Nov 21, 2010
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Hello. I keep hearing people throw around 230 as a common step 1 cut-off for ophtho programs. Does this sound high to anyone else? The only reason I say this is due to the fact that the average step 1 score for matching applicants didn't even reach 230 until 2006. I realize that this probably varies greatly depending on the reputation of the program, but I would guess that more prestigious programs probably do use a 230 or above, while middle tier groups probably use about a 220. Any thoughts?
 

clayito

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i'm sure it varies from program to program, but i know of some top programs that use 220.

i asked a program director in an interview at one of the top programs (there's a long story about how the subject came up) what they used for their cutoff for offering interview invites, and he/she told me 220. that person also knew of other programs that used 220 cutoffs. i would guess that some of the "cream of the crop" programs use something higher.
 

200UL

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Our program did not use "cut-offs" from a USMLE standpoint. Having reviewed hundreds of applications, I believe any program using "230" as the magic number would miss out on some outstanding applicants. To me I did not see much difference in a 230 and a 260 - there are many applicants in this range - other things on the application separate applicants in this range. Put simply, I would prefer to interview the person with 225 over a person with a 255 if the person with a 225 had better letters from a better ophthalmology program, actually published scientific/clinical papers (and did not simply list a bunch of incomplete projects), and had better clinical grades and evaluations.

In other words, applicants cannot rest on USMLE performance alone.

As always - interview performance trumps all else on the application once an interview is granted (if you are strange or distant during the interview, I do not care what the application "says," you will not be ranked highly by a program).

One cut-off I would use is if the applicant was a foreign medical graduate with no previous work in the United States. I have nothing against FMGs and believe most academic hospitals would never be able to function without their work. However, there are simply too many qualified US graduates for the number of ophthalmology positions. I believe the match rates for FMGs show that I am not alone with such a “cut off.”
 
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Nov 21, 2010
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Thanks for the feedback. I was hoping that a few people could reassure me that the 230 that I keep hearing is a little high. I'm concerned because I love ophtho, and when my step 1 came back as 223, I could practically hear my future being sucked down the toilet. As long as there are programs out there without cut-offs and others only using a 220, I'm hoping that I still have a chance at matching if I make up for my step 1 in other areas.
 
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Nov 21, 2010
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That would be a good step 2.
Yeah, step 2, clinical grades, research, LOR, and so on. Luckily step 1 is only one component of the application, so as long as I can get past the initial step 1 screen that some programs use I think I should be ok.
 
Nov 20, 2010
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Thanks for the feedback. I was hoping that a few people could reassure me that the 230 that I keep hearing is a little high. I'm concerned because I love ophtho, and when my step 1 came back as 223, I could practically hear my future being sucked down the toilet. As long as there are programs out there without cut-offs and others only using a 220, I'm hoping that I still have a chance at matching if I make up for my step 1 in other areas.
That's ok. You can still probably apply to ENT or dermatology. :love: