Tag Archives: step 1 calculator

USMLE Step 1 Series: What Does My Step 1 Score Mean?!

Navigating Step 1 Scores

So it’s Wednesday afternoon. After weeks of waiting, you’ve been checking your e-mail today Q3minutes or hitting refresh on the NBME site repeatedly, and finally find what you’ve been seeking: the link to the PDF that you think determines everything.

You hastily open the file to find….   a large block of text. After the second it takes you to realize the date and your USMLE ID number at the top have nothing to do with your actual score, your eye catches a glimpse of the following:

Passing the USMLE Step 1 Exam

A good sign! You’ve joined the >90% of MD students (and about 80% of DO students trying for an allopathic-residency program) who passed. Congratulations! Chances are though, the page opened up just short of showing the box directly underneath the pass/fail: your score. In your excitement, you struggle with getting the mouse accurately (or was it precisely?) to the scroll bar to find…..  two numbers?  One of them a three digit score, the other a two digit score.  So…  you were aiming for some three digit goal, but now that you have passed and your score is permanent, what does it actually mean?!

In med school, the right answer usually starts with “it depends.” Let’s start with the three digit score, as that’s the important one that gets sent to residency programs with your application. As you know by now, certain medical specialties are more competitive than others. We’ll discuss interpreting below expected or failing scores in another post, but for now, you should start by checking out The National Residency Match Program (NRMP) and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) document on charting match results.  It comes out around September each year and gives a breakdown of the previous year’s match statistics.  Right now, you’ll be most interested in the section that shows the average and distributions of Step 1 scores by specialty.

Is my Step 1 Score good?As for the two digit score, this is the number that is most likely to be misinterpreted. The first thing to know is that this is NOT a percentage nor a percentile. The former refers to the number of questions correct on the test divided by the total, and the latter (percentile) refers to how well you scored in relation to other students. The two digit score is neither. Don’t feel too confused – if you got this far, you already know you’re pretty smart. The two digit score is a near-arbitrary number, whereby the National Board of Medical Examiners deems the number 75 to be the cutoff for passing. This roughly corresponds to a three digit score of 188. Is it useful?  Not really.  It’s more historic than anything, and the confusion surrounding it is the reason why it is no longer sent with residency applications to program directors.

If you are interested in learning more about USMLE Step 1 percentages and percentiles, we strongly recommend checking out the MedStudentBooks.com USMLE Step 1 Percentile Calculator to help make some more sense of your score.

Congratulations to all those who passed – you’ve quite literally taken your first step to becoming a physician.

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Clinical Review USMLE Score Calculator is Gone… Or Is It?

Clinical Review USMLE CalculatorYes, the famous Clinical Review USMLE Score Calculator has gone missing. Searching their site brings up either blank pages with spots where USMLE calculators should be, or 404 NOT FOUND pages.

But we still have it.

Check out our initial review of the Clinical Review USMLE Score Calculator for the compact version, with a link to the full-screen version as well.  In the meantime, we’ll try to contact someone there to find out what’s happening.  If you should have any information, please post it using the Impressions (comments) link below. Happy studies!

Update: Someone pointed out that only the main clinical review calculator page is down, but that a small version can still be found on another page on their site.

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Best USMLE Step 1 Score Calculator

Part of going through the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 exam is gathering a ton of information just related to the exam itself, outside of medical knowledge. There are countless documents on the internet that overview the timeline and test taking strategy.  Some are reasonable, and some require 2 hours of sleep per night and IV fluids to get through the study plan.

Regardless of how you go about studying, being able to gauge your progress is generally an asset.  For this purpose, I recommend the Clinical Review USMLE Step 1 Score Calculator, as it is one of the best Step 1 Calculator out there, but it should be taken with a grain of salt. No USMLE boards calculator is going to be able to predict your end score with pinpoint precision (or is it accuracy?).  However, this is a rather comprehensive resource that can be used with a number of question banks to roughly track progress as you go through the studying process.  Specifically, it uses NBME CBSSA raw scores, USMLE World 3 digit scores, USMLE World QBank Percent, Kaplan Qbank Percent, and Clinical Review Qbank Percent to generate an approximate USMLE Step 1 3-digit score with standard deviation, USMLE Step 1 2-digit score, and USMLE Step 1 percentile.  Be sure to complete at least one if not several timed max-question qbank sessions for this to be meaningful.  Pulling a step 1 score from an 80% on 10 USMLE World qbank questions may make you feel like a rock star, but it’s not incredibly accurate (precise?).

A small version of their calculator is below, but you can head to their site directly if you want to see it larger.  To be clear though, this is not an endorsement for their other studying classes or materials, which seems to be generally unknown/unused by most medical students.

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