Intro & Disclaimer
Path to Medicine
Work Hard or Coast?
Med School Statistics
Med School Diaries
Money and Finances
Taste of Med School
Work hard or Coast in Medical School?
One quote you'll always hear (or you probably already heard at least once) is:
Pass = Doctor.
As long as you pass all of your courses in medical school and the board exams, you will be a physician
in the end. Nobody will ever ask you about your grades or board scores once your are practicing
So, some students may set their goal to pass their classes, rather than achieving honors or being in the top 10%
of their class.
In reality, it is probably not possible to just "coast" in medical school. "Just passing" your courses and the boards takes
a lot of effort and hard work. Passing classes and boards with higher scores and grades above "Pass" takes even more effort and hard work.
Passing may work just
fine if you are less concerned about scoring a top rated residency spot or a residency in one of the
very competitive specialties such as Dermatology, Orthopedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, ENT (ear-nose-throat),
or Neurosurgery, to name just a few.
These and other very competitive specialty choices are almost inaccessible with average grades and board scores. Internal
Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Psychiatry and others are examples of specialties which are "easier" to get into.
There are many more residency spots available in these specialties and they are much less competitive as a result.
They typically do not require top grades and board scores either, unless you are interested in the top residency programs
in the country for those specific specialties, in which case these are also very competitive.
So, how hard you work in medical school, as reflected by grades (e.g. "honors") and high board scores, is important in some
Some medical schools are on a straight pass-fail system which, obviously, makes actual grades less important and board
scores even more important.
Read more about residency considerations in the Residency Thoughts section and
about grading systems in the medical experience section.