Step 2 CK Match Averages by Specialty

Included in this post is a table summarizing the USMLE Step 2 averages for each specialty in the 2011 Residency Match. The information was reported by specialty in the NRMP Charting Outcomes in the Match 2011.

Step 2 CK scores averages were highest in Dermatology and Otolaryngology, both in the 250s, followed closely by Plastic Surgery with an average of 249. Not far behind fell Diagnostic Radiology, Radiation Oncology, and then Med/Peds. Surprisingly, Neurosurgery was not among the highest Step 2 CK averages in the match, nor was it in the 2009 match (average = 237). There are several other factors that may play into choosing Neurosurgery applicants, such as involvement in research, MD/PhD track, and AOA status, which bear a closer look.

Independent applicant averages often appear lower than U.S. Senior applicant averages, but the number of matches is lower and the pool includes graduates and re-applicants that have taken time to do research, pursue degrees, and complete graduate training, in order to better prepare them for residency positions.

How does this affect me?

If you would like to discuss what makes an applicant competitive in a particular specialty, contact us to review all the factors that are researched by specialty and reported by the NRMP in their several publications, along with reports from research, residents, and program directors.

Carefully look over the NRMP Charting Outcomes in the Match 2011 and Results of the 2012 Program Directors Survey for information on how to shape your academic, research, and leadership profile to increase your chances for matching in the specialty of your choice. It is also useful to help you determine if your profile is strong enough to match in the specialty of your choice or if you are not as solid of an applicant as you hoped and need a backup plan.

Remember that these are averages and that several students that received interviews and matched scored below the Step 2 scores reported in the chart provided. It is very important to look at the NRMP Charting Outcomes in the Match 2011 in your specialty of interest and study the range of scores to determine how your score impacts your residency application.

Step 2 Averages for the NRMP 2011 Match

U.S Seniors Independent Applicants
Specialty Matched Unmatched Matched Unmatched
Anesthesiology 235 209 231 216
Dermatology 253 234 235 228
Diag Radiology 245 214 234 222
Emergency Med 234 214 223 212
Family Med 225 205 208 202
Gen Surgery 238 216 232 222
Internal Med 237 220 228 214
Internal Med/Peds 242 224 221 217
Neurosurgery 241 221 229 222
Neurology 233 212 227 216
Obstetrics & Gynecology 233 210 223 212
Orthopaedic Surgery 233 210 223 212
Otolaryngology 250 235 240 225
Pathology 233 203 225 210
Pediatrics 234 215 221 209
Physical Med & Rehab 224 200 213 205
Plastic Surgery 249 242 223 225
Psychiatry 225 200 211 203
Radiation Oncology 244 222 246 216
Transitional Year NA NA NA NA

References

NRMP publication, Charting Outcomes in the Match, 2011

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3 Responses to “Step 2 CK Match Averages by Specialty”

  1. redjack says:

    Does Step 2 CK score matter after obtaining an interview? Will a submitted score before rank lists are due affect the institution's ranking of a candidate?

    • DIT Team says:

      Congratulations on getting those interviews!! Your board scores, academic profile, leadership and other accomplishments got you in the door. The Step 2 CK scores do matter in making applicant choice decisions at the vast majority of residency programs and are becoming increasingly important. The more data a program director has about an applicant, the easier it is to make a decision about how well he will fit it with the program. However, remember, if you have earned an interview, then you are 3/4 of the way to a position. Step 2 is just one final piece. Do great on your interview and the Step 2 score should not be a huge issue.

      The importance of the Step 2 scores varies from program to program, but programs rarely publish how they rank students and by what criteria. Choosing a few residents among thousands of applicants is a very complicated process and to publish a list of criteria would not fairly represent the qualifications of their residents or their program. They look at your letters of recommendation, your MSPE comments on clerkships and unique characteristics, your leadership, research experience, your grades, Step 1 score, and other components of your application. They will be spending the next several years training you so they expend great effort into choosing their residents. If you have an interview you have done a great job on all of the above. Now your next step is to emphasize how wonderful you will be to have on their team.

      Submitting a Step 2 score before rank lists are due may affect the institutions ranking of a candidate, but the majority of NRMP participating residency programs are requiring Step 2 CK and CS scores in order to be included in ranking. Subsequently, medical school programs have adopted policies that require students to complete Step 2 CK and CS prior to January. If you are concerned about your score affecting your ranking, compensate for it during your interview by emphasizing your clerkship grades, especially on the rotations related to your specialty. Assure them that you will not have any problems passing your specialty exams during residency.

      Good luck on your interviews. Dr Mancuso

    • DIT Team says:

      Congratulations on getting those interviews!! Your board scores, academic profile, leadership and other accomplishments got you in the door. The Step 2 CK scores do matter in making applicant choice decisions at the vast majority of residency programs and are becoming increasingly important. The more data a program director has about an applicant, the easier it is to make a decision about how well he will fit it with the program. However, remember, if you have earned an interview, then you are 3/4 of the way to a position. Step 2 is just one final piece. Do great on your interview and the Step 2 score should not be a huge issue.

      The importance of the Step 2 scores varies from program to program, but programs rarely publish how they rank students and by what criteria. Choosing a few residents among thousands of applicants is a very complicated process and to publish a list of criteria would not fairly represent the qualifications of their residents or their program. They look at your letters of recommendation, your MSPE comments on clerkships and unique characteristics, your leadership, research experience, your grades, Step 1 score, and other components of your application. They will be spending the next several years training you so they expend great effort into choosing their residents. If you have an interview you have done a great job on all of the above. Now your next step is to emphasize how wonderful you will be to have on their team.

      Submitting a Step 2 score before rank lists are due may affect the institutions ranking of a candidate, but the majority of NRMP participating residency programs are requiring Step 2 CK and CS scores in order to be included in ranking. Subsequently, medical school programs have adopted policies that require students to complete Step 2 CK and CS prior to January. If you are concerned about your score affecting your ranking, compensate for it during your interview by emphasizing your clerkship grades, especially on the rotations related to your specialty. Assure them that you will not have any problems passing your specialty exams during residency.

      Good luck on your interviews. Dr Mel

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