Board scores for top programs

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pedro

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safe board scores(step 1 & 2) for top residency programs? Thanks

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These numbers don't exist. A safe board score is passing. If your application is sufficiently exceptional, anything over passing will be adequate. If your application is not otherwise exceptional, a high board score is much more important. Over 220 (i.e. above average) is considered high by many. Step II scores are less important because they often don't come out until later in the process when more decisions have already been made.
 
Hi Pedro,

That's a question that many people ask and no one can solidly answer.

First of all, what do you mean by "top programs"?
A big-name program with a world-renown reputation may not actually provide the best residency training--it may be better for a fellowship, for instance.

There are plenty of residency programs that may not have the big-name reputation, but provide an adequate volume of specimens and dedicated faculty that are committed to teaching--and many of these smaller-name programs may provide a better quality of resident training than the big-name programs.

With that said, I'll answer your question the best I can.

1. I believe you can access the Step 1 scores of residents that match at each program--so you can search by program for the Step 1 scores. I do not know how this is done--you can try talking to the pathology program director at your medical school for more information on that.

2. My opinion, based on what I've observed, is this: Step 2 does not matter at most programs, they just want you to take it and pass it before graduation.

A step 1 score of 95 or higher should at least get big-name programs to look at your application. For them to offer you an interview, that will largely depend on your CV, personal statement, AOA standing, transcript, and letters of recommendation, in addition to your step 1 score. The step 1 score isn't everything but I think you need an excellent score to get your foot in the door.

People with step 1 scores < 95 may have gotten interviews or matched at big-name programs--hopefully they will reply to this thread and let you know if they were successful, and what their scores were.

Again I want to reiterate that you may be surprised--the big name programs are not always the best for residency training, so keep an open mind.
 
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flower12 said:
1. I believe you can access the Step 1 scores of residents that match at each program--so you can search by program for the Step 1 scores. I do not know how this is done--you can try talking to the pathology program director at your medical school for more information on that.

Best to nip this one in the bud now - this doesn't exist. If it did it would be all over the pre-med and med boards and would be even more popular than the insipid US NEWS RANKINGS threads and all those "US school match list" threads.

No one releases this info. The only way to do it would be to poll every resident individually, and getting this info out of people (even though they all want to know everyone else's score) is like extracting water from solid rock.


And about >95 being a cutoff - this really varies. This is considered by some to be an excellent, competitive score. But other programs lower this and say >90 is excellent. I even heard >80 at one place I interviewed.
 
We interviewed a lot of people this year. In fact, rumor says that every AMG applicant was offered an interview. Board scores ranged from minimally passing to insane scores above 250.

It is only honest to say that lower boards scores here are frowned upon over higher boards scores. However, we look at the entire application with the thought in mind that the board score only comprises one aspect of the total application. If people have other aspects of their application that are strong, it makes up for it. So in that vein, board scores are not the end all be all to one's application.

A lot of my fellow residents and I did not have perfect applications by any means when we applied. There certainly were strengths but also deficiencies. Some of us did solid research and didn't give a f*ckall about our clinical grades and we did just fine in the match. Others did no research and did well in med school. Different strokes for different folks.
 
AngryTesticle said:
We interviewed a lot of people this year. In fact, rumor says that every AMG applicant was offered an interview.


Ummm, WTF? I hate this kind of $#!&. Interviewing a crap-load of people, many of whom the PD/selection committee must know won't have a chance of matching there is just a huge disservice to the applicants. If it is indeed the case that they offered everyone an interview there will be plenty of people (heck I may very well be in this group) who flew a long-ass way and spent a bunch of money to interview at a program that may not even really be considering them seriously. Sucks.
 
ChipLeader said:
Ummm, WTF? I hate this kind of $#!&. Interviewing a crap-load of people, many of whom the PD/selection committee must know won't have a chance of matching there is just a huge disservice to the applicants. If it is indeed the case that they offered everyone an interview there will be plenty of people (heck I may very well be in this group) who flew a long-ass way and spent a bunch of money to interview at a program that may not even really be considering them seriously. Sucks.
I feel your frustration. If it is truly a fact that we interview every AMG applicant, it is likely based on past experience. Brigham seems to cater to certain types of people and I can imagine that quite a few people who interview here end up not ranking us at all. I think the sheer volume of people of folks we interview may be a mechanism to protect ourselves. Perhaps it's a bit overboard. I don't know how far down our rank list we go to fill. But let's be realistic. Some people don't want to do residency in Boston. Some people don't want to train here because, given the institution across the river from us, and based on our respective reputations, they think our diagnostic training sucks. Some people don't want to come to Boston and spent every penny on rent. Some people don't like Boston people cuz they think they're mean. Some people don't want to come here because they don't want to work very hard.

We realize that many applicants won't rank us #1 and will therefore end up elsewhere for residency. Some applicants don't even rank us at all! Hell, look at the ROL of some of the folks who applied last year. Some of them interviewed here and didn't rank us at all. And that's fine because applicants need to rank only the programs they feel they will be happy at. I'm sure many programs feel this way. I was recruited pretty hard by my alma mater's program to stay. They don't know I ranked them 8th. What if everyone ranked them 8th? The program wouldn't fill, right?

Look, I'm not trying to bash on you cuz I sympathize with you. But just as you apply to many programs and rank more than 7 programs to ensure that you match, we do the same by interviewing many applicants to help ensure that we fill. And their interview here counts quite a lot for ranking purposes. We have no issue with ranking some stellar applicant who acts like a jerk on interview day low. Conversely, we will rank to match the applicant, who for whatever reason doesn't look like a superstar on paper, but who we like very much and would love to have in our program. We have a pretty big program that we must fill but we want to fill them with good people who will maintain the good camaraderie we have in our program. So we will interview as many people to identify these folks that we will want to rank highly.
 
AngryTesticle said:
I feel your frustration. If it is truly a fact that we interview every AMG applicant, it is likely based on past experience. Brigham seems to cater to certain types of people and I can imagine that quite a few people who interview here end up not ranking us at all. I think the sheer volume of people of folks we interview may be a mechanism to protect ourselves. Perhaps it's a bit overboard. I don't know how far down our rank list we go to fill. But let's be realistic. Some people don't want to do residency in Boston. Some people don't want to train here because, given the institution across the river from us, and based on our respective reputations, they think our diagnostic training sucks. Some people don't want to come to Boston and spent every penny on rent. Some people don't like Boston people cuz they think they're mean. Some people don't want to come here because they don't want to work very hard.

We realize that many applicants won't rank us #1 and will therefore end up elsewhere for residency. Some applicants don't even rank us at all! Hell, look at the ROL of some of the folks who applied last year. Some of them interviewed here and didn't rank us at all. And that's fine because applicants need to rank only the programs they feel they will be happy at. I'm sure many programs feel this way. I was recruited pretty hard by my alma mater's program to stay. They don't know I ranked them 8th. What if everyone ranked them 8th? The program wouldn't fill, right?

Look, I'm not trying to bash on you cuz I sympathize with you. But just as you apply to many programs and rank more than 7 programs to ensure that you match, we do the same by interviewing many applicants to help ensure that we fill. And their interview here counts quite a lot for ranking purposes. We have no issue with ranking some stellar applicant who acts like a jerk on interview day low. Conversely, we will rank to match the applicant, who for whatever reason doesn't look like a superstar on paper, but who we like very much and would love to have in our program. We have a pretty big program that we must fill but we want to fill them with good people who will maintain the good camaraderie we have in our program. So we will interview as many people to identify these folks that we will want to rank highly.

I agree, it works both ways. I applied/interviewed/ate free food at a couple places that I never really thought I would seriously consider, but I wasn't going to only apply to my four co-number 1's (and I wanted to keep an open mind). Looking back on it, I would've been safe since I'm ranked to match at two of those four programs, but no one wants to scramble (programs can be just as scared of scrambling as an applicant).
 
ChipLeader said:
Ummm, WTF? I hate this kind of $#!&. Interviewing a crap-load of people, many of whom the PD/selection committee must know won't have a chance of matching there is just a huge disservice to the applicants. If it is indeed the case that they offered everyone an interview there will be plenty of people (heck I may very well be in this group) who flew a long-ass way and spent a bunch of money to interview at a program that may not even really be considering them seriously. Sucks.

I wonder about it too. But if you have the time and resources, why not interview more? You might find someone who stands out more than you would have thought. But I agree also that it is unfair to certain candidates if the interview is simply a prize in and of itself. If it isn't going to lead anywhere they should be honest and not interview those candidates.
 
ChipLeader said:
Ummm, WTF? I hate this kind of $#!&. Interviewing a crap-load of people, many of whom the PD/selection committee must know won't have a chance of matching there is just a huge disservice to the applicants. If it is indeed the case that they offered everyone an interview there will be plenty of people (heck I may very well be in this group) who flew a long-ass way and spent a bunch of money to interview at a program that may not even really be considering them seriously. Sucks.

Disclaimer - I am currently an applicant so take all of this with a grain of salt.

I have to agree here- as an applicant it is indeed frustrating. However, I also have to agree with AT that it is in the programs best interest to do so if they so desire. Everyone is looking out for their own interests (which is the way it should be IMO); that is the game. As the famous saying goes "Don't hate the playa, hate the game."

In my experience, many programs like to tell you that once you are at the interview everyone is on a level playing field. I got the impression, however, that this is not always true. As an analogy, medical schools always told us that they look "at the entire application" in the admissions process. And they always come up with some story about how they turn away people with 40+ MCAT's and 4.0 GPA's in favor of the "personable applicant who doesn't have the numbers" because they will be "better for patient care". But we all know that med school admissions is a numbers game despite this rhetoric. Likewise, I have a feeling that residency selection is not all that different. Granted there will be some exceptions, as AT mentioned, that shine unexpectedly at the interview, but I suspect these are the exception.

By and large the programs can't make any more of an informed decision about an applicant than the applicant can about the program (and think about how little we feel we have to base our lists on; you don't learn enough at an interview day and neither do the programs). So by default, I suspect that programs put a lot of emphasis on objective data like board scores and grades when ranking.

Sorry that was a rant, not intended for anyone in particular. My bottom line is that I don't blame programs for doing this anymore than the applicant for interviewing at places they are less interested in. Its all the game and we all gotta play.
 
You bring up some excellent points. Looking back at my previous post, some may construe my response as the "company answer." I hate people who give canned company answers so let me clarify with opinions:

Yes, numbers are important. Numbers should be important. However, it shouldn't be the end all be all. Still important nonetheless.

Yes, we have received a few applications where the applicant has failed Step 1 on the first try. The residents who are taking them out to lunch and therefore have seen their files wonder why this person is even interviewing here to begin with. This was when I first suspected that our interview list may not be necessarily selective. Plus, we interviewed folks that MGH didn't even offer interviews to this year.

Yes, I think we interview too many people. And yes, when I learned about this during this year (having gone through this process last year), I was pissed. When I got an interview last year, I thought I was special, not as in ******ed Corky special, but like I was looked favorably upon. But had I known this last year, I would've felt like a cheap ***** doorknob where everybody gets a turn.

Yes, there are exceptions where people who don't necessarily shine on paper are liked a lot on their interview day and are ranked highly. And yes, these tend to be exceptions.

Yes, even though we try to weed out jerks during the application season, it's not perfect. Hell, they let me in! I'm probably one of the most rageful residents in the department. So, my few years of acting school must have paid off during my interview day.

Yes, none of the above is of paramount importance. Why? Because YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR RANK LIST BASED ON WHERE YOU WANT TO GO AND NOT WHERE YOU THINK YOU WILL BE RANKED HIGHLY. You want to come here? You rank us #1 and let us know. You want to go somewhere else, rank that place #1 and let them know. End of story.

Yes, it's nice to feel loved by everyone but let's face it. No matter who you are, there is always somebody who is better than you and who will be loved more than you. That's life. So join the club and take a number.


drPLUM said:
Disclaimer - I am currently an applicant so take all of this with a grain of salt.

I have to agree here- as an applicant it is indeed frustrating. However, I also have to agree with AT that it is in the programs best interest to do so if they so desire. Everyone is looking out for their own interests (which is the way it should be IMO); that is the game. As the famous saying goes "Don't hate the playa, hate the game."

In my experience, many programs like to tell you that once you are at the interview everyone is on a level playing field. I got the impression, however, that this is not always true. As an analogy, medical schools always told us that they look "at the entire application" in the admissions process. And they always come up with some story about how they turn away people with 40+ MCAT's and 4.0 GPA's in favor of the "personable applicant who doesn't have the numbers" because they will be "better for patient care". But we all know that med school admissions is a numbers game despite this rhetoric. Likewise, I have a feeling that residency selection is not all that different. Granted there will be some exceptions, as AT mentioned, that shine unexpectedly at the interview, but I suspect these are the exception.

By and large the programs can't make any more of an informed decision about an applicant than the applicant can about the program (and think about how little we feel we have to base our lists on; you don't learn enough at an interview day and neither do the programs). So by default, I suspect that programs put a lot of emphasis on objective data like board scores and grades when ranking.

Sorry that was a rant, not intended for anyone in particular. My bottom line is that I don't blame programs for doing this anymore than the applicant for interviewing at places they are less interested in. Its all the game and we all gotta play.
 
AngryTesticle said:
You bring up some excellent points. Looking back at my previous post, some may construe my response as the "company answer." I hate people who give canned company answers so let me clarify with opinions:

Yes, numbers are important. Numbers should be important. However, it shouldn't be the end all be all. Still important nonetheless.

Yes, we have received a few applications where the applicant has failed Step 1 on the first try. The residents who are taking them out to lunch and therefore have seen their files wonder why this person is even interviewing here to begin with. This was when I first suspected that our interview list may not be necessarily selective. Plus, we interviewed folks that MGH didn't even offer interviews to this year.

Yes, I think we interview too many people. And yes, when I learned about this during this year (having gone through this process last year), I was pissed. When I got an interview last year, I thought I was special, not as in ******ed Corky special, but like I was looked favorably upon. But had I known this last year, I would've felt like a cheap ***** doorknob where everybody gets a turn.

Yes, there are exceptions where people who don't necessarily shine on paper are liked a lot on their interview day and are ranked highly. And yes, these tend to be exceptions.

Yes, even though we try to weed out jerks during the application season, it's not perfect. Hell, they let me in! I'm probably one of the most rageful residents in the department. So, my few years of acting school must have paid off during my interview day.

Yes, none of the above is of paramount importance. Why? Because YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR RANK LIST BASED ON WHERE YOU WANT TO GO AND NOT WHERE YOU THINK YOU WILL BE RANKED HIGHLY. You want to come here? You rank us #1 and let us know. You want to go somewhere else, rank that place #1 and let them know. End of story.

Yes, it's nice to feel loved by everyone but let's face it. No matter who you are, there is always somebody who is better than you and who will be loved more than you. That's life. So join the club and take a number.

Oh... I hope you didn't take that as directed at you AT. It wasn't for anyone in particular. I personally don't blame programs for interviewing candidates they are less interested in. That is how the system works; everyone has to cover themselves from not filling/not matching. I get that. I'm not even upset about it. I was just offering my thoughts based on some previous posts. I feel pretty good about this process actually, I was just chipping in my 2 cents, which isn't worth much. BTW, I'm sure that your program isn't the only one that does this... infact, I bet they all do.
 
Look, I understand that programs have to look out for themselves just as we applicants do. I don't blame them one bit for interviewing a lot of applicants, after all they need to make sure that they fill. However, there is a difference between interviewing a comfortable number of applicants and interviewing EVERYONE. I think the PD/committee reviewing the applications has an obligation to deny interviews to people that they know can't possibly match with them or won't be ranked. This may only weed out say 20% of applicants but still it's the right thing to do. Even for the program, I think it only to their benefit as well - I mean why do they want to waste their time and (lunch) money interviewing people who failed Step 1?

The point that we as applicants do the same thing is not true, at least not for me. I didn't interview at a single place that I wasn't at least somewhat interested in. I accepted and went on interviews at a few programs that now I probably don't want to go to, but at the time I accepted the interviews I was very much interested and was honestly considering the programs.

AT this is obviously not your fault and I don't want you to think I'm railing on you. As was mentioned, this is part of the game. So be it. I just hope to match and say goodbye to this process for good.
 
Plum, I never took your comments as being directed at me. Chip, I agree that this is a game. And this game is lame. Nobody bitched more than I did about this stupid Match game at this time last year.

This topic gets me a little animated, that's all. I wasn't upset when I wrote the post.
 
drPLUM said:
In my experience, many programs like to tell you that once you are at the interview everyone is on a level playing field. I got the impression, however, that this is not always true.

Few things are always true.

drPLUM said:
As an analogy, medical schools always told us that they look "at the entire application" in the admissions process. And they always come up with some story about how they turn away people with 40+ MCAT's and 4.0 GPA's in favor of the "personable applicant who doesn't have the numbers" because they will be "better for patient care". But we all know that med school admissions is a numbers game despite this rhetoric.

This is kinda funny to me, considering that in the pre-allo forum there is endless b!tching that numbers don't matter enough. Oh, to be young again.

Anyways, there is at least one difference between the med school and residency application processes which can alter the relative importance of numbers vs. interview: size. If some vapid jerk gets admitted to XYZ School of Medicine, his presence is diluted by the 100+ other clowns in his class.

Residency is a lot more intimate. You and the faculty are going to spend a lot of time staring at each other over the next four years. I can't speak for anyone else's program, but mine definitely tries to avoid ranking toolsheds (no matter how good they look on paper).
 
Wow.. I asked this question b/c I recently decided to apply path for my residency.. But I heard that many programs are very service-oriented and not much teaching (heard from current path resident). So my big question is which programs are really good in terms of teaching+reputation.... I am 3rd yr US med student with avg Step 1 score...and unfortunately no research experience.... Thank you all!!
 
That's a hard question to answer without polling several residents from every program around the country. You will get (often) vastly different perspectives from people within the same program. And unfortunately it is not always consistent year to year. One way to do it is to look at Frieda and see which programs tend to have trouble matching candidates, and in particular which ones have trouble matching US grads. There is usually a reason. Short of that, you can also look at websites and see what their general philosophy is and what they emphasize.
 
ChipLeader said:
Look, I understand that programs have to look out for themselves just as we applicants do. I don't blame them one bit for interviewing a lot of applicants, after all they need to make sure that they fill. However, there is a difference between interviewing a comfortable number of applicants and interviewing EVERYONE. I think the PD/committee reviewing the applications has an obligation to deny interviews to people that they know can't possibly match with them or won't be ranked. This may only weed out say 20% of applicants but still it's the right thing to do. Even for the program, I think it only to their benefit as well - I mean why do they want to waste their time and (lunch) money interviewing people who failed Step 1?

I agree and I think some programs are more selective in who they interview. At one program I interviewed, I think it was mentioned that they interview 60 people out of ~400 applicants for 6 or so positions. I think that's pretty fair. If I have to spend the $$$ flying and staying in a hotel, I would at least want to know that I have some chances of being ranked.
 
I don't know how many are interviewed here, but it was probably about 50-60, out of about 60-75 that were invited and originally scheduled an interview before deciding not to come (as happens everywhere in january and february when people realize they have been to too many interviews). Some programs interview multiple people per day, here it was almost always one.
 
pedro said:
Wow.. I asked this question b/c I recently decided to apply path for my residency.. But I heard that many programs are very service-oriented and not much teaching (heard from current path resident). So my big question is which programs are really good in terms of teaching+reputation.... I am 3rd yr US med student with avg Step 1 score...and unfortunately no research experience.... Thank you all!!
I think a lot of residents at one time or another feel overworked and cynical, regardless of what specialty or program, and are going to feel like service work is being valued over teaching. It also depends how you learn and what your definition of "teaching" is (i.e. to some people it's didactics). Do ask the residents a lot of questions on all your interviews and get a feel for when/how teaching takes place and how happy they are with it.
 
Yeah that's true - you can never make everyone happy. If you have two 8am conference per week, people will complain there aren't enough conferences. If there are three, there are too many and you don't have time to study or whatever.

If you have busy service rotations, there isn't enough time to read. If they are slow, you are not getting enough experience.

So yeah, try to ask a bunch of people or at least get a feel for how things go on multiple levels. Don't worry about a negative comment here and there.
 
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