Is taking step 2 early recommended if step 1 was good

Discussion in 'Radiation Oncology' started by UHS05, Mar 24, 2004.

  1. UHS05

    UHS05 Member
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    I will be applying for rad-onc this fall and was wondering if it was a good idea to take step 2 early in the cycle if I am satisfied with my step 1 score. I guess my biggest fear is not doing as well on step 2 and ruining my application.
    Is this something PDs look very strongly at??? Any input is appreciated.
     
  2. ADBS4

    ADBS4 New Member

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    From the PD's I have talked to, Step 2 is not something that most applicants have the first time applying if they have done well on step 1 and they are applying during their 4th year of med school (i.e. not people that are applying later on in their medical careers, for example if they have done a year or two of research).
    I don't know what your definition of a "good" step 1 score is, but I have heard that a lot of people have scores greater than 230 on step 1 or step 2 that end up getting positions in radiation oncology. Keep in mind, though, most programs look at the overall applicant (research, motivation for being in the field, overall personality, etc). I hope this helps. Also, if there is any other advice or if I have written incorrectly, other opinions would be appreciated!:confused: :confused:
     
  3. pikachu

    pikachu Senior Member
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    I am in the same boat as you are, UHS05. There is a whole psychology to this as far as I can tell. Some people will tell you that your step 1 score is very predictive of your step 2 so if you did well on step 1 you should go for step 2 right at the end of third year so everything is fresh in your mind and you will probably do ok -- then you will have another good score to back up your application. Another strategy I've heard about is to take step 2 but not release your scores. that way, if they are bad you can keep a lid on them. but the programs may still want to see the score if they can see you've taken the test. (can they, in fact? I don't know)

    ADBS4, I think you're right about the programs looking at the whole package with research and LOR's being especially important. However, they do use step 1 scores for cutoffs as to whose application they will even look at. With the snowballing number of applicants, I guess they have to find some way to narrow the field. I think many programs cut off around 220-230. Whether this means that you will not get an interview with scores below this, I cannot say, but I know you have a much better chance of having your application looked at if your step 1 score is above the mean.

    The only caveat is if the program specifically requires step 2 (from what I can tell most don't; have heard that some of the cali schools require it but I haven't done any research on them so i don't know).
     
  4. Thaiger75

    Thaiger75 Senior Member
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    Doctor: I concur! (move: Catch me if you can :D) If your step 1 score is around the national average or greater, I would forgo on taking step 2. Even if you ace step 2, hard to know whether some programs screen with step 1. Nevertheless, a good step 2 should help with a deficient step 1, obviously.
     
  5. Joe N

    Joe N Member
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    This is not a suggestion on what to do. Just wanted to let you know that I didn't run into any programs that required Step 2, and didn't take it until I was done interviewing.
    Joe
     
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  6. UHS05

    UHS05 Member
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    Thanks for all the input. The only time I encountered any suggestion that step 2 would be critical was from the coordinator of one of the better programs that said almost all their applicants had already taken step 2. Having scored over 230 on step 1 already, I'm not ultrakeen to take step 2 before the interviewing process if I don't have to. So thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences and input.
     
  7. music710

    music710 Member
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    I agree with everything said above. Personally, I matched in one of the "top" 5 programs, and didn't take Step 2. Nor did my classmates, nor did Joe -- who matched in an awesome program.
     

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