Some questions on USMLE's .


Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2001
    Thank You in advance for your input. I am way ahead of my game but am just curious.

    A) How does the USMLE compare to the MCAT's ?. Is it all science that you learn in first two years or is there the dreaded Verbal like the damn MCAT's ?

    B) If I scored 'low' on the MCAT and studied my ass off the first 2 years of Med school, will I do good on the USMLE's ?

    C) How are the USMLE's scored ?

    D) What is more important, the Med school you attend or your USMLE's scores to get a good match ?

    Thanks so much.. I know lots of questions, but there are lots of experts on here on this !..



    Senior Member
    Sep 16, 2000
    1. Attending Physician
      The USMLE Step 1 (the only one I know enough about)as currently administered is a 350 question exam, divided into 7 sections, each of which you are given 60 minutes to complete. It's computerized and you can take it whenever you choose. As for your specific questions:

      A) Step 1 is all basic science, no verbal or writing stuff. Personally, I found it more difficult than the MCAT, but there wasn't the same pressure to get a really high score.

      B)No way to say for sure, of course...but there's no reason why you couldn't score high

      C) Passing is currently 182; average is somewhere around 215; standard dev is about 20. I don't think anyone really knows how the scoring works. Just to confuse you further, you also get a 2 digit score, where 75 is the cutoff for passing and is equivalent to a score of 182 on the three digit scale. This is NOT a percentile score, though a lot of people seem to think it is. Got all that?

      D) In my opinion, for a really competitive residency, a high USMLE score is more important. However, once you get into the less selective fields, I think your school takes on more meaning, as long as your scores are fair to good.


      Senior Member
      7+ Year Member
      15+ Year Member
      May 30, 2001
        I have some hope for you, Kornphan. I didn't score great on my MCATs. Not horrible, but not great. I REALLY did a lot better on my USMLE step 1 for some weird reason. I didn't study my ass off for it, either. I think I just got a lot of path, which was something I really enjoyed learning about my second year. As a whole, I found studying for the USMLE less painful than studying for the MCAT, because I kinda like the subject matter more. Chemistry...physics....blech. Weird screwball diseases...exciting! (Yeah, I know. I'm a nerd.)
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