idealist

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how much does one's step 1 score matter for getting into psych residencies? i assume it matters more for more competitive programs? any quantification on this? im having a hard time getting into studying for the exam (im messing around on the inet instead, this is my first post on sdn since i was a premy), and i feel a little better since i want to do psych & i know board scores are lower for psych (i know i might change my mind, but the other thing im attracted to is family, which is similar). but then i dont want to keep myself out of a program i really want to go to on account of a poor board score either. anyway, please share if you will.
 

whiskey

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220s = got interviews everywhere i applied, headed to my first choice...

Of course, as an applicant, one can't really know what goes into the decision-making process.
 

sikegeek

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I scored below the mean, even below the mean for psychiatry and I got interviews at every place I applied, even WPIC in Pittsburgh, which surprised me. I matched at my fist choice. I think US seniors that pass are usually granted interviews, maybe except at the most prestigious places. MGH comes to mind as being selective.

Here's the kicker with me- I thought I'd make up for my step 1 score by taking step 2 early. Mistake. I should have studied longer. Did worse on step 2!! :eek:

Bottom line is that as long as you pass, you will more options than you know what to do with.
 

Encephalopathy

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I think Step 1 matters relatively less in psych than other specialties. My personal experience: Step 1 - 250+, with the rest of my application pretty average. Got my 3rd choice, though admittedly my top 2 programs were highly competitive.
 

Chimed

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IMO, you should never study for any of the Steps with the idea that you don't need to get a high score in order to get into psych. You will only screw yourself if you don't try to get as high a score as you can. At the same time, I think it is fine to keep in mind that you don't need as high of a score to get into a good psych program if that helps allevieate test taking stress (I always thought about this everytime I started freaking out :D). Like you said, you may end up changing your mind and want to go into derm, or some bizarre speciality like that. Your Step scores are only one of many factors that will be looked at.

Personally, standarized exams are not my strong point. Both my Step 1 and 2 scores were below average. But I had excellent LOR and research experience in psych. I got interviews at every program I applied to.
 

silas2642

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I think Step 1 matters relatively less in psych than other specialties. My personal experience: Step 1 - 250+, with the rest of my application pretty average. Got my 3rd choice, though admittedly my top 2 programs were highly competitive.
Where did you match, encelphalopathy, if you mind me asking?
 

espaceLumiere

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I've been told that if you don't fail anything, don't have anything really horrible on your application, and graduate from a US med school, you'll get into a program. And at my school, they prefer to keep there own and I got the impression that if do the above, I'm pretty much guaranteed a spot. Which I hope is the truth, but I'm just going to pretend that psych is as competitive as anything else out there and hope for the best.
 

cactuscactuswoo

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I'm sorry, idealist, but I don't get it. Are you hoping to have your suspicions about psych being an easy match confirmed so you can shirk studying with a clear conscience? Are you looking for motivation TO study? The very fact that you made the post suggests that you know you really SHOULD be studying, so live up to your name and get to learnin' already! But in case you still wanna know:

Psych is indeed a pretty easy match. Interviews feel more like being recruited. I just matched at my first choice and got interviews everywhere I applied, mainly very competitive programs. I had 240s and (I think) good letters and (I know) good med school grades. I go to a fair-to-middling med school. So you could probably do fine with less than 240s. I have honestly never heard of a US grad not being able to match in psych, although I'm sure it happens now and then. But here's the rub: note that I and many others on this thread got every interview we applied for. Now, you can always screw up the interview (I know two AOA students with very high boards who had to scramble this year) but the point is you GET the interviews. And from what I hear, there's no (single) better way to get interviews than to kick the living **** out of Step 1. Remember, you (hopefully) only do this interview and match thing once, so don't leave anything on the table - why have regrets? Why wonder during your nastiest call nights, at your lowest ebb, if things would have been better had you only gotten that ONE interview that you didn't because you screwed around instead of studying for Step 1? Of course, things probably WOULDN'T be better at that program, but if you get the interviews you won't have to worry about it!

Also keep in mind two other points - when you hit clinics, you might fall in love with, say, radiology (like I did). I decided to go for psych anyway (I like people slightly more than cushy chairs and big monitors) but I had the option if I wanted it (there's a sub-point here, which is that if you are too lazy to study for Step 1, you are far too lazy for most specialties. The few possible exceptions are generally specialties that require pretty high scores in order to match. A real conundrum.).

Also, you can definitely fail Step 1 if you slack off. It happens. It happens to people who are WAY too smart to go around failing exams. And that ain't gonna help you match in ANY specialty, esp. if you want to be in a high-quality academic environment.

That's it! Go study!
 

pillion

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Average/good board scores will get you interviews almost everywhere, but your interviews and the rest of your application will determine where you get in. Just always do your best and then have no regrets.
 

bama

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Bravo....You (cactuscactuswoo) summed up what everyone studying for Step I should Hear!!!! Moral of the Story is to study hard like your life depended on it, and then pursue what you like most and for me that was Psychiatry. But for me having above average Step I scores, and even better Step II Scores helped me to feel comfortable and confident during interviewing and during my clinical years, which was definitely worth that short time I spend studying for both.
 

xcgirl

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As a baby pre-med who's going to be an MSI next year... what does it take on Step 1 to get interviews at the top psych programs (MGH, etc)?
I realize it's far too early to start worrying about Step 1 and I'm interested, but not decided on psych, but for curiousity's sake...
 

sikegeek

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As a baby pre-med who's going to be an MSI next year... what does it take on Step 1 to get interviews at the top psych programs (MGH, etc)?
I realize it's far too early to start worrying about Step 1 and I'm interested, but not decided on psych, but for curiousity's sake...

I think it takes an MD/PhD to get an interview at MGH :rolleyes: No, not really, but I've heard from several people who said they did not get interviews there. I've never heard of that with any other program, except maybe Stanford.

I've never asked anyone but I bet 230s or better and something else like significant research.