Medical Should I apply to match this year?

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AlteredScale

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I am a non-traditional medical student. I have worked in health care for a few years prior to medical school. I worked very hard during medical school to ranked within top 10 of my class with +240 step one and +250 step 2. I am planning to apply to a very competitive specialty. I even took a research year to boost my application. Overall, I think I am a very competitive applicant for this specialty...until I found out I failed STEP 2 CS SEP section. I spoke to people at my school and everyone did not think I should have failed SEP. I lived in USA since I was 14 years old for 16 years and with my years of working experience in healthcare, I was devastated to find out that I failed step 2 CS because of SEP. After researching on SEP, it seems like there is inconsistency between SPs among testing centers with people who have accent. I did not feel like I was graded with fairness. Nonetheless, I am trying to improve my communication and plan to retake when the test is resumed. However, I am not positive that I will be able to retake with a passing score prior to ERAS, so I have a big decision to make. I spoke with people at my school and they told me to go ahead and apply, but I am scared. I have never failed any medical school tests. Indeed, I honored all my first and second years classes, and 3/8 core rotations during third year. This is disheartening that all my hard work, time and efforts were discredited because of this one test, that has been challenged for years for its validity. I strongly feel I was not graded fairly, and it does not represent who I am.

Most residencies will require a passing step 2 CS score prior to ranking in March. That timing may be completely off this year given the covid situation.

Prepare hard to pass this test. Everything else on your application is strong (scores, honoring your shelves) and it sounds like the rest will be strong. Just make sure ur letters make use of the attendings confidence in your clinical skills to dampen the blow from the CS fail.

Research the programs well to make sure that they will consider an applicant with a step 2 cs failure this means look at FREIDA and/or contact ALL programs you will be applying to. You need to consider applying to a backup specialty as well. You only want to do this once.

Make sure you communicate well with the programs you apply to of when you will be taking your step 2 cs retake. Show them that you’re putting your best foot forward and they will be encouraged about you along with your application.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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What are you applying to?

Fair or not, you didn’t pass it. It may be frustrating and you may feel cheated, but instead of worrying about if you were graded fairly, pick yourself up and move forward.

I agree with the above that you need to apply to a backup. Some programs set their system to filter out applicants with board failures. Is this fair? Idk. But it’s the way they do it sometimes. Apply super broad and smart.


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TheBoneDoctah

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I really appreciate your response.

I am applying to Neurosurgery

Yes, I am planning to dual apply. I am trying my best to move forward, but it is really difficult to tbh.

I reached out to my home program chairman and PD. I have also reached out to another PD but he is radio silent so far. I was told it is very difficult to predict how each reviewer will react when he/she looks at my failed step 2 CS. I figure if I email them right now, I don't know how many will actually look at my whole application to tell me what they think...so will it be better if I just go ahead and apply? At least there will a higher chance they will look at my application, and hopefully other aspects of my application will secure me an interview at least?

I checked out FREIDA and I don't see step 2 failure....but I am planning to submit a passing score before ranking or as soon as I am able to take the test...they are all closed right now until August.

I am also prepared to address this in my personal statement and I guess I will have to ask my letter writers to mention something about clinical skills

I am planning to apply to all neurosurgery programs and ~50 dual.
It sounds like you are doing the best you can with the situation. Good luck.


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NotAProgDirector

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Have you considered asking for a CS rescore? I have no idea how often a fail is regraded as a pass though.
I ordered a rescore...but NBME is a scam. So when they rescore, all they do is recalculate the original score given by SPs. That is all they do. My problem obviously is within the recorded videos and SP grading.

I worked with two SP directors at my medical school and another medical school today. We went through cases, and neither could say what I did wrong. They both said I should have passed the test with my English. I just hope no medical student has to go through what I am dealing with right now, but unfortunately STEP 2 CS SEP is filled with subjectivity and prejudice against people with accent.
 
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