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Apricate

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Oct 20, 2015
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Hi all,

I'm a current USMD M4 planning on applying to DR this upcoming cycle. I have yet to take Step 2 CK, was planning on taking it in October shortly before applications go out, but I do have the opportunity to take it sooner.

My step 1 is strong for DR, 250s, so I was hoping to have a good yield of interviews without submitting a Step 2 score.
As I understand it, if my Step 2 score is made available after the October 21 date, I would have the option to add it to my ERAS application and make it visible to programs, but if my score dropped and I didn't want to release it to programs after October 21, I could do that as well.

TL;DR
Any benefit in taking Step 2 before ERAS goes out if I already have a solid Step 1?
 

Vulfington

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Feb 23, 2016
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The DR PD at my medical school apparently is looking more heavily at Step 2 now, and a recent virtual talk by people at Dartmouth in DR said you should take it to remove that uncertainty when others are looking at your app(Good step 1 and step 2 > good step 1 and no step 2 score). Given the Covid cancellations, it might be an even bigger boon if you actually have a good step 2 score for apps.

Test takers that did well on Step 1 are usually also good on Step 2. If you think your step 1 score was a fluke, then I would put it off. If you think you can do as well or better on step 2, I would take it to have scores for apps (and also to get it out of the way)
 
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Cognovi

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Feb 10, 2016
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Taking Step 2 is a gamble. You might do better or worse than you did on Step 1. Without a Step 2 score, some programs will extrapolate from Step 1 minus a penalty for the uncertainty (eg, fill in the blank for your Step 2 score with your Step 1 three-digit score).

 

JRY6788

2+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2018
24
24
Hi all,

I'm a current USMD M4 planning on applying to DR this upcoming cycle. I have yet to take Step 2 CK, was planning on taking it in October shortly before applications go out, but I do have the opportunity to take it sooner.

My step 1 is strong for DR, 250s, so I was hoping to have a good yield of interviews without submitting a Step 2 score.
As I understand it, if my Step 2 score is made available after the October 21 date, I would have the option to add it to my ERAS application and make it visible to programs, but if my score dropped and I didn't want to release it to programs after October 21, I could do that as well.

TL;DR
Any benefit in taking Step 2 before ERAS goes out if I already have a solid Step 1?

If you did well on Step 1, taking Step 2 prior to ERAS releasing applications won't provide you any significant benefit. That being said, regardless of when you take the test, programs can view your CK score after you've released it from the USMLE site. One thing to be wary of is waiting too long to release your CK score. Every program you interview at will confirm you've passed Step 2 prior to placing you on their official rank list. Excessively delaying your score release after the interview process is over tells programs that either (1) you absolutely bombed Step 2 CK, or (2) you're not responsible with deadlines. Similarly, it will look strange if you're asked about your Step 2 score on interview day and you mention you've already taken it but haven't released your score. The good news is if you performed well on Step 1, the majority of DR programs won't put significant weight on your CK score (unless you dropped 15-20+ points from Step 1). Mainly, programs want to confirm you've passed CK so they don't risk ranking and matching an applicant who failed the exam.
 
May 21, 2019
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If you did well on Step 1, taking Step 2 prior to ERAS releasing applications won't provide you any significant benefit. That being said, regardless of when you take the test, programs can view your CK score after you've released it from the USMLE site. One thing to be wary of is waiting too long to release your CK score. Every program you interview at will confirm you've passed Step 2 prior to placing you on their official rank list. Excessively delaying your score release after the interview process is over tells programs that either (1) you absolutely bombed Step 2 CK, or (2) you're not responsible with deadlines. Similarly, it will look strange if you're asked about your Step 2 score on interview day and you mention you've already taken it but haven't released your score. The good news is if you performed well on Step 1, the majority of DR programs won't put significant weight on your CK score (unless you dropped 15-20+ points from Step 1). Mainly, programs want to confirm you've passed CK so they don't risk ranking and matching an applicant who failed the exam.
My CK score is slightly below my step 1 score. Some programs told me they don't need step 2 to rank and a few other PD seemed like they wanted it. Most programs I can not find any information on their site if they need CK to rank. If I do transmit it, I believe I need to send it to all programs. Should I email them in that case to let them know since it is January, or is that not necessary?
 

daffy duck

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Jul 2, 2014
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My personal opinion is that if you did well on step 1, then you will more than likely do equally if not better on step 2.

I was in a similar position when I applied two years ago, and I opted to take it early and sent the scores.

When I asked My home PD, they said it was helpful to know that step 1 was not just a fluke if you scored well.

plus, I didn’t have to think about updating my application later on .

so I would recommend taking it and sending it , with the caveat being ... only take it if you have adequate time to study (minimum 2-3weeks)
 

Apricate

5+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2015
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OP here. I'll give an update since this thread was just bumped. Thank you all for the advice. I decided to take CK early to have scores submitted before ERAS opened and I did well - exact same percentile as my Step 1 score. I think that was the right call, it was my impression that interviewers were happy to see consistent performance across both Steps.

In response to medacc above: I would go ahead and submit the new score. I believe program coordinators should be notified that a new exam score was uploaded, so an e-mail may not be necessary. Best of luck.
 
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NotAnotherPreMed

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May 17, 2015
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I will say I did well on Step 1 and my Step 2 percentile fell by like 35..and I don't think it held me back at all in getting interviews so idk, depends on how well you did for step 1 basically. since you got 250s that's decent enough won't be an issue.
 

RealHumanBean1

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Jul 19, 2015
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The DR PD at my medical school apparently is looking more heavily at Step 2 now, and a recent virtual talk by people at Dartmouth in DR said you should take it to remove that uncertainty when others are looking at your app(Good step 1 and step 2 > good step 1 and no step 2 score). Given the Covid cancellations, it might be an even bigger boon if you actually have a good step 2 score for apps.

Test takers that did well on Step 1 are usually also good on Step 2. If you think your step 1 score was a fluke, then I would put it off. If you think you can do as well or better on step 2, I would take it to have scores for apps (and also to get it out of the way)
I second this advice and will say that, since you have to take it anyways, it might be easier to do well (especially if your IM and Surgery rotations were towards the end of M3) if you took it earlier rather than later. The other benefit is that you'll have it out of the way earlier in the year and can just focus on your application. Beyond that, realize that you have to submit Step 2 to be ranked; so while not submitting a bombed Step 2 might net you some more interviews, it could still affect your position on the rank list. For all these reasons, I decided to take Step 2 a bit earlier in the year when I felt like my medical knowledge was at a relative high and I didn't need to actively balance studying and preparing for application submission/interviews.

If you feel like Step 1 was a fluke, aren't close to M3 IM and Surgery rotations, and/or have a lot of research/volunteering to fit in before applications go out such that you feel you'd have more time to study later in the year - then I'd consider putting it off.

If you feel like you're generally a good test taker, are close to M3 IM and Surgery rotations, don't have a lot of app padding to do before application submission, and would like to get Step 2 out of the way - I'd say definitely take it sooner rather than later. I genuinely do think there's some benefit to having a solid Step 1 and 2 as opposed to just Step 1 especially as programs begin to pivot towards taking Step 2 more seriously - and like I said, every program will know your Step 2 score before ranking anyways.

EDIT: Just saw that my advice was a little late, but hopefully it helps someone else. Congratulations @Apricate on doing well and, almost as importantly, getting it out of the way!
 
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