Jul 23, 2009
12
0
0
USA
Status
Medical Student
Hi everyone,

I'm in the midst of trying to finalize when to take my Step II CK and my 4th year electives and was wondering if I can get some advise.

I did not do well on step 1 (scored just under 200). I will be trying to overcome this with a much improved Step II CK score. At this point I am also trying to make the final decision between psych and OBGYN and would like to take a sub-I/elective in each. At our school, we only have 2 blocks of elective time before having to submit ERAS on 9/1.

Here are my options:
1) I can take Step II CK early in late July and take my OBGYN Sub-I in August and a Psych sub-I in September (will only have 1 week of this before turning in ERAS). If I apply to psych, I will have letters from a Sub-I that I have taken earlier in third year and my upcoming 3rd year psych block (June). The psych Sub-I during September will not get me a letter in time for 9/1. Will it be enough for me to only have 1 Sub-I and the 3rd year block in psych by 9/1 to have a competitive application (provided I improve in Step II CK)? Will a letter from my Sept Sub-I help my app if it can get sent in by mid-late Oct?
2) I can take a OBGYN Sub-I in July and a psych sub-I in August and then take CK in mid September. Will this be too late to take CK for it to be considered for interviews? My dean seems to think this is ok but a number of people have advised me take it early. What do you guys think?

Which option do you guys think I should take? Thanks in advance for your advice!
 

GmailQueen

5+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2009
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I would take CK early if you can. First of all, your ERAS does not have to be submitted on 9/1, but I would advise trying to submit it in the first 2 weeks of Sept. So that gives you some extra time. Second of all, your letters don't have to be in until end of Oct for most programs. While again I'd advise to get them in ASAP, many programs will invite you to interview as long as you have 1-2 letters in the system. So you don't have to panic if that last one isn't in until early-mid Oct.

If you were to do the second option, your CK would be back by the end of Oct, but you might be screened out by programs earlier than that b/c of your low Step 1 score. I would think it would be better to have a high Step 2 already available going into the process.

Idk if the same would go for ob/gyn, but that's what I'd say for psych.
Also, you probably want to start working on your PS for each specialty earlier rather than later b/c that can take a lot longer than you'd think.

Good luck!
 

GmailQueen

5+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2009
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Oh, and some programs (UCSF comes to mind) require 4 letters, not 3, so I'd check out the requirements for each program that you're planning on applying to sooner rather than later just to make sure you have enough.
 

psychattending

Program Director
10+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2005
447
121
281
Saint Louis
Status
Attending Physician
Hi everyone,

I'm in the midst of trying to finalize when to take my Step II CK and my 4th year electives and was wondering if I can get some advise.

I did not do well on step 1 (scored just under 200). I will be trying to overcome this with a much improved Step II CK score. At this point I am also trying to make the final decision between psych and OBGYN and would like to take a sub-I/elective in each. At our school, we only have 2 blocks of elective time before having to submit ERAS on 9/1.

Here are my options:
1) I can take Step II CK early in late July and take my OBGYN Sub-I in August and a Psych sub-I in September (will only have 1 week of this before turning in ERAS). If I apply to psych, I will have letters from a Sub-I that I have taken earlier in third year and my upcoming 3rd year psych block (June). The psych Sub-I during September will not get me a letter in time for 9/1. Will it be enough for me to only have 1 Sub-I and the 3rd year block in psych by 9/1 to have a competitive application (provided I improve in Step II CK)? Will a letter from my Sept Sub-I help my app if it can get sent in by mid-late Oct?
2) I can take a OBGYN Sub-I in July and a psych sub-I in August and then take CK in mid September. Will this be too late to take CK for it to be considered for interviews? My dean seems to think this is ok but a number of people have advised me take it early. What do you guys think?

Which option do you guys think I should take? Thanks in advance for your advice!
I would recommend you doing the CK earlier and waiting longer on the letter (option #1). Of the two I would say the numerical score on the USMLE would have a bigger impact on you getting an invitation to interview than a grade and letter being in yet. You just want the letter/grade in by the time of your interview day.
 
Jul 23, 2009
12
0
0
USA
Status
Medical Student
Thanks GmailQueen and Psychattending for kindly taking the time to read through my post and giving me great advice! I will definitely take your advice and take Step II CK early at the end of July and take my psych elective in Sept for a slightly later letter. Or another thing that might happen is that I may get an "AHA moment" after my 6 week psych block in May and not have to worry about having to decide between multiple specialties! Life would be so much easier:) Thanks again!