Jul 14, 2009
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Future med student. I like everything about derm, yet I had always eliminated derm from my thoughts when I heard the horror stories about how difficult it is to match into. A little background info... 3.96 GPA college student, consistently 95-99th percentile on standardized tests, etc. YET, after hearing all the anecdotal evidence, I had thought getting into derm was like having 5 applicants in the 99th percentile with the ability of only 1 of those 5 matching. So I thought it was a pretty fruitless case. But then I came across this info...

USMLE Step 1 Scores of Matched Applicants by Preferred Specialty
Dermatology: 240

USMLE (2009) Percentile Rank
240 - 84.13%

What??? The average board scores for those getting into derm rank in only the 84th percentile? Am I missing something? Now don't get me wrong, medical school is difficult, and it is certainly a lot of work to score in the 84th percentile (much harder than undergrad)... but this certainly doesn't match up with all the horror stories I'd been hearing before.

Am I missing something? Or is getting into derm actually achievable? Any comments on the 84th percentile stat?
 

opencomedo

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You're not missing anything at all. Getting into derm is achievable but it is more than just board scores, which is discussed at length in this forum. You have to remember that 84th percentile is amongst fellow M.D.'s to be, so it isnt the same as say... 84th percentile on the SAT or even the MCAT, it is a really good score (yes, a 260 would be better...~97th %ile). For that matter there are plenty of people with great board scores that dont match, sometimes dont even get that many interviews, while other times someone with a score <230 gets a lot of interviews b/c the rest of their CV is that good. As is common advice on this board, don't go to medical school if you think derm is the only thing you want to do as you are setting yourself up for potentially a big problem (not that you said you wouldnt be interested in anything else).
 

werd

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Feb 13, 2004
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Future med student. I like everything about derm, yet I had always eliminated derm from my thoughts when I heard the horror stories about how difficult it is to match into. A little background info... 3.96 GPA college student, consistently 95-99th percentile on standardized tests, etc. YET, after hearing all the anecdotal evidence, I had thought getting into derm was like having 5 applicants in the 99th percentile with the ability of only 1 of those 5 matching. So I thought it was a pretty fruitless case. But then I came across this info...

USMLE Step 1 Scores of Matched Applicants by Preferred Specialty
Dermatology: 240

USMLE (2009) Percentile Rank
240 - 84.13%

What??? The average board scores for those getting into derm rank in only the 84th percentile? Am I missing something? Now don't get me wrong, medical school is difficult, and it is certainly a lot of work to score in the 84th percentile (much harder than undergrad)... but this certainly doesn't match up with all the horror stories I'd been hearing before.

Am I missing something? Or is getting into derm actually achievable? Any comments on the 84th percentile stat?
you're not missing anything, it's just that your impression of the competition was exaggerated. first, it's not like everyone with the best scores goes into a highly-competetive specialty. second, it's not like everyone with the best scores applying to a competetive specialty is applying to derm. thirdly, not all of the ppl with the best scores get all of the derm spots. derm is highly competetive but your impression that you need 99th percentile to have a shot is just exaggerated. more realistically, i think programs are looking for hard work, sociable people, and consistent good-to-great scores in med school.