Aug 13, 2019
Resident [Any Field]
I am a US grad who applied gen surg last year and soaped into a prelim GS position. My application was average without red flags other than low board scores. My step 1 was super low (but pass on 1st attempt) and my step 2 was 20pts higher (1st attempt).

I'm 2 months in to my prelim year and working super hard. I anticipate having 3 new, strong LORs when I reapply this fall.

My question is in reference to Step 3. I know the NRMP data from last year showed PDs don't really look at Step 3. However, I was curious in my situation, low scores and being a prelim, if anyone felt differently about if it would be worthwhile to try and take it before interview season?

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!


7+ Year Member
May 26, 2011
Fellow [Any Field]
The only case in which it could potentially make a little bit of a difference would be if you nail it, which is unfortunately unlikely given past performance and current clinical obligations.

On the other hand, having another exam distract you from your clinical duties and current focus in your prelim year could hurt your chances of finding another spot. Your best chance for a categorical spot might be in your current program, so you need to make a difference there.

Just make sure you won't have any licensing issues without step 3. In most states, I think you're allowed to take it until the end of PGY2-3.
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