A Common Radiology Applicant USMLE Step I Misconception
Ask The Residency Director Step I USMLE Question:
Good evening. My name is Susana, a 3rd-year medical student, very interested in your radiology residency program. I would like to know, if possible, what is the average Step I USMLE score of your PGY1, to know if mine qualifies for your program? Thank you.
Answer To The USMLE Step I Question:
Thanks for the great question! It’s a common misconception about how USMLE Step I board scores are used to rank applicants in the match. The board scores are generally not about the average score, but rather the minimum cutoff. The point of using the board scores to help with the match ranking process is to make sure that the candidate can pass the written core exam taken at the end of the third year. And, that is really the only role of the board scores. Most programs such as ours take into much stronger consideration the Dean’s Letter, interviews, and extracurriculars once the applicant has met that specific cutoff.
At our institution we use a cutoff of 220 for the USMLE Step I. However, we have made multiple exceptions over time. First of all, if you perform poorly on the Step I Boards but do well on the Step II Boards, we will often ignore the Step I board scores or average out the two boards scores. Again, the point of the boards for us is the correlation with passing the core examination. A good step II score proves you can pass the boards. Also, if there are exceptional candidates that have other special activities, have had extenuating circumstances for not doing well on the boards, or have proven themselves already by completing a rotation with us, we will on occasion forgo using the cutoff. As an answer to your specific question, if I was to take the average USMLE Step I score over the past few years, it would probably be somewhere in the 230-240 range. But, again I think the average number is irrelevant.
Hope that answer helps!!! Again, thanks for the great question!