Medical Specialty Certification Exams: The Real Scandal

Earlier this year, CNN broke the story that generations of dermatologists have been "cheating" on their specialty board certification exams.  Like their colleagues in radiology and most other medical specialties, large numbers of dermatology trainees have been studying for the boards by using massive collections of historical exam questions that were memorized and shared immediately after each year's test.  Having access to these questions is useful because many specialty boards re-use questions from previous tests.  Until this year about 20% of the questions used by the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) were recycled from previous years, compared with about 50% for the written exam in radiology.  The widespread use of these so-called "airplane notes" or "recalls" has been common knowledge in the medical world for decades, but the flurry of recent press reports has caused consternation in the powerful board certification industry.  Stung by the publicity,...(Read Full Article)