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Step 2 And Match

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by MedS, May 6, 2008.

  1. MedS


    May 6, 2008
    I am a medical student, interested in doing general surgery. I have been asking my fellow MS-4s if I should take STEP2 before or after match. Some people tell me you can only go down if you take it early. some others tell me that I should do it, specially if I want to get into a competitive program. I wanted to hear some advice from residents or medical students that want to do surgery. Thanks!
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  3. drdrew267

    drdrew267 2+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    on your Step 1 score. If it's great to outstanding, Step 2 is (almost) a formality, although you should avoid any 20 point drops....

    However, if your Step 1 score is say, average for your school? Then, yes, getting a good and better yet, much improved, Step 2 score could go a long way to proving that you are a competitive applicant.
  4. jubb

    jubb Tern 7+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    In my application process I didn't have my step 2 score for the first 5 interviews and they all asked me if I'd taken it yet and what my score was and the rest of my interviews seemed to take it into consideration. Some places required it, maybe not by interview but by the ranking deadline. I know I'm only speaking from personal experience, but it seems that the old only take early it if you screwed up on Step 1 might be changing. Most of my fellow applicants had taken step 2 before even if they'd done well on step 1 so it may stand out that you haven't taken it. I'm sure you can get away with not taking it, but you should be prepared to be questioned about not having taken it. I took it early and did well hoping it would make up for a relative lack of Honors in some of my 3rd year clerkships and it seemed to work for that. I'm surprised more places don't require it, step 2 is so much more clinically relevant.
  5. JMarshall

    JMarshall 2+ Year Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    I have to second DrDrew's comment that it really depends on your step 1 score and the strength of your remaining application. I interviewed at many of the traditionally most competitive programs around the country and I didnt take step 2 until march. I only had one program (my home institution) even comment on my lack of a step 2 score, and they only asked when I planned to take it. In my opinion, if you have a high step 1 and otherwise strong application, most places wont care about step 2. If you have a decent step one they may ask about step 2 but you run the risk of doing worse if you take it. If you have a low step 1, then step 2 may be a big help. In my experience, step 2 isn't as difficult a test. I didn't study much and got nearly the same score as step 1. If you work hard on step 2 you may be able to improve drastically, but remember that it is a gamble.
  6. DrDre311

    DrDre311 Makaveli 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2008
    I didn't have my Step II score until the last handful of interviews. I was never asked about it, even after I submitted it--and I did better than I did on Step I. I only had one program that even required it by the rank list submission deadline. That said, the one program was a GS program, not plastics, so maybe GS programs care more about Step II, I don't know.

    My personal take on Step II is that you should take it about the same time as you submit ERAS and elect NOT to automatically release your USMLE transcript when new scores are received. That way you can choose to release your score if it's the same or better, or you can choose to keep it quiet if you don't do as well.
  7. zeitgeist


    Jan 25, 2008
    i interviewed at all the top programs and matched at my first choice. i did not take step II until after the match. i was only asked at a couple of places if i had taken it yet, but it was not really discussed at length.

    the residency application dean at my school strongly recommends against taking step II if you have a strong enough score b/c of the risk of dropping your score. programs won't care if your score is good enough/your application is good enough. in fact, some programs that "require" step II will waive this requirement if your step I/app is strong enough.

    only take step I if your score is low/middle and you want to show that you are a baller on the wards. you can take it either at the end of third year/early fourth year so that it factors into program's decision to interview you or you can take it in, say, january, so that you'll have the score in time for match list. it again really depends on your score- if low, the earlier the better- if medium, prolly january is wise, b/c a medium score will still prolly get you interviews at good places, but a high step II may boost your rank.

    again, this is only based on my experience, an n=1, and on what the residency dean at my school recommends.
  8. opr8n

    opr8n 5+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2008
    i would recc taking it early
    for one I had too, the military requires it
    but for others, you are best prepared for that exam at the end of your third year
    i personally feel 4th year med students get dumber everyday
    plus if you do well, thats one more peice of info that you are a good pic
    i like standardized tests, so i didnt feel that i would do bad and it would hurt me, you just have to have that attitude going into it
    b/c if you are worried about the test and what a bad score might do to your application, dont take it
  9. SLUser11

    SLUser11 CRS 10+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2005
    Here is an old thread where a similar discussion was held.

    Main point: I waited until late February, was scared it would hurt my match, which it didn't, but I ended up doing better on it anyway.

    There are some places where not taking it looks kind of cowardly, and it will negatively affect your rank.

    Of course, if you think your awesome step 1 score was a fluke, wait until June30th......
  10. Raidergate

    Raidergate Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    My step one score was right about the national average for matching in surgery, and I wanted to do a little better to hopefully secure a few more interviews.

    I finished my third year on my medicine clerkship, then, at my school we had a two week break. So, I basically studied my *** off on during medicine, and spent the two week break doing peds, ob, and the rest that I hadn't seen in a while. I also took it early because I did my surgery sub-i in july, then 3 visiting rotations at places across the country and I wanted to get it out of the way before all that happened.

    I improved my score by more than 20 points, and wound up getting a bunch of interviews I didn't think I would. Even though I thought the test itself was much harder and more ambiguous than step 1. And, in at least 75% of the places I went, at some point during the day, an interviewer would comment on how much score improved from step 1 to 2. I wound up matching at my number 1, and I doubt I'd have been ranked very highly due to my average step 1.

    I think, like others have said, step 2 can really help you, IF you improve on it, but it's hard for a lot of people to not want to take a good long break from big tests after the stress of third year. I took it early, then scheduled a bunch of easy rotations this semester, and finished med school at the end of March.

    I'm happy I took it early, but I'd probably be singing a different tune if I hadn't put in the work to improve my score. Good luck.

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