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what are "competitive" board scores?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by squeek, Jun 9, 2002.

  1. squeek

    squeek Senior Member

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    I've heard a lot of talk about "needing good board scores" for residency applications, but I have no idea what the cutoffs are for "good" and "bad" scores, aside from the means posted on the score report. I know that the scores you need depend on the specialty you choose to enter. But does anyone have any idea what the general score "tiers" are for the major specialties?

    For example, if I wanted to go into orthopedics or neurosurgery, what type of board scores would I need to receive in order to make it past an initial screening (aside from the necessary grades, AOA, etc) for interview selection? Or for internal medicine or general surgery?

    I would appreciate any info those of you who've applied to residencies might have. Thank you! :)
     
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  3. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    It varies widely and the following are general impressions I have gotten. This info is for middle of the road programs, not top 10, not worst.

    Ortho: For many good programs can have cutoffs of 230 or higher. You can still match with a lower score, just not at a great program. I've heard ortho is big on audition rotations.

    Neurosurg: I believe the average is around the mid-220s, so you could probably get in somewhere with a 210. If you wanna be sure, getting over 220 is probably safer. Research is an important factor for many programs from what I have heard.

    Radiology: Probably need a 220 to get your application in the door at many programs. Can still get in with less and less desirable programs.

    Internal Medicine: Broad range. Many places all you need is to pass. However, most university programs in bigger cities you probably need above 210. Big programs like Brigham and Women's have higher standards, a 230 is more like it.

    General Surg: Also a broad range. I have a friend with a score in the mid 230s who got interviews at every program he applied to, including WashU, UCLA, UCSD, UCD, OHSU and many other top progams. I'd say cutoffs at great progarms is 220s but you could probably get a decent spot with 210s.

    These are just the impressions I got so they may be wrong. As you mention, there are many other factors than board scores so these ranges can vary greatly. Good luck.
     
  4. Biohazard

    Biohazard Member

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    Does anyone know about integrated plastic surgery programs?
     
  5. CuriousDoc

    CuriousDoc Member

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    Yeah, How about optho? I heard this was a very competitive program also....
     
  6. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by CuriousDoc:
    <strong>Yeah, How about optho? I heard this was a very competitive program also....</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The average board scores for this specialty have been in the low 220s (as published by the San Francisco Match up until this year.
     
  7. squeek

    squeek Senior Member

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    Thank you--very helpful!
     
  8. med student

    med student Senior Member

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    Hey remind me again what the average and the STD are.
     
  9. bigfrank

    bigfrank SDN Donor

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    Hi, I think that this would be a wonderful time to sort of "lay out" some Step I score ranges that would be helpful to those applying this year or in the next few years... Please feel free to modify or collaborate my intuitive ranges to be competitive at "most" programs (not MGH but decent programs):

    Emergency Medicine: &gt;220+
    Internal Medicine: &gt;205
    Ophthalmology: &gt;225+
    Anesthesiology: &gt;210 (I've heard ranges from 'passing' to '&gt;240')
    PM & R: &gt;200
    Ortho: &gt;230+
    General Surgery: &gt;215
    ENT: &gt;235
    Dermatology: &gt;240+
    Peds/FP/ObGyn/Psych: &gt;185
    Radiology: &gt;225+

    What do you guys think?
     
  10. phllystyl

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Dr. Cuts:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by med student:
    <strong>Hey remind me again what the average and the STD are.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I think that'd have to be either Chlamydia or HPV.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">*slaps his knee vigorously*
     
  11. bigfrank

    bigfrank SDN Donor

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    Path: &gt;185 (passing score or better)
     
  12. lrg

    lrg Junior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by med student:
    <strong>Hey remind me again what the average and the STD are.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Direct from my Step 1 score report last year...

    "For recent administrations, the mean and standard deviation for first-time examinees from U.S. and Canadian medical schools are approximately 215 and 21, respectively, with most scores falling between 152 and 278."
     
  13. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by bigfrank:
    <strong>
    ENT: &gt;235
    What do you guys think?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I wouldn't say greater than 235...maybe a score greater gives you a better chance of matching, but you certainly don't need greater than 235 to match.

    According to the SF Match statistics, the average score of someone who matched was 234 (no SD given) and the average score of someone who DIDN'T match was 213 (no SD given).

    You can draw your own conclusions, but the the better programs will obviously take only those with the higher Step I scores. But, places are getting more selective. Boston Medical (BU), for instance, was the only program to publically announce (at the interview) the average scores of people they invited for an interview, and it was 238. Boston Medical is a solid program, but not great.

    I'm sure it's this way for every specialty. I think an appropriate note would be that your suggestion of scores would allow the candidates to feel more comfortable about their application to those various specialties, but it is by no means a guarantee.
     
  14. i_bite

    i_bite Member

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    Hey! Let's not forget urology!
     
  15. Grohaila

    Grohaila Junior Member

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    ObGyn 185?
    That far the mighty have fallen?
    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
     
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  17. Future EM?

    Future EM? Member

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    220+ for EM? Will I get interviews with a 218? What places might be good to shoot for? Thanks.
     
  18. DuneHog

    DuneHog Senior Member

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    With a board score of 218 you are basically screwed. Consider correctional medicine.
     
  19. Goofy

    Goofy Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Future EM?:
    <strong>220+ for EM? Will I get interviews with a 218? What places might be good to shoot for? Thanks.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">You will get tons of interviews. Just apply to tons of programs. While interest in EM remains strong, it has actually experienced a bit of a decline in the past years all the while slots increased. US grads do exceptionally well in matching in EM. While plenty of people apply, there are even more slots to fill.

    With determination you should have no trouble gaining a slot somewhere.
     
  20. Wannabe_Dr

    Wannabe_Dr Junior Member

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    Hey all, I was about to post about how competitive it is to get into certain residencies, but this took care of it. But now these scores don't mean much to me; what do the scores range from? And how hard is it to get around, say, 220?
     
  21. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Wannabe_Dr:
    <strong>Hey all, I was about to post about how competitive it is to get into certain residencies, but this took care of it. But now these scores don't mean much to me; what do the scores range from? And how hard is it to get around, say, 220?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Off hand, I don't know if there are any places that publish ranges. Actually, I don't know what the NRMP does, but I can say that the SF Matching program (for ENT, ophthal, neurology, neurosurgery) doesn't publish ranges -- just the mean score of a matched applicant and a mean score of an unmatched applicant.

    I can speak for ENT, and the average was 234 this year, but I met people with 260s and people with 220s on the interview trail. Can't say if those 220 people matched, but I'm sure the 260s matched.

    As for your last question, a 220 is not hard at all to obtain. The NBME states that every year the NATIONAL mean for Step 1 is around 215. So, you can see that with a little extra preparation, you can easily achieve a 220 and exceed it.
     
  22. neutropeniaboy

    neutropeniaboy Blasted ENT Attending

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Klebsiella:
    <strong>You will get tons of interviews. Just apply to tons of programs. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I met this woman on the ENT trail who applied to 60 programs. Cost her about $1400 she said.

    Crazy stuff, man. Insane woman.
     
  23. squeek

    squeek Senior Member

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    This year the score report says the same: mean 215, standard deviation 21, standard error of the mean 6. Just got my scores in the mail! :)
     
  24. scully

    scully Senior Member

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    Three years later -- any update on these estimates? How about Neuro?
    What about Step 2 -- does anyone care?
     
  25. Smurfette

    Smurfette Antagonized by Azrael
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    3 years later, I think EM is losing steam and Gen surg is gaining steam. (i.e. average "cutoff" scores have been decreasing and increasing respectively). I've heard a solid gen surg applicant and a solid rads applicant are generally in the 220s. EM is probably now in the 210-215 range (higher for "better" programs; in contrast, in my class there were several people with scores sub-200 who matched EM). Neurosurg 225 ish, rad-onc 240+. I'd still agree with the above post for the rest though.

    However, there are people applying to every specialty with really low scores and really high scores, and I know my class had some people match into very competitive residencies with not-so-hot boards scores.
     
  26. RonaldColeman

    RonaldColeman Senior Member

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    Of course, if you're in Cali, add, oh, 20-30 pts to each of those!

    Multiple ortho hopefuls in my class have told me that Cali ortho programs have a 250 minimum just to do a 4th year elective at the school.

    Loma Linda's average USMLE for anasthesia last year was 235; radiology >240 (and there is major in-breeding in these programs so you can only imagine what the USMLE requirements for non-LLU students are).
    USMLE cutoff just for an interview at Loma Linda derm was >260 and they still had >100 applicants.
     
  27. Long Dong

    Long Dong My middle name is Duc.

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    This seems very high. :eek:
     
  28. RonaldColeman

    RonaldColeman Senior Member

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    I'm more sure about that than any of the other numbers I posted...In fact, the specific number I was quoted by the residency director himself was 267 minimum for an interview if you do not attend the school. Of course, the school usually matches one of its own...generally in the 250 range from what I hear.
     
  29. WatchingWaiting

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    I think this post is so obviously BS that it's supposed to be a joke. But, in case it's not... A > 260 Step 1 score is the top 2-3% (~2 SD above the mean) of med students. Given 15,000 annual MD graduates, there are all of 300-450 who achieved a 260 or higher. Do you really want to argue that 1/3 of them applied for derm at loma linda? Puh-lease!
     
  30. RonaldColeman

    RonaldColeman Senior Member

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    No joke. I stand by the numbers I posted. Cali programs are insanely competitive. I do admit that the derm cut-off is ridiculously high, so I will ask again...
     
  31. WatchingWaiting

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    Well, UCSF's posted radiology cut-off is a 240, and it's not an absolute cut-off. Derm is a bit more competitive than radiology (~5 times as many radiology slots as derm positions probably being a good part of the reason), but I find it highly implausible that a low-prestige school like Loma Linda has a 1 SD higher cut-off than does UCSF for two highly competitive specialties, especially given that San Francisco is not exactly a slouch for desirable places to live.

    http://www.radiology.ucsf.edu/residents/application.shtml
     
  32. RonaldColeman

    RonaldColeman Senior Member

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    I agree that Loma Linda isn't necessarily the most prestigious school. I find the numbers just as shocking as you do. I'm just relaying what I have heard directly from the program directors and the current residents at the school. The averages for the incoming classes in anasthesia and radiology were 235 and 240 respectively. Every attending and resident that I have talked to has given these same numbers. Our dean used these exact numbers to demonstrate that all California programs are competitive, regardless of the prestige of the school. Also, the 235 and 240 aren't cut-offs; these were the averages for the incoming classes. My guess is that the UCSF averages are even higher.
     

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