CS failure for 2021 ERAS application

dlm24

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    I failed CS and did not have a chance to remediate it due to COVID. I am applying PM&R. I have a friend applying surgery who is in the same boat. Has anyone heard anything about if CS scores will be included in the ERAS application for 2021? Has anyone heard about if there are screens for CS scores in PM&R/ surgery? I am concerned about my ability to match if my application is screened out because of this failure. Is anyone else in the same boat?
     
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    frenchyn

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      I failed CS and did not have a chance to remediate it due to COVID. I am applying PM&R. I have a friend applying surgery who is in the same boat. Has anyone heard anything about if CS scores will be included in the ERAS application for 2021? Has anyone heard about if there are screens for CS scores in PM&R/ surgery? I am concerned about my ability to match if my application is screened out because of this failure. Is anyone else in the same boat?
      Pm you.
       
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      collegestud2013

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        Sounds like a major program. A step 2 CS failure gets you screened out at most programs just like failing Step 1 or Step 2 CK, especially in competitive specialties like PM&R and Surgery and especially if there's subsequent passing score. Make sure you and your friend have back-up plans when applying this cycle.

        According to this survey (https://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NRMP-2018-Program-Director-Survey-for-WWW.pdf) 46% of PM&R programs and 55% of Surgery programs use the step 2 CS so that's a significant proportion.
         

        odyssey2

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          Sounds like a major program. A step 2 CS failure gets you screened out at most programs just like failing Step 1 or Step 2 CK, especially in competitive specialties like PM&R and Surgery and especially if there's subsequent passing score. Make sure you and your friend have back-up plans when applying this cycle.

          According to this survey (https://www.nrmp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NRMP-2018-Program-Director-Survey-for-WWW.pdf) 46% of PM&R programs and 55% of Surgery programs use the step 2 CS so that's a significant proportion.

          But Step 2 CS was canceled this year so it's unclear whether it will even be reported.
           

          bananafish94

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            I failed CS and did not have a chance to remediate it due to COVID. I am applying PM&R. I have a friend applying surgery who is in the same boat. Has anyone heard anything about if CS scores will be included in the ERAS application for 2021? Has anyone heard about if there are screens for CS scores in PM&R/ surgery? I am concerned about my ability to match if my application is screened out because of this failure. Is anyone else in the same boat?
            I'm sorry you're going through this. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the NBME has said that you conclusively do not need CS this year, right? So you won't have to take it for Step 3 and whatnot? If that's the case, I think you should be fine. My experience from the interview trail this year is that PDs rightfully view it as a scam and only care about it to the extent that it could potentially affect board certification. Like a few PDs openly made sarcastic comments about it. I also didn't submit my score until very late and was only asked about it two or three times. I know people who failed it and it didn't appear to affect their interview invites in any meaningful way and only seemed to come up at a handful of interviews. Good luck!
             
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            Mochi2020

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              I agree. However, I think in the interest of fairness that the AAMC/ERAS should agree that CS results do not have to be reported this year.
              I am in the same boat, and already contacted AAMC/ERAS/LCME, they are the useless piece of **** ever (no offense). They would just say it is under NBME jurisdiction. You would not believe how much power the other entities allow NBME to hold until you need them...
               
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              longhaul3

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                That sucks. Without having any official information, I would offer a guess that it will show up on your ERAS application. Your scores are reported directly from USMLE/NLES when they send an official USMLE transcript, and I assume that the failure is on the transcript. I haven't heard that they will be altering transcripts to mask CS scores that have already resulted.

                I don't think it will be much worse than in a normal year, though. Normally you'd have an F and everyone else would have a P. Now you have an F and everyone else just has nothing, which IMO doesn't look as bad—enough people fail CS that we can't just mentally award a P to every applicant we see. Not everyone who fails CS is able to retake and pass it in time to get it on their ERAS application.
                 
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                Mochi2020

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                  That sucks. Without having any official information, I would offer a guess that it will show up on your ERAS application. Your scores are reported directly from USMLE/NLES when they send an official USMLE transcript, and I assume that the failure is on the transcript. I haven't heard that they will be altering transcripts to mask CS scores that have already resulted.

                  I don't think it will be much worse than in a normal year, though. Normally you'd have an F and everyone else would have a P. Now you have an F and everyone else just has nothing, which IMO doesn't look as bad—enough people fail CS that we can't just mentally award a P to every applicant we see. Not everyone who fails CS is able to retake and pass it in time to get it on their ERAS application.
                  Dr. Barone at NBME meeting stated that blinding score is an option..

                  It may not be worse but then it is not fair...so in some sense, it is worse lol...Now that people not only don't have to take the test...they have free pass and those with reported failed scores are at disadvantage not one but two year...
                   

                  Lawpy

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                    That sucks. Without having any official information, I would offer a guess that it will show up on your ERAS application. Your scores are reported directly from USMLE/NLES when they send an official USMLE transcript, and I assume that the failure is on the transcript. I haven't heard that they will be altering transcripts to mask CS scores that have already resulted.

                    I don't think it will be much worse than in a normal year, though. Normally you'd have an F and everyone else would have a P. Now you have an F and everyone else just has nothing, which IMO doesn't look as bad—enough people fail CS that we can't just mentally award a P to every applicant we see. Not everyone who fails CS is able to retake and pass it in time to get it on their ERAS application.

                    Dr. Carmody already said a fail on CS is a really really bad situation.


                    DOUBLE LOSERS: ANYONE WHO *FAILED* STEP 2 CS BEFORE COVID-19.
                    It’s one thing to graduate, rank, or license a physician who never took Step 2 CS – but what about someone who failed it?

                    Remember, ever since the #EndStep2CS campaign, around 5% of U.S. medical students have failed the CS exam. While 90% of these examinees repeat the exam and pass, it’s still a devastating and often career-altering event. And that was before COVID-19.

                    Now, anyone who was waiting for a Step 2 CS re-take has a black mark on their record that they can’t easily erase. And with CS suspended for 12-18 months, the light at the end of the tunnel for these examinees seems increasingly distant.*
                     
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                    longhaul3

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                      Dr. Barone at NBME meeting stated that blinding score is an option..

                      It may not be worse but then it is not fair...so in some sense, it is worse lol...Now that people not only don't have to take the test...they have free pass and those with reported failed scores are at disadvantage not one but two year...
                      I see. I haven't been following. Can you explain why you're at a disadvantage for two years?

                      Dr. Carmody already said a fail on CS is a really really bad situation.


                      DOUBLE LOSERS: ANYONE WHO *FAILED* STEP 2 CS BEFORE COVID-19.
                      It’s one thing to graduate, rank, or license a physician who never took Step 2 CS – but what about someone who failed it?

                      Remember, ever since the #EndStep2CS campaign, around 5% of U.S. medical students have failed the CS exam. While 90% of these examinees repeat the exam and pass, it’s still a devastating and often career-altering event. And that was before COVID-19.

                      Now, anyone who was waiting for a Step 2 CS re-take has a black mark on their record that they can’t easily erase. And with CS suspended for 12-18 months, the light at the end of the tunnel for these examinees seems increasingly distant.*
                      I'm not sure it's anything more than pure opinion to say that people who failed are in big trouble, especially if they never have to actually take and pass it, which is my understanding of the current policy for c/o 2021. There is a black mark that they can't erase, but again, many people fail CS in a normal year and can't fix it before the match. Most of those people probably match just fine, and they're competing against their peers who all actually had a P to show off on their apps.

                      I do hope that I was wrong in my initial post and that they do mask the CS results for those who have already taken it, because it does sound unfair.
                       
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                      Lawpy

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                        I see. I haven't been following. Can you explain why you're at a disadvantage for two years?


                        I'm not sure it's anything more than pure opinion to say that people who failed are in big trouble, especially if they never have to actually take and pass it, which is my understanding of the current policy for c/o 2021. There is a black mark that they can't erase, but again, many people fail CS in a normal year and can't fix it before the match. Most of those people probably match just fine, and they're competing against their peers who all actually had a P to show off on their apps.

                        I do hope that I was wrong in my initial post and that they do mask the CS results for those who have already taken it, because it does sound unfair.

                        Wait people match with a CS fail? In what specialties? Because it's news to me that someone with a CS fail can match in surgery or PM&R that OP mentioned.
                         
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                        longhaul3

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                          Wait people match with a CS fail? In what specialties? Because it's news to me that someone with a CS fail can match in surgery or PM&R that OP mentioned.
                          Actually I'm not sure. I could be talking out of my butt here. CS is so hard to schedule, and score reporting takes so long, that I just always assumed that most of them matched and then got their passing score back some time in Feb-Jun. If you take CS in June and fail it, I can't imagine it would be easy to get a date before January, and then it's another 8 weeks for score reports. Rank lists are finalized in mid-Feb. Maybe all those people just go unmatched? I didn't think so but I could be totally wrong.

                          I know there are programs that will DNR people without a pass on CS, but I figured those policies are more the exception (given the fact that programs think they should exist in the first place) than the rule.

                          Because it is cancelled for next 12-18 months...that pushes into next year match season as well lol
                          Ok, that's what I figured. I see what you're saying But if you never have to take and pass it, I'm not sure it makes that big a difference. Sure it would be good to correct the issue, but if you're not competing against anyone with a P, I think you're at less of a disadvantage.

                          If my entire premise is faulty, and nobody matches without passing CS, let's just ignore all of what I said. Except that I still hope they mask the scores.
                           

                          Lawpy

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                            Actually I'm not sure. I could be talking out of my butt here. CS is so hard to schedule, and score reporting takes so long, that I just always assumed that most of them matched and then got their passing score back some time in Feb-Jun. If you take CS in June and fail it, I can't imagine it would be easy to get a date before January, and then it's another 8 weeks for score reports. Rank lists are finalized in mid-Feb. Maybe all those people just go unmatched? I didn't think so but I could be totally wrong.

                            I know there are programs that will DNR people without a pass on CS, but I figured those policies are more the exception (given the fact that programs think they should exist in the first place) than the rule.


                            Ok, that's what I figured. I see what you're saying But if you never have to take and pass it, I'm not sure it makes that big a difference. Sure it would be good to correct the issue, but if you're not competing against anyone with a P, I think you're at less of a disadvantage.

                            If my entire premise is faulty, and nobody matches without passing CS, let's just ignore all of what I said. Except that I still hope they mask the scores.

                            Yep it's a pain hence why the Step 2 forums get flooded with frantic scrambling to get a CS opening ASAP in Sep or Oct if not earlier. I don't know of anyone matching with a CS fail, and i find it shocking if someone with a CS fail can match into surgery when several people with far stronger apps have to SOAP.

                            @NotAProgDirector @GoSpursGo thoughts? Unfortunately don't know surgery or PM&R PDs on here so OP should go into those forums or ask their school's advisers.
                             
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                            ace_inhibitor111

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                              Classic NBME, considers converting all Step 1 scores to pass/fail for the class of 2023, but still plans to report failed Step 2 CS for the class of 2021 when 80% of students aren’t taking it. What kind of logic is that?
                               
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                              bananafish94

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                                Dr. Carmody already said a fail on CS is a really really bad situation.


                                DOUBLE LOSERS: ANYONE WHO *FAILED* STEP 2 CS BEFORE COVID-19.
                                It’s one thing to graduate, rank, or license a physician who never took Step 2 CS – but what about someone who failed it?

                                Remember, ever since the #EndStep2CS campaign, around 5% of U.S. medical students have failed the CS exam. While 90% of these examinees repeat the exam and pass, it’s still a devastating and often career-altering event. And that was before COVID-19.

                                Now, anyone who was waiting for a Step 2 CS re-take has a black mark on their record that they can’t easily erase. And with CS suspended for 12-18 months, the light at the end of the tunnel for these examinees seems increasingly distant.*
                                It's a black mark (assuming they don't blind it) but hasn't the NBME said that this class straight-up never has to take CS? So there's no need to ever pass it. Hopefully I'm not way off base here.
                                 

                                Mochi2020

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                                  It's a black mark (assuming they don't blind it) but hasn't the NBME said that this class straight-up never has to take CS? So there's no need to ever pass it. Hopefully I'm not way off base here.
                                  Hehehehe if you think PDs or whoever review the app just because CS is cancelled and 2021 class don't have to take it, that it won't be a red flag...especially in competitive specialties where everyone else have glowing apps...they will find something to ding candidate and failed CS score without attempt is a very easy one. Matching in itself is not a very fair process...especially in small community specialty...people make phone call before ranking...etc..

                                  Bottom line: a failed attempt is a failed attempt regardless if the test is cancelled or not...UNFORTUNATELY...
                                   

                                  bananafish94

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                                    Hehehehe if you think PDs or whoever review the app just because CS is cancelled and 2021 class don't have to take it, that it won't be a red flag...especially in competitive specialties where everyone else have glowing apps...they will find something to ding candidate and failed CS score without attempt is a very easy one. Matching in itself is not a very fair process...especially in small community specialty...people make phone call before ranking...etc..

                                    Bottom line: a failed attempt is a failed attempt regardless if the test is cancelled or not...UNFORTUNATELY...
                                    I don't disagree that it's bad and it's a red flag, but there are RED FLAGS and there are red flags. This isn't the worst thing to go wrong. People probably will exclude applicants who failed CS but overall it's not a death knell. For what it's worth I applied a moderately competitive smaller specialty and met people on the trail who failed CS who matched.
                                     
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                                    Mochi2020

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                                      I don't disagree that it's bad and it's a red flag, but there are RED FLAGS and there are red flags. This isn't the worst thing to go wrong. People probably will exclude applicants who failed CS but overall it's not a death knell. For what it's worth I applied a moderately competitive smaller specialty and met people on the trail who failed CS who matched.
                                      Question is before ranking, did they retake and pass? This is not happening. With competitive specially it is a RED FLAGS lol...where everyone have 245+ and publications...may not be matter with mid specialty...tho I heard with FM or IM they do care about CS. I did not ask why.
                                       
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                                      Lawpy

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                                        It's a black mark (assuming they don't blind it) but hasn't the NBME said that this class straight-up never has to take CS? So there's no need to ever pass it. Hopefully I'm not way off base here.

                                        Yeah but idk if that means the MS4s who took CS before the exam got cancelled will also have their scores retroactively cancelled. Because if it's not, OP is screwed.

                                        Also imo, CS for c/o 2021 should be all just left blank because a CS pass can be viewed better than no CS which is absurd.
                                        For what it's worth I applied a moderately competitive smaller specialty and met people on the trail who failed CS who matched.

                                        That is surprising. Did they retake it and passed before the rank lists were made? If not, CS is even more worthless and overpriced scam if programs are willing to take in people with CS fails.
                                         
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                                        bananafish94

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                                          Also imo, CS for c/o 2021 should be all just left blank because a CS pass can be viewed better than no CS which is absurd.
                                          Right but that would require them to have students best interest in mind.
                                          That is surprising. Did they retake it and passed before the rank lists were made? If not, CS is even more worthless and overpriced scam if programs are willing to take in people with CS fails.
                                          I knew one guy who failed and didn't get a score back until after ROL submission. The rest I assume were able to retake it and pass in time. PDs definitely recognize it as a scam, in my experience they only care about how it affects your licensing. A lot of people fail CS unfortunately, if programs rejected everyone who failed the match rate would be a lot lower.
                                           
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                                          GoSpursGo

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                                            Just to be clear, @NotAProgDirector is way more knowledgeable about these sorts of things than I am--a lot of what I've learned has been from reading his responses on these kinds of things, and when I give my take it's my best guess based on what else I've seen :)

                                            That said, I think that everyone is in a difficult situation with how COVID is going to affect things this year. I could see equal arguments for either reporting scores for those who have them vs not reporting scores at all, and I think anything I said would just be a guess. In any event, there's not much the OP can do about it now except hope the score doesn't get reported and do his/her best to shore up their application in the next couple of months.
                                             
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                                            dougaioli

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                                              That sucks. Without having any official information, I would offer a guess that it will show up on your ERAS application. Your scores are reported directly from USMLE/NLES when they send an official USMLE transcript, and I assume that the failure is on the transcript. I haven't heard that they will be altering transcripts to mask CS scores that have already resulted.

                                              I don't think it will be much worse than in a normal year, though. Normally you'd have an F and everyone else would have a P. Now you have an F and everyone else just has nothing, which IMO doesn't look as bad—enough people fail CS that we can't just mentally award a P to every applicant we see. Not everyone who fails CS is able to retake and pass it in time to get it on their ERAS application.

                                              I think that the unfairness is in the lack of opportunity to remediate and an F on CS being used in the algorithm to screen out applicants from competitive specialties. If no school had screens then it would be up to the subjective interpretation of the residency program.
                                               

                                              Mass Effect

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                                                There is a black mark that they can't erase, but again, many people fail CS in a normal year and can't fix it before the match. Most of those people probably match just fine, and they're competing against their peers who all actually had a P to show off on their apps.

                                                In a normal year, I don't know of a single program that would rank an applicant with a fail on CS without an eventual pass. Only way that would happen is if the F wasn't released. It's just too much of a risk otherwise. It's horrible they're not masking CS scores this year. Hopefully PDs will take this into account.
                                                 
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                                                NotAProgDirector

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                                                  I think it's impossible to know what programs will do. Since CS is now "not required", programs may decide to ignore it. I agree that folks whom have failed CS and now can't retake have a mess -- but now they can just take S3 and never have to pass it, so perhaps it will be fine.
                                                   
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                                                  collegestud2013

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                                                    It's unlikely that NBME will allow any past attempts on Step scores to be masked. Usually all attempts are recorded on the score transcript so programs this year, there will will be applicants who passed CS, applicants who failed CS, and more applicants without a score.

                                                    Previously, I don't know any program (even in the least competitive specialties and programs) who would interview an applicant with ONLY a failed CS (and without a subsequent pass on their transcript). Those who fail the first time but with a subsequent pass with both attempts before ERAS submission and thus on their transcripts are usually screened out out of many programs except those the least competitive ones, and thus are already at a big disadvantage in the application process. The only ones I know who fail CS without influencing their Match much are those who failed it AFTER submitting ERAS (and thus it's not on their initial application) AND passed it before rank lists are due (many programs won't rank someone unless they have a passing CS score).

                                                    Unfortunately, since there's more applicants than spots in almost nearly every specialty (once all the IMG applicants are factored it) and with everyone spamming applications to programs these days, most programs can get 100-200 applications per spot and need to find a way to efficiently screen applications to those they will actually read. Thus, many programs, even those that don't value the role of CS, may still use a CS fail as a way to efficiently narrow down their application pool.
                                                     

                                                    qwertythrowaway

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                                                      It's unlikely that NBME will allow any past attempts on Step scores to be masked. Usually all attempts are recorded on the score transcript so programs this year, there will will be applicants who passed CS, applicants who failed CS, and more applicants without a score.

                                                      Previously, I don't know any program (even in the least competitive specialties and programs) who would interview an applicant with ONLY a failed CS (and without a subsequent pass on their transcript). Those who fail the first time but with a subsequent pass with both attempts before ERAS submission and thus on their transcripts are usually screened out out of many programs except those the least competitive ones, and thus are already at a big disadvantage in the application process. The only ones I know who fail CS without influencing their Match much are those who failed it AFTER submitting ERAS (and thus it's not on their initial application) AND passed it before rank lists are due (many programs won't rank someone unless they have a passing CS score).

                                                      Unfortunately, since there's more applicants than spots in almost nearly every specialty (once all the IMG applicants are factored it) and with everyone spamming applications to programs these days, most programs can get 100-200 applications per spot and need to find a way to efficiently screen applications to those they will actually read. Thus, many programs, even those that don't value the role of CS, may still use a CS fail as a way to efficiently narrow down their application pool.
                                                      dude this is all speculation. your statements above may have rung true in a normal cycle but this is not a normal cycle. six months ago nobody thought Step 1 would go P/F. nobody thought Step 2 CS would be postponed for 12-18 months and removed as a licensure requirement. nobody anticipated an all virtual IV cycle, no away rotations, virtual rotations.

                                                      no one knows how this will shake out. it's simply too soon to know, too soon to panic. i'm in a similar boat (failed the DO equivalent of CS). i've been a mess ever since i got my results. for those in our position - try to stay optimistic and focus on what you can control. everything else is just noise.
                                                       
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                                                      Lawpy

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                                                        Just to be clear, @NotAProgDirector is way more knowledgeable about these sorts of things than I am--a lot of what I've learned has been from reading his responses on these kinds of things, and when I give my take it's my best guess based on what else I've seen :)

                                                        That said, I think that everyone is in a difficult situation with how COVID is going to affect things this year. I could see equal arguments for either reporting scores for those who have them vs not reporting scores at all, and I think anything I said would just be a guess. In any event, there's not much the OP can do about it now except hope the score doesn't get reported and do his/her best to shore up their application in the next couple of months.

                                                        Yep that's true but i learn from your posts and experiences a lot so curious to know your thoughts. Thanks for sharing :cat:

                                                        I think it's impossible to know what programs will do. Since CS is now "not required", programs may decide to ignore it. I agree that folks whom have failed CS and now can't retake have a mess -- but now they can just take S3 and never have to pass it, so perhaps it will be fine.

                                                        Imo the best measure is for NBME to retroactively hide P/F reporting for CS. Because a pass could be viewed better than no scores. Idk if NBME will do it though
                                                         
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                                                        dougaioli

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                                                          It's unlikely that NBME will allow any past attempts on Step scores to be masked. Usually all attempts are recorded on the score transcript so programs this year, there will will be applicants who passed CS, applicants who failed CS, and more applicants without a score.

                                                          Previously, I don't know any program (even in the least competitive specialties and programs) who would interview an applicant with ONLY a failed CS (and without a subsequent pass on their transcript). Those who fail the first time but with a subsequent pass with both attempts before ERAS submission and thus on their transcripts are usually screened out out of many programs except those the least competitive ones, and thus are already at a big disadvantage in the application process. The only ones I know who fail CS without influencing their Match much are those who failed it AFTER submitting ERAS (and thus it's not on their initial application) AND passed it before rank lists are due (many programs won't rank someone unless they have a passing CS score).

                                                          Unfortunately, since there's more applicants than spots in almost nearly every specialty (once all the IMG applicants are factored it) and with everyone spamming applications to programs these days, most programs can get 100-200 applications per spot and need to find a way to efficiently screen applications to those they will actually read. Thus, many programs, even those that don't value the role of CS, may still use a CS fail as a way to efficiently narrow down their application pool.

                                                          Having a failed CS score, with my retake dates cancelled 3 times, no alternatives to change your score is unfair. I think that we all understand that programs are inundated with applications, but applicants should not be at a disadvantage for due to the NBME's lack of alternatives. I paid the ridiculous CS fee now for a second time, have been preparing to retake the exam and statistically am 90% likely to pass it. If CS score is available to programs, I will be screened out, it is unfair. Any other year the impetus is on the applicant to remediate the score before ERAS releases transcripts but this year we cannot and CS scores should be waived.
                                                           
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                                                          Lawpy

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                                                            Having a failed CS score, with my retake dates cancelled 3 times, no alternatives to change your score is unfair. I think that we all understand that programs are inundated with applications, but applicants should not be at a disadvantage for due to the NBME's lack of alternatives. I paid the ridiculous CS fee now for a second time, have been preparing to retake the exam and statistically am 90% likely to pass it, but if CS score is available to programs, I will be screened out. It is unfair. Any other year the impetus is on the applicant to remediate the score before ERAS releases transcripts but this year we cannot and CS scores should be waived.

                                                            I dont think NBME cares about being fair for those who failed. Most people who took CS passed and are mainly upset about the waste of money.

                                                            The issue however is how a pass compares with no score. Because if a pass gets retroactively cancelled, the fail also disappears
                                                             

                                                            dougaioli

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                                                            Jun 22, 2020
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                                                              I dont think NBME cares about being fair for those who failed. Most people who took CS passed and are mainly upset about the waste of money.

                                                              The issue however is how a pass compares with no score. Because if a pass gets retroactively cancelled, the fail also disappears
                                                              Yes, exactly. What is the value of having CS scores available to programs if it makes no difference on licensure for this year. Everyone knows that it is not the best way to assess an applicant's clinical performance, that's what 3rd year and acting internships are for. Having CS scores available is only to the disadvantage of those that didn't pass it on past attempt and were not provided the opportunity to remediate.
                                                               
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                                                                Same situation but a DO student. Unfortunately what both MD/DOs who are in this situation worry about is getting screened out entirely from any residency with a fail filter. This is not fair as we have no chance in retaking to redeem ourselves and the vast majority of applicants have not even taken it and "given the opportunity to fail" if that makes sense. I am down to start a petition to blind both PE/CS scores for this cycle to level the playing field.
                                                                 
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