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  #1  
Old 04-14-2011
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USMLE Scores Why the three digit score matters? It's already 99!

Hey guys,

I'm just curious, why is it that everyone is so obsessed with getting scores that are like 250+?

I mean it's great to get 99's but a 99 at a 235, is still a 99 even if the person scored a 299, so what's big deal there?

I just ask because I took my schools assessment exam in order to get approved to take USMLE this summer (mid-end June) and according to the assessment I'm at a 230 right now, and that seems to me like a good score. Of course I'm going to work my butt off to improve it, but at what point do you say realistically, I just gotta take this test and hope I get the best score possible???

any and all input welcome
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  #2  
Old 04-14-2011
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The two point scoring system for Step 1 is not really used very much by residency directors. I am a US medical student and we don't even talk about the two point score. For us, the more important number is the three point score because like you said, 99 can be 235 or 99 can be 260. The three point score is a better assessment of how you compare to the rest of the students taking the exam, which is why it is much more likely to be used by residency directors.

230 is a really good start though. You should have no problem doing very well on the exam, but keep in mind that your school's assessment may not be very accurate. Doing an NBME form will give you a better initial assessment.
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Old 04-14-2011
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Yeah i second what apx85 says !! even when i asked some residents ...all they want to know is the 3 digit score ...two digit just clumps together the top students......but if u et >250 u can say that you are in the cream of the top students !!
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Old 04-15-2011
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Oh ok, well that makes more sense...because I was like a 99 is a 99 lol

As far as the assessment we took, it was pretty dead on to the NBME I took the previous week, 229, so I went up a point! haha

I'm shooting for 240! If I get higher great, if I get it right on point awesome too! Just don't want to be lower than that.

I've been busting my ass studying, and it's paying off, now the scary part comes, having to schedule the date now that I have my school permission to do so!

Hopefully I'll pick a day where no one else will be at the testing center :sorry:
haha
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Old 04-15-2011
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so finally people r saying that the 2 digit score serves no purpose and only the 3 digit score is important lol Staff members said 2 digit scores are imp. if you score less than a 99, only when u get 99 the 3 digit score becomes important. why are there conflicting opinions regarding this?
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Old 04-15-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dali89 View Post
so finally people r saying that the 2 digit score serves no purpose and only the 3 digit score is important lol Staff members said 2 digit scores are imp. if you score less than a 99, only when u get 99 the 3 digit score becomes important. why are there conflicting opinions regarding this?
Although it is true that if you score below a 99 then the two point score becomes more significant, in my opinion even in that case the three point score is a better comparison to other students.

In the eyes of residency directors and administrators, the point in taking standardized tests is to assess how students compare to their peers. Since the three point score allows for a greater range of scores, it can be used as a better tool to compare students, which is what has to be done when deciding who to accept. Like the forum administrators say, if you do not get a 99 then the two point score may be significant but it seems to me that the three point score is what is looked at mostly.

I'm not saying that a student with a 96/220 is going to be accepted over a student with 93/212 because there are a lot of other factors that play a big role (letters especially!).

Bottom line is that the two most important aspects of your application for residency are your Evaluations and your Step 1 score (in my opinion). You must be strong in both areas because even if you score 240+ on Step 1, you might not get a good position if you are not strong in the clinical setting or not very personable.

So for students who have already finished their clinical years of medical school, the next best step in the management of your career (lol) is doing well on Step 1!
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  #7  
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Default dali

well some states still use the 2 digit scores...................and its mainly fmgs who think 2 digit is the important one .. what an [fmg ] resident told me is that the PDs look at the step 1 3 digit score and the
LORs mainly ...............well the good places..........maybe when u head to community programs they will just see the 2 digit scores [?] .............
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thanks for replying.
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Default my opinion

Let me say my opinion about this issue:

The two digit score is merely an extrapolation of the three digit score. The NBME has come up with it because residency programs and schools wanted to have (a percentage-like) score to gauge students performance.

The two digit score is a good indicator of your three digit score until your reach 99. After 99, the three digit score may vary from 228 to 280 (or even more theortically at least).

So if your two digit score is 95, then the three digit score does not really matter. But when your two digit score is 99 then the three digit score might makes a difference.

High profile prestigious residency programs (the big names) and the highly competitive surgical specialties have started to rely more on the three digit score because they already don't accept only those with a 99 score. So for example if you visit the UCSF website you'll see that they mentioned (they prefer a score above 240 or 250 and they don't mention the two digit score).
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"Although we have no minimum USMLE score requirements, strong scores (>230) would help document an applicant's educational readiness for our program, and strengthen an application. Please note, UCSF now requires applicants to have passed both the clinical knowledge and clinical skills sections of Step 2 by February 15th in order to be ranked by our program. "

this is regarding USCF found it on their website but I don't think they accept IMGs anyway. Thanks for the input steptaker.
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Default Specialties

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the obvious, which is some specialties (regardless of the program ranking, being prestigious or not) require higher three-digit scores like radiology and plastic surgery for instance. I think 99/228 can't get you into radiology (which is difficult to get into anyway).
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I agree with Haisook. This is clearly the most important point here. Different specialties require different USMLE scores. For e.g. take a look at this:

Rank Specialty Average Step 1 Score 1. Plastic Surgery 243 2. Dermatology 240 3. Otolaryngology 239 4. Radiation Oncology 236 5. Radiology – Diagnostic 235 6. Orthopaedic Surgery 234 7. Transitional Year 233 8. Internal Medicine 222 8. Pathology 222 8. General Surgery 222 11. Emergency Medicine 221 11. Internal Medicine / Pediatrics 221 13. Anesthesiology 220 14. Neurology 218 15. Pediatrics 217

So in the end, both the 3 digit and 2 digit scores are important since alot of programs use 2 digits as cut-off scores as well. It just depends. I personally like to refer to the 2 digit score since its much easier to understand - it ends at a 99. No one knows where the 3 digit number ends. The reason why US students don't talk about the 2 digit score is because most of them get 99s anyway - for them, Step 1 is a walk in the park - take SDN for example.
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Old 04-15-2011
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Default hey

the more 3 digit , the more chances of you to get good resisdency program.
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Old 04-16-2011
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@Dr Mrz

I don't think there's such thing as a bad residency program in the States. The worst program in the States might be better than the best programs in the developing countries. In the end, don't all the residents do the same board exam to become board certified, regardless of where they do their residency? Just a thought. Good luck guys!
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Default Dali

Yeah what u say is true.......but if u wanna work in the metros in a reputed hospital i bet they look where u did ur residency !
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