Step 1 and Specialty Choice

How is Step 1 used when I apply to residency?

It is the primary factor used for the interview screening and selection process.

How can I tell if my Step 1 score qualifies me for an interview?

This information is sometimes available on program websites but not always. The Office of Student Affairs has program specific and specialty specific information to share with students as you select programs for your application to residency.

What are all the factors program directors use when selecting students to interview*?

  1. Step 1 Score (94%)
  2. Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) in Specialty (86%)
  3. MSPE (84%)
  4. Step 2 Score (80%)
  5. Personal Statement (78%)

*NRMP Survey of Residency Program Directors, 2014

My score was lower than I hoped for my preferred specialty – what do I do now?

Contact the Office of Student Affairs. We track data that will help students, including:

  • Step 1 and 2 score RANGES by successful match by specialty. NRMP only provides the mean.
  • Profiles of matched students by specialty
  • Profiles of unmatched students by specialty
  • Experience and perspective of working year after year with matched and unmatched students
  • There may be options available to help you strengthen your competitiveness for your preferred specialty. Student Affairs and your advisor can help you as you gather information.

You don't need to make a final decision until May/June of next year - you have time to process this information and assess your options, including a parallel plan where your academics are better aligned with successful matches.

Is there any way to improve my chances of matching?

  • Step 1 scores are only ONE metric used during this process. There is much more to successful matching than the Step 1 score.
  • Analyze your reasons for finding satisfaction in your preferred specialty. Can you find these same factors in another specialty? Can you be happy planning to pursue a fellowship out of a primary care residency or less competitive specialty?
  • Focus on your clerkship performance. Strong clerkship grades and shelf exam scores prepare you for an improved Step 2 score. This also leads to strong letter of recommendations and can make your chances of matching into a University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine residency program stronger.
  • Clinical advisor and Student Affairs can help you strategize for your fourth year planning and schedule to strengthen your qualifications.

Resources to use when assessing your Step 1 Score:

  • NRMP - Charting Outcomes of the Match
  • Office of Student Affairs - University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Outcomes of the Match
  • Dr. Singer, Associate Dean, Admissions and Student Affairs, (775) 682-8360
  • University of Nevada, reno School of Medicine residency program directors/associate directors (see ASA for contacts)
  • Clinical advisors in your specialty (see ASA for contacts)