navy kenzo

2+ Year Member
Aug 3, 2018

I'm currently an MD/PhD student in my second year at a T10 program. I'm still a while off, but I'm thinking of applying to research-track pediatrics residencies. I'd ideally like to train at an academic program affiliated with major research centers with the end goal of becoming clinical or academic faculty.

Our medical school is giving us the option of taking Step 1 at the end of second year for a score or after our 3rd year rotations (in 5 or 6 years for me) when it becomes pass-fail. I know pediatrics is traditionally a field that hasn't cared much for test scores, and because of this I'm considering putting off Step 1 until my 3rd year and potentially using the next few months to get a jump start on my PhD. Is this advisable? Or would having a strong Step 1 score be beneficial for the tip-top pediatrics programs?

Thanks for the help


Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2005
  1. Fellow [Any Field]
I know it isn't the question you asked, but the biggest question to me: is your school going to give you dedicated study time to re-learn all of first and second year of medical school before you take Step 1 if you take it after rotations?

I don't think anyone can answer your question with certainty as it hasn't happened yet. A good score definitely won't hurt you. But your research, research plans and research letters probably matter more to the programs you are describing anyways as long as you have a decent score.


10+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2006
  1. Fellow [Any Field]
If you're not going to be applying for residency for another 5-7 years, it does you no good to have a scored Step 1 (because all the traditional students applying with you will only have P/F). And if you don't do stellar on it, it may hurt you for those top tier programs.

You will need some dedicated study time when you do take it, though, so if you can't get that when you're finishing up your PhD or after your 'third year' clinical rotations, then it may be worth it to take the time now to study for it and get it over with.
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