The percentage of test-takers who passed the nephrology certification exam on their first try increased by 6% in 2020, after dropping to an all-time low in 2019. However, the 2020 pass rate of 80% is still below the 83% rate of 2018 and is the second-lowest rate ever.
The large drop in 2019 set off a dismayed discussion on Twitter and other venues about what was going wrong, and the reaction to 2020’s improvement was much more restrained.
“I am relieved we are not seeing a continued drop in the pass rate, but nephrology still has the lowest pass rate of any internal medicine specialty,” Scott Gilbert, MD, of Tufts Medical Center and chair of the ASN Workforce and Training Committee, said in an email to Kidney News. “We need to continue to make nephrology an attractive field for the best candidates, and then improve our training experience to allow candidates to succeed on the boards.”
“Interpreting this year-to-year is less useful than monitoring the trends over time,” Gilbert said, and the long-term trends point toward a challenging time for the field of nephrology. The 80% pass rate is a 10-point drop from 2016, and there have been instances in the past when scores have bumped up before continuing to decline.