2+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2015
Medical Student
I'm a rising MS3 that was scheduled to take Step 1 this week, but that has obviously been delayed. I rescheduled to right before our rotations begin, but my state has a stay home order until after my date so I likely won't be able to take it before rotations. Test centers are also completely booked until late July now, even if I was willing to travel multiple states over to take it. My school has given us the option to take step after our 3rd year, which unfortunately seems to be my best option at this point. My practice test scores have been >245, with my most recent UWorld test >270, so I'm disappointed I can't just take it but hopefully I can pick this back up after 3rd year.

I have several questions about how this will affect my application when the time comes, though. If I take it after third year, I won't have a step 1 score until early to mid-July. It seems that the general advice is to submit applications by early August, so this would be cutting it very close. Also, I will only have time to complete 1, possibly 2, electives before I submit my application, which doesn't leave much time to try and make a good impression, ask for a letter of recommendation, and actually have the letter written. I already have 1 letter in Ophtho that I know will be strong, but I know I'll need at least 1 more letter for a good application. I have a very strong home program, so I'm lucky in that sense.

Anyways, I'm looking for advice on how to approach this. Should I try to take step 1 during rotations? I'm just nervous I won't be able to put my best foot forward for clinical grades or step 1 if I have to do both simultaneously. Should I consider taking a research year after 3rd year? I already have a strong research background so I wasn't really considering this before. Any advice is much appreciated!


2+ Year Member
Dec 26, 2015
Fellow [Any Field]
I think the important thing to realize is that everyone will be in the same situation is you. And I think there is too much in motion right now to know when to take Step 1. If you are able to reschedule it to early on in your M3 year then that might be the best option, especially if you are on an easier rotation. If, however, you must take it after M3 than that shouldn't be a problem. In some ways it may help your score by having a solid clinical foundation as long as you give yourself time throughout the year to memorize the basic facts you need to do well on the exam. Getting a score in July is fine in terms of submitting your application in August. Regarding letters -you already have one. Thus, getting another one over 1-2 ophthalmology electives is more than feasible. Best of luck.
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