Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by medhearter, 04.23.09.
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Not at all. It's a product of the student and not the school. It's like picking an undergrad based on mcat scores.
USMLE scores are not reported by medical schools. Some mention the scores on their tours, but there is no published material (as far as I know) of different schools and their USMLE scores. Only way to go about finding out is looking up each individual school, and asking their admissions or medical school students.
It's common knowledge that every single medical school in the country has above average Step 1 scores. At least that is what they will tell you if you ask them.
Agreed. This info is not published. And as a result, many med schools use that as a license to lie. Or not so much lie, but rephrase the question so they can answer a certain way. Some places are above average, some claim to be above average for US schools, some say above average over the last X years, some only include retakes when calculating their scores so they can claim to be at or above average, etc. etc. So ignore this info.
The whole reason it's not distributed is because schools as a group want you to ignore it. If you didn't, it would tie their hands in terms of quality teaching (experimental things, like clinical correlations, PBL, virtual labs, etc), and they would be forced to "teach to the boards" like the offshore schools do, out of fear that deviating from the group might somehow result in lower scores and a loss of competitive rankings. Most agree (including the NBME who writes the boards) that the boards are a terrible yardstick for quality of education, that the schools that focus on these are really only doing half their job, and that the boards are only meant to test for a desired minimum for licensing (which is why 90% of US students pass). As a result, no school wants to have as their primary target the boards, and have their hands tied to have to produce scores that undergrads are going to rely on as evidence of a "better" school -- the schools want to focus on things that are actually important.
Additionally, it's not very likely that the schools have much to do with board scores. Everyone covers the same material, everyone uses the same review books and same question banks. So how you do on the boards has very little to do with anything your school does and a ton to do with how much effort you put in and how good your memory and study skills are. So to the extent some schools score better, they are winning or losing this battle in admissions -- the person with the same abilities and work ethic should do about the same regardless of what school he attends. The boards are very external to the school. Most schools don't offer any review for them, and no schools won't cover all of the material you will ultimately see on the boards. So the dude who is going to get a 260 shouldn't care what school he is going to go to -- it's the school who selects for him more than is involved in getting him to that point.
Best to ignore this. Pick schools for useful factors, not ones that they are happy to take credit for but won't have anything to do with.
I agree that you shouldn't choose a school based on Step 1.
I don't know my classes average, but I do know that everyone passed it on the first try! TTUHSC Class of 2010!
dude, awesome post!
Congratulations, you're the 1,000th person to start a thread on this topic.
You make some good points but I have to disagree with a chunk of it. Schools have been changing quite a bit in the last few years, and I could tell the difference between schools during my interviews. Although most schools cover the same material, they methods vary greatly from school to school.
A good indicator of whether scores are based solely on a smart student body or the school's curriculum is whether or not changes in the curriculum have made a direct impact on the scores of students.
I can really only speak for USC: After changing the curriculum, their average improved from a 220 to 233 in roughly 4-5 years. Such a dramatic change can be attributed to changes made in their curriculum since the composition of their student body did not change very much. The same CANNOT be said for other medical schools since many schools' average Step 1 score hover around the mean despite curricular changes. Also, I agree that most schools do not offer review courses, but many in fact do.
In short, I don't think choosing a school based on their board score is a good idea, but a good mean score can be a good indicator of the strength of a student body and strength of the program.
Again, if they changed the curriculum in the attempt to better train physicians, and the board scores were perceived to have gone up or down, this is EXACTLY why places don't want board scores published. They need the freedom to make these changes, because the board scores are NOT a good litmus for quality of education - passing is an expected minimum, but any number above passing was never intended to be used to suggest anything, and probably doesn't. The NBME is working furiously to revamp the boards to stop people/residencies from using these scores in this way, because it's such a bad yardstick, and was never intended as such. A school could teach to the boards, and end up horrible clinicians, or vice versa. Such is the danger with setting an objective minimum -- people still want to measure and see whose is bigger. It's unlikely that revamps of curriculum have a direct effect on board scores -- you can't really know because every class that takes Step 1 is different and you run into a lot of true - true and unrelated issues. One year the admissions guys do their job well and in another not as well, and suddenly you are blaming PBL for the drop off. There's no good data to support this -- there simply can't be because the class isn't fungible -- each year is going to be 100% different. (and FWIW, your numbers are as dubious as any considering this is not publicized anywhere legit, and all schools make claims that cannot be verified -- you cannot buy into this kind of data, be it the supposed numbers of USC or of those schools you claim hover around the mean -- not published anywhere legit means you don't know and are relying on somebody making stuff up).
People - don't rely on this to pick a school. The schools are selecting you as someone who will score well, you aren't selecting a school that will help you score well. This is something very external to the school, in which the school probably can't make much impact beyond perhaps giving you an extra week or two over the summer to study. You are going to do well or not on this test depending on your own abilities, determination, memory, and discipline. Everyone uses the same First Aid, question banks, and all med schools will have covered all the material you are likely to find on the test in some fashion, whether in the same or different style. Doesn't matter how -- that is going to be basic overview upon which you build your studying during the six weeks or so you spend going through the board reviews and qbanks.
I agree with Law2Doc. I doubt that your academic experiences at your school are going to make much difference. I am taking Step One in June. My score is really dependant upon me, and how well I prepare. I have 6 weeks, how I spend that 6 weeks, and my own skills as a test taker, will determine how well I do. I like my school, but really, my score and my success rests on my shoulders, all of the med schools give you the information that you need to do well, but you have to do the work, and, folks, have varying abilities as test takers.
Plus, by the time many of you matriculate the NBME is likely to have changed the boards to a 2-step licensing exam (one in medical school after 3rd year, one in residency). So the relevance of STEP1 scores in that new environment is even more questionable.
I talk with interviewees once in a while during their lunch for the student perspective and I always tell them that medical school is all about how much you put into it. There is no secret that Harvard or Hopkins has that others schools don't. We all learn the SAME material from the SAME books. Your step 1 score really reflects on how well YOU learned the material taught to you for the first two years and subsequent review.
If you go to Harvard and don't pay attention during classes and slack off for two years, you are not going to ace the boards.
So, Law2Doc is 100% correct.
Yea, in the past week.
I love my school, I feel like I've received a solid foundation...
That said, will my score be any different than if I'd gone to a school that had presented the material in a slightly different manner? Probably not.
That is what everyone always says, then 3 years down the road it is exactly the same. There is always some speculation out there that is never correct.
Yeah, no f%%$ing way your average is 233.
Well, I got my info from the USMLE website -- posted in June 2008:
"...We anticipate that the entire (redesign) process will take a minimum of four years and quite possibly longer before it will impact any test-takers..."
Just saying that people entering medical school a couple of years from now might have a very different structure than what we have now. Many medical schools faculties are already investigating curriculum changes to accommodate a new licensing exam -- I know it's on the radar at my school.
yeah...the dean of admissions at a school at which I interviewed said the same thing during his intro in the morning
I think it's going to take longer than they project, but it will happen eventually. The NBME has published proposals, agendas and timelines, and this has been vetted and discussed in a couple of meetings -- it's beyond simply a rumor. I'd say the folks on the high school board are the ones most likely to see the changes. I don't know if they will like them though, because that just means residencies are going to focus on or require something else (very possibly worse than Step 1).
True. Step 1 isn't fun but it is fair. Some of the other measures of a medical student can be random, too subjective, or even political.
I'm pretty sure the numbers I reported are not 'perceived' or dubious, seeing as how they are reported from the school, the dean, and from the admissions records and the school is completely an open book in terms of their numbers and scores which have been confirmed by a number of sources. OF COURSE how well you do on the step 1 is dependent on how much you put into it, but some schools have different teaching methods (integrated vs completely detached from the clinic) and many students may benefit from the difference. I doubt a school that says "our score is around the mean" has a mean score of 240.
NO you shouldn't pick a school based on it's score but it's a sad truth that competitive residencies use your step scores as a 'yardstick'. READ THE AAMC CHARTING OUTCOMES PAPER and the proof is all there.
Too bad it is.
I'm having a hard time believing that any school has a step one average that's almost one SD over the natl mean. Especially without any actual evidence of such a feat.
USC definitely has a 233 avg, it was published on their school health newsletter and they issued a press release about it. There are other schools with higher step 1 averages though. I believe Vandy last year was in the mid 240s.
twas mentioned in the newsletter my pops got...and on my interview day one of the 2nd years I met kept reiterating that fact
But they also "teach towards the boards"
wow, I thought Mayo's 239 was high! Vandy's probably highest then?
why is it so hard to believe? Because it's USC and not Harvard???
Well does he win anything?
As mentioned earlier in this thread, no reliable source audits these reports, which are not published anywhere impartial. So ALL med schools seem to feel free saying they are above average for US schools, or other similar claims which can only be true for some of them. Nobody can check. And many schools play games with their averages to suit their needs, by dropping failing scores from the average, or by including PhD/MDs into whatever year benefits the numbers the most, etc. (They do this with matriculant stats too -- Some of us with graduate GPAs have seen our cumulative GPA factored into the MSAR- type stats a number of different ways as the schools see fit). There is no standard way of reporting a school score, no impartial auditing source. So you cannot believe any of it. Even if it comes from the dean. All of these scores come from the deans, even the fact that every school says they are above US med school average, which cannot be true for much more than half of them. All I can tell you is that the schools have tacitly agreed not to release these scores, and then most of them turn around and put a lot of spin on their unpublished scores. So don't buy into it. Partisan unaudited numbers when a party has an incentive to spin are numbers you cannot put any stock in.
Every other school you might interview with -- claims of 220 or above. Don't buy it. Nobody audits these and schools are not supposed to publish them. It's all questionable data and not consistently derived.
Having a list of average step1 scores would be pretty meaningless if for no other reason than the fact that almost all schools would have similar #s. However, it is important for you premeds to pay attention to how each school preps its students for the boards. You might have a preference in how things go. For instance, at Duke we take step1 during the 3rd year [a research year], leaving a 13 month clinical year between the time we finish basic sciences and the time we can actually start to prepare for step 1. I personally like this system because it gives you an entire research year to tailor your studies as desired. Others might not like this system. There are also schools that work much harder than others to prepare their students for step1. You can call it teaching to an exam, but since these topics are what the powers that be have decided you need to know to get licensed to practice medicine, I'll call it teaching to your career.
Here's a random question I've been wondering for a while: At which stage in his/her training is Law2Doc? He/She's been posting as a "knower of all" since I was premed. Now that I approach my 4th year in medical school I wonder if Law2Doc is either well into residency by now or someone who was posting as an old sage while really a premed/first year medical student. The advice is usually pretty good....it's just an innocent question.
Why in the world would you want such a thing? And FWIW most premeds wouldn't know a good match list from a bad one anyhow (which is think is pretty evident from some of the comments on the Match List thread). A good match list is one where most of the people got what they wanted. You don't rank things shooting simply for the most competitive thing you can get, and so a list with a decent number of ROAD specialties, but where most of the class is unhappy where they end up is actually a bad match list. Or folks getting competitive specialties at malignant programs might actually be a bad match list. And you don't know what programs are good in what field anyhow -- the best places and malignant places are different in every specialty. They don't track the US news rankings at all and some of the best places in some specialties are hospitals unaffiliated with top ranked med schools. Bad idea all around.
I don't care to divulge personal details, but only post on things I feel I have useful knowledge (from experience) to bestow. Folks are free to take or ignore that which they deem useful. Glad you find some of it good.
I was goingto post something but L2D basically said it better than me.
Basically USC, Mayo and Vandy are probably FOS.
lol, was wondering the same thing. It either stands for "figure of speech" or "full of s.hit" ... i'm assuming he meant the latter
Full of Poo =D
i heard Univ of Florida's average was around like 260 due to tim tebow scoring a 450 on the step Is during halftime of the championship game
Law2Doc is legit. My guess is that he is now in residency. If I were a gambler, I would say first or second year of residency. Since he was a lawyer, he probably started med school in his late twenties, so the guy is probably in his early thirties. My guess around 32 or 33, perhaps 34, not 35, 35 would be too old. I think 33. Just a guess. Anyway, he deserves his privacy. He reminds me of Batman. Mysterious. The Bruce Wayne of SDN.
lol, definitely the batman of SDN, but his status says "medical student", and I know he's really anal about the titles because he knows that the title misleads other posters. Definitely not M1 because he's too cynical for that. Not M4 because we would hear him bitching about the match process a few weeks ago. So, he's either an M2 or M3... Definitely not an M3 because he says that he spends so much time at the computer because that's where he mostly studies. No one studies this much in M3, since they're rotating.
Therefore, he is an M2
Props to you for that one, I wasn't expecting to laugh out loud while reading this thread
Consider this, the average USMLE Step 1 score at Medical school X is 240 for the class that just took boards. You happily enroll at Medical School X, study for two years before taking USMLE Step 1. You open your score report and your score is 185 or a bare pass. That 240 average two years before you entered that school really helped you. You can tell a residency program director (if you get an interview) that the average score at your school is 240 but you got 185.
Choose a medical school based on where you can achieve the highest in everything. Choose a medical school based on where you would actually like to matriculate. Choosing a medical school based on the average USMLE Step 1 score of the class that will graduate two or three years before you just doesn't work out well. It's your score that makes the difference not anyone else's score.
Match lists, board scores and other things that are characteristic of various classes ahead of you actually will not affect you in any way. You can graduate with a class where everyone enters derm at Harvard and not match yourself. It's your performance that counts.
did you ever see the "chat" between erin andrews and tim tebow
Actually no, the only "chat" I remember seeing Erin Andrews have was with Rey Maualuga... during the Rose Bowl
whose erin andrews
Separate names with a comma.