Baylor Med has been under a lot of fire regarding numbers over the last year. What’s the financial situation? What’s wrong with the ranks? Quite frankly, last year’s applicants were rightfully concerned about these statistics, but today, I finally came across what I feel is the most important number in assessing a medical school’s quality of education.

During today’s pharmacology elective, the course director happened to share Baylor Med’s 2010 USMLE Step I average score with us – 241, an all time high for the school. To put things in perspective, a 241 means that based strictly on board scores, every BCM student is competitive for plastic surgery (average score for matched residents is ~240). Undoubtedly, this score is a testament to the dedicated work of our professors, our solid curriculum, one-of-a-kind clinical training, and incredible breadth of students.

As an MS2, it’s rather nerve wracking to see the upperclassmen setting the bar so high, but at the same time, it’s humbling to think that these students completed the same curriculum I have. It’s only a matter of time (roughly Spring of 2012) till my classmates and I are expected to uphold and exceed the ridiculously-high-board-score precedent consistently set forth by the upperclassmen, and I’m sure it’s a challenge we’ll overcome. 🙂

What’s even better is that I’ve heard nothing but praise from the professors for the new MS1 class. As the saying goes, these students really know the meaning of “study hard, play hard.” Even though they’ve finished only one week of medical school, they’re already assuming the responsibilities inherent to being a Baylor Med student.

So while a 241 average is remarkable, there is no reason why that score cannot progressively increase over the coming years. I’m looking forward to doing my part!

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  1. Baylor students should have to apply to match with an asterisk by their scores. Give any reasonably diligent student 6 months for step 1 and the expectation should be 240. Like everything else in medical education, the challenge at most schools isn’t ultimately mastery of material, but the time crunch. Baylor has some incredibly smart students, but you can’t tell me they’re that much smarter than the rest of the country. Bring them to schools in the Northeast and cut their prep time down to about a month after MS2 ends and that score goes down dramatically. Even if many students don’t use the whole six months to study there is a tremendous advantage in having time after second year to decompress, relax, and reload for the exam. Baylor is great school, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the monster average board score has less to do with “dominance” and more to do with a cush schedule.

    • I don’t know where people get the impression that BCM students take months off to study for Step 1. After our basic sciences, we go straight into clinical rotations and have to worry about our obligations on the wards as well as studying for difficult shelf exams (NOT Step 1). Most students only take 4-6 weeks of dedicated study time (the “month” that you’re suggesting) in the middle of their third year. In that sense, our schedule isn’t any more “cush” than others.

      I’m going to humbly disagree with your last comment and attribute our board scores (the last class’ average was a 244) to what I outlined in the post – our curriculum, training opportunities in the Texas Medical Center, and outstanding mentorship.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Isn’t Baylor one of the few schools where students can take USMLE Step 1 whenever they want to vs. the rest of medical schools that require their students to take it almost right after MS-2 is over? No offense, but it’s not a huge accomplishment and hardly a testament to Baylor basic sciences when you get oodles and oodles of time to rigorously prep for Step 1, esp. after clinicals, when most other students have to take it several weeks after. If anything it shows how weak basic sciences is at Baylor since their students need that much time.

    • if anything, that is a reason to want to go to BCM – the 1.5 years of basic sciences, and the added bonus it has of taking MORE clinical electives with the flexibility of time – that’s the best thing BCM has to offer. sorry you like spending more time in the classroom. have fun with that BUD.

      i agree that the score has probably little to do with our basic science program (which is good in its own right) but more due to the dominance of our students in general as WELL as the flexibility of time, which btw, is prob only 2-3 weeks longer than students at most other schools take off, IF that.

      scoreboard baby. (or should i say match list baby?)

      • It has nothing to wanting to spend “more time in the classroom”, BUD. I know it’s difficult, but try to stick with the topic at hand rather than a topic you want to debate. Please read my post again, assuming you have the reading comprehension of at least a 5th grader.

        Those where the basic sciences is 2 years long – students get at most 1.5 months afterwards to take Step 1, in order to promote to third year and start clinicals. Baylor College of Medicine students not only get 6 months free time to study for Step 1 (electives aren’t that taxing), BUT on top of that don’t have to take Step 1 to promote, so they can even take LONGER than those 6 months if they want. See what would happen if right after BCM finishes basic sciences, if their students had to take Step 1 within the next month and a half. It would be NOWHERE CLOSE to 241 as an average.

        “scoreboard baby. (or should i say match list baby?)” — Yeah, we’ve seen the rankings of Baylor College of Medicine, it’s more like a foul.

        • Rohan, you’re right, BCM students do have quite a bit of leeway on how we’d like to spend the extra clinical months we get in exchange for shorter basic sciences time. But you need to get your facts straight on how that time is spent.

          BCM students tend to use the majority of that time doing way more fun things than studying for Step 1 – you know, like traveling, relaxing, doing electives abroad, getting married, things that students at other medical schools only have a limited amount of time to do.

          Baylor students average about 1.5 months off for Step 1 studying, which is on par with or maybe a week or two more than our friends at other med schools.

  3. 241! that’s awesome. this past week was a little bit of craziness but i’m glad it’s over. bring on the weekend!


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