First there are many myths about the step exam. You get 50 and exactly 50 experimental questions on any one exam. You have 350 questions given in 50 minute blocks - 1 question per minute. Some questions are very difficult and long. Some questions are short and factual. All the question require that you think, so there are very few gim'me questions where you can say gee that sounds like X and X is one of the answers.
So you need a few skills besides knowing a bunch of medical facts you memorized. Skill #1 you need is reading fast, Skill #2 you need is good recall, skill #3 is being able to integrate information from several areas and go ah ha!!!! They also most likely read detective books and who done it's in their spare time.
Scoring - You will see all sorts stories and see and hear bunches of people talk about a curve. Yep, a a curve....really when the top scorers make a 250-260ish something 250 = 83%? 83% score on a test is not exactly eating it up is it? That use to be called a low B average. Passing mean you scored a 61% or 182 out of 300 questions - pure and simple. The only thing that changes year to year is the average score computed as a rolling average and the standard deviation. I think it floats from 213 to 217 and the SD is 14-16. So lets say an average score is 215 gees that a wopping 71% score with a SD of 15. Tha mean 66% of the testers scored below 230!!! That 230 score means you scored a 76% on it.
The confusion comes with the two digit score - mean people assume it is a percentile - It is actually a composite score of the eight areas tested on the exam.
Top scores - rumor has it a student at a medical school in Michigan once scored a 280+ score. However, a small select few people score above 250 to 260 each year. There are rumors every year about so & so who scored a 270+ but does not post it.
Of the people who I know who have bonified scores - they are far an few between. What do we know about them?
1. Many say they learned right the first time. 2. They have high averages in the basic science classes they take, 3. Generally do many question banks prior to the test and are test savvy test takers. 4. They know their learning style and use that knowledge to their advantage. 5. They are fast readers. 6. They know what excellence is and work hard to achieve it.
Remember there is a lot of myth out there about this test. Gee, this whole post maybe a myth. So take it with a grain of salt. If you can find facts to disprove what I wrote please post the website and the link here. Cause I want to know more myself. However, I read most of the stuff on several factual websites - like the USMLE website.