Entry to medical and legal professions on same page

Competition to become doctors and lawyers has long been intense.  Two recent developments in California attempt to remedy the situation (“Want to Be a Doctor? Take Your Chances in a Closed Room With Strangers,” The New York Times, Aug. 8).

The associate dean for admissions at Stanford’s School of Medicine said that the school will rely on factors other than scores alone on the Medical College Admission Test.  Her reason is that the test does not measure such things as a bedside manner.  But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if increasing the number of Black and Hispanic medical students wasn’t also a consideration.

Weeks earlier the California Supreme Court said it will lower the cut score on the state’s bar exam, which is widely considered the toughest in the nation. Perhaps it did so in part because the ability to negotiate settlements, which constitutes a large part of the work of lawyers, is not assessed by the bar exam any more than the MCAT measures a bedside manner. In lowering the cut score, the California Supreme Court was also determined to increase the number of practicing Black and Hispanic lawyers.

I agree that neither the MCAT, the LSAT or the bar exam can possibly assess the ability of practitioners to be successful in their respective fields.  But all are needed to ensure minimal competency.  Just be aware of their shortcomings.

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