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J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2017 Jun;25(6):464-468. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-16-00725.

A Cross-sectional Analysis of Minimum USMLE Step 1 and 2 Criteria Used by Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Programs in Screening Residency Applications.

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From the Department of Orthopedics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO.



The purpose of this study was to analyze how program directors (PDs) of orthopaedic surgery residency programs use United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 and 2 scores in screening residency applicants.


A survey was sent to each allopathic orthopaedic surgery residency PD. PDs were asked if they currently use minimum Step 1 and/or 2 scores in screening residency applicants and if these criteria have changed in recent years.


Responses were received from 113 of 151 PDs (75%). One program did not have the requested information and five declined participation, leaving 107 responses analyzed. Eighty-nine programs used a minimum USMLE Step 1 score (83%). Eighty-three programs (78%) required a Step 1 score ≥210, 80 (75%) required a score ≥220, 57 (53%) required a score ≥230, and 22 (21%) required a score ≥240. Multiple PDs mentioned the high volume of applications as a reason for using a minimum score and for increasing the minimum score in recent years.


A large proportion of orthopaedic surgery residency PDs use a USMLE Step 1 minimum score when screening applications in an effort to reduce the number of applications to be reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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