How Does A DO Degree, COMLEX Score, And USMLE Step I Outcome Affect The Radiology Match?
I have a follow up question to your prior question on the USLME examination.
I am currently a 3rd year DO student interested in radiology but I got a USMLE step 1 score that was below where I wanted (227) but a decent COMLEX Level 1 score (591). Do you find that being a DO towards the lower end of board scores for radiology it will be hard to match to a program? I am above most of the cut-offs that I’ve seen (based on FREIDA Online) and am not expecting to go to a big time university. Frankly, I just want to train at a place that will give me a good enough education so I can practice radiology and feel comfortable!
I am just nervous about not getting interviews and going unmatched! But, I love radiology and will apply regardless and see what happens and go from there.
Let me step back a few steps before answering your question specifically about your particular COMLEX Level I and USMLE Step I board scores.
First thing you need to know: It is true that there are a few residency programs out there that may not look at DO candidates in general. Those are the minority of programs. If you have a good ERAS application, most schools will want to interview you even though you are a DO.
Second item: It is good that you took both the COMLEX and USMLE examinations because some admissions committees don’t really understand what the COMLEX scores really mean, which puts you at a disadvantage from start. (You won’t have to worry about that obviously since you took them both!)
Third: DO degrees are being more highly regarded since the AOA and ACGME has begun to merge. The new merged organization has decided to get rid of residency programs for different specialties including radiology that in the past would not accept DO degree graduates. Previously for that reason, a graduate from a DO school was considered a second class applicant since there was a limited number of DO programs. That will no longer be the case due to the merging of the DO and MD residency programs. In fact, you will probably have a slight advantage over Caribbean MD graduates in the future since you are a United States medical school graduate and you do not have to worry about applying to DO specific programs anymore.
And finally in your particular situation: there are probably some large high end academic programs that have very high board cut off scores above yours. But, for most programs, both of your scores would be fine and should get you an interview at many places assuming you have a reasonable application and that the radiology specialty does not become significantly more competitive next year (You proved you have the ability to pass the core examination.) Not only that, plenty of high quality programs, programs that create great radiologists, should be willing to take you at “your board score level”.
My advice: Don’t be nervous about not matching. Be confident with the knowledge that your board scores are reasonable. That is one less thing to worry about!