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New Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2007
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  1. Medical Student
Just wondering if anyone can tell me what the shelf exam percentile scores are for each shelf (esp IM, surg, FM, OB). My school does not give us our percentiles, but simply posts our 2 digit scaled score. I believe that NBME releases a scaled score and a percentile, but some schools choose not to release the percentile. Please correct me if I am wrong. Is there any standard where an 85 correlates to the 95th percentile or does it depend on the quarterly test groups? Thanks!


Big Evil
15+ Year Member
May 13, 2002
deep within
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I think there are three important numbers as it relates to shelf exams.

First you have your raw which is the number of questions you answered correctly. Then you have the percentile, where the NBME tells you where you fall on the spectrum set by everybody who took the same test the previous year as determined by your raw score. And finally you have the scaled score based on the percentile that your school uses to grade you.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 28, 2006
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I believe (but don't quote me on this) that your percentile varies based on when in the year you take it. An 85% correct may be a 99th percentile score if you take it in the beginning of the year, but that same 85% correct may only be an 88th percentile if you have that rotation last.
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