Thanks for the info. After I looked up the information about USMLE, I wondered what they did for visually impared students. That being said, what Mary conveyed about not accommodating students is what I had heard about the exam. I know a pathologist who is dyslexic and he swetted his way through it.
Based on the information you provided though, I should be ok.
My alma mater, Howard University College of Medicine, normalized all of our grades using the same manner that USMLE uses for its exams. All scores are normalized around a mean. Now for some folks at the higher end of the scale, it could mean the difference between an 85 (Pass) and 86 (Honors). Many folks complained that they were “curved” out of honors but actually, they never had honors in the first place because the raw scores were meaningless. Honors or 86 and above are determined by the curved scores.
As for the perception of trying thinking that students with ADD have an unfair advantage by taking unlimited time or audio taping etc., they are welcome to whatever they need. The strange thing about professional school is that it is like Marine boot camp. We all have to go over the wall. Some of us clear it by 6 feet and others scrap on the way over but nevertheless, we all get over it. We were still able to have class rankings and evaluations with the normalizations of grades. In the end, we all ended up where we wanted to be anyway. In the computerized USMLE, you can have whatever you need as long as you do not disturb the other folks in the room.
No more USMLE for me!!!
Natalie (or anyone who goes to a school where you are ranked during the first two years):
Just out of curiosity, how would your school calculate the ranking for extended students (doing two years in three), or normalize the scores for students who took their exams under special conditions? Just wondering… and it might be of interest to our members with LD or ADD who may someday be in that situation.
There have been several studies addressing the extended time and the unfair advantage question. Students who aren’t dyslexic when given as much time to take a test perform no better than when a specific time is alotted to them. Dyslexic students though when given extended time to take an exam improved their score, some by as much as two standard deviations.However this myth still permeates academic life…the unfair advantage. It simply takes more time to process the symbolic information.I took the SAT’s with extended time and did quite well (1400). However the SAT isn’t the MCAT or USMLE. I wish I could take my exams orally. I’d be out the door in half the time. There is a neurologist at Yale. Her name is Sally Shaywitz. This is her area of expertise. She states that Dyslexia effects phonemic deciphering (the most fundamental part of the written word). This is a lower level brain function. In the dyslexic brain, language is a higher level function. It is hard for some to accept that brilliance and disability can be present in tandem. According to her, medicine and the law are perfect for the dyslexic brain as higher brain functions are well developed to compensate for the language deficit.
I like Natalie’s wall analogy. I think it is apropos to many life situations. Run your own race.
Oh, I don’t personally think it is an unfair advantage at all. I was a Communications Disorders major for awhile (before realizing I actually enjoyed the biology part better). However, as you said, the myths and misunderstandings still persist, and I would think that when choosing a school someone with a learning disabilty, heck, anyone for that matter, would want to be in the environment that is most friendly to their situation. I just wanted to bring up options people might want to consider in looking for a school that might be more friendly toward students with learning disabilities. However, I am quite sure that having coped with the learning disability you know exactly what you need to do to suceed, and I suspect you will do fine wherever you decide to attend.
Oh I’m not implying anything negative about your post. Not in the slightest. I got what you were saying. I was simply leaving the information as a segue to what you did post. I know you get it, but in general most people don’t. I enjoyed the dialogue and appreciate you starting it. We’re good.
Students who are on an extended terms are ranked with the class that they graduate with. Taking exams under different circumstances levels the playing field for these student and are not an “advantage” though some of the more competitive folks would like to think so. Their scores are normalized with the rest of us.
The truth of the matter is that you are only in competition with yourself in medical school. You can graduate first in your class but that will not ensure that you will become a good physician. The practice of medicine entails many skills that have little to do with how well you master the academics. My uncle has an IQ that is very near 200. He has scored 6 perfect scores in the Internal Medicine and Cardiology boards. He also graduated first in his class (Cornell) and was AOA. He had a very poor bedside manner and didn’t often get the best results in terms of patient care. In short, you can graduate first in your class from a high-ranked medical school and become a poor physician.
I think that is true of a lot of professions. You get out of it what you put into it. There is a difference between intelligence and emotional intelligence. As your posts though have stated over and over getting in is first and foremost about GPA and MCAT scores. The playing field is leveled by accommodations so that bright otherwise qualified individuals can get their foot in the door and those other attributes can be brought to bare.