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Comment & Response |

Basic Science Content in the USMLE Step 1

John S. Barbieri, BA1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2014;311(13):1358-1359. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1177.
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To the Editor When discussing changes to the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1, Dr Haist and colleagues1 concluded that “many medical students prepared for Step 1 with a ‘binge and purge’ mentality; because students failed to recognize the value of the basic sciences in medical practice, many memorized information for short-term retention.”

Haist et al1 used this position as a rationale for “planned changes to emphasize basic sciences throughout [the] USMLE.” The Viewpoint neglected to consider the alternative hypothesis that students take a binge and purge mentality not because they fail to recognize the value of basic science in medicine, but because they believe the focus of Step 1 is on clinically irrelevant minutiae that have little value in patient care.

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April 2, 2014
Steven A. Haist, MD, MS; Peter J. Katsufrakis, MD, MBA; Gerard F. Dillon, PhD
1National Board of Medical Examiners, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2014;311(13):1359-1360. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1186.
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