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someone explain significance of usmle scoring to me?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Yogi Bear, Nov 8, 2002.

  1. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member
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    I'm currently interviewing for med schools and i keep hearing usmle scores being thrown around by admissions office: "our students score 220-something blah blah, which is above national mean". what the heck does the score correspond to?

    so how many questions are on this test and how many do u need to get right to get a certain score? i.e. to get a national average of about 215s, how many would you need to get? i heard one school brag that a student got 260-something one year. did this student get all of the questions rightt or something? just curious....
     
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  3. hotbovie

    hotbovie Member
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    USMLE scoring is kind of mysterious, sort of like the MCAT. It's not a percentage, and I doubt anyone gets all the questions right (or very few, anyway)

    Step 1 of the USMLE consists of 7 blocks of 50 questions. It's given by computer.

    Several things important to know regarding med schools and USMLE

    1. Pass rate...passing is the most important thing, as you can't get a license to practice medicine in the US without passing Steps 1, 2 and 3 (unlike MCAT, there is a definite pass score). A school with a lower pass rate may EITHER be less effective at teaching the basic science curriculum, OR may be accepting "higher risk" students. (If you have access to average MCAT scores, that can help you here. Schools whose average MCAT is 11 per section are selecting for students who are good at taking standardized tests, so perhaps they do well despite poor teaching)

    2. Scores. Usually 215 is the national mean. Beating the mean is considered doing well. >240 pretty much means that your scores won't be what keeps you from getting any interviews in any specialty. Your score may become very important depending on what specialty you decide to go into. Residency programs in the very competitive specialties may not even look at your application if you don't meet certain cutoff. (Competitive specialties are things like dermatology, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology, ENT, Emergency Medicine). (as an example, my friends interviewing for ortho say that a student with <225 would have a hard time matching) And some of the big name hospitals may have cutoffs even for their less competitive programs. So it behooves you to do as well as possible so as not to limit your options, especially since you CANNOT retake unless you fail.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much, unless you are accepted to several schools. Then that would be one factor of many that you can consider to help make your decision.
     
  4. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper
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    I haven't researched the exam format and policies, so my question may sound silly coming from a med student.

    Say you do want to enter a highly selective field. You take the exam and earn an average score (you all are saying this is a 215). Your advisor tells you that this will not likely get you into the program you are pursuing. Can you take the exam again in hopes of improving your score? I'd hate to think that one bad day could prevent someone from doing what they believe they will enjoy.

    I'm too lazy to do my homework yet. :) I'll worry more about this exam when I'm an MSII. Thanks in advance for any info.
     
  5. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear 2K Member
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    thanks for some clarification. :clap:
     
  6. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    If you pass, then you can only take it once.
     
  7. Sheon

    Sheon Senior Member
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    From what I understand of the USMLE, it is not as derived as the MCAT. Of the 350 questions you get, only 300 count toward your actual exam score. The three digit score correspnds with the number of graded exam questions you got correct. So if your three digit score is 215 that is about how many exam questions you got right (out of 300). The corresponding two digit score, however, is a percentile rank (something like the MCAT).
     

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