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Analysis of Step 1 scores, 1999 to Present

Discussion in 'Step I' started by Jim Picotte, Jul 21, 2002.

  1. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Well I'm bored and have a bit of free time tonight, so did a quick analysis of Step 1 scores from 1999 to present and am including a table from 1996 as well. It's interesting to note how much higher the range has gotten since 1999 which is the first year that the test went to the current computer based one day format.

    June 1999 Step 1 Mean 215, SD 20 Range 170-250
    June 2000 Step 1 Mean 215, SD 20 Range 175-255
    June 2001 Step 1 Mean 215, SD 21 Range 152-278
    June 2002 Step 1 Mean 216, SD 24 Range 144-288

    The range isn't entirely correct either, but it is what the score report has been saying the typical scores are between these points. I know people who got higher than a 255 when I took Step 1 in June 2000, but they were atypical.

    Score Jun-96 Jun-99 Jun-00 Jun-01 Jun-02
    182 NA 4.9 4.9 5.8 7.8
    190 19 10.6 10.6 11.7 13.9
    195 24 15.9 15.9 17 19.1
    200 31 22.7 22.7 23.8 25.2
    205 40 30.9 30.9 31.7 32.3
    210 48 40.1 40.1 40.6 40.1
    215 58 50 50 50 48.3
    220 67 59.9 59.9 59.4 56.6
    225 75 69.1 69.1 68.3 64.6
    230 83 77.3 77.3 76.2 72
    235 90 84.1 84.1 83 78.6
    240 94 89.4 89.4 88.3 84.1
    245 97 93.3 93.3 92.3 88.7
    250 99 96 96 95.2 92.2
    255 NA 97.7 97.7 97.2 94.8
    260 NA 98.8 98.8 98.4 96.7
    265 NA 99.4 99.4 99.1 97.9
    270 NA 99.7 99.7 99.6 98.8

    Yes, I'm bored, but this year, as you can see that someone who scored a 245 this year is about equal to a 240 last year in terms of percentage. I'm not sure what this all means, except it looks like everyone is either getting smarter and/or having better review books/courses to prepare for the exam. This years group of test takers also seems to have a few people that have done worse than before looking at the bottom of the scale as well. I'm guessing that the passing rate will be rising again soon looking at these scores, probably to a 185.

    This could be useful for those applying to programs starting July 2004. I'd guess that if you needed a 230 to be competitive this year, you'd need about a 235 to be competitive for residencies starting July 2004 as all your peers will have higher scores as well. Any other thoughts on this?

    Sorry about the table, I couldn't get it to line up correctly.
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  3. Crusher

    Crusher Member 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2002
    Very interesting post....

    I'm glad you were bored :)

    Here's another question for you. I've heard that some PDs mistake the two digit score for your percentile score (which is no longer reported). Any truth to this? This would be sweet b/c I believe I may have gotten the lowest three digit score possible to get a two digit of 99

    On a similar note do you think that they use the scores as a cutoff for interviews but beyond that point do not compare among applicants. for example, the cut off is 230... then the appliacants with a 235 are judged no differently than those with a 250?? This seems odd, but it is another point I have heard...

  4. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    I would doubt that they use the two digit scores for percentiles or mistake it as such. If they do, I'd be wary of having that person as my program director during my residency. I know that this year for rads, some programs did use a certain 3-digit number for an interview cutoff and I know that at one program that the cutoff increased as the application season went on. Meaning that someone with a 230 who applied at beginning of Sept gets an interview and then someone with 230 who applies in October does not. I believe this was because of the tremendous increase in volume of applications that most programs received (20-30% increase over the year before) and they were caught off guard. There of course is other criteria they use, but I know that the ERAS program, they can select out people easily using score cutoffs, AOA, whatever criteria they choose. After you do get an interview, then I think that you have a great chance of getting ranked and it's up to you.

    Also, applying for residencies is like anything in life. If you know the right people, the doors can open at any program even if your score doesn't meet the usual criteria.

    And also remember, that every Program Director has their own criteria and is different, so my advice and experience only applies to a certain program that I know a bit about, but may not even apply to other programs. You're not on an even playing field even though you think you may be on one. Connections, connections...connections are what matter the most in my opinion.
  5. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader Banned Banned

    I keep hearing about "hypothetical" cutoffs of 230 at competetive programs. When they make a cutoff, do they usually make it everyone that got 230 and above, or is it 231 and above?
  6. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    The only cutoff I've seen posted was UPenn's IM program. 80 was the minimum.
  7. Airborne

    Airborne Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    East Coast

    I'm a bit curious how this would work for people who intermitted between MSII and MSIII for research, etc...

    As I took time off to complete my PhD and it has been several years since I took Step I, does this mean that my 3-digit score or my 2-digit score would be used as a cut-off for the competitive programs?

  8. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping. 10+ Year Member

    I don't see why not.
  9. Caffeine

    Caffeine Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2002
    I can understand why the range of scores would expand to include higher scores, and why the mean would increase, with the improvement in review books and review courses over the years. But why would the low score range also be falling in each year that the high scores rise? Are more people taking the exam than in years past? Or have they adjusted the scaled scores to compensate for the higher scorers in order to maintain the mean?
    Any thoughts?
  10. Mustafa

    Mustafa Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    June 1999 Step 1 Mean 215, SD 20 Range 170-250
    June 2000 Step 1 Mean 215, SD 20 Range 175-255
    June 2001 Step 1 Mean 215, SD 21 Range 152-278
    June 2002 Step 1 Mean 216, SD 24 Range 144-288

    JULY 2003 STEP 1 MEAN 217, SD 24 RANGE 144-288

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