Nov 14, 2020
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Hello everyone, first time posting here. I'll try to keep it short.

I'm a Non-US-IMG and went to the Caribbean for school. Did decently in school, except I had to take two LOAs (1 - Personal medical leave; became really ill and by the time I wanted to get back, my advisor told me its better to just come back next semester), then did two more semesters and got sick again in my last semester there and had to come back again, those are the only two breaks that I needed to take, which delayed me by a total of 1 year. I had about 2 gaps in my rotations as well but only because it was really hard to book the rotations back to back during that time which is explained on my MSPE. This is the problem I am in now.

My school requires us to take a CCSE before taking Step 2 CK, this would have happened in about April for me but because of COVID, it didnt happen until the end of September. Now I am scheduled to take my exam this coming week, but I am having second thoughts because my performance isn't too great on my practice tests (215s - 220s), I have a decent Step 1 - 236. I applied to FM/IM on October 21st. Just waiting to get my STEP 2 CK score in there. I only have 1 interview so far.

So my choices here are really; tough it out and just go write the exam this week and see what happens, but I am afraid I might just end up with a really low score and not only will I be screwed for this match (? Possibly) but also the next time I apply with a low score that I cannot change.

Other option is, if I withdraw from this match, as in withdraw all my applications (i'm not sure how bad this looks at this point), and write STEP-2CK when I feel more ready and confident, but my schooling as on my transcript, is already ~ 6 years. I wouldn't mind doing an extra year for research, getting Step-3 done, and possibly doing observer-ships if that means I get better opportunities at the end, but right now it seems like I'm screwed no matter what I do.

Anybody able to give me some advice on how to move forward?
 

Banco

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May 28, 2014
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I can't speak to your personal situation, but can talk about withdrawing. So if you "withdraw" right now, you're withdrawing from ERAS, not from the match, so the ramifications of that are not as bad at all. I know someone personally who applied 1 year ago, got a few interviews, but decided a couple weeks later instead to do a research year and withdrew all the apps like you are suggesting - she never went on any interviews and never participated in the match. She is now applying this year again in the same specialty and has gotten interviews from places she applied to before and even from places where she got interviews before which she ended up declining. So there didn't seem to be any bad blood there. Maybe someone else can also weigh in here.


The rest with regards to your exams and timeline etc. is up to you to figure out.
 
Nov 14, 2020
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Thank you for your response @Branco, thats a relief to know it wouldn't look as terrible as I thought.

I guess my next question would be, if I took this year to work on research (build up my CV), do volunteer work or work in a medical setting and reapply and with a strong board score, does that 1 year extra look worse than just applying now with a less than average / poor score.

Any replies from anyone are appreciated, truly.
 
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hallowmann

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I think it would look worse having such a late Step 2 CK on your app as an IMG, not have ECFMG certification in time, and then do poorly on it, than it would to just delay a year.

There is risk either way, but really as an IMG, you need to have ECFMG certification, and good scores in the day apps open.

The best thing would be for you to make sure you don't graduate until after apps are released in 2021, so you will still be applying as an student (assuming you aren't getting close to the 6 year mark for your degree) and apply with both good scores and ECFMG certification.
 
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Nov 14, 2020
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I think it would look worse having such a late Step 2 CK on your app as an IMG, not have ECFMG certification in time, and then do poorly on it, than it would to just delay a year.

There is risk either way, but really as an IMG, you need to have ECFMG certification, and good scores in the day apps open.

The best thing would be for you to make sure you don't graduate until after apps are released in 2021, so you will still be applying as an student (assuming you aren't getting close to the 6 year mark for your degree) and apply with both good scores and ECFMG certification.


The 6 year mark would be occur by August of 2021. I have the same feeling, I really don't want to do poorly on this exam and then not end up matching just because I was rushing to get the exam score in. I would rather take my time to study properly because clearly something happened between Step-1 --> Step 2 for me to be scoring so low, maybe need to go over my foundational knowledge, I think i was too excited to be doing clinicals and didnt review enough to be scoring high, although I passed all my shelf exams without a hitch and honoured every rotation. I didn't expect to be in this position, I would have been happy with anything > 240, not applying to anything competitive, just FM/IM. I could also write Step-3 before applying next year.
 

hallowmann

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The 6 year mark would be occur by August of 2021. I have the same feeling, I really don't want to do poorly on this exam and then not end up matching just because I was rushing to get the exam score in. I would rather take my time to study properly because clearly something happened between Step-1 --> Step 2 for me to be scoring so low, maybe need to go over my foundational knowledge, I think i was too excited to be doing clinicals and didnt review enough to be scoring high, although I passed all my shelf exams without a hitch and honoured every rotation. I didn't expect to be in this position, I would have been happy with anything > 240, not applying to anything competitive, just FM/IM. I could also write Step-3 before applying next year.

Even if you can't be a current student, I think it will still be in your best interest to apply next year. Don't rush Step 3 either. It's more important to do well, but if you do take it, take late enough that your apps will go out before your score is released, that way if it doesn't go well, you don't have to release an updated score report until after.
 
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Jan 28, 2020
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I think it would look worse having such a late Step 2 CK on your app as an IMG, not have ECFMG certification in time, and then do poorly on it, than it would to just delay a year.

There is risk either way, but really as an IMG, you need to have ECFMG certification, and good scores in the day apps open.

The best thing would be for you to make sure you don't graduate until after apps are released in 2021, so you will still be applying as an student (assuming you aren't getting close to the 6 year mark for your degree) and apply with both good scores and ECFMG certification.

what if you cross the 6 year mark because of covid delays?
 
Nov 14, 2020
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what if you cross the 6 year mark because of covid delays?
Yeah I spoke to someone about this and they said, it should be okay to apply next year because this is that once in a life-time pandemic situation so you can explain how things have led to being extended (not being able to take shelf exams / other exams on time).
 

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