ATLANTA, GA—While medical students everywhere rejoice over the news that Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is moving to a Pass/Fail grading system, residency program directors are devastated. Increasingly reliant on the Step 1 numerical score to “weed out” prospective candidates, program directors are dreading the fact they’ll now have to read the rest of the application too.
“Please tell me this is a sick joke,” said Dr. Rachel Pennington, director of an Atlanta-based hospital’s Internal Medicine residency program. “That Step 1 score used to save me so much time. If your score was really low, I just ignored the rest of the application.
“And if your score was high…well, I still didn’t read it. But, I’d at least invite you for an interview, during which I definitely didn’t listen to you.”
Sources tell us that most program directors don’t even see residency candidates as real people. “They’re just a number to me—a walking, talking USMLE numerical score,” said Hugh Esemele, another program director. “But before you rip us for that, just remember that these people are about to become medical residents, and no one treats residents as real people. We’re simply preparing them for that inescapable reality.”
However, program directors will now need to consider the whole application. They may even have to—gulp—read personal statements again. “I haven’t read an applicant’s essay in 15 years,” said Dr. Pennington, who’s been a program director for 15 years and a day. “I don’t think I can handle reading those again. I don’t really care why you wanna help people (boring!), or how you wanted to be a hospitalist since you were in diapers (lying!), or which of your dead relatives inspired you the most (just kill me now).”
To address this developing crisis, the despondent residency program directors of America held an emergency meeting earlier this morning. After condemning the USMLE scoring change, they ultimately conceded defeat and reluctantly acknowledged that they’ll now have to read entire applications and engage in meaningful conversations with candidates.
That is, until Dr. Esemele noticed something interesting about the application. “OMG, you guys, I’ve never noticed this before because I’ve never looked beyond the Step 1 score, but there’s a Step 2! Who knew?! And it’s still a numerical score!”
“Hallelujah!” replied the other directors in unison as they all tossed their piles of personal statements into the fireplace and popped open a bottle of champagne.