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USMLE boards for MSTPs

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Hopkins2010, May 4, 2002.

  1. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned Banned

    Nov 5, 1999
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Hey guys, when I took the MCAT in 99, I was told that this was the last year they would be valid for most med schools and that I would have to take it again if I waited another year to apply.

    Is there a similar condition for the USMLE Step 1? You take it as a 2nd year med student right? So when you apply for residencies the scores would be close to 6 years old.

    Do programs look unfavorably on step 1 scores which are that old? Or is it treated juast as if you were a normal MD student?
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  3. energy_girl

    energy_girl 10+ Year Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    global community
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by baylor21:
    <strong>Do programs look unfavorably on step 1 scores which are that old? Or is it treated juast as if you were a normal MD student?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I've never heard of residency programs looking down upon older Step 1 scores. Most MSTs take the Step 1 right after second year along with their med school classmates (although at most schools, the option to wait a year or more exists as well). Graduating seniors I have talked to never mentioned the old Step 1 scores as a hindrance in any way, so I wouldn't worry about it.
  4. Ponyboy

    Ponyboy Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 1999
    I can't remember exactly how it works but you must complete all parts of the USMLE in a span of seven years. Thus, if you take Step 1 after MS II, and you do a four year PhD and then two years of med school and one year of residency before you write Step 3, you will just barely fit under then limit. I don't know if there is a special considerations for MuD/PhuDDers.
  5. chef

    chef Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    Hi Baylor21,

    You bring up a valid question. The answer is, each state has a different regulation about this issue.

    In your case, if you are attending Hopkins, Maryland's rule is: "Must complete USMLE Steps 1, 2, and 3 within seven (7) years of passing first exam; MD/PhDs allowed ten (10) years"

    Seems like u r ok!!

    Michigan is even more lenient - "Must pass USMLE Step 3 within five (5) years of first attempt at Step 3" .. that's it!

    Finally, CA has no rules at all...
  6. shamus1

    shamus1 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Just to pump up the anxiety level a bit, there is some concern in having older Step I scores. Namely, the average scores have been rising in the past several years. If this trend were to continue, your score which may have placed you in the 60%ile in 2003 might place you in the 52%ile in 2009 graduating cohort. This might not seem like too big of a deal, unless you apply to the highly competitive disciplines such as derm, optho, radiology, ent, etc. The residency application system is now web-based and it allows residency programs to query only those individuals who meet specific criteria. I've heard that a optho program director requested only the applications of those that were above the 79%ile and were in AOA (meaning in the top 15% of their MD class). My understanding is that MD/PhDs on average score 15-20 points lower on Step I than their MD counterparts. So, if you are intent on entering one of the highly competitive disciplines, you might take care not to blow off Step I.
  7. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2001
    Manitoba, Canada
    Wait, MSTP's score LOWER on the boards?? I would have assumed that they score much higher! I mean, the MCAT average is much higher for entering, and the program is very academically competitive to get into.

    Any theories as to why it is lower? Just the time delay, or what?
  8. shamus1

    shamus1 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    A possible explanation I've heard is that MD/PhDs do not do as well as medical students do in cramming a bunch of random stuff in their crania. MD/PhDs are better at analysis and synthesizing concepts than they are at memorization. Others have suggested that MD/PhDs are less compulsive about this stuff than their classmates, either because they have a more mature outlook or because they figure their other accomplishments will make them attractive to residency programs. And it must be admitted that there is some truth to this; the MD/PhD residency match list is usually superior to the match list of MDs from the same school. Some of the MD/PhD match lists that were mentioned on the MSTP Boulevard were pretty darned impressive.

    Whatever the cause, it is likely that if you are beat out of a spot in a hot, research-oriented residency, it will be by another MD/PhD rather than a MD student with a Step I score of 220 versus your 210.
  9. MacGyver

    MacGyver Banned Banned

    Aug 8, 2001
    I am highly skeptical that MSTPs have lower board scores than regular MDs. First off, I dont think anyone keeps track statistically on stuff like that and if they do, I'd like to see clear evidence of it.
  10. shamus1

    shamus1 Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    The blanket statement I made earlier about MD/PhDs scoring lower on boards needs to be amended. An administrator at an MSTP told me that a survey of board scores over a several-year period was conducted by the MD/PhD program directors. The survey showed that the mean board score for MD/PhDs was around 210, with a standard deviation of around 20. This mirrors the scores of all graduates of medical schools. However, an interesting difference was noted when they looked at the scores of individual institutions. Among graduates of the top medical schools, the mean scores of MD/PhDs were less than those of their MD classmates, while the scores of MD/PhDs at lesser medical schools were higher than those of their MD counterparts. Mea culpa.

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