Philadelphia, PA – For years the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) has released USMLE Step 1 board scores via e-mail a few weeks after the test. Today, however, an announcement revealed that this will be changing. In an effort to make the process more transparent, medical students will now present to a USMLE-certified tattoo parlor to have their results tattooed on their forehead.
“We have heard all of the recent complaints surrounding USMLE Step 1 and we feel this action will adequately address them,” said an anonymous member of the NBME’s executive board. “Many feel that not enough weight is put on this exam score, so getting it permanently placed front and center will really make it pop.”
Another board member, who also wishes to remain anonymous, said this change can only be positive. “Not only will the 3-digit, career-determining results of our somewhat unproven exam remain on your academic record forever, but now they will also be directly and permanently tattooed on your face.”
White Coat Weekly asked a couple of local medical students their feelings regarding the announcement. “I think it’s fantastic,” said Carolyn Sheen, a 3rd year medical student preparing for dermatology. “Now I won’t have to tell every person I meet how well I did, they can just see it right on my face. I have started to get all shaky and sweaty if I can’t find someone new to tell my score to every 15 minutes, so this will really help.”
Max Zubek, a 3rd year student applying to psychiatry, is not quite as excited as Sheen. He did not do well on the test, but he understands why this change is necessary. “Since we are told our Step 1 score is the #1 most important super-predictor of how good a doctor will be, it’s only fair that I live with my incompetence on my forehead.” Max has a fantastic application otherwise, but the blaring tattoo on his forehead will remind everyone of his unforgettable shame.
The NBME says they will make students pay for the tattoo in addition to the test registration fee, claiming the $1,728,584 fee is already barely enough to cover their overhead. They are considering accepting small portions of students’ souls or blood oaths with the devil as alternate forms of payment.
If this new way of score reporting is successful, the NBME plans to pilot a program that would upload your Step 2 and 3 scores into your genetic code using a form of CRISPR. White Coat Weekly would like to thank everyone involved in this interesting story. We will continue to follow.