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so-called "cut-off" scores--myth or reality?

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energy_girl

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I keep on reading on these posts that programs have "cut-off" scores, i.e. scores you need to reach or else you won't get be considered for admission at all. Do they really exist? If so, what would be such a score be for competitive programs? I just got my scores back, and am not happy with them (got about the mean). The rest of my application is pretty strong, but would these scores prevent me from even being considered for programs at all? I'm thinking IM or optho.
 

ktat72

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hey, people say cutoff scores are used to screen applicants for certain specialties, but they do not completely eliminate you from those specialties - although average scores do keep you out of a few programs within that specialty.
 

PeterUbers

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As I've always heard for the competitive residencies:

high scores won't open any doors for you, but low scores will close a few doors.
 

Arch Guillotti

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I had a meeting with the PD of a very highly regarded gas program a while back (visiting elective). He told me flat out that the USMLE cut-off used to be 200, then 210 and now was 220. I am also told by our ERAS coordinator that schools can set cutoffs so that if you don't make the cut, then the program you are applying to automatically screens you so that they never even see your application.

Arch
 

theodore

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I really don t understand this cloudy background surrounding the whole procedure of getting into a residency. We get a score that means nothing percentilewise,we don t get the answers for our test, so there s no way to verify if what you got is really what you wrote. We re not officially told what are the criteria for each residency programm, but instead we re left guessing, speculating, assuming.. How do I know that, in an effort to make students score higher, study more, some residency directors didn t let PURPOSEDLY out a rumor about high USMLE scores, cut off scores etcetcetc?As long as it s not on paper, it doesn t exist, isn t that right?It doesn t hurt to spread out a rumor if there s no proof it was just a rumor.I mean, there are all kinds of information in FREIDA, except for the most critical for an applicant: the requirements,"we want you, Theodore, to fulfill the a,b,c,d requirements, we want you to have a 99 percentile score in both steps,we want you to have a flawless degree, we want you to have contributted in at least 50 publications in JAMA, have an IQ of 200 or more, be proposed for the nobel prize in 3 different categories and having won it on at least two of them.We want you to be more than 6'5" tall, have a bodyfat level less than 5%, weighing between 80 and 90 kilos, we want you to have yellow eyes, green skin, 4 hands and 5 legs.". It s absurd not to show critical info, when at the same time you give out whether parking is free or not in the hospital area!!! Ok, I understand that each application is worth some bucks, but personally I would fill out 100 or so application forms either if I knew the precise requirements of the programms or not.Some times I m wondering whether it has crossed your minds to officially complain about this thing. I mean, if a programm(which may be sponsored by the government itself) lets you hoping that with an x score you can apply for the z specialty while in reality they only take those with 2x scores or more, this programm is actually DECEIVING YOU, isn t it? And I m sure that many of us wouldn t care about the lost bucks IF we manage to match somewhere, but what if that lost application could be used for a programm in which we would have more chances of being matched? In that case, you may have a theoretically brilliant brain, good character,hard working, that will not match, you will have someone who s life will be CHANGED for the worse, and NOONE has the right to do that to ANYONE. Uff, my bp went up now, sorry for the aggressive style, but I can t digest that the country with the best healthcare system in the world shows such lack of organization in some critical fields..
 

Kiki2004

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I would suggest just doing an audition elective at that particular program of interest and just kick arse and show the PD that you can do it even if you may not have the highest scores. Sometimes this is your ticket to get in.

I wouldn't dwell too much on scores...if they (the PD's and residents) see how hard you work and that you are someone they want to work with for 3+ years, then they'll take you...as one resident told me, "it's not what you know, it's who you know!"

good luck!
 

dharmabum7

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Look at this way, you are residency director at program x with limited financial resources. You get 100-1000s of applications. There is only limited number of people you can't interview. you log onto your system to check out profiles of candidates, what is the fastest screen and technically the most standardized measure you can use to screen applicants? You don't have the time to read to read everybody personal statement.
In this case, that this is the usmle score. Program directors have flat out said this. This does not discount you coming from their school or having rotated there, because those things can get them to consider interviewing you irregardless.

I think its important to keep this in perspective. It may be that top program in optho may have a cutoff of 230. They want the best. Yet in the same competitive speciality, there will be programs out there that will set their cutoff as 210-215. Perhaps those programs will look at other qualities as well.

I believe there definately is a screen but I think that there is no magic number used by the whole specialty. Ortho does not meet together and decide on a universal ortho cutoff number. So my advice is apply to a broad range of programs.

Good luck with matching everybody.
 

chef

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hello energygirl, aarent u a mstp at washu? i think i asked u a few q's 2 yrs ago.. anyway i hope u are doing well. if you arent' the mstp at washu i'm sorry!!
 
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