Ep. 72 Taking the USMLE to Task

Bryan Carmody, MD

Should a pass-fail exam designed to determine a student’s competence to practice medicine be scored numerically and used for residency selection?  Every year, thousands of students sink an increasingly large number of hours and dollars to prepare for “Step 1” of the US Medical Licensing Examination, a task which seems to be disproportionate to the relevance the test bears to the practice of medicine.

Our guest on this show is Bryan Carmody, MD, a pediatric nephrologist who practices at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter in Norfolk, VA, and teaches medical students at the Eastern Virginia Medical School.  Bryan himself has recently spent countless hours studying and blogging about the machinations that constitute licensing examination in the United States.


Bryan Carmody, MD, MPH. Twitter and Blog


Chen DR, et al. Students Perspectives on the “Step 1 Climate” in Medical Education. Academic Medicine, March 2019.

Katsufrakis PJ and Chaudhry HJ. Improving Residency Selection Requires Close Study and Better Understanding of Stakeholder Needs. Academic Medicine, March 2019.


Ep. 46 Reforming Medical Education: Beyond the Usual Platitudes (with guest Adam Cifu)

Ep. 17 Hope in the Fight Against MOC (with guest Westby Fisher)


  1. George Mich on 02/22/2020 at 7:09 PM

    I think this was a great conversation! I think Anish made the most relevant and practical arguments for keeping objective measurements! This new system is P/F is a mistake I think. It will lead to a climate of nepotism in medical education.

    • Michel Accad on 02/23/2020 at 5:36 PM

      Thank you, George. You may enjoy our just released episode for an update from Brian Carmody.

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