Remember when you got your report card home, and you anticipated the worse, but sometimes it would turn out to be the best. Similarly, USMLE scoring can work out a big worry but are USMLEs essential for residency?
Of course, they are! But they are not the only requirement for a future resident. One would argue that the interview is the determining factor that makes Program Directors (PD) choose you. Still, the USMLE STEP 1 is the first filter for PDs, and the exams are especially imperative for FMGs since they’ve acquired a different type of international education. Residencies have minimal spots available, and many PDs receive 1000+ applications.
USMLEs are the vetting form that probably 85% of all residency programs follow, and the test consists of a three-step process. As of January 2022, both STEP 1 and STEP 3 will be pass/fail. Only STEP 2 CK will be a scored USMLE.
So how does one overcome this if your scores are not high or you have multiple attempts?
How can you get an interview if program filters are blocking anyone under 230 or better?
Should you take STEP 3 if you have low scores but no attempts?
What if you haven’t even taken a USMLE, what’s the best study guide or tutors to help you score well on STEP 1 or STEP 2 CK?
All of these are good questions. There are all sorts of stories of residents with low scores and even attempts, getting an interview and impressing the interviewer so well that they got ranked and may have even got in.
But the reality is programs want passing USMLEs and they want residents who will pass their boards when they complete their 1st year of residency. Great USMLE scores, especially STEP 2 CK, indicate board passing ability. A low STEP 1 but a high STEP 2 CK is better than a low CK and a high STEP 1.
With regard to STEP 1 which covers basic medical knowledge, its advisable to do lots of practice questions to allow the information percolate over time. Many med students run to Kaplan or other tutoring companies seeking for immediate help. What they are not aware of that located in Los Angeles, Residents Medical, has the best tutors in the country because their instructors can only teach USMLE if they have very high scores on their own USMLEs, like 240, 250, or better! Don’t hesitate to make a call to inquire what we offer to help you get the best USMLE score you need.