Absite Smackdown! · Episode 32: What If You Score Too Low?


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By:  Jessica R


In the podcast that I recorded last week with Dr David Kashmer, we talked about the basics for the ABSITE test. The test date, how many questions it includes, how the test is administrated, study tips, and resources. An overview if you will.

It was during that conversation that I wondered how the program you belong to can impact your preparedness for the test and its outcome. After all, you take the test with your program, your program gives you your test scores.

I know we've talked a lot in previous blogs about whether or not they can predict scores (they being your program director) but how can your program make or break your ABSITE score? I decided to find out.

I went to my favorite research site and started looking...aaannnddd didn't find exactly what I was looking for. I guess I'll need to do that research myself or conduct the study myself if I want to know the answer. But I did find an article on an initiative that was instituted in the early 2000s to set out to make all the ABSITE scores that fall under the 40th percentile higher. Here's a link to the study below.

Click here.

It's not very clear to me why the ABSITE scores were low to begin with. At least it's not explained or touched on in this article. Anyhow, here's what they did...

One faculty member was designated to meet with each resident with low scores. In spring, study plans were designed with each resident, with practice questions and study outline, and the ABSITE test and results were gone over.

Two more meetings were held towards the end of the year before test time to gauge preparedness. They tried not to focus on the negative of low scores and instead push the importance or efficient study.

Here is the conclusion from the article. If the resident scored above-standard that year, further support was not required. From 2000 to 2004, 12 (9.5%) ABSITE scores were below-standard, which resulted in 8 (20.5%) residents receiving program support 9 times. All but 1 program encounter resulted in above-standard scores the following year (improvement range, 16 to 65 percentile points; average, 34 points).

Two residents had recurrent below-standard scores in subsequent years despite above-standard scores immediately after the program. One resident did not participate in the program, despite it being designated as mandatory. During the same interval, the ABSITE scores of residents not involved in the program decreased by an average of 3.7 percentile points per examination (improved scores 31 times; 39.2%, range 1 to 46, average 13.5, worse scores 45 times; 57%, range 1 to 65, average 15.2, and no change 3 times, 3.8%).

What I take away from this is that customization of a resident's needs to learn and personal one on one attention can have a positive impact on scores rather than leaving them to their own devices after a poor performance.

But don't we all do better when we are helped and guided? Is that not common sense?

Regardless, you can take control of your score. With resources like ABSITE SMACKDOWN! and the support and links on the website to go with it, you can create your own plan and outline. Get studying and good luck!


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