As of early Wednesday, more than 10,000 students, residents, and faculty had already signed a petition urging the National Board of Medical Examiners to put an end to the Step 2 CS, the pricy role-playing examination that tests patient care skills.
In short, the petition, which is led by Harvard Medical School students, claims that the exam is a waste of time and money.
The Step 2 CS is a role-playing exam that requires students to interview, examine, fill out medical charts, and diagnose patients (or actors pretending to be patients) with specific conditions.
Students must take the exam in one of five U.S. cities where the test is offered (in Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Atlanta), forcing many (most) students to spend hundreds of dollars on flights and accommodation, not to mention the exam’s hefty $1,275 price tag.
According to a StatNews article, 96% of students pass this exam on their first try. Student activists claim that this data proves that the test isn’t “effective at weeding out incompetent physicians,” and that it’s simply a waste of money at nearly $2,000 a pop to check if students can “remember to wash their hands, introduce themselves, and ask, ‘Do you have any questions?’ at the end of an interview.”
The article further states that the board is currently “analyzing the exam to identify which sections routinely trip up students, so medical schools can improve their teaching of those topics.”
Is this issue important to you? Voice your opinion – here’s a link to the petition.