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step 2 & IM

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ak1978

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Just wondering about the importance of step II for IM residencies. Everyone seems to think it doesn't really matter if you do decent on step I, but I was just looking at Iserson's (5th edition) and it suggests that PDs consider it second in importance only to one's medicine clerkship grade (p. 429). What gives??

I'm asking because I got in the 230's on step I but am aiming for some of the top tier programs. I go to a state school, and have good grades (possibly AOA). Should I take step II early? (september or earlier)

many thanks.
 

Kalel

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I think that most people think that it doesn't matter that much because most programs don't require that you take step II prior to interviewing or being evaluated by the selection committee. My impression is that most IM programs (other then the top 5-10) put little weight on standardized scores and are more interested in seeing your clinical grades, LOR's, and even the reputation of your school more then how well you did on step I or II. Most would like you to score above avg, but after that, I don't think that a high step I or II could compensate for negative evaluations. That's just my opinion as an applicant though, I've never sat in on one of these residency selection committees and I've never been given a straight answer from anybody about how they select students other then some people telling me that it's all about personalities meshing with the program. You have a decent step I score; if you do well during your clinical years (particularly on the shelfs) and feel confident about step II, I think that it would be reasonable to take step II during the fall semester and score well to help boost your application. If you don't feel like studying hard for it though, I also think that it would be acceptable for you to wait until after residency selection is completed (feb 25th) or to choose to not automatically release your score.
 

avendesora

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Iserson's is a great book, and I recommend that anyone applying should read it. You have to realize, though, that Iserson is a surgeon, and so his advice is probably more applicable to the more "old skool" type surgery residencies. I personally felt that some of what he says is a little out of date. I mean, c'mon -- the guy says you shouldn't SMOKE during your interview for gosh sakes!!

Here's what I did -- I took Step II in November. That way, my ERAS app went out before the score was back. I ended up doing well so I released the score and mentioned it at my interviews. If I had blown it, I could have just not released the scores and it would not have been an issue. The only place that even brought it up was Dartmouth -- I guess you need to pass Step II to practice as an intern in N.H. Even then, they just wanted to know if I had taken it or not.

It's hard for me to imagine a situation where Step II would help you GET an interview, especially if you have your ducks in a row. It sounds from your stats like you will get interviews anywhere you want. AOA is a big factor at some places (U.Wash I know for sure).

Hope this long-winded thing helps!
 

Pelivar

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Iserson is a EM doc...just thought I'd throw that in.
 

Nestle

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when do ERAS applications go out? If i take step 2 in october will I be required to put my step 2 score on the application? Also, are they allowed to ask what your step 2 score is when you interview?

thanks!
 

Kalel

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Originally posted by Nestle
when do ERAS applications go out? If i take step 2 in october will I be required to put my step 2 score on the application? Also, are they allowed to ask what your step 2 score is when you interview?

thanks!

ERAS is available to be downloaded in June. The earliest you can submit is in September though. Once you have your letters together and your personal statement and CV written, it doesn't take very long to fill out ERAS. You will not be required to put your step II score on your application, you cna choose to review your score before releasing it. Programs are allowed to ask you what your step 2 score was during your interview or why you haven't taken/released your step 2 score. I never got asked why I hadn't taken my step 2; I think that programs are only more likely to ask if they notice a below avg step 1.
 
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