Now USMLE Step I Is Pass-Fail, What Do I Need To Do?
Question About Pass-Fail Step I USMLE:
I’m going to be starting medical school this coming August and was interested in DR. Still, with Step 1 becoming Pass-Fail, I am not sure how to strengthen my application to Radiology Residencies. Do program directors value research/community research more than other metrics? Step 2 will likely become the new objective score by which program directors may filter applicants. I was looking for any other advice you might have for applying to a Radiology Residency once Step 1 becomes Pass/Fail.
First of all, I will direct you to my article on this topic called USMLE Step 1 New Pass/Fail Grading-Winners and Losers From A Program Director’s Perspective! – RadsResident
That should give you a bit of background on what I think will happen over the next few years. But, in your particular case, for a typical applicant from a regular U.S. Medical School, the most important criteria for acceptance to a program is and will continue to be the dean’s letter. So, anything that you can do to boost your performance in medical school will help the most.
As you have alluded to, the USMLE step II will continue to be important as long as there is a significant correlation between testing scores and the core examination. So, programs will most likely continue to use USMLE step II scores because they will most likely have some relationship with test-taking abilities. That will ensure that the residents in the program are more likely to pass the core exam. (Not that I like either the USMLE or the core exams in particular!)
Once you have taken these factors out of the equation, research becomes essential. Why? Because it shows that you are interested in radiology and took the time to complete a project to prove it. And, then all the other tangible and intangible factors play a role in our decision for acceptance (recommendations, other extracurriculars, interviews). And lastly, the personal statement is the least powerful of the admissions criteria.
The bottom line: Other than the test criteria changing from USMLE I to II, I don’t see much else changing in the selection process at the current time.
Barry Julius, MD.