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MS05'

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I'm setting up my fourth year schedule now and am faced with the dilemma of when to take Step II (the written version). I'm taking the clinical one early in August so that's taken care of.

My question regarding step II is how late can I take it? As I have my 4th year schedule set now, I'd be taking it in early December, but was recently told by a friend that I should consider taking it another month because most programs don't interview the last two weeks of December and I should use the first two weeks of the month to interview. So, if that's the case, I'd have to push Step II back to late March/April.

I have no problem with that, but am concerned that during interviews the issue that I'm taking it that late may come up and count against me somehow. My step I scores is in the upper 220's...what should I do?
 

NinerNiner999

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Take them whenever you want - a score of 220 plus will help you on the interview trail. You will know your expected written "clinical exam" performance and if you think it will hurt you on step II (compared to step I), wait until after the match - it won't matter. You will find that your board scores will only make up a very small portion of your overall packet. If you beat 200 or 205, you are gold with a strong supporting application.
 

Joejitsu

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I happen to think that the Step II issue is more likely to hurt you in regards to not getting the interviews, rather than a subject that would be brought up during interviews. Out of 11 programs only one interviewer asked me if I had taken/when would I take Step 2. When I told him in Jan, he said, "oh, I'm sure you'll do great." It's probably one of the toughest decisions on when to take it, but it's very individual. What works for one person may not work for another. I chose to take Step II in Jan, after most of my interviews were done. My Step I score was 230ish and the rest of my application I thought was pretty strong. Anyway, I did not get a lot of the Cali interviews I was hoping for, and it might have been because I didn't have step 2 done, but who knows. Anyway, I matched at my number 1 so I have no regrets about not taking it earlier.

Joe
 
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Seaglass

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Here is a story about how taking it early may hurt you. I did pretty well on Step 1 and so I thought I'd just get Step 2 out of the way early while 3rd year was fresh in my mind. I studied but not a lot and ended up taking it right after my MICU month. I was surprised to find I did a bit poorer on it than on Step 1 and unfortunately I had checked that box on ERAS that says "will take" so when I got to interviews I got asked about it a couple of times. Usually I just said that I did a little worse because I had just come from the unit but looking back I would rather not have to answer that question at all.

Long story short - take it when you want to, but don't select the box on ERAS that tells PD's that you're going to take it anytime soon. Always withhold the scores until you've seen them. Study for the test a bit unless you're taking it in Jan/Feb. Good luck.

C
 

MS05'

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Okay, thanks for the feedback. At this point I'm leaning toward taking it later, probably sometime in March after the interview season is over.

One other question while I have everyone's attention...

Who thinks doing an away rotation in January as an "audition" is too late? To my limited understanding, residency programs submit their ranking early in February so I was wondering if I should do the away thing earlier, i.e. October or November. Thanks in advance!
 

johnson

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Something to think about. I did a bunch of interviews and the one thing I thought to be very helpful was spending time in the ED the day before my interview. I was able to come up with a lot important questions that helped in my decision and was able to talk to more people. It made the interview day much more productive. Rotations are great if you have a chance but don't freak if you can't. I had two PD's tell me during interviews that they were impressed that I had come in a day early. So I guess it can't hurt.
 
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