Jun 14, 2011
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So today I was looking under FREIDA and have noticed a substantial amount of programs list Step 2 as a requirement for interview. After talking with residents over the last year I've been under the impression that Step 2 wasn't a requirement and that a lot of people take it late and don't even release their score (unless they are making up for a subpar step 1 score).

To focus on cleaning up some research projects prior to ERAS I literally cancelled my test on 8/28 yesterday with the goal of pushing it back to late November. Now I'm stressed.

I consider myself a good candidate for the match but I'm couples matching and was planning on shotgun approach to all 80 programs participating. I can try and schedule for late September, October but I'm slammed with away rotations and its going to be tough to set myself up for as much success as I had on step 1.

Have I officially put myself at a disadvantage by doing this? Any advice/insight is very very appreciated.
 

ramsesthenice

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This would be a seismic shift from the last 10 years if true. I don't believe it for one minute. Don't change your plans. If you are that worried about it, you could call up a couple of the programs which are listed as requiring a step 2 grade. I assure you they will say that is not accurate.
 
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Jun 14, 2011
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Thanks for the responses. I spoke to one of the schools today and they echoed what everyone is saying. I didn't need my usual cup of coffee this morning after reading FREIDA. lol.
 

Cooluser123

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1) Many (or all) PDs don't know what a good step 2 score is. Only the minority asked on interviews and only PDs at that.
2) Passing is a good step 2 score. Or a number not significantly different from step 1 so you don't look like you slacked off.
3) All they want is for Step 2 to be done at some point and released for their records.

Spend your time productively and good luck!
 

Scatter

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"1) Many (or all) PDs don't know what a good step 2 score is. Only the minority asked on interviews and only PDs at that.
2) Passing is a good step 2 score. Or a number not significantly different from step 1 so you don't look like you slacked off."


I disagree. My chairman and PD always looked at Step 2 (they both trained at the Top programs), as it pertains to Clinical Knowledge (CK). In my PGY5 year, I was invited by my chairman to sit on the committee that chose the residency candidates. I remember noting an applicant's relatively low Step 1 score, and my Harvard-through-and-through chairman noted that the candidate's Step 2 CK score was impressive, and that we can overlook the Step 1 score in his case. I was sort of taken aback a bit, but it goes back to that RADIATION oncologist vs radiation ONCOLOGIST philosophy (as per A. Zeitman). Even in RO, clinical knowledge and skills matter. Simply "passing" is not enough.
 

radiaterMike

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Yes a good score can help. But the absence of a step 2 score won't hurt unless step I is low (especially if low and discrepant from a good transcript).
 

ramsesthenice

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This has been discussed so many times on this forum before, lets not get into it again. There is no universal answer. Im sure some places care, and I know for a fact many do not. I am intimately familiar with the ranking process at two programs and I assure you there is nothing a good step 2 score can do to help a bad step 1 score at either institution. Obviously, there are other places it will. Virtually no one requires a step 2 score for interview. Many programs get together and rank applicants the day of or shortly after interviews. At such places they frequently won't have step 2 scores at that time and virtually none will go back to look later. At such places step 2 scores really don't matter. At others, like where ever Scatter trained it was obviously quite different.

If you have a solid application it doesn't matter. If you want to beef yours up you can try to use step 2 to do it. Just realize a lot of people do very well on step 2, so its not likely to be something to set you apart from the pack. Maybe in some instances it can help you with a bad step 1 score as suggested above.
 
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SRC1987

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If the average is around 240, maybe even a little higher, what is considered a "bad" step 1 score vs a borderline step 1 score that a high step 2 may help?
 

ramsesthenice

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If the average is around 240, maybe even a little higher, what is considered a "bad" step 1 score vs a borderline step 1 score that a high step 2 may help?
Who knows. The grading is a bit more generous on step 2, or at least it was. I did 10 points better on step 2 than I did step 1 (I did very well on both too) but my percentile ranking was 15% lower or something ridiculous. Its easier to get a higher score on step 2 (at least it was) but keep in mind that also means its harder to stand out. I've never talked to anyone who thought step 2 mattered so I can't actually answer your question. I would think if you did 25-30 points better than step 1 that would have to look good though. If you do much less than 220 on step 1 a lot of places are simply going to overlook your application. Many, but not all, use cut offs.
 
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thecarbonionangle

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Did not take step2 until AFTER matching. Swamped with aways and rotations, would have had zero time to even do decent. Never came up in interviews. Relax brotha.
 

evilbooyaa

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If you did well (for rad onc standards) on Step 1, don't take Step 2 early.

If you didn't do as hot on step 1, then taking Step 2 early (and doing much, much better, like 15-20 points better at least) might help you at some programs (apparently not all programs).

Remember that (at least as far as I know in the past year or two) the average for Step 2 was a full 10 points higher than the average for Step 1. So your 250 Step 1 would need something like a 260 Step 2 to be considered in the same vein.
 
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