I am getting anxious about the COMLEX I scores probably due out in the next couple of weeks. Could someone give me any thoughts about how good scores have to be to be competitive in all the residencies (examples of residency and scores please? And, your experiences with the residency matching program? Thank you in advance.

It instead of citing specific scores, it's better to think in terms of "passing", "getting the mean", "beating the mean" "top third", and "acing." Most AOA or ACGME-approved programs for family medicine would be happy with "passing." Most of the more selective ones probably only take students who at least "get the mean." I think for internal medicine, "getting the mean" is pretty much required, but there are probably lots of program who take students who just "pass." More of the selective IM programs will want students in the "top third." Surgery, at least "top third." Neurosurg, at least "top third" and probably "acing." Ditto for ortho. Peds, probably "getting the mean" or " beating the mean." OB/GYN, at least "top third." Psych/Neuro, just "passing" is fine with the exception of some very top programs who probably only take students who "beat the mean." PM&R, "passing", more selective programs at least "beating the mean" and probably "top third."

many directors in passing through on rotations have asked me what my percentile was..this seems to be the standard of comparison at least for COMLEX.. the better your percentile, the more "competative" you are.. remember, percentile means that you did better than x number of people..beating the mean is almost imperative for the competative residencies and specialties no matter which way you cut it.. however, keep in mind that board scores rank below #5 on the list of qualifying criteria for many residency programs.. i stressed a lot over this point...however, it was rather unneccessary given that for residency they really are looking for a complete package. good luck

Just to note -- the USMLE no longer gives out percentiles -- I'm not sure why not -- I imagine it's because the USMLE is on the computer and everyone pretty much gets a unique test. There were some rumors that the USMLE would eventually become just pass/fail. For now, however, passing is getting approximately 180 and higher. Getting the mean is about 215. Beating the mean is getting over 220. Getting in the top third would probably be over 230. Top ten percent is around 240 and higher. These are just general markers that I've been using for myself. Hope this helps.

The mean for the USMLE this year is about 215 . Given that everyone has the same standard deviation built into their socres wouldn't that imply that 216 beats the mean?? One of the reasons they stopped giving percentile scores is that the mean isn't intended to be the method that you are judged with in your residency application. A 200 from three years ago should equal a 200 today, even though 200 was closer to the mean a number of years ago. The COMLEX was a joke and I can't see how any residency director (MD or DO) could take it that seriously. "Hmm, Mr. Applicant, I see you were able to memorize obscure facts and wade through poorly written questions... Welcome to Neurosurgery!!!" Like spunkydoc wrote, the scores are only a small, yet significant part of your whole application. Good Luck to everyone in the process. PS Spunkydoc, You might want to let the residency directors know you are a competitive applicant and not a "competative" one.

If you're a residency director and you know the mean is about 215 and you have an applicant who got a 216, would you feel that this person beat the mean or got around the mean? I just say 220 is beating the mean because we don't know the mean is 215 exactly -- we just know that it's about 215 -- if you get a 220 or above you are most likely beating the mean. Hope this helps your perspective. -James