Book Excerpts Boards

Chapter 4 - The Boards:
USMLE Step 1: Its Value, Importance, and A Little Strategy

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Chapter 4Unfortunately board scores seemed to be an important piece of the puzzle for interview selection. I hate the idea of standardized tests, as they only quantify – and poorly in my opinion – one aspect of intelligence, whereas there are many forms of intelligence (e.g., social, emotional, etc…) that are essential to be an excellent doctor.

Realize the exam is to assure basic competence for medical practice by passing the test; it seems that the numerical score achieved after 196 doesn’t reveal much more than an individual’s aptitude for taking a multiple choice test. With that said, my best advice is to play the game and score the highest that you can on these exams despite their failure to demonstrate many of your great personal characteristics. You’re a professional hoop-jumper by this point and you can jump through this one, too. I was fortunate to earn high marks, and it definitely opened doors for me despite my sentiments about their utility. (Step 1 = 270+)

This is an absolutely vital exam. I don’t intend to belabor an already obvious point, but I cannot emphasize how important it is to dedicate yourself to Step 1. You don’t want to get your score back and think there was something more that you could’ve done. Right now you may want to apply into a less competitive specialty, but many before you have changed their minds. Despite initially wanting to do a less competitive specialty, I lived in fear of falling in love with a specialty that required high board scores. I just sucked it up and studied properly.

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