Mar 2, 2013
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Hello residents! Apologies for invading your forum but I have a question that my fellow 4th years cannot answer.

I have heard that Step 3 is very similar to Step 2 CK, and that many programs have you take it at the end of intern year. I have also heard rumors that it is potentially a smart idea to take Step 3 right after the end of 4th year, while all the CK info is fresh.

Does this hold any water? While I'm loathe to add another test to my plate, if it's possible to take Step 3 and do ok with just my 4th year knowledge, I feel like it would be nice to have one less thing to do intern year.

I will admit that the differences between Step 3 and CK are not entirely clear to me... The sense I got from one of my residents was that the material was very similar and that knowledge gained from residency was not vital to do well.
 
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Animalcules

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Knowledge gained during residency is not vital, I would take it if time and money allows.
 

irJanus

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Maybe field dependent? I took mine 2w after in-service for emergency medicine, no New studying, and went Great. I thought my first 6 no or so prepared me better than the actual studying. Either way, sooner is better no matter if it's m4 or r1 year
 
OP
TheNightingale
Mar 2, 2013
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This is incredibly helpful! Out of curiosity, would your advice change if I told you I was potentially interested in fellowships (IM)? I don't know if step 3 matters more for those apps.

Also, if I were to go ahead with taking step 3 at the end of 4th year, would continuing to study my step 2 uworld bank (expires in Feb) serve me well before switching over to step 3 uworld? I'm aware this makes me sound like a glutton for punishment, but I truly am a slow and steady studier and I just took CK. I'd much rather try to retain the things I so painstakingly crammed in my head just now by continuing to review questions leisurely throughout my 4th year, than to have to start all over come spring. (Unless you think this is an incredibly stupid idea.)

PS - the residency forums are intense... Thank you all for taking the time to pass along some of your wisdom despite your own stressors.
 
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235009

This is incredibly helpful! Out of curiosity, would your advice change if I told you I was potentially interested in fellowships (IM)? I don't know if step 3 matters more for those apps.

Also, if I were to go ahead with taking step 3 at the end of 4th year, would continuing to study my step 2 uworld bank (expires in Feb) serve me well before switching over to step 3 uworld? I'm aware this makes me sound like a glutton for punishment, but I truly am a slow and steady studier and I just took CK. I'd much rather try to retain the things I so painstakingly crammed in my head just now by continuing to review questions leisurely throughout my 4th year, than to have to start all over come spring. (Unless you think this is an incredibly stupid idea.)

PS - the residency forums are intense... Thank you all for taking the time to pass along some of your wisdom despite your own stressors.
If you are planning going into IM I would strongly recommend against taking it before residency since the vast majority of the questions will be ones you can answer easily after your intern year. I would say the same goes for folks who are doing an IM prelim year. I took it at the beginning of junior year and got a solid score with just one week of studying. You are at a huge advantage as a medicine resident.

With regards to the fellowship question: no one knows how much weight fellowship programs really put on your step 3 score (or any of the scores for that matter) but the prevailing guess is anywhere from none to very little.

As for your study plan. Purge the step 2 info. Focus on residency interviews. Put off step 3 until much later (assuming you are doing IM) and don't think about it at all right now.


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QofQuimica

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Are you an American student? Unless things have changed in the past few years, you will not be allowed to sit for the exam (or even apply to take it) without a med school diploma. The FSMB gives you a testing window after you register, and you then pick a test date/site. But here's the problem: say you apply to sit for the test in May the day after you receive your diploma. It takes a few weeks for your app to be approved and your testing window to be assigned. Now it's already early to mid June. You go to sign up, and all the local sites are already full for the next 1-2 weeks before you start intern orientation. You also have to deal with moving, starting internship, etc in late June/July. Considering how stressful starting intern year is, I don't think cramming a July Step 3 in there too is really necessary or advisable. Especially if you're going into IM, you also really will be better served by taking Step 3 at the end of intern year, after you've had some actual experience with managing patients.

Now if you're an IMG that has already graduated, the above compressed schedule doesn't apply to you. In that case, sure, go ahead and get Step 3 over with now before you start residency. But for AMGs, it generally isn't a good idea to try to beat the clock like that, because you probably won't be able to sit for the test before your intern year starts.
 

Winged Scapula

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Are you an American student? Unless things have changed in the past few years, you will not be allowed to sit for the exam (or even apply to take it) without a med school diploma. The FSMB gives you a testing window after you register, and you then pick a test date/site. But here's the problem: say you apply to sit for the test in May the day after you receive your diploma. It takes a few weeks for your app to be approved and your testing window to be assigned. Now it's already early to mid June. You go to sign up, and all the local sites are already full for the next 1-2 weeks before you start intern orientation. You also have to deal with moving, starting internship, etc in late June/July. Considering how stressful starting intern year is, I don't think cramming a July Step 3 in there too is really necessary or advisable. Especially if you're going into IM, you also really will be better served by taking Step 3 at the end of intern year, after you've had some actual experience with managing patients.

Now if you're an IMG that has already graduated, the above compressed schedule doesn't apply to you. In that case, sure, go ahead and get Step 3 over with now before you start residency. But for AMGs, it generally isn't a good idea to try to beat the clock like that, because you probably won't be able to sit for the test before your intern year starts.
It hasn't changed.

Applicants for Step 3 cannot apply before the date of graduation listed on their diploma.

The OP is a current US medical student and with residency orientation etc starting earlier and earlier, finding 2 days and all the other issues you raised, make it very difficult if not impossible to do before residency (assuming he's not graduating off cycle).


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gracie369

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WingedScapula is right, I am a US 4th year. I didn't realize that you had to graduate before applying for Step 3! Guess that takes care of that. Thanks for the help!
Sure but that doesn't mean you can't get all of your studying done during the last few months of 4th year. For most people the last two months are super chill. You could easily knockout uworld etc and be ready for it first part of intern year. I really wish I would have done that. Revisiting peds and ob after intern yr was a super pain in the @ss. Intern year doesn't really help with the test. It would be a good feeling to have it done early.
 
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kemper6036

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if your program won't pay for it, i would do everything in your power to take it before you start intern year. some programs let you use an education day but others will make you use vacation time. I can't think of anything more painful than using 2 vacation days for a useless exam
 
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galactus

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Where I did residency, GME required all residents to take Step 3 prior to end of intern year. We didn't get vacation time for it, so the vast majority of us did it all during our ER rotation. In the ED, you can tell the non-EM residents apart by seeing them read their Step 3 books :laugh:
 

Law2Doc

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I'm going to echo the others who said having had intern year first helps on a lot of the questions...