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Health studies: is oral medicine unfair?

Can we select future doctors on their general knowledge? This is the question posed by students and a union of doctors, following the reform of health studies. Sacha, a first-year student, said on Twitter that she had been turned down, despite a “20 in Anatomy” and one “19 in Embryology”because she did not know the date of the Sputnik mission.

His “thread” (series of tweets), which garnered 86,000 “likes” and was retweeted 22,000 times, generated many reactions. The emergency doctor Mathias Wargon denounced a selection of “white bourgeois” that reproduces inequalities by promoting “the social classes more at ease in speaking” and with “a better general culture”. An online petition, having collected more than 7,300 signatures, even called for its removal.

Capacity for empathy and composure

Since the reform of health studies, implemented in 2021 and which aimed to diversify profiles, candidates for medical studies who did not obtain the best marks in writing must take oral tests on other subjects. than medicine, such as ecology or economics, for example. These tests, lasting twenty minutes, allow to evaluate the general culture of the students but also their human qualities, such as empathy and composure, explains Pierre Tatincloux, vice-president of the National Association of Medical Students in France (Anemf), in charge of higher education. The problem is that they vary from one university to another, with some establishments even giving these oral exams to all students. »

The weight of the note also differs. In the Paris region, these orals would have represented up to 70% of the overall assessment, according to Jérôme Marty, president of the Union française pour une médecine libre (UFML) union. “An oral on a subject unrelated to medical studies which accounts for at least 50% of the mark, it is absurd, he is indignant. We have students going to great lengths to pass an extremely difficult exam, based on very advanced scientific knowledge, and we are going to ask them about the color of the grand piano or the chocolate éclair? » If he does not saypas versus a general knowledge assessment”, the selection cannot be made on “a question having absolutely no relation to medicine “. According to the Anemf, among the students classified in the numerus clausus this year, 30% failed these orals.

A reform under debate

Repetition being now prohibited, what becomes of these unfortunate candidates? Students registered in the specific health access course (Pass) can continue in the second year of a license in the discipline which was until then their minor (law, economics, biology, psychology, etc.). The others, with a health access license (LAS), continue their course normally.

If the UFML considers that, beyond the oral, it would be necessary to reconsider the ban on repeating a year, the source of significant stress, the Anemf ensures that the reform represents progress in terms of orientation. “Formerly, with the Paces (first year common to health studies, editor’s note)after two repetitions, the students found themselves without an orientationexplains Pierre Tatincloux. Today, they can continue their studies and retake the medical exams a second time. »


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