An astute reader noticed that I once made a comment about roughly where I stand in my class. If BCM is a pass/fail medical school, how can that be? Is it really pass/fail, or are students actually ranked internally? If so, is there a lot of competition?
Is the atmosphere at BCM competitive?
First, I will say that there is very little competition between members of my class. In fact, we all share notes, constantly. Whenever someone finds a good website, a good book, good notes from upperclassmen, or makes an exceptionally good set of notes themselves, they almost always share it with everyone on the class facebook page. Almost everyone wants to do really well, but I don't see the attitude of wanting to do well at the expense of others. In this way, the atmosphere at BCM is fairly relaxed and non-competitive.
Are BCM students ranked internally?
Yes. The ranking is not published, although at the end of every testing cycle the class average and standard of deviation are made known. This is the only way the I have any idea of where I stand in comparison to the rest of the class. As we progress further into the year with more and more tests, it becomes harder and harder to have an idea of where you stand in the class. There is no overall average released at the end of every block. For anatomy and histology, Dr. Kretzer likes to give a detailed stem and leaf plot of grade percentages. Everything is completely anonymous, and anatomy and histology constitute such a small percentage of the overall grade that nobody really cares.
Do grades matter?
No. Grades don't matter, as long as you pass (70 and above). The only reason you might think grades matter is if you are really gunning for the AΩA medical honor society. To get into AΩA, you have to be in the top quartile of your class and then get nominated. This is not unique to BCM, and students at every medical school will be gunning for AΩA. However, getting into AΩA is not important.
Grades do not go on your transcript. Residency programs will just see a P or an F. In your Dean's letter, there will be one sentence dedicated to describing how well you did in school. There will be an adjective that describes your performance, and it will vary from great to outstanding to excellent to (insert other positive adjective here). That's it. Really, grades don't matter.
Good question, and leave any other questions in the comments box and I'll answer the best I can!
I am a medical student at BCM and all thoughts are my own. I am not a doctor. Please read the disclaimer.
Head on over and like Baylor Doctor on Facebook!