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Adv Med Educ Pract. 2018 Jan 10;9:39-44. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S152684. eCollection 2018.

Relationships of demographic variables to USMLE physician licensing exam scores: a statistical analysis on five years of medical student data.

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Office of Medical Education, Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the associations of the demographic variables of gender, state of legal residency, student age, and undergraduate major with scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge.


The researchers collected and analyzed exam scores and demographic student data from participants of five graduating classes of students at the University of Minnesota Medical School (N = 1,067).


Significant differences (p < 0.05) were found for traditional-aged (defined as < 25 years old at matriculation) versus nontraditional-aged students on USMLE Step 1 scores (t[1065] = 2.91, p = 0.004) and USMLE Step 2 scores (t[1061] = 4.39, p < 0.001), both in favor of traditional-aged students. Significant differences were found for males versus females on MCAT Composite scores (t[1063] = 6.53, p < 0.001) and USMLE Step 1 scores (t[1065] = 5.14, p < 0.001), both in favor of males. There were no significant differences between science and nonscience majors or between Minnesota legal residents and nonresidents.


Traditional age and male gender were associated with higher exam scores, although patterns differed between tests, whereas undergraduate major and state of legal residency were not associated with higher exam scores.


age; demographics; gender; licensing exams; state of legal residency; undergraduate major

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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