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Step 2 timing

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Annette, Apr 28, 2001.

  1. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Help! I am in a quandry about when to take step 2 and the CSA. I'm an FMG trying to make the 2002 match. There are two spots in my schedule- October and Dec. If I take the tests in Oct, I'll have the scores just in time for interviews, but then I'll have to do a rotation in Dec (conflicts w/interviews and holidays). If I wait, I can take an audition rotation, and have extra experience and time to study. Can anyone see something I'm missing that would help make a decision? Thanks!
     
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  3. turtleboard

    turtleboard SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    I hear most programs don't really look at your Step 2 scores unless they're really stellar or they're really horrible. If you think you'll do well, and it'll help because you (let's say) have a low Step 1 score, then do it in October and have the scores for interviews in the winter. If you don't think you'll do so well, then I'd hold off and take them in December.

    They're not as important to residency as they are for graduating. [​IMG]



    ------------------
    Tim Wu.
     
  4. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    Annette -

    Tim's on the money on this one. For most fields, Step 1 still is the standard bearer - its the only test ALL applicants will have in their file (many US students wait to take Step 2 until after the match). If you take Step 2 in October, your scores won't be available until after the deadline for many programs (often November 1) so you would be having to FAX or otherwise mail your scores to programs (as there is no guarantee that if they were uploaded to the ERAS server after November 1 that programs would look at them). So you may find that programs are evaluating your file even without the Step 2 scores unless you expressly ask them to wait for the scores.

    If you feel you will do well on Step 2 and need it to boost your application, then by all means take it in October. However, it IS tough to do a rotation during interview season unless they are pretty lenient about time off - December was a bit less "interviewy" for me than November and Janauary, but I still had several (even had to miss my graduation for one). So I might lean toward taking it in December.

    Whatever you choose to do, do not wait to schedule the CSA until the last minute - it is extremely hard to get a test date late in the year. Schedule it as soon as you have Step 1 and TOEFL scores available.

    Best of luck to you!

    ------------------
    PGY1
    Penn State University
    Department of Surgery
     
  5. Future Surgeon

    Future Surgeon Member 10+ Year Member

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    It also matters how well you did on Step 1 -- if you did well, you don't want your scores to fall AT ALL; that only leads to questions you don't feel like answering during your interviews. If you did really well on Step 1, put them off until after your interviews.

    Just a comment.
     
  6. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    Huh? I'm not following your logic Future Surgeon. Both Tim and I are saying the same thing (or at least we meant to) that you are - Step 1 is probably the most important barometer. We were only suggesting that she take Step 2 earlier if she did poorly on Step 1. Obviously if she does well on Step 1, then there is no need to take it before the match (and potentially taint her application if she doesn't do as well).
     
  7. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Thanks, everyone. I can now relax, and enjoy my December (well, after the exams!)

    A.
     
  8. Rusty

    Rusty Member 10+ Year Member

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    I did not take STEP 2 until after the match (I am doing Neurology so I matched in January 2001). I later discovered that a small number of the programs I applied to and did not get an interview would only interview those who have taken Step 1 and Step 2. Alhtough I believe this to be a minority of programs, Step 2 is officially and unofficially required by a small number of programs.
     
  9. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    Out of curiosity Rusty, did they have that information posted anywhere - on-line, written materials, etc.? I ask because there were some Surgery programs who refused to interview me without an ECFMG certificate even though they made no mention of this additional requirement (usually only required to START work)anywhere in their program materials. I was pretty peeved as I had paid to apply to programs, believing that I had all the required materials.

    Its one thing if a program has additional requirements and they make those known, its quite another if they have requirements but don't tell people about them.
     
  10. Rusty

    Rusty Member 10+ Year Member

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    I did a pretty thorough investigation of each program I applied to before sending in my application. Despite my efforts, I think that only 1 of the 3 programs which required Step 2 published this fact to non-interviewees. The other 2 programs, I found out about the policies from others who interviewed who had already taken Step 2.

    I was annoyed as well that I had paid to send my application to these programs.

    Interesting that you should mention the issue of your ECFMG certificate. An FMG who interviewed with me at WashU was surprised to learn that he had flown all the way from Europe for this interview only to discover that the program would not accomodate or assist with his visa status, thus wasting an expensive journey. He was rightfully angry.
     
  11. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    Wow...that is very disappointing Rusty - both for you and the IMG colleague you met during interviews. Why then would they even bother interviewing him? They knew what his visa status was from his application.

    I was thinking of taking a stroll over to the NRMP (since I am currently in the area) and asking/complaining about this issue. It seems terribly unfair that programs can have requirements which they do not make public to their applicants. Had I known that an ECFMG certificate was required to apply to certain programs or that California programs would not consider my application complete without the Cal Status letter (which I can't get until I have diploma in hand - tough when applying as a 4th year student) I would not have wasted the money to apply. Like you I spend considerable amount of time requesting written info from the programs, downloading info from their web sites, and FREIDA - only to be suprised that there were extra requirements not detailed in any of the above.

    Thanks for your input. I'll post here what the NRMP has to say about this issue. :mad:
     
  12. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Kimberli, can you make a fresh post with their answer? I'm afraid it will get lost here. I didn't even know that some programs wouldn't consider applicants w/o ECFMG certification, let alone the Cal letter. I'm certain it will be news to a number of people.
     
  13. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    Sure. I will be glad to. It was news to me as well.

    The California Status Letter is a long story, one I've detailed here several times before, but I will repeat the short version.

    The California Medical Board requires that you have a "status" letter from them to START residency. The requirements for this letter are graduation from an approved school, completion of at least 4 weeks of FP, etc. and your diploma. Obviously you cannot apply until you receive your diploma.

    However, at least for the Surgery programs I applied to - all of them wrote to me stating that I needed the California letter to complete my application. When I inquired as to how this was possible, since the letter required the submission of my diploma (and not a copy, the REAL thing - I shudder to think of sending my real diploma to a bureaucratic institution), the schools simply ignored my question and referred me to the California Medical Board.

    During all THREE of the phone conversations I had with the California Medical Board, THREE separate clerks told me explicitly that they only required that you possess the letter to start residency, not before. They never intended it to be a condition of residency application. However, they did agree that the programs could "do whatever they want, I guess" but could not help me further. I got no response from the programs when I sent them this information.

    This obviously may change in the future but I found the process frustrating and a tad illogical.

    I'll post a new thread with info from the NRMP when I get it. Not that I expect any change, but it will be interesting to see what they say.
     

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