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Medical Should I take Step 2 as DO student?

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TheBoneDoctah

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DO student debating the merits of taking Step 2. Applying to a competitive specialty.

I was advised by someone who reviews residency applications in my specialty that my step 1 score won't hurt or help me and that the risk of step 2 is that it's more likely to hurt me.

Step 1: 230-235
Preclinical: Top 1/2
Rotations: All pass
Research:
-1 2nd author off specialty
-3 1st author case reports
-2 1st author and 1 2nd author under consideration
-2 posters, 2 podium talks
Letters: 3 known strong letters
-1 from specialty with physician who has known me for 5 years and offered to hire me after residency
-1 from research mentor with history of good reviews from residency directors
-1 from home IM assistant program director


Should I take Step 2?
This is hard to answer without knowing the specialty. What specialty are you applying to?


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TheBoneDoctah

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Ophthalmology
Are you planning on applying to former ACGME or AOA programs? I am not sure how many previously-AOA programs got through the merger, but for ophthalmology, I would apply to all of them (I don't think there are too many previously-AOA programs that got through).

The person that you know that reviews residency apps...what is their position? PD? Faculty? Someone at your school? From just going through the process, what I gathered was that for competitive specialties, if you are applying to ACGME programs, you should have both Step 1 and Step 2. The reason is that they need to be able to compare you apples to apples with the other M.D. applicants. It isn't so much that your Step 1 HELPS you per se, it's that they want to compare you directly to the MD applicant (if that makes sense). If you don't take Step 2, I think you will decrease your chances at many ACGME interviews purely because you don't have a score on record (for example, I think it would be better to have a Step 2 of 230 on record than no score at all).

By only having a COMLEX 2, this won't hurt you as bad for former-AOA programs because they are familiar with the scoring, but you will be competing against mostly D.O. students.

Moral of the story: I would study my a** off and improve on Step 2 (which most students do anyways). That way you have the green light to apply to any program you want and aren't pigeon-holed into the limited number of D.O. programs.
 

TheBoneDoctah

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Okay, I feel like my advice still holds but I would be interested to see what others have to say about this. This one person is n=1 and I would really check with many other programs to see if they "don't care if a DO applicant has a STEP 2 score when applying to their MD heavy ACGME program."

I would be really nervous about doing this.
I appreciate the input. The n=1 is my concern as well, which is why I posted here to see if any others could give an opinion.
 
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