m3rkury

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My advisor recommended taking step 2 as early as possible (with minimal studying) to bolster my application. Unfortunately, this means studying/taking the test during my surg subi.

Stats: 224 step 1; all pass years 1-2 (75% in class); all pass for year 3 except "Exceptional" grade in FP (currently rotating through surg); good extracurriculars

I'm not aiming for any competitive programs, and was told my step 1 would get me a decent # of interviews.

The question: Is it worth it to take step 2 as stated above (possibly taking a risk), or would it not make much of a difference? Obviously a good score can help and a bad score can hurt, but would a slightly higher score offset the risk of a lower score?

Thanks in advance
 

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m3rkury said:
My advisor recommended taking step 2 as early as possible (with minimal studying) to bolster my application. Unfortunately, this means studying/taking the test during my surg subi.

Stats: 224 step 1; all pass years 1-2 (75% in class); all pass for year 3 except "Exceptional" grade in FP (currently rotating through surg); good extracurriculars

I'm not aiming for any competitive programs, and was told my step 1 would get me a decent # of interviews.

The question: Is it worth it to take step 2 as stated above (possibly taking a risk), or would it not make much of a difference? Obviously a good score can help and a bad score can hurt, but would a slightly higher score offset the risk of a lower score?

Thanks in advance
1) Can't you decide to release your score after you see it?

2) I think your Step I of 224 is plenty competitive. Standardized testing is not the problem in your application. Your problem is that your clinical grades are abysmal. Caveat: this is based on the two med schools I've seen where perhaps 5% of students get a pass (or a C) in any given course. Getting passes in all your classes is a HUGE red flag. Now ... this all doesn't apply if your med school has a different curve. If all passes makes you middle of the pack, the grades are then a neutral to slightly negative part of the application. Preclinical grades don't matter.

3) The big thing surgery departments care about is whether you work hard and play well with others. The concern about bad preclinical grades is they suggest you can't do that. You need to find a mentor who will go to bat for you - i.e. an attending who knows folks at 10 other schools and will make phone calls to push your application along. How do you get one of these?
If you are hard working and play well with others, just ask a mid-level to senior attending. (Senior residents can be a good aide in picking whom to ask) Be enthusiastic and persistent and explain your situation.

Othersise, make the most of your current GS rotation - try to get a better grade and most of all work hard and make a good impression. Do a sub-I/AI and do the same thing.
 

redsurgeon

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I don't know much about taking Step 2 during your core rotation in Surgery, but I here's a paper about taking it early:

Pohl, Charles A.; Robeson, Mary R.; Veloski, Jon USMLE Step 2 Performance and Test Administration Date in the Fourth Year of Medical School. Academic Medicine. Research in Medical Education Proceedings of the Forty-Third Annual Conference November 7-10, 2004. 79(10) Supplement:S49-S51, October 2004.

Here's an article on why they care about seeing your step 2 score, this was cited in this form before:

Dorothy A. Andriole, Donna B. Jeffe and Alison J. Whelan, What predicts surgical internship performance?, The American Journal of Surgery, Volume 188, Issue 2, , August 2004, Pages 161-164.
 
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m3rkury

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Thanks for the replies.

PilotDoc:

1) I am planning on holding the grade to release after I have seen it. But from my understanding, programs will see that you have taken the test and may wonder why they have not recieved a score. So holding the grade is kinda moot, as they will see it eventually.

2) My school's grading has 90% or more of the class getting a pass for the rotation (that is, honors can only be given to 10% or less of the class). This is all determined by standard deviation and other statistical voodoo. So my grades thus far have been the same as 90% of my class. Also, the school only ranks the top 1/3 of the class (which I am not part of).

3) My advisor said he'd make calls to the programs he knows and has already pulled some strings to help me get the most out of early 4th year. As far as working hard and playing well, I have that down. The only issue is I often feel that it goes unnoticed (at least by the people grading me).

Right now I think I am going to take the test in early Oct as opposed to Aug (Sept is not doable). This will be during an Emed rotation, which is better than a surg subi.
 

njbmd

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m3rkury said:
My advisor recommended taking step 2 as early as possible (with minimal studying) to bolster my application. Unfortunately, this means studying/taking the test during my surg subi.

Stats: 224 step 1; all pass years 1-2 (75% in class); all pass for year 3 except "Exceptional" grade in FP (currently rotating through surg); good extracurriculars

I'm not aiming for any competitive programs, and was told my step 1 would get me a decent # of interviews.

The question: Is it worth it to take step 2 as stated above (possibly taking a risk), or would it not make much of a difference? Obviously a good score can help and a bad score can hurt, but would a slightly higher score offset the risk of a lower score?

Thanks in advance
Hi there,
Step II does not offset Step I. They are different tests that test differrent aspects of your medical education. That being said, taking Step II as soon as possible gets it out of the way but you should be very prepared for this exam before you take it. Your Step I is above average and you beat the mean so you are probably fine with that score.

Your grades are your biggest liability at this point. Since you are done with third year, your best strategy is to do a couple of audition rotations at places that interest you and ace them. You also need to have strong letters from your surgery department chair and another surgeon that showcase your clinical abilities.

Apply broadly and make sure you have enough solid interviews to be sure you match. Other than that, put your emphasis on your current Sub I so that you can get a great grade and letter here. I would hold off on Step II until you have plenty of time to study for this one.

With some strategic planning and applications, you should be able to match in surgery if you desire. You are far from out of the running.

njbmd :)
 

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njbmd said:
Hi there,
Step II does not offset Step I. They are different tests that test differrent aspects of your medical education. That being said, taking Step II as soon as possible gets it out of the way but you should be very prepared for this exam before you take it. Your Step I is above average and you beat the mean so you are probably fine with that score.

Your grades are your biggest liability at this point. Since you are done with third year, your best strategy is to do a couple of audition rotations at places that interest you and ace them. You also need to have strong letters from your surgery department chair and another surgeon that showcase your clinical abilities.

Apply broadly and make sure you have enough solid interviews to be sure you match. Other than that, put your emphasis on your current Sub I so that you can get a great grade and letter here. I would hold off on Step II until you have plenty of time to study for this one.

With some strategic planning and applications, you should be able to match in surgery if you desire. You are far from out of the running.

njbmd :)
At our school, there is no such thing as a high pass or honors. Everyone gets a pass on every rotation (assuming you pass the end of the rotation test). So how will surgical programs look at me? The other parts of my application are very solid. I just don't know how this will affect me because the programs will not know that my school has no high pass or honors. Educate me. Peace out.
 

njbmd

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goooooober said:
At our school, there is no such thing as a high pass or honors. Everyone gets a pass on every rotation (assuming you pass the end of the rotation test). So how will surgical programs look at me? The other parts of my application are very solid. I just don't know how this will affect me because the programs will not know that my school has no high pass or honors. Educate me. Peace out.
Hi there,
Your Dean or one of your LOR authors should address your medical school's grading points and point out where you rank within the competitiveness of other applicants to surgery. This would be especially strong coming from the PD of the surgery program at your medical school. If not that person, one of the places that you did an AI or the chair of your schools surgery department.

njbmd :)