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Do Step2 scores even matter as long as you pass???

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by TOMFighter, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. TOMFighter

    TOMFighter 2+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2008
    I've seen mixed answers for this. I thought step 2 was taken in the 4th year (AFTER MATCHING HAS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE!?) so why do they even matter?
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  3. Pontifex Maximus

    Pontifex Maximus Rads-a-palooza Physician 10+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    General consensus is if you have a good Step 1, they don't matter, and you can do them post-match if you want to, but if you don't do as well on Step 1, a good Step 2 score can help make up for it.
  4. JDWflash44

    JDWflash44 Workin it... 7+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2004
    I think the thinking is starting to change somewhat, but what was stated above is generally accepted(good on step 1 don't need step 2). An ENT attending at the Cleveland Clinic told one of my classmates that if they hadn't taken step 2 by the time they interviewed, then they better have a good reason as to why because it's a question he will be sure to ask in the interview. I think this is a minority opinion, but with more schools going to P/F among other different grading systems, it seems as if there is more of a push for students to take Step 2 earlier. FWIW
  5. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2005
    It is not uncommon for programs to require Step II scores to be reported before they will rank you. Conventional wisdom seems to be changing.
  6. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    * Step 2 more accurately tests clinical acumen, more than Step 1 does. It theoretically tests your ability to be a good doctor/intern/resident better than Step 1 can.

    * Step 2, in some schools, must be taken before you match. (At our school, you have to take it before January.)
  7. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!
    My school encouraged us to take Step II as soon as third year was completed. I took Step II the second week of August which was one week before fourth year started. I had also done very well on Step I thus that wasn't a factor in my taking Step II as early as possible.

    Many of the residency programs that I applied to already had my Step II scores and were very impressed that I had taken the exam early. It was always mentioned as a plus factor in just about every interview that I attended. I suppose having two strong USMLE scores instead of one was a good thing as I had great interviews.

    The other great thing was that after Match Day, there was nothing between me and graduation except to show up and grab my diploma. I was on one very long vacation after March.

    Some schools, and mine was no exception, require a passing score on Step II before graduation. Since this was done for me long before, I had plenty of time to plan my move for residency.

    This was my experience and everyone has different reasons for when they take this exam. With anything that had to do with medical school from application to USMLE, I always did things early. For me, the earlier the better.
  8. When I was in med school the general thinking was also that you should only take Step 2 CK before applying to ERAS if you needed to "bolster" your Step 1 score.

    While I did well on Step 1, I wanted to get Step 2 CK out of the way before I hit my busy sub-Is and away rotations so I took it in early July. I slightly improved on my Step 1 score, plus was able to relax by late January once all my interviews were over (I also took Step 2 CS early, in August).
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    This is still the conventional wisdom, except for the 3 or 4 specialties that want to see a Step 2 score before ranking you.

    So to answer the original question -- if you have a good Step 1, you probably don't need to take Step 2 until it doesn't matter. If you have a weak Step 1, you will want to bolster it with a good showing on Step 2 earlier. And if you apply to the couple of specialties that require an early Step 2, you need to take it earlier and it will count.
  10. Cmercury1

    Cmercury1 New Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    So what's the handful of specialties that like to have Step 2 by interview time?
  11. mk8

    mk8 2+ Year Member

    May 14, 2008
    Arlington, VA
    I'm guessing competitive ones, that need more numbers/accolades to distinguish the better from the best candidates. ROAD + plastics + radonc + ENT + optho?
  12. SoCuteMD

    SoCuteMD 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    No more rounding!
    Emergency Medicine is definitely one of the specialties that wants to see the score before they rank you.
  13. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    No. Although it is a specialty that is particularly friendly to students who do mediocre-poor on Step 1 and then do better on Step 2.

    Surveys of PDs in EM have shown that they consider Step 2 more important than Step 1 -- but if you do really well on Step 1 none of them are going to ask where your 2 score is.

    To the OP: one of the nice things about taking Step2 later is that you don't have to study that much. I ended up dropping about 15 points but the score came out in like late March so it didn't even matter.
  14. 78222

    78222 Guest

    Sep 11, 2005
    boo! I did well on STEP I and dont see me going anywhere but down.
  15. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist. Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2006
    Land of Entrapment
    I just noticed this part. That might've been true 30 years ago. My dad and his colleagues talked about taking step 2 in April after the match. No longer applicable for most people.
  16. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I'm pretty sure only a couple from this list do.
  17. PeepshowJohnny

    PeepshowJohnny 2+ Year Member

    Jun 28, 2007
    This is not scientific by any means, but Radiology seems to be okay with just a Step 1. Our school requires us to take Step 2 early and when a guy who matched in Radiology interviewed he got asked a couple times "Why'd you take Step 2 so early? Your Step 1 score is good enough".
  18. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    The only bit of gossip I've heard is that there are a few GSurg programs requiring Step2 to rank (god knows why).

    If your Step1 is high enough (I would say over 240) then I don't think anyone will care.
  19. SoCuteMD

    SoCuteMD 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    No more rounding!
    It seems like Amory and I have different takes on this. He's done the emergency medicine interview trail, I haven't. However, I debated long and hard about when to take Step 2 and discussed it with a few different EM program directors. The final conclusion was that despite a very strong showing on Step 1, I should take Step 2 some before interview season.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
  20. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    The school I'm at advises to only take Step 2 early if (1) the specialty you are looking at requires it, or (2) you did poorly on Step 1. I think it's a pretty conservative approach.
  21. SoCuteMD

    SoCuteMD 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    No more rounding!
    I think that's the traditional wisdom. Both Amory and I were directed referencing Emergency Medicine (will edit post to reflect this).
  22. mikedc813

    mikedc813 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2004
    My Step 1 was 227. My Step 2 was 248. It was only because I took Step 2 prior to residency applicants being due that I ended up getting a competitive number of radiation oncology interviews and eventually matching somewhere great. Take 2 early if you want to boost an average or below average Step 1 score. If you did very well, and depending on what field you're going into, consider not taking it until later. Keep in mind that a significant boost on your Step 2 CAN help you a lot.

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