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  • Medics & Me

Letting Go Of Perfection - Why A Pass Is Enough!

Updated: Jan 29

Getting into med school is tough, there’s no question about it. It’s also what a lot of us have been striving for for years, chasing the perfect grades required to even bag an interview. And whilst grades are important, and there’s no easy way around having to have top scores to get a place, it’s easy to carry this mentality into med school and the exams that come with it. 

With the pass mark often being as low as 40%, gone are the days of scoring in the 80s and 90s with relative ease. This feeling of being a suddenly very small fish in a very large pond is something a lot of medical students experience, especially if you're used to being towards the top of classes. I remember getting my first results back at 60% in first year which I thought was rubbish and that I hadn’t tried hard enough. As I progressed through med school I realized there’s a pass mark for a reason - this is not only an impressive sign you are keeping up with the new pool of intelligent peers you find yourself within, but that you are categorically enough to become a good, safe doctor, and isn’t that what we’re here for? 

And even if you don’t pass you always have a second chance, and you’ll likely learn more in this period than ever before. It’s easy to forget our achievements when we’re faced with new challenges, but it’s important to remember how hard we’ve worked to earn a place in medicine, how vast the amount of content we’re learning is, and how deserving we are of being here even if we never get above a pass. Now that the Foundation Programme Allocation has changed to being randomly ranked rather than based on academic scores, the concept of being good enough rather than perfect has been recognised. A pass is a safe level for you to proceed, amongst a group of smart and driven people, and for that you should be extremely proud.

Essentially, whilst it’s important to keep up with key concepts and put the graft in now so you don’t get a smack in the face later on, it’s impossible to know it all, whether you’re first or fifth year - and aiming for this will likely lead to burn out. There is nothing wrong with doing the best you can, and leaving room to improve - you’ve got 5 years after all! 

Jess B

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