Average 2022 USMLE® Step 1 Match Scores by Medical Specialty

Sophie Moran - Nov 14, 2022
Tables illustrating the average USMLE Step 1 match scores by medical specialty in 2022.

As the USMLE® Step 1 exam became pass/fail earlier this year, this is likely to be one of the last National Residency Match Program (NRMP) Match cycles featuring an appreciable number of applicants with a 3-digit Step 1 score (and the score being a factor during their match process). If you’re curious about what the average Step 1 match scores by medical specialty were for your chosen residency, take a look at the tables below. Data is available for US MD & DO students as well as IMGs. The data comes from the NRMP’s Charting Outcomes in the Match report.

The average USMLE Step 1 match scores by medical specialty

Table illustrating the average USMLE Step 1 match scores by medical specialty in 2022

While getting a high USMLE Step 1 match score has historically helped students match into their desired residency, this is no longer the case. There are many other factors that will contribute to your success. These include, but are by no means limited to, conducting clinical research, getting good letters of recommendation, having an impressive CV that highlights your medical and relevant extracurricular activities, and having a successful residency interview. This is attested by the NRMP’s own assessment of the data

“Despite the fairly strong relationship between USMLE Step scores and matching to a preferred specialty, the distributions of scores show that program directors consider other qualifications. A high score is not a guarantee of matching, and a low score is not a bar to matching.”

The change in the scoring system also means that there is now more importance placed on the Step 2 exam. The results of this exam will continue to be delivered in the 3-digit format. You can find the average Step 2 match scores by medical specialty here

The important thing to remember is that all this does not mean the Step 1 exam is no longer important. In fact, the best thing med students can do is to prepare for the exam as if it is still score-based. Why? Because there is a huge crossover between Step 1 content and Step 2. So, if you don’t fully prepare for Step 1, it will make doing well on Step 2 a much greater challenge. To get insights and advice from a student who took Step 1 pass/fail, check out this blog post

Finally, always remember that you’re so much more than your score. Whether you’re conducting clinical research, shining on the wards, or coming up with the next big thing to revolutionize medical education (nudge nudge), there are many paths that will lead you toward a great career in medicine. 


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Chart data: Data is from the Charting Outcomes in the Match: Senior Students of U.S. MD Medical Schools, Charting Outcomes in the Match: Senior Students of U.S. DO Medical Schools report, and Charting Outcomes in the Match: International Medical Graduates. The NRMP has no affiliation with AMBOSS.

Only those who gave consent to use their information in the NRMP research are included in the matched and unmatched data.