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Are there any States that require a score of more than 75?

Discussion in 'ERAS, SOAP, and NRMP Match' started by lsres, May 7, 2007.

  1. lsres

    lsres Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Taking step 3 before applying to residency programs is supposed to be helpful but in the worse case senario of taking Step 3 and passing with only a 75 - are there any states that require a passing score higher than 75? Once you pass you cannot retake it. I know some programs use scores as a screening tool but do any states have a higher criteria?
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  3. Bitsy3221

    Bitsy3221 5+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    The Hub
    I am not sure what you are asking....are you asking if a state licensing board requires a certain score in order to give an MD a license in that state? Or are you asking if a residency program wants to see a certain score before they will consider an applicant?

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
  4. lsres

    lsres Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    I know that some programs have a minimum cutoff score for the USMLE as a screening tool. My problem is that I took Step 3 to improve my application in 2006 but just passed it - I am a US FMG with an average step 1 and low step 2 score. The result has been no interviews. I have worked with local doctors and have been studying to improve my knoweldge and skills and know I will do well if I would retake it but once you pass you cannot retake it unless a state requires it. I figure unless I can find a state that has a higher cutoff there is no way I can petition to retake it. If I cannot retake it I may never get an opportunity to get into a residency program just because I took the USMLE too soon.
  5. mgdsh

    mgdsh 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    Could you clarify 'average' and 'low' scores, because thats all subjective, and also did you 1) apply widely enough 2) what specialty did you apply for
  6. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    States do not set the cut-off score for passing the national exams. That is the province of the National Board of Medical Examiners. Therefore, there is no state that will override the passing score cut-off of the NBME to allow you to retake Step 3.

    Individual programs may have minimum score requirements to interview potential residents, but this is generally for Step 1. Remember most applications are centralized and computerized these days, so programs can easily set a filter file to only download applications with scores greater than a certain limit; most do not go to that detail for Step 3, since the vast majority of your applying colleagues have not take Step 3.

    BTW, you are falling into the trap of reporting the percentile score. Only FMGs do this. It is fairly standard practice in the US to report the 3 digit score. In addition, it is fairly common to refer to a US citizen who has trained abroad as an IMG and to refer to the foreign national trained abroad as an FMG. Thus, the phrase "I am an US FMG" makes no sense (well, it does, but it is not common usage).

    Bottom line is that you cannot retake Step 3, and any petition to do so will not likely be favorably reviewed, unless you had some "legitimate" reason - ie, you got out of your ICU bed to take the exam. Therefore, you must further evaluation your application for reasons why you weren't offered any interviews:

    - are you applying for a competitive specialty
    - did you apply widely enough
    - are your grades good
    - is there anything in your LORs which is shafting your application
    - did you apply early; applying late can mean all interview spots are closed
    - do you have US clinical experience

    and so on. There is nothing you can do about your USMLE scores now and it may not even be the case that they are responsible for you not finding a position. Its time to find other reasons and make a plan B.
  7. system


    May 24, 2007
  8. Faebinder

    Faebinder Slow Wave Smurf 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2006
    Remember Kim, it's not a percentile score. It's a two digit score equivilant.

    Side note of why they are important: They use them because the minimum passing 3 digit score keeps getting raised. So 185 5 years ago was 76 on Step 1 but now is 75. The minimum passing score of the two digit score never changes, only the three digit score minimum passing changes. It's actually more useful for the programs. E.g. An applicant with a step 1 score of 182 a few years back is probably a 75 which is a passing score, but now an applicant with an 182 step 1 score is a 74 which is a failing score. The three digit scores for both applicants is the same even though one is a pass and the other is fail. The two digit score actually tells you who scored higher when comparing these two applicants.

    Percentiles were not reported after May 1999 cause of misleading information about the rank of the exam taker.
  9. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite! Moderator SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2006
    <beating a dead horse>
    According to the USMLE people, the three digit score is comparable across years. Hence, getting a 175 several years ago was a pass and corrolated with a two digit score of 75. Now it is a failing score, and corrolates with a two digit score of 73 or 74. Theoretically, both people performed exactly identically on the exam, it's just that the bar for passing was raised. Hence, the three digit scores actually compare how the candidates did on the exam, where as the two digit scores would be different.

    The relevant text from the USMLE website is here:

    "It is important also to remember that the two-digit score shown on USMLE transcripts is not a percentile. The two-digit score is a total test score that is designed to meet the requirements of many state licensing authorities. The two-digit score scale is one on which a 75 is always the minimum passing score. However, a given two-digit score may represent a different level of performance if the two administrations were subject to different pass/fail standards."
    </beating a dead horse>

    By the way, the minimum pass for Step 1 was just raised this year to 185.

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