USMLE Step 1 Average Match Scores by Specialty

What Step 1 score do you need to matchWhat Step 1 score do you need to match in the specialty you want? The NRMP just released updated results on the Main Residency Match® (See Charting Outcomes in the Match, 2014: Characteristics of Applicants Who Matched to Their Preferred Specialty in the 2014 NRMP Main Residency Match (5th edition) (PDF, 290 pages). We created a table showing the average Step 1 scores by specialty for the 2014 Match, in addition to summarizing some of the findings contained in the NRMP report and providing general match tips from the   

What Types of Applicants Match In Their Preferred Specialties?

As stated in the NRMP report, applicants who are the most successful in matching to their preferred specialty are more likely to:

  • Rank more programs within their preferred specialty
  • Be U.S. allopathic medical school seniors
  • Have higher USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores than the average student  (p. iii)

There are a number of factors that the Charting Outcomes in the Match do not take account of in its report including; course evaluations, reference letters and the Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE). While there is a correlation between USMLE Step scores and Match success, the distributions of scores indicate that program directors do not rely solely on USMLE scores when making their decision. Program directors want to find the best fit for their program. Depending on the competitiveness of your desired specialty, other factors may aid the director in making the decision to match an applicant.

What this means for you is your score alone is not the defining factor for your match success. A high USMLE score does not guarantee you will be matched to your specialty of choice.

Tips on How to Match
Below is advice from the report for all applicants entering the Match:

  • Rank all of the programs you interview at, without regard to your estimate of your chances with those programs.
  • Include a mix of both highly competitive and less competitive programs within your preferred specialty.
  • Include all of the programs on your list where the program has expressed an interest in you and where you would accept a position.
  • If you are applying to a competitive specialty and you want a safety net in the event you are unsuccessful in matching to a program in your preferred specialty, also rank your most preferred programs in an alternate specialty.
  • Include all of your qualifications in your application, but know that you do not have to be AOA, have the highest USMLE scores, have publications or have participated in research projects to match successfully. (p. iii)

 

Average USMLE Step 1 Scores by Specialty for the 2014 Match

Below is a table summarizing USMLE Step 1 averages by specialty reported in the Charting Outcomes in the Match, 2014: Characteristics of Applicants Who Matched to Their Preferred Specialty in the 2014 NRMP Main Residency Match (5th edition) (PDF, 290 pages) 

US Seniors

Independent Applicants

Specialty

Matched

Unmatched

Matched

Unmatched

Anesthesiology

230

208

230

216

Child Neurology

229

228

217

220

Dermatology

247

239

235

230

Diag Radiology

241

221

235

224

Emergency Med

230

215

226

217

Family Med

218

201

212

203

Gen Surgery

232

213

232

222

Internal Med

231

210

229

214

Internal Med/Peds

233

223

225

216

Neurosurgery

244

232

240

230

Neurology

230

208

226

216

Obstetrics & Gynecology

226

209

223

213

Orthopedic Surgery

245

231

233

228

Otolaryngology

248

239

236

233

Pathology

231

217

224

212

Pediatrics

226

206

222

210

Physical Med & Rehab

220

205

214

204

Plastic Surgery

245

236

224

232

Psychiatry

220

205

214

204

Radiation Oncology

241

237

234

238

Vascular Surgery

237

221

242

224

All Combined

230

221

225

213

References

Charting Outcomes in the Match, 2014: Characteristics of Applicants Who Matched to Their Preferred Specialty in the 2014 NRMP Main Residency Match (5th edition)

It’s important to have a strategy for what and when you will study. Many students find the structure of the Doctors In Training USMLE Step 1 Review Course beneficial to their exam preparations. Our course presents the high yield information you need to know and is updated annually to reflect student feedback.


About DIT Advising Team

The Doctors In Training Student Advising Team offers many advisory services including the following: customizing individual study plans for USMLE Step 1/ COMLEX Level 1 or USMLE Step 2 CK/ COMLEX Level 2, advising students with respect to combating everyday stress and test anxiety and preparing students for the residency application process.
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