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USMLE scores

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by geezer, May 21, 2002.

  1. geezer

    geezer Member 7+ Year Member

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    Mar 19, 2002
    Southampton, UK
    I am a UK med student interested in practicing in the US. A number of posts on this forum have mentioned that 250+ is a good score for USMLE step 1.

    Could someone please elaborate on what this sore means as a percentage. Am I correct in thinking that this is 250/400? I have tried trawling through the USMLE site without success so any help would be much appreciated!!!! :cool:
     
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  3. ApacheIndian

    ApacheIndian philomath 10+ Year Member

    541
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    Apr 3, 2002
    Earth
    The reason you haven't been able to find your answer is b/c there is no clear cut answer. There is no way for one to know exactly what his 2- or 3-digit score equates to in terms of what percentage he got correct on the exam. The NBME shrouds it's scoring methodology in complete secrecy. In addition, the %s change somewhat for each exam b/c as you may know, out of the 400 questions on Step 2, approximately 50 or so do not count in determining one's final score... they are either experimental questions being tested for future exam administrations, or they were deemed "bad" questions and thrown out. However, I can give you MY rough estimations:

    Pass - 55-60%
    200 - 65%
    220 - 75%
    240 - 83%
    250 - 90%

    I'd say that's probably pretty close to the real #s. Hope this helped.
     
  4. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 29, 2002
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    Actually, I think that 178 (the current "pass" score) correlates with a 75. A 250 would be more likely a 97-98. A 250 is an awesome score and rarely attained, as far as I know.

    Step I only goes up to 270. A 270 (i.e., perfect score - no questions missed) is just about impossible to get, and anything above a 250 is phenomenally rare. A friend of mine who just graduated from Emory and is starting a Urology residency at Northwestern scored a 232, and that was a 93.
     
  5. abu barney

    abu barney resident revolutionary 10+ Year Member

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    Jul 8, 2001
    I don't think anyone I have ever talked to has convincingly explained what the heck the 2-digit scores mean. They're somehow derived from the three digit. The three digit score based on how you did relative to other test takers. On my test, the mean was a 215, and the SD was 21. So from these one can calculate his percentile rank among US test takers. However, this percentile is NOT your two digit score.

    The USMLE people do a very poor job in explaining what the heck the 2-digit scores are for and how they are derived.

    One person I know got a 241, his score was a 97. Another got a 244, and his score was a 99, so I'm guessing anyone who gets 244+ would be in 99 range, or does this vary between test administrations?

    Theoretically, there are no limits to your USMLE score. The highest I've heard, from reliable sources, is a 280, which is insane (more than 3 SD's above the mean). You can come upon 250+ every now and then, but they're like in the top 1-2 percentile.
     
  6. ApacheIndian

    ApacheIndian philomath 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 3, 2002
    Earth
    Skip intro, Abu Barney's right... the 2-digit score is NOT a percentage score NOR is it a percentile score. So, your example of a 178 3-digit pass is indeed equivalent to a 75 2-digit pass, but neither one of these reveal what % of questions one got correct. And yes, Abu Barney, this does vary from one test to another b/c a variable # of questions are "thrown out" from each individual exam. I was confused about all this too for the longest, but now I've learned to be content with my ignorance... the NBME has never revealed it's precise scoring method, so we'll really never know. The estimations I gave above are from personal experience having heard both the 2- and 3- digit scores of many friends and fellow students who've taken the exams.
     
  7. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 29, 2002
    Didn't mean to suggest that it was a % score, if that's what you thought. Obviously, if 178 correlated to a % score, then it would be 66 and not a 75. It's obviously some sort of weighted score. Regardless as to what kind of voodoo math they do at the NBME, the point is anything above a 230 on the raw score is awesome, no matter when you take it.

    -Skip
     
  8. ApacheIndian

    ApacheIndian philomath 10+ Year Member

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    Earth
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Skip Intro:
    <strong>Didn't mean to suggest that it was a % score, if that's what you thought. Obviously, if 178 correlated to a % score, then it would be 66 and not a 75. It's obviously some sort of weighted score. Regardless as to what kind of voodoo math they do at the NBME, the point is anything above a 230 on the raw score is awesome, no matter when you take it.

    -Skip</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">"if 178 correlated to a % score, then it would be 66"

    Where are you getting that 66 from??? I see... I just pulled out my calculator... you're dividing 178 by 270 to get 65.9%. But this is assuming that 270 is indeed a perfect score for Step 1... where did you get that factoid from? No offense Skip, but I think that's inaccurate. There is no "perfect" score for either Step 1 or Step 2 b/c, like I explained before, a varying # of questions are either experimental or deemed unfair and tossed out. Therefore, the actual # of questions that one's score is determined by is slightly different for everyone and specific for the exam that he/she took. I'm really curious as to where you got this 270 # from???
     
  9. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User 10+ Year Member

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    While I agree that there is a paucity of information available on the web, I know that I read this in one of my review books. Actually, the passing score is now 182 (not 178).

    Anyway, I did find one abstract looking at scores of Stanford students and trying to correlate peformance over the past ten or so years. In that they say...

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">"Raw scores on the test are converted to a national scale which generally ranges from a low of 160 to a high of 270...</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"><a href="http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HRP/abstract/lavori.html" target="_blank">Here's the link.</a> I'll keep looking, as well, and let you know if I find anything else to back this up. I agree (and as I said before) there's a lot of voodoo math that goes on at the NBME. Who the hell knows how they REALLY come up with our scores?

    <img src="http://rockbottomdlux.freewebspace.com/smilies/Ponder.gif" alt=" - " />
     
  10. geezer

    geezer Member 7+ Year Member

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    Mar 19, 2002
    Southampton, UK
    I have a few questions regarding the practice questions on the USMLE site.

    1: Firstly, is this the same format as the real exam, i.e 50 questions per hour

    2: What percentage do I need to be aiming for in order to score very well in the Step 1 exam.

    any help appreciated!!!
     
  11. docronmd1

    docronmd1 Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    May 19, 2002
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> 1: Firstly, is this the same format as the real exam, i.e 50 questions per hour

    2: What percentage do I need to be aiming for in order to score very well in the Step 1 exam. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">1) Yes it is...very much the same format. In fact, you might the EXACTLY same qu, word for word in the actual exam. And yes..50 qu/hour.

    2) Qu books like NMS and kaplan q-bank state that if you get about 75% right, that equates to about 90-95 in the 2 digit score. Ofcourse, as u can see from the previous posts, the scoring system is a source of much confusion.
     

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