Sunday 21 July 2013

At What Step 1 Score Do My Chances Of Matching Into A Program Are In My Favor?

Comparison of match score thresholds for matched residency applicants
In the continuum of scores between 180 and 270, there is a score where the chance that the applicant is going to be matched is higher than the chance that they would be rejected. The results of the most recent match data by NRMP were analyzed. The scores were binned in increments of ten and then ratio of matched versus unmatched applicants was studied. The score range at which the ratio of match to unmatched applicants was more than 1 for two or more consecutive bins was considered as the threshold score at which the odds of an applicant matching are favorable for the applicant.

The results of this are denoted in the figure 1. The subjects and specialty threshold scores for US seniors are listed to the left of the range bar, while the same for independents (US IMGs and IMGs) is denoted on the right.

Figure 1: Threshold Step 1 score ranges based on specialty.

The following observations are made:

  1. Threshold conversion scores for US Seniors are lower than those for independent applicants.
  2. Programs in IM, FM, Neurology, Psych, Pediatrics and EM have a higher matched to unmatched ratio even for scores less than 180 for US seniors.
  3. The threshold scores for ‘big four’ for independent applicants is between 220-240.
  4. The threshold scores for independent applicants are generally higher as compared to US seniors.
  5. Programs like neurosurgery, ENT, Gen surg, orthopedics often require score higher than 260 for independent applicants.

So how does this help your case? Find out the program that you are interested in on the left or right side of the same (depending, if you are US Senior or independent applicant) an see what score range corresponds to the specialty of your choice. If your USMLE step 1 score is more than the threshold score range then the likelihood of you matching into a residency is more than 1.

A word of caution with this interpretation: If you scored less than the conversion threshold then it does not mean you will not match. For example, for internal medicine the ratio of matched to unmatched applicants is 445 to 104 for the score range of 191-200, then a 104 applicants still matched. Thus this result is useful to apply in conjunction with other analytical pieces of data.

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