Med professors leaked test questions

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Med professors leaked test questions

Two medical professors from a university in Busan that were members of the examination committee for the qualification exams for surgeons were revealed to have leaked the questions to their students in January 2011.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare stated yesterday that if prosecutors confirm the situation, the qualifications of four doctors who received the leaked questions may be revoked, and they will not be able to retake the exam for two years.

In an investigation conducted by the ministry and the Korean Medical Association (KMA), the two professors admitted to informing their students of the short-answer questions to the examination prior to the test date in January last year and ensuring that those problems made it to the actual exam.

The four who received the questions from the professors received the top four scores on the written examinations. There are 20 short-answer questions in the exam which account for 40 percent of the score.

The Korean Surgical Society, in charge of administering the exam, found the ranking suspicious at the time and investigated the situation and thus found out about the leaked questions.

One of the professors of the university in Busan, who was a member of the exam committee, confessed that he shared the questions with two of his students who were residents in the department of surgery.

But the Korean Surgical Society did not report the leak to the ministry nor the KMA at the time of the incident, though they were aware of it. Instead, they held a disciplinary committee and encouraged the professor to give up his position of his own accord.

For the past year, the professor has been working as a clinical instructor at his university’s hospital, but recently, he applied to be reinstated to his former position. The exam question leak would otherwise have been overlooked if the Board of Audit and Inspection did not receive a report on the controversy surrounding this professor’s reinstatement into his position.

In order to qualify as a medical specialist, the medical specialist examinations are administered to those who pass the medical examinations and complete their residency programs. The first round is the written examinations and the second is the practical and oral examinations.

For the surgeon examination last year, 202 candidates took the written examinations of which 189 passed, while all of those students passed the second round of examinations. This is the first known time the questions to the medical specialist exam have been leaked since it was established in 1973.

One professor from a university in Seoul who is a part of the committee to set questions for this year’s exam stated, “Though they manage us when we are housed together [for the exam-writing period], there are many ways to eat with outsiders, make phone calls and use the Internet,” and that “the more rural the university is, the more tempting it may be to reveal the questions in order to get a higher acceptance rate.”

By Kim Eun-ha, Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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