Ilovewaiting

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Hi all,

It looks like this year people with 237 and higher had a second number of 99.
I was looking at some old posts from a few years ago, and it seems like one year people with 239s had 97s, and 99 looked to be set a little higher, maybe like a 241 or so. I believe the mean was similar that year as this year (~221 with SD of 23), so why would the second number have been scored differently?
Also, why do people who took the exam maybe 8+ years ago and IMGs seem to only use the second number when talking about scores? Lastly, why did Goljan reference some of his previous students who got scores like 92, and 95 as if they were extraordinary scores? I know those are good scores, but they aren't exceptionally higher than the mean.
Thanks!
 

Captopril

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May 10, 2008
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Hi all,

It looks like this year people with 237 and higher had a second number of 99.
I was looking at some old posts from a few years ago, and it seems like one year people with 239s had 97s, and 99 looked to be set a little higher, maybe like a 241 or so. I believe the mean was similar that year as this year (~221 with SD of 23), so why would the second number have been scored differently?
Also, why do people who took the exam maybe 8+ years ago and IMGs seem to only use the second number when talking about scores? Lastly, why did Goljan reference some of his previous students who got scores like 92, and 95 as if they were extraordinary scores? I know those are good scores, but they aren't exceptionally higher than the mean.
Thanks!

90+ will get you a decent spot. Well not according to SDN standards, but if you live in reality it will be a decent residency prog.
 
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Ilovewaiting

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Thanks for the response. My question is more about why is the second number changing throughout years when the first number is staying the same in terms of distribution and means?
Also, why do some people only refer to the second score, while most american students ive come across really only talk in regards to the first score?
Lastly, it seems weird to have 237+ = 99... thats a spread of more than 40 points receiving the highest you can get for the second score.
 

Elfy

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Apr 28, 2007
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Hi all,

Also, why do people who took the exam maybe 8+ years ago and IMGs seem to only use the second number when talking about scores? I know those [92, 95] are good scores, but they aren't exceptionally higher than the mean.
Thanks!
Because internationally and when explaining things to family/ friends (unless they're statisticians or mathematicians) everyone knows that a 99 is good, and almost nobody knows whether a 241 is good or bad. Because there's less explanation and wasted time involved as to what's the max (if it's not 100), let alone other concepts. "What did you score on the exam?" "Well, Grandma, let me explain, the mean was 222 and the standard deviation was 22, so at 241 I'm within one standard deviation above the mean, almost two standard deviations but not quite..." "Stop right there honey, what's a standard deviation? I still don't understand, is that good or bad?"

This is not to say IMGs are unaware that residency programs use 3-digit scores to tell otherwise equally qualified people apart, it's just that colloquially the two-digit score IS the one that makes the most sense.
 
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pseudoknot

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The two digit number is an archaism that is retained because some states haven't changed their laws to use the three digit score and still require a two digit >75. It is otherwise worthless. As pointed out above, it is not linear and everything greater than about the 80th percentile is a "99."

If you want to explain your score to someone who doesn't know anything about the scoring, just tell them the percentile.