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Can I match with a low USMLE Step 1 Score?

One of the questions that I get asked by medical students and especially IMGs, can I match with a low step 1 score? My answer is yes and no.

If your score is less than 220 in step 1, your application will be filtered out by many residency programs and your application will not even show up in their huge piles of great applicants. But nothing is impossible, if you apply to community hospitals, they might not even have that filter and you might be lucky and get an interview.

A better objective plan would be to do your best in Step 2 CK and get a phenomenal score that would hide your low step 1 score. Submitting your match application while having Step 3 score is definitely a plus in this case and I would totally recommend doing that.

Remember nothing is impossible! Also, don't be fooled by those who would tell you that a student with a score of 210 matched into the best university program as this won't happen. Yet, connections may play a role in everything that floats around us. If you were the son of the dean of medicine, your scores are terrible, I am pretty sure you can get an interview or two. So if your scores are low, play it smart and make sure that one of your parents applies for the position of dean of medicine!

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