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How Programs use ERAS filters to Vet Candidates - USMLE/COMLEX

October 7, 2018

USMLE/COMLEX

 

I’m going to level with you. Few programs now or into the future will appreciate COMLEX Scores. If you are hoping to increase your odds of interview, take the USMLEs. Pass on first attempt. This is the simplest advice I can give you on this. Programs will be checking off the list:

  • Do I have their transcript that shows USMLE/COMLEX CK 1, CK2, and 2CS?

  • Is their score above 210(USMLE) / 450 (COMLEX) for Step 1?

  • Is their score above 225 (USMLE) / 480 (COMLEX) for Step 2?

  • Did they pass all on first attempt?

If you don’t have your transcript in by now, that’s a problem. Get it in soon. If you didn’t pass each on the first attempt, that is also a problem. If you don’t meet the minimums listed above, that may or not be a problem. The above scores are the most common thresholds I’ve seen across the country. Some go lower, some higher. Check the programs’ website to see if they’re listed. Whatever you do, do not write them and ask. Writing to a program, especially if they list their minimums online, unfortunately, will not help you. I wish it would, but it won’t. If they don’t list their minimums online, there is a 1% chance they will tell you by phone or e-mail, so it is a waste of your time and theirs. If you want to call to explain, also don’t do that. USMLE/COMLEX minimum scores are almost always harsh cut-offs that cannot be mitigated through e-mail or phone call (and doing either will likely make the person you speak to grumpy).

 

If you don’t meet any of the minimums listed above and are invited to interview, be prepared to speak honestly and humbly about the score. Take ownership of it—no person likes to hear any semblance of “it’s not my fault because…”—and tell them how you will ensure that you’ll score better over time on the In-Training Exams (ITEs) and will self-direct your learning to be fully prepared to pass the Boards on the first attempt.

 

STRATEGY:

If you don’t meet any of the minimums listed above, do not contact the programs. This will not help. I promise it won’t. They will encourage you to apply because they encourage everyone to apply (to get numbers up) and you’ll be out another application fee and a dash of hope. Instead, try targeting newly accredited or rural programs in your specialty of interest. Also consider applying to a back-up specialty that is less competitive but still has a piece of what you love.

 

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