Sorgun

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I keep finding mixed information on when to take Step 2 CK, in particular if I want to apply to a competitive Psych residency (UCSF, Stanford, UCLA, Yale, Harvard - MGH, UNC, NY Presb-Cornell, NY Presb-Columbia, MUSC, Emory, Duke).

When should I take Step 2 CK? Step 1 was 241, I have a good amount of experience on my CV, likely AOA, 94th percentile on psych shelf (goes on dean's letter), honored psych, and I'm considering taking Step 2 CK in July, but I don't know "how important" Step 2 scores are for the more competitive programs, versus just waiting until August and simply not submitting my Step 2 score.

If my application as it stands would benefit more from just waiting to take Step 2CK and focus on getting an AI in July and good letters in prep for September, then I could see the benefit. The only reason I'm tempted to take Step 2CK so soon though is because IM is my last rotation, so I'll just be coming out of studying for the IM shelf.

Thanks to anyone with a bit o' guidance.
 

MacDonaldTriad

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Sounds like you have always done well. Why would you need to feel like hiding a part II performance? If you bomb it, I guess you would be better off delaying it, but most competitive applicants take II early. It isn't likely you will do poorly. Even if you just do a slightly above average performance, this would be better than no score.
 
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I keep finding mixed information on when to take Step 2 CK, in particular if I want to apply to a competitive Psych residency (UCSF, Stanford, UCLA, Yale, Harvard - MGH, UNC, NY Presb-Cornell, NY Presb-Columbia, MUSC, Emory, Duke).

When should I take Step 2 CK? Step 1 was 241, I have a good amount of experience on my CV, likely AOA, 94th percentile on psych shelf (goes on dean's letter), honored psych, and I'm considering taking Step 2 CK in July, but I don't know "how important" Step 2 scores are for the more competitive programs, versus just waiting until August and simply not submitting my Step 2 score.

If my application as it stands would benefit more from just waiting to take Step 2CK and focus on getting an AI in July and good letters in prep for September, then I could see the benefit. The only reason I'm tempted to take Step 2CK so soon though is because IM is my last rotation, so I'll just be coming out of studying for the IM shelf.

Thanks to anyone with a bit o' guidance.


I strongly suspect that CK score in general declines with distance from last medicine rotation. I wish I had taken it immediately after third year, and I did great on it.

I got more and fancier invites after I reported my CK score, but I was not AOA and my step 1 wasn't as impressive
 
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bonedrone14

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This is just my opinion as a current 4th year just now finishing all of this process...

I'd take it early. Especially just coming off of medicine. It's really easy to fall into the temptation of just putting it off since you've got an already good app. Plus you've been busting your butt all third year so mentally a break is really helpful. I was pretty much in your spot last year with a very similar app. I convinced myself step 2 could only hurt me since I had already gotten a good step 1. I got plenty of invites at great places, and took CK on November 4 or something like that. Got my scores back like the first week of december, submitted them, and bam, got like 4 more interviews and one of them is my number one now, where I really wanna end up. So, anecdotal yes, but unless you're just mentally worn down and think you'll perform poorly, I'd say go for it early.
 
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Rogue Penguin

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I took Step 2 CK very late. I only got my score back within the past month.

I know for a fact that I didn't get invites because of my late Step 2 CK score. I'd go ahead and take it early if you feel prepared. Luckily, there are many practice tests available so you can see if you're ready or not. For me, as time went on, it really became a struggle to review more information than I was forgetting without dedicated study time where I was grinding all day every day. You can save yourself the trouble of having to relearn things and increase your odds of early interview invites by having your score earlier.
 
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MacDonaldTriad

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Bonedrone is a living example of what faculty are trying to tell applicants. It's only students who suggest that anyone put part II off. I know some students out there are saying "sure, of course the programs would encourage us to take the test", but "the programs" also are the ones who make up their own decisions about who gets interviewed. The truth is that competitive programs do require step II scores. If you are aiming at programs that compromise on this, you can probably delay taking the test. Since you have to take it anyway, you might as well buckle down and get it out of the way while it makes more difference.
 
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As everyone is saying; go ahead and take it. You did well on Step 1, you'll probably do similarly on Step 2. I took mine at the beginning of July last year, timed around my medicine sub-I, which was perfect. It was only 6 or 7 months removed from my core IM rotation, so the knowledge was still quite fresh in my mind. Didn't even have all of my mandatory rotations completed (missed neuro and OB, self-studied them) and it was fine. Looking at the timing you've described, July seems perfect.

FWIW I had a Step 1 of 259 and Step 2 of 262 and I didn't draw invites from a handful of the programs you listed, so your score is important in getting considered by competitive programs as people have stated, but it's not going to be the end-all (though I am guessing without my CK score I would received fewer)! Both Step 1 and CK were reported together upon initial transmission of ERAS so I can't add to the anecdotes about improving your invites with a good CK score, but my classmates also had such experiences.
 
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I took Step 2 CK late as well. I had 7 of my 20 programs require it for an interview. I did not look that little fact up on their websites until around September. My school told me not to worry about it. Most schools did not require CK for an interview. Never trust folks...look it up for yourself. Well, I got about half my interviews after my score came back. And I missed 2 interviews I know of because all the dates were full by the time my score was back and no dates opened off the waitlist.

So, in conclusion, I would take it fresh off of IM in July so you have your score back in time for 9/15.

Biggest mistake I made in the process. I preach it to our 3rd yrs now. You can wait on CS but not CK.
 
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Sorgun

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I'm certainly trying to dig out the details on each program but even their websites seem cumbersome/unhelpful in getting at the details. The fact that it will play a role in interview invites is news to me (hadn't heard that one). At the moment just rummaging through residency program websites to gather info on residency specific requirements (like UNC's Chair letter and IM AI) is quite entertaining.

It sounds like taking it in July would be ideal then. I'm aiming for July 21st; I'll just have to go doubly hard in IM.
Thanks for the replies; very valuable as a 3rd year trying to pull everything together.
 
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splik

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the competitive psychiatry programs do not require it and it is not uncommon for applicants with a step one >240 to do step 2 later. those with lower step 1 scores should definitely do step 2. The real question is why delay it? It is best to get both CK and CS out of the way. Most people do much better on step 2 than step 1, but even if you don't nobody will care. A few years ago most people didn't have it when they applied, but that is no longer true.
 
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I'm certainly trying to dig out the details on each program but even their websites seem cumbersome/unhelpful in getting at the details. The fact that it will play a role in interview invites is news to me (hadn't heard that one). At the moment just rummaging through residency program websites to gather info on residency specific requirements (like UNC's Chair letter and IM AI) is quite entertaining.

It sounds like taking it in July would be ideal then. I'm aiming for July 21st; I'll just have to go doubly hard in IM.
Thanks for the replies; very valuable as a 3rd year trying to pull everything together.

As a protip for UNC, I did not do an IM AI and still got interviewed there. Also, everyone was very confused when I mentioned the "required" chair's letter and half of the people interviewing on my day had not bothered with one. The website redesign was carried out entirely by one of the residents recently but I don't think a lot of the content was revised.
 

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I took CK in June of MS3, CS in September MS4. I wish I had taken CS earlier, like July or August, so that I would have had a "pass" in hand before interviews - I did not get my score until early December, and I am telling you I was sweating it - if I had failed, I would not have gotten a pass in time for programs that require it...

Bottom line: take both of them the summer straddling MS3 and MS4.
 
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As a protip for UNC, I did not do an IM AI and still got interviewed there. Also, everyone was very confused when I mentioned the "required" chair's letter and half of the people interviewing on my day had not bothered with one. The website redesign was carried out entirely by one of the residents recently but I don't think a lot of the content was revised.
Well, when I call the program coord to verify if I needed to harass my program chair for a LOR that I never worked with, she said it was still required bc they accidentally let in someone that did not graduate from med school as they were supposed to. I was like okay and just got the LOR. So, now that really pisses me off. Because I had to just through tons of crap and ended up getting waitlisted bc of my late Step 2 CK. They wanted to see how I did on it before offering me an interview.
 
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As a protip for UNC, I did not do an IM AI and still got interviewed there. Also, everyone was very confused when I mentioned the "required" chair's letter and half of the people interviewing on my day had not bothered with one. The website redesign was carried out entirely by one of the residents recently but I don't think a lot of the content was revised.

Same, didn't have my AI on record and didn't end up sending a chair's letter (wasn't able to set up a meeting time with the chair because I was on my AI, ironically).
 

MacDonaldTriad

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Here is a reality check. Most programs get about 500 applications. Probably 300 of these are domestic grads with no red flags. It takes very little to appear above or below the heard. Programs are picking about 100 of these to invite for an interview. Going to their web sites to see if they require step 2 is irrelevant. If they do or don’t say they require step 2 doesn’t pan out on the fact that they are looking at hundreds of applications and deciding which ones are better than which. I’ll let you do the math. Alternatively, you can bank on the MS3s who haven’t take step 2 and take their advice to delay taking the test you end up having to take anyway to graduate. A test by the way that will prevent you from graduating if you fail and programs are aware of this. This is so uncomplicated, I really enjoy debating with decenters who attack when someone says this. :punch:
 
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