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Average Step 1 Score By School (Rankings Revealed)

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Do you have a specialty of interest in mind yet you’re not sure if you fit? The average Step 1 score by school somehow serves as a sorting hat to determine whether a student fits in that particular specialty in residency or not.

High Step 1 scores match with top-ranking or the most competitive areas. Average scores perhaps are accepted in well-known reputable ones. Low scores, well I’m not so sure—may be accepted in the least competitive or in which the admissions committee is not that meticulous when it comes to numbers.

In this post, I will give you the average Step 1 score by school to give you an idea of the scores that you should aim for (if you haven’t taken the exam yet) your target specialty or if you are looking for a specialty where you would most likely be accepted given your current Step 1 score.

Bonus: Want to get a 250 or higher on Step 1?  Click here to get access to our free video training to boost your score today!

What Is The Average Step 1 Score?

what is the average step 1 score

In 2018, the average Step 1 score among first takers from US/Canadian medical school is 230. You may check below the average step 1 score for the past 3 years.

Year Mean
2016 228
2017 229
2018 230

Table 1. Average Step 1 Scores of US/Canadian Step 1 Takers From 2016-2018

As you would observe, the average Step 1 score increases per year. This data suggests that the increase in mean scores is due to the perceived competition of students in getting accepted and the perceived difficulty of the exam.

Bonus: Want to get a 250 or higher on Step 1?  Click here to get access to our free video training to boost your score today!

Average Step 1 Score By School

what is the average step 1 score by school

Here are the average Step 1 scores by school arranged according to the 2021 USNWR best medical school rankings. Note that the top 50 medical school’s Step 1 scores are retrieved from the 2018 data.

Rank School Step 1
1 Harvard University 245
2 Johns Hopkins University 235
3 University of Pennsylvania (Perelman) 244
4 New York University (Grossman) 241
4 Stanford University 243
6 Columbia University 239
6 Mayo Clinic School of Medicine 245
6 University of California—Los Angeles (Geffen) 230
6 University of California—San Francisco 233
6 Washington University in St. Louis 244
11 Cornell University (Weill) 241
12 Duke University 241
13 University of Washington 224
14 University of Pittsburgh 236
15 University of Michigan 233
15 Yale University 240
17 University of Chicago 240
18 Northwestern University 239
18 Vanderbilt University 244
20 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 237
21 University of California—San Diego 232
22 Baylor College of Medicine 244
23 University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill 224
24 Case Western Reserve University 239
24 Emory University 232
26 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center 236
27 University of Wisconsin—Madison 226
28 Oregon Health and Science University 226
29 Boston University 237
29 University of Virginia 234
31 University of Alabama—Birmingham 222
31 University of Colorado 228
31 University of Southern California 235
34 Ohio State University 234
34 University of Iowa (Carver) n/a
34 University of Maryland n/a
34 University of Rochester 232
38 Brown University (Alpert) 233
38 University of Utah 224
40 Albert Einstein College of Medicine 234
40 University of California—Davis 220
40 University of Florida 228
40 University of Minnesota 231
44 Georgetown University 228
44 University of California—Irvine 236
44 University of Cincinnati 238
47 Indiana University—Indianapolis 233
47 University of Massachusetts—Worcester 231
47 University of South Florida 226
50 Dartmouth College (Geisel) 227
50 University of Miami (Miller) 232

Table 2. Average Step 1 Score of The Top 50 Medical Schools in The U.S.

Among the top 50 ranked schools by USNWR, the University of California—Davis garnered the lowest average Step 1 score. However, despite this fact, the university has been known for its excellent reputation in the field of research.

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What Is The Average Step 1 Score For Specialties?

average step 1 score by specialty

According to AAMC, here are the average step 1 score by specialty. With this, you could have an idea of what score to aim for if you already have a particular specialty in mind. Check if yours fit your ideal specialty.

Specialty 2017-2018 2018-2019
Anesthesiology 230.6 230.6
Child Neurology 227.3 228.6
Emergency Medicine 232.5 231.1
Family Medicine 216.7 215.9
Internal Medicine (Preliminary) 236.2 235.4
Internal Medicine (Categorical) 231.8 230.4
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics 231.4 234
Neurological Surgery 243.3 243.7
Neurology 229.6 230
Obstetrics and Gynecology 227.9 228.4
Orthopedic Surgery 245.5 246.2
Otolaryngology 246.8 246.7
Pathology: Anatomic and Clinical 227.3 227.5
Pediatrics 227.2 226
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 223.8 224.9
Plastic Surgery Integrated 246.1 246.5
Psychiatry 220.5 221.4
Surgery (General) 232 233
Thoracic Surgery: Integrated 242.3 244.1
Vascular Surgery: Integrated 235.2 237.6

Table 3. Average Step 1 Scores By Specialty

Here’s also a link to my previous post on the average Step 1 score.

Bonus: Want to get a 250 or higher on Step 1?  Click here to get access to our free video training to boost your score today!

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Learn more about how to achieve your target Step 1 score by watching this video! If you have found it substantial and insightful, how about hitting that subscribe button on our channel? Don’t worry, it won’t hurt!

FAQs About The Average Step 1 Scores

What Is Considered A Good USMLE Step 1 Score?

Scores ranging from 230 to 245 is considered good. If you are going to check the average score per specialty and school, you will notice that scores fall on this particular range. Thus, students who managed to get scores from 230 to 245 are most likely to be accepted in any specialty that they prefer especially if they couple it up with consistent good grades in Step 2 and in the clinicals.

What Is The Highest USMLE Step 1 Score Ever?

In theory, 300 is the highest or perfect score in the USMLE Step 1. But to date, I haven’t known anyone in history who had zero mistakes in Step 1. So far, the highest score I’ve heard was 282.

What Percentile Is 250 On Step 1?

The percentile of 250 on Step 1 is 84. Here is a norm table from USMLE that shows the percentile rank of medical students from US/Canadian medical schools who took the exam from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018 and scored lower than a given USMLE score.

For example, if you scored 235, that means you are at the 56th percentile. It denotes that 56% of Step 1 first-takers from the US/Canadian medical school in the three-year cohort scored lower than 235.

USMLE Score Step 1 Percentile Rank
300 100
295 100
290 100
285 100
280 100
275 100
270 100
265 99
260 96
255 91
250 84
245 76
240 66
235 56
230 47
225 37
220 29
215 22
210 16
205 11
200 8
195 5
190 4
185 2
180 2
175 1
170 1
165 0
160 0
155 and below 0

Table 4. Equivalent Step 1 Score and Percentile Rank

Bonus: Want to get a 250 or higher on Step 1?  Click here to get access to our free video training to boost your score today!

Is Step 1 Harder Than MCAT?

This is a debate over the internet. Some say it’s Step 1, but there are verdicts saying that MCAT is harder. However, the two exams are incomparable since they test different skillsets.

MCAT’s coverage is much wider. It covers even pre-med related sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, etc.  The topics are so broad that you might not be able to review some. Nonetheless, you could still answer the section narrating and analysis of passages.

As for Step 1, some find it harder due to the enormous information that you need to digest. But what’s good is that you’re already familiar with the material. It’s a matter of application of medical concepts you learned in the classroom and some outside resources. Of course, if you were able to study well, you will find the exam much easier.

Your Step 1 score matters in your upcoming residency matching. I hope that by knowing the average step 1 score by school and specialty, it will give you the motivation to work harder to achieve your target Step 1 score.

At this point, if you are looking for tips on how to achieve your ideal Step 1 score, you may check my previous articles on tips and tricks and other study recommendations.

Also, remember that rocking your USMLE Step 1 is possible and you can do just that by signing up for FREE Step 1 Masterclass here.


Or maybe you need a bit of help and support to push yourself up the ladder? If so, join Step 1 Academy now.

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I also want to share with you my best strategies and tricks on how you can succeed on your medical journey with my best selling Triple Bundle Books!

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Again, thanks for stopping by!

Until next time my friend…

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