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USMLE Score Estimator

Estimate what USMLE score you need for the residency of your choice

Ever wanted to know what USMLE Step 2 score you need for the residency of your choice? Even though the USMLE Step 1 is now pass/fail, the exam remains crucial today. Use our USMLE Score Estimator for Step 2 allows you to find out how your performance ties into the residency options you are pursuing!

How is the USMLE Scored?

The USMLE Step 1 exam is a pass/fail exam, and examinees are no longer given a numeric score or percentile ranking. Instead, the performance of each examinee is compared to that of all other examinees who took the exam at the same testing session. Examinees who perform at or above the mean performance of all examinees are considered to have passed the exam. Examinees who perform below the mean are considered to have failed the exam.

USMLE used to provide a “three-digit score” for Step 1, but no longer does as of January 2022. Now Step 2 Clinical Knowledge is scored as a three-digit score. The three-digit score is intended to give examinees, medical schools, and other interested parties a general sense of an examinee’s performance on the exam. The three-digit score is based on the number of questions an examinee answered correctly, but it is not directly proportional to the number of correct answers. The USMLE program does not release specific information about how the three-digit scores are calculated.

What is the average Step 2 score for each speciality?

SpecialtyAverage Step 2 Score (Matched)
Child Neurology246
Diagnostic Radiology249
Emergency Medicine247
Family Medicine238
General Surgery249
Internal Medicine248
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics250
Interventional Radiology255
Neurological Surgery252
Obstetrics and Gynecology248
Orthopaedic Surgery255
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation241
Plastic Surgery256
Radiation Oncology250
Vascular Surgery247

What are the most competitive medical specialities?

Competition for medical residency positions can vary depending on a number of factors, including the number of applicants, the number of positions available, and the specific requirements and preferences of individual programs. Some specialties are generally considered to be more competitive than others, but it is important to note that the level of competition can vary from year to year and from one geographic region to another.

According to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which matches medical students with residency positions, the specialties that have historically been the most competitive for matching into a first-year (PGY-1) position in the U.S. include:

  1. Dermatology
  2. Orthopedic surgery
  3. Plastic surgery
  4. Otolaryngology (ENT)
  5. Radiology (interventional)
  6. Radiology (diagnostic)
  7. Radiation oncology
  8. Neurosurgery
  9. Urology
  10. Anesthesiology
  11. Ophthalmology

It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and the level of competition for any given specialty can vary from year to year.

What are the least competitive medical specialities?

According to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), the specialties that have historically had the highest percentage of U.S. allopathic seniors (medical students who have graduated from an accredited medical school in the United States) who matched to a first-year (PGY-1) position in the U.S. include:

  1. Family medicine
  2. Internal medicine
  3. Pediatrics
  4. Psychiatry
  5. Obstetrics and gynecology

Specialities that have the highest match rate are typically the least competitive when it comes to Step 2 scores.

How long should studying for Step 2 take?

Some medical students may be able to complete their preparation for Step 2 in a few weeks, while others may need several months or more.

It is generally recommended that medical students begin studying for Step 2 as soon as possible after completing their clinical rotations. This will allow you to review the material while it is still fresh in your mind and give you plenty of time to cover all the necessary content. You should also consider setting aside dedicated study time each day or week to ensure that you are making progress and staying on track.

In general, it is a good idea to aim for at least 8-12 weeks of dedicated study time for Step 2. This will give you sufficient time to review the material, practice questions, and become familiar with the test format. However, the actual amount of time you will need to devote to studying will depend on your individual needs and circumstances.

Sample 7 day schedule for Step 2 scheduling

Here is a sample 7-day schedule for studying for the USMLE Step 2 exam:

Day 1: Review basic science concepts

  • Review physiology and pharmacology
  • Work through practice questions in these areas

Day 2: Review patient care and communication

  • Review the patient interview and physical examination
  • Practice communication skills with standardized patients or practice cases

Day 3: Review diagnosis and treatment

  • Review the diagnostic process and management of common medical conditions
  • Work through practice questions on diagnosis and treatment

Day 4: Review preventive care and public health

  • Review the principles of preventive care and public health
  • Work through practice questions on these topics

Day 5: Review ethics and professionalism

  • Review ethical principles and professionalism in medicine
  • Work through practice questions on these topics

Day 6: Review clinical decision making

  • Review the principles of clinical decision making and risk assessment
  • Work through practice questions on these topics

Day 7: Review test-taking strategies and practice test questions

  • Review test-taking strategies, such as time management and identifying key words in questions
  • Take a practice test or work through a set of practice questions

This is just one example of a one-week study schedule for the USMLE Step 2 exam, and you may need to adjust it based on your own needs and circumstances. It is also a good idea to schedule regular breaks to rest and recharge, as well as to review the material you have studied to ensure that you are retaining the information.

Sahil Mehta

Sahil Mehta M.D. is an attending physician in the Department of Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Founder of MedSchoolCoach. Dr Mehta is one of the world’s experts on medical school admissions having founded MedSchoolCoach in 2007. MedSchoolCoach provides admissions consulting to premedical students in the form of interview preparation, essay editing and general advising. In the past 10 years, he has had a hand in over a thousand acceptances to medical school.
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