Should I Address My USMLE Step II Score Drop In My Statement?
Hello – I’m actively interested in applying for DR residency, but I was let down yesterday after receiving a Step 2 score which dropped 11 points from my Step 1 (230 –> 219). I’m a DO student, and I’m afraid this will be a red flag that will become detrimental to my application for a radiology residency. I planned to address this score drop in my personal statement, as I’m sure programs will wonder why it happened. I believe my Comlex Level 2 exam went very well. However, I haven’t received that score yet, and I’m not sure PDs even care about it. Do I need to apply to a backup specialty?
A Worried Candidate
Answer To How To Deal With The Score Drop And More!
I wouldn’t throw in the towel quite yet. You have to remember that there are so many factors other than board scores to add to the equation of getting into a radiology residency. Moreover, many residencies use a cutoff of 220 or higher on the step one exam. So, you will most likely get a decent number of interviews as long as your other application credentials are OK. (not having those I could not tell you where to apply)
Also, you are right about the COMLEX scores. Most programs do not care much for those scores because it is harder to compare to everyone else taking the USMLE examination. So, I don’t believe that it will change your chances of acceptance all that much.
Finally, being a DO does not hurt your application as much as it had in the past. Now, the ACGME and the AOA are one organization, so you are no longer as much of a “second class medical citizen.”
One more critical point about your personal statement that you mentioned: I would not be so keen to address the score drop. (unless there was some major life crisis that could have affected your entire application). It would call more unnecessary attention to your board scores. To begin with, really, your step I score was not so bad. Instead, it shows that you have the potential to pass the core exam. (what most residency directors care about) Your personal statement would better serve you by talking about all the other issues that I discuss in my blog called How To Create A Killer Radiology Residency Personal Statement. Make sure to read or reread it before submitting your residency personal statement.
Let me know how everything goes,
Barry Julius, MD