ahsa

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Hi all,
I also would like opinions regarding scores and matching. I will be graduating from a med school that is around top 25 in the country and have strong letters and good grades, but I bombed step 1 (195). I have not yet taken step two - but hope to do much better as I have scored at least the mean on shelf exams and will not have extenuating circumstances, as I did for step 1. Sorry for the long email, but would appreciate any feedback - especially about california programs.
 

monocyte

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Conventional wisdom is that step 1 scores are not that important for psych except for the very top programs. You have good grades, good letters, and go to a good school - you should be an excellent candidate.

You may want to *briefly* explain the 'extenuating circumstances' surrounding your step 1 attempt in your personal statement. If you do that, and do well on your step 2, I would imagine that any concerns about your step 1 score would be nullified (or at least greatly reduced).

Programs like Stanford, UCLA, and UCSF will be more competitive simply by virtue of being in California. However, many east coast folks will elect to stay on the east coast, and psych as a whole is not that competitive. (That being said, remember that there is of course little advantage in being overconfident with respect to your match list. You never know what's going to happen...)

Feel free to pm me with any more CA questions...I interviewed at two CA programs and matched at one of them.

Good luck!
 

PsychNOS

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Like Monocyte said, Step I is not important unless you are trying for top programs. The University of California system seems to screen applicants using Step I scores. Other top programs like Stanford, Cornell, MGH/McLean, Columbia, etc. may also take this into consideration. My board score was commented on in a positive manner at several interviews, leaving me to believe that Step I is not as trivial as some people may think.

That being said, you should match into psych as long as you apply, interview, and rank enough programs.
 
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monocyte

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I agree with PsychNOS - good step scores will be looked on well. If you get a high score you will get positive comments. However, an average or lower score is not something that one should worry too much about, so far as I can tell.
 

carolyn

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Study for and take your Step 2 early (as soon as your 3rd year clerkships are over). My fellow applicants commented on how they "didn't do so hot" on their Step 1 so several schools held off on giving them an interview until they did their Step 2. I agree with most of the posters--most programs just want to know that you passed your Step 1... but the more competitive programs will care so be sure to explain your "extenuating circumstances." Good luck with the California schools.
 

drchris71

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It's quite simple....do very well on Step 2 and your Step 1 will look like an aberation and your extenuating circumstances believable...however if you have a repeat performance then all of this speculation means nothing and I would not try to explain away two poor scores. Just deal with it...that being said make sure you don't take step 2 too lightly..while it's a little easier, it is still a tough exam. Good luck!!!
 
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