I myself am choosing between Yale and Penn. Penn's grading system is p/f for the first semester, h/p/f for the next year, and h/hp/p/f for clinical as well as AOA status made known to residency directors before the Match. Yale is also h/hp/p/f for clinical but p/f for the first two years.

    The students I met at Yale seemed laid-back, and at Penn more intense, but then again I visited Yale during second look and Penn not at second look, so they weren't marketing nearly as intensely. Philly's cooler than New Haven, but I'd take quality of life concerns over location, if there is indeed a measurable difference.

    I'll be kicked off the fence soon, so its coming down to crunch time. Your thoughts?
     
  11. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator
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    That's true, Oceandust -- there's a big difference between designating AOA before match vs. after match.

    I don't know how much advice I can really give you, since I never applied to Yale (I'm scared of New Haven - stupid, huh?). Actually, when I was deciding between schools, my decision came down to Penn vs. Stanford. I ended up choosing Stanford over Penn for a few reasons -- some of them were that I felt that students are much more laid back and diverse here than at Penn, and I was worried about my safety if I were living in West Philadelphia for 4 years.

    I've heard that Yale Med is very similar to Stanford as far as their philosophy to education and the student atmosphere. I know a number of my fellow classmates who had a tough time choosing between Yale and Stanford -- they all talked about how much alike the programs were. So I guess just going off of what I have heard, I would probably choose Yale over Penn.

    That's all based on second-hand information, so you might want to check with anyone who knows more about the programs. Either way, both Penn and Yale are great programs, and you can't go wrong with either school. There was a reason I had a tough time deciding. My advice -- all other things being relatively equal, choose the school for the atmosphere and the students that you think fit you the best. Med school is tough, and it's really important to be around people who will support you.

    I don't know if any of that made sense. Hope it helps!
     
  12. elle

    elle Senior Member

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    This is a little bit off-topic, sorry, but does anybody know of a list giving the grading method of different medical schools? That's something that might be helpful in choosing schools to apply to, but I haven't come across the information, and am not really sure where to look. Thanks!
     
  13. Pikevillemedstudent

    Pikevillemedstudent Bengals Fan

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    My school uses percentages and I must say it is the best method for me. I am the kind of person that makes 89.4% alot. Twice this year actually (gross and physio). Recieving a PASS while someone with .6% higher grade recieves a HONORS would not truly be representative of my ability. I would be in the same category as someone with a 70%. I just don't like that, I guess that is just my pre med mentality coming out. I don't feel that the fact that we use %'s makes the atmosphere here more competitve. I mean our students help each other out also(email study material to entire class, group study, and helping struggling classmates). I just don't see the down side of %'s that some others do, but then again I have never experienced the pass/fail system. I do agree with the comment that Honrs/high pass/pass/fail=A/B/C/F so it really doesn't make alot of sense to me personally.
     
  14. IRON_DUKE

    IRON_DUKE MEDICAL RED NECK ROYALTY

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    HERE TO PASS YOU NEED A MIN. OF A 71 ( 71 out of a possible 100 points . )

    so you can imagine how hard it is to pass with a grading system .

    I wish that pass fail could be instituted here . But no way ,jose !

    you need to get 7 out of 10 questions right JUST to pass with the MINIMUM ..................................... if you miss one more , you FAIL !

    MOST ANATOMY TESTS ARE 100 QUESTIOS , SO SIMPLE MATH SAYS GET AT LEAST 71 RIGHT !
    IF NOT....................LOOK SOMEWHERE ELSE .
     
  15. tristate

    tristate Senior Member

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    At my school, we are numerical grading. You must pass each class with a 70, but you need an overall grade average of 75 to advance to the next year.
     
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  17. tbachi

    tbachi Member

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    elle, i was wondering the same thing! I would really like to see a list. It takes forever to hunt through the school's websites to figure it out! someone please answer elle's question!!! :cool:
     
  18. IRON_DUKE

    IRON_DUKE MEDICAL RED NECK ROYALTY

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    ELLE , DO YOU MEAN FOREIGN OR US MED SCHOOLS ?

    If the question that bachi ( hope i got it right............ ) is about foreign , in what region?
    And by the way .............you would probably have to go school to school .......and look over the individual ones .
     
  19. lestat

    lestat Member

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    Actually, I had the "grading dilemma" while choosing between two schools (one was H/P/F and the other was A/B/C/D)--both, very well reputed in my view. I chose the graded one. I figured that if the grades are not based on a statistical curve (i.e. they are absolute translation of numerical scores into letter grades), I don't expect my classmates to be competetive. Also, if grades are not used to rank students in the class, then I think all should be well.
     
  20. tbachi

    tbachi Member

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    MOX, we are talking about US schools! :cool:
     
  21. po' boy

    po' boy Senior Member

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    Lestat,

    I thought you were leaning towards Columbia...what made you choose Hopkins instead (the letter-graded school)? Am sorry to hear I won't be your classmate next year! :(
     
  22. djipopo

    djipopo SDN Angel

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    what does AOA stand for?
     
  23. AJM

    AJM SDN Moderator
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    AOA stands for two things: Alpha Omega Alpha (the medical school honor society), or the American Osteopathic Association.

    Some of the above posts used the first definition of AOA.
     
  24. lestat

    lestat Member

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    Hey po'boy:
    It was a tough decision indeed. I think the financial considerations (aid and expenses) stood in favour for Hopkins. It's much cheaper to attend Hopkins in B'more than P&S in NYC. I really couldn't make a decision based on anything else between these two schools (they seem equally good in every aspect to me).

    Good luck to you at Columbia!! I loved that school.

    -lestat
     
  25. Linie

    Linie Senior Member

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    Hi all, and welcome to Hopkins, Lestat! I'm a big supporter of grades. I don't think pass/fail is necessarily such a great thing in the end, for reasons that people have already said, so I won't elaborate (boards count more, h/hp/p/f = grades anyway). Besides, did all of you go to undergrad schools with pass/fail? Were you waaay too stressed out then? Once I realized that grades had always been a way of life, so why should I think they were so awful to have in med school?, I decided to go to Hopkins. That and the fact that the total cutthroat, gunner, no-fun reputation that Hopkins has is completely wrong, although I can't seem to convince anyone of it. But maybe it's in my best interests to perpetuate it (just kidding, lest you all jump down my throat).

    Lestat, again welcome! Maybe I'll be your senior resident when you do internal medicine.
     
  26. bluegill

    bluegill Member

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    I'm about to start at U of Michigan, which does pass-fail for M1 and the H/HP/P/F the rest of the way. I'm told that this system works well there. People who have different strenghths in the sciences (eg Biochem vs. Anatomy) have a year to do pass-fail while everyone gets on the same page. I had to be honest with myself when choosing a school: my whole life I've learned with grades, and it's worked out well for me, so why change it? It's not the most popular opinion, but I receive a healthy motivation from striving for good grades. I'm glad I'll have them for M2,M3, and M4.
     
  27. pjyrkinen

    pjyrkinen Junior Member

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    I think I would rather be on a pass fail system. But we are on the o-100 and it is alot harder. Some times it's hard to concentrate because your worried about getting that all mighty A.
    Patty :eek:
     
  28. IRON_DUKE

    IRON_DUKE MEDICAL RED NECK ROYALTY

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    THE ZERO-100 IS A LOT HARDER . GRADES DO NOT ALWAYS REFLECT YOUR TRUE KNOWLEDGE ON A SUBJECT .

    TO BAD.................... WE CAN?T HAVE IT !
     

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