USMLE and COMLEX

OK, I’ll do another post for the medical students out there.

I took both the USMLE and COMLEX board exams. I went through the decision making process behind that choice, if you’re interested and missed it.

I figured I would follow up and post how I did. Unlike the posters on studentdoctor.net, I decided I would post about my performance even if I didn’t knock them out of the park. I passed both exams. I did better on the COMLEX than on the USMLE. I scored above the mean on the COMLEX and below the mean on the USMLE. Only 60% or so of osteopathic medical students pass the USMLE, so on one level, I guess I should be relieved. I still wish I had done better.

I have many excuses and regrets about my board prep. I wish my house hadn’t flooded, I wish I had spent more time on the high yield, I wish I had taken a Sudafed the morning of the USMLE. I can only look forward to the Step II and hope I ace it. According to an OMS IV I know, as long as I scored above 200 on the USMLE, I will make the cut off for most residencies. I checked APGO.org’s ob/gyn residency database, and it can be hard to tell. Some residencies post the average Step I score of their residents, but don’t publish a minimum score to be considered for interview. Some publish a minimum score but no average. I haven’t seen a program that posts both yet, and some have neither. One program I am interested has a cut off of 190, so I would be fine. Another program that I am not really interested in, but is closer to my home than many other programs, has a cut off just above my score, and wants you to be ranked in the top half of the class. As of right now I am just under that. Close to both, but no cigar.

I am doing a research fellowship, I was the president of our ob/gyn interest club, and had leadership positions in other related clubs. I hope to kick butt on rotations, including electives at sites where I want to apply, and on my Step II. I have never failed a class or had to remediate.

But, I look at these residency info pages at APGO and get nervous. 600 medical students applied for 9 slots at my first choice Their average USMLE score posted, which is the 220 mean I scored just below, and no minimum score is posted for interview. 200 people applied for 4 slots my second choice. Their minimum USMLE Step I is 200, which I beat, and minimum GPA is passing. No average score for current residents. My third choice (which is my heart’s first choice but is the most geographically undesirable, family wise) had 480 applicants for 7 slots. They don’t post an average score, and their cut off for interviewing is 190.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “USMLE and COMLEX

  1. All I have to say is wow…I had no idea that OB/GYN residencies were so competitive. I think I had the impression that OB/GYN=primary care and primary care=not very popular (versus, say, dermatology).

    It’s hard not to second-guess but it sounds like you did the best you could to prep for exams that were different for what your educational course prepared you for and did fairly well on them considering! I would hope your background and performance in other ways is taken into account.

    Urgh, I hate standardized tests and programs that base decisions on them. What can I say, I’m a big educational hippie.

  2. Pingback: Board scores, driving, public health and applications | Mom’s Tinfoil Hat

  3. Vera

    hello! fellow hippie/3rd-yr-med-student/future ob-gyn here very curious as to where you are applying for residency. of course UNM would be on your list… i’m having a very hard time finding programs I will be happy at with supporting faculty…

    • MomTFH

      Good luck! I only applied in the Southeast, due to family reasons. There are lots of good programs throughout the country, though. OHSU is one I wish I could go to, but it’s out of my range.

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