How important are NBME shelf exam scores to residencies?

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How important are NBME shelf exam scores to residencies?

Hey all (new here).  MS3 looking into urology, and was just curious how important the NBME shelf exam scores were to residency programs?  Say, if we get 99th percentile on surgery shelf, will that matter much at all?  I know of course that we should strive to do the best we can on every rotation, and I am, but I was just curious of those scores were even seen by the program directors?

Edited by: nicky on 05/11/2015 - 19:50 Reason: Updated by FeedsNodeProcessor
Like everything else in life,

Like everything else in life, this most likely depends on where you go to school. My school requires the surgery shelf as part of the clerkship, but our shelf grades are never distributed beyond the school. They aren't part of our residency applications, and programs don't ever see them. That said, a strong showing on the shelf will certainly help your surgery clerkship grade, and programs rightly consider the clerkship grade to be an integral part of the application.

Very true...

Very true. I'm not sure if our scores are ever seen outside of our own school. My surgery clerkship coordinator did mention that if I do well on the surgery shelf, they could "put that in my letter". Now, I didn't know if they meant "Dean's letter", or a letter i get from them specifically (say, if I ask them for an LOR).

Thanks for the reply! Going to simply try and do the best I can on each rotation...especially the shelf exams, since the "clinical" grades are oh-so-subjective.

Anonymous (not verified)
yeah, at our school the NBMEs

yeah, at our school the NBMEs are part of the overall grade (so yes they matter), but the actual score never leaves the school.

Anonymous (not verified)
They def do not matter, I

They def do not matter, I dont think that anyone even read my deans letters that interviewed me, they would flip thorugh it and say, "I dont even look at these"

Anonymous (not verified)
No, they do not matter. Focus

No, they do not matter. Focus on Step 1 and research and AOA.


Even as far as being noted in a Dean's letter keep in mind that Urology is an early match, and the Dean's letter isn't released until November. So, even a comment in the Dean's letter is essentially immaterial to getting interviews because most programs have already reviewed all the applications and decided who they will invite. Your Step I, II scores, chair letter, research, AOA and the timely submission of your application are all going to be much more important than the shelf. That being said, studying for the shelf will help you do well on Step II, and of course if it helps your surgery grade and reflects better on your chair letter then it becomes more important. Good luck!