M.Furfur

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I am wondering if anyone have experience with this. Lot of the seniors in my school keep telling us not to write our step 2 early if we have a decent step I score.
What do people in Surgery think about this? Is it a good idea or will it maybe show that the applicant is not enough confident to write boards?
 

Guile

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Don't forget that several programs are requiring step 2 scores to apply...that's both parts, too. You might want to look at the programs' requirements at places you're considering applying to.
 

Winged Scapula

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Don't forget that several programs are requiring step 2 scores to apply...that's both parts, too. You might want to look at the programs' requirements at places you're considering applying to.
Is that true for Surgery? I've seen it in other specialties but not surgery.
 

Chemdocx

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study a week or two and knock it out early....One interviewer asked me why I had taken it so early.....easy answer....I got nothing to hide.
 

Musashi450

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Don't forget that several programs are requiring step 2 scores to apply...that's both parts, too. You might want to look at the programs' requirements at places you're considering applying to.
For what its worth I remember seeing this for one of the programs I applied to (I think Univ. of Wisconsin). They have a fantastic program and really loved the interview day. I'll let you know how I do on Step II after I take it the 22nd.:laugh:
 

Smurfette

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I took Step 2 after the rank lists were submitted. I applied to programs that said they wanted it...but then found it was not a problem and nobody asked anything more about it at the interview when I said I was going to take it, but hadn't yet. I don't think it made a difference in my interviews or where I matched.

Keep it in mind that if you take it more in the middle or later, you will have the option of releasing your new scores or not (can check yes/no for release), but if you take it early, they will get the results with your other USMLE scores. For me, it worked out because my step 2 was a major drop from step 1 and may have hurt me had I released the scores.
 

SouthernSurgeon

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For what its worth I remember seeing this for one of the programs I applied to (I think Univ. of Wisconsin). They have a fantastic program and really loved the interview day. I'll let you know how I do on Step II after I take it the 22nd.:laugh:

Wisconsin didn't require it - in fact I remember getting an email from their PC stating they needed the scores by September.

I only had 1 program that required it and that was UCSF - and that was apparently a university-wide requirement that came down from the GME.

I just took step 2 a couple weeks ago, and no one said a word about not having my score.

Now that said - if you didn't do well on step 1 then I think you should strongly consider studying hard and taking step 2 early to try and boost your application.
 
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If you did well on Step 2, it helps you in the ranking process. Might not be a bad idea to submit the results if you did the same or better than Step 1.
 

njbmd

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Since Step II was required for graduation from my medical school, I took it early. My last rotation third year was Internal Medicine and thus, I didn't need much review for that exam. It made sense for me to get it out of the way and done.

Taking Step II early turned out to be fortunate for me because:
  • My residency programs saw my scores which brought some favorable comments during interviews.
  • Once I had matched, there was nothing between me and graduation except vacation.
  • My Internal Medicine knowledge was fresh and ready to be put to good use.
I didn't delay Step II because it worked out better for me personally. For me, the further I got from the required clerkships, the more I figured I would forget. The fact that just about every one of my interviewers commented favorably on my Step II score was an unexpected bonus.

I did the same thing with Step III and got it out of the way as soon as I could during my PGY-1 year. I could see no good reason to delay this nuisance of an exam as I had enough to deal with in terms of mastery of residency and my surgical reading.

For me, delaying these things meant knowledge loss to some extent and having to do more review. I just didn't want to spend valuable vacation time doing review for Step II. I know that Hopkins and BID commented that they liked that I had done Step II early. As for it being "required" by some programs, that wasn't the case for me but my residency interview days were long ago.
 

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...if you didn't do well on step 1 then I think you should strongly consider studying hard and taking step 2 early to try and boost your application.
If you did well on Step 2, it helps you in the ranking process. Might not be a bad idea to submit the results if you did the same or better than Step 1
...The fact that just about every one of my interviewers commented favorably on my Step II score was an unexpected bonus.

I did the same thing with Step III and got it out of the way as soon as I could during my PGY-1 year. I could see no good reason to delay this nuisance of an exam as I had enough to deal with in terms of mastery of residency and my surgical reading.

For me, delaying these things meant knowledge loss to some extent and having to do more review...
The question of do I take it or not, when do I take it... comes up I suspect a few times a year. I vaguely remember us debating this somewhere in the last six months. With the caveat that I took it a long while ago and have not applied for general surgery residency in like maybe 9 years, these are my thoughts/opinions:

1. Generally, if you did fairly poor on step 1, you will likely not succeed in a dramatic coup on step 2. There are exceptions, but in general that is the case.
2. Step 1 is regarded as the more difficult test. Scoring low on the hard test and then scoring high on the easy test... well, is expected. A high score on step 2 does not really wash away the poor performance on step 1. That is what all the PDs have told me over the years.
3. A marked decrease in performance on step 2 as compared to step 1 will be looked upon unfavorably.
4. This final point seems most hotly debated and/or argued.... Programs (in my experience/in the past) could use computerized "filters" on applications. One of those filters was step ONE scores. If filters are still the case, your application could be electronically filtered out and never even reviewed based on step one scores. Thus a poor step 1 score may prevent the program from ever seeing your "improved" step 2 score.

Maybe all of that has changed....
 

Guile

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I took Step 2 after the rank lists were submitted. I applied to programs that said they wanted it...but then found it was not a problem and nobody asked anything more about it at the interview when I said I was going to take it, but hadn't yet. I don't think it made a difference in my interviews or where I matched.

Keep it in mind that if you take it more in the middle or later, you will have the option of releasing your new scores or not (can check yes/no for release), but if you take it early, they will get the results with your other USMLE scores. For me, it worked out because my step 2 was a major drop from step 1 and may have hurt me had I released the scores.
I think if you take it after September 1 then you will have the option of releasing it to schools. For schools that require it, I believe that you need to take it anytime before December 31 so the score will be reported in time to be considered.
 

thedrjojo

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The question of do I take it or not, when do I take it... comes up I suspect a few times a year. I vaguely remember us debating this somewhere in the last six months. With the caveat that I took it a long while ago and have not applied for general surgery residency in like maybe 9 years, these are my thoughts/opinions:

1. Generally, if you did fairly poor on step 1, you will likely not succeed in a dramatic coup on step 2. There are exceptions, but in general that is the case.
2. Step 1 is regarded as the more difficult test. Scoring low on the hard test and then scoring high on the easy test... well, is expected. A high score on step 2 does not really wash away the poor performance on step 1. That is what all the PDs have told me over the years.
3. A marked decrease in performance on step 2 as compared to step 1 will be looked upon unfavorably.
4. This final point seems most hotly debated and/or argued.... Programs (in my experience/in the past) could use computerized "filters" on applications. One of those filters was step ONE scores. If filters are still the case, your application could be electronically filtered out and never even reviewed based on step one scores. Thus a poor step 1 score may prevent the program from ever seeing your "improved" step 2 score.

Maybe all of that has changed....
Filters still exist... they can set it up to filter Step 1, Step 2, Step 1 and Step 2, or Step 1 or Step 2 (ie, Step 1 < 210 or Step 2 < 220 gets filtered out).

I didn't take it til end of Jan... score came in about a week before rank lists were due... wasn't planning on sending but since I did much better than expected, sent an email to my top few places letting them know the results. Only place I interviewed at that "Required" them before the match was SUNY Downstate, but I heard MGH required them before the interviews. I never heard any problems with my not taking it though, and matched at my #1 choice.
 

Musashi450

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I didn't take it til end of Jan... score came in about a week before rank lists were due... wasn't planning on sending but since I did much better than expected, sent an email to my top few places letting them know the results.
I would really think this is the way to do it. It's all of the benefits without the risk. If a program is going to use it to help determine ranking (not sure how much this actually happens) you can always send it to them before they rank in Feb. but if your score goes lower, you can simply choose not to send it out. Sending them out after interviews are offered, you would only potentially miss out on what...maybe 3-4 interviews it sounds like. If I remember right, I don't think ERAS lets you say step I but not step II but it does allow you to send whats in you're file at that time, and you have the option to allow resending as the file is updated (ie with a step II score).
 

Treg

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With regards to the places I interviewed--MGH required it, but only for licensing purposes so if you matched there, there wouldn't be a delay in getting your license for July 1. I didn't take my Step 2 until the end of Feb--just didn't have time for it before then. I asked them about it on my interview day, and they said as long as I had scores back by match day.

I heard that UCSF also asked for it to be done so you would have scores before ROL due date, again for institutional requirements.
 

iheartednorton

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i got a 219/91 on step 1 and 247/99 on step 2. im a us citizen from a carib school. does this change in step scores, in your opinions, make me competitive? is 219/91 too low for the "cut offs"?

thanks guys.
 

thedrjojo

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i got a 219/91 on step 1 and 247/99 on step 2. im a us citizen from a carib school. does this change in step scores, in your opinions, make me competitive? is 219/91 too low for the "cut offs"?

thanks guys.
You have a few things working against you...

Many programs with have filtered you because you are carib grad, so your step scores never mattered

Some programs will have filtered you based on your step 1 score (my program's filter was set at the average, which was 223 when I took it I believe)

Now, 219 isn't a bad score, and if you were a US allo grad, you would have very high probability of matching on the 219 alone. As a carib grad, matching is always an uphill battle, and 219 is still decent, but, and I always do this, referring to "Charting the Match" which is from the 2009 data right now, based on 219, 31 matched and 74 did not... and the probability line was at about .25 (this is all independent applicants)... now, if you look at step 2, based on 247, 33 matched and 45 did not (no probability line for step 2), so much better odds but still less than 50%... We will tell you what we tell all independent applicants: apply broadly, apply often, and if there are programs you are really, really interested in, give them a call and let them know, cause filters dont delete the application, so if you bring them attention to your application, you just might get unfiltered (I know at my program, our PD said that he goes through the filtered applications and randomly screens some and offers some interviews from that stack based on other qualities of the app).