ILovetheOC

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Hey, I'm planning on going into a specialty that's not terribly competitive (IM or OB) and I was wondering when people considering these specialties took this exam. Does the exam mean less than Step 1? Any guidance would be great.
 

pillowhead

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Hey, I'm planning on going into a specialty that's not terribly competitive (IM or OB) and I was wondering when people considering these specialties took this exam. Does the exam mean less than Step 1? Any guidance would be great.

completely depends on your step 1 score. 240+? don't take it until January. No point risking the score going down. 220-? If you think you can do better, take it right at the beginning of 4th year and study hard to impress them with an improved score. In between? Well, then it kind of depends on what your goals are (academic vs. community program), the rest of your application (AOA vs. failing a course here and there), and whether or not you're willing to put in the time it takes to improve your score.

there are also a very small number of programs out there that will want to see that you have passed step 2 before they rank you meaning you would probably need to take it by the end of December.
 

YouDontKnowJack

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completely depends on your step 1 score. 240+? don't take it until January. No point risking the score going down. 220-? If you think you can do better, take it right at the beginning of 4th year and study hard to impress them with an improved score. In between? Well, then it kind of depends on what your goals are (academic vs. community program), the rest of your application (AOA vs. failing a course here and there), and whether or not you're willing to put in the time it takes to improve your score.

there are also a very small number of programs out there that will want to see that you have passed step 2 before they rank you meaning you would probably need to take it by the end of December.



come on..... a 20 point drop shouldn't matter much, should it?
245 >> 225. They'll reject you solely on that?
 

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in september. before september 1st your score automatically gets released to the programs you're applying to. if you take it mid september your scores will be available by the time of interview invites, and if you bombed it you don't have to release them. you're also smarter at the beginning of the year (I took mine during a medical ICU month) and then you have the rest of 4th year without that burden on your shoulders- that's the best part!!!
 
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pillowhead

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come on..... a 20 point drop shouldn't matter much, should it?
245 >> 225. They'll reject you solely on that?

A 20 point drop is pretty large. If you're going from 250 to 230, I'd be less concerned than going from 240 to 220. 240 is a pretty wow score. 220 is not, esp. for competitive specialties. One of the programs i applied to has an explicit 225 step 1 cut-off. So subtract one point from your above posted scores, and yes, that would be a significant drop.

i tried to make it clear that it depends on the context of the rest of your application and your personal goals. A 20 point drop with an otherwise solid application probably won't kill you. A 20 point drop combined with a drop in your GPA from the preclinical years to the clinical years would be a big red flag IMHO.
 

vegetables

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I am going into OB, and I took Step 2 CK at the end of July....taking it at the very end of 3rd year was the best deicision I think - as the months go by you forget more and more of rotations done long ago, and not having to worry about it for the rest of the year has been wonderful!

My only regret: Not doing CS at the same time to just get it out of the way pre-interview season. My mistake was I waited too late to sign up for that.
 

anon0308

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Can someone please clarify how/why Step 2 score are automatically released before Sept 1, but are able to be held after that date? I thought you can hold the score no matter when you take it. Thanks for the help.
 

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Can someone please clarify how/why Step 2 score are automatically released before Sept 1, but are able to be held after that date? I thought you can hold the score no matter when you take it. Thanks for the help.

Your USMLE transcript gets uploaded Sept 1st (the day ERAS opens) so whatever is on there automatically goes the first time. Then, you have an option on ERAS: update automatically, or update manually. If you select update manually, YOU get to see the scores first, then go in and decide to release them.
 

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I was told to take Step 2 in time for ERAS (ie, have scores ready before Sept 1). But based on this info, wouldn't it be more prudent to take it in mid-August to have scores come back soon after ERAS (ie, in the first week or so of Sept)? This way, if the score is good, I can release it without much of a time disadvantage, and if they're bad, it won't appear on my application. Any thoughts? Thanks again.
 

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I was told to take Step 2 in time for ERAS (ie, have scores ready before Sept 1). But based on this info, wouldn't it be more prudent to take it in mid-August to have scores come back soon after ERAS (ie, in the first week or so of Sept)? This way, if the score is good, I can release it without much of a time disadvantage, and if they're bad, it won't appear on my application. Any thoughts? Thanks again.

we were told to take it AFTER september 1, very specifically. it might not work exactly as I said above, although that is the general concept. please do not schedule your exam based on it- our class was told in NO uncertain terms that our scores would automatically be released if we took the exam before 9/1.
 

vegetables

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I could be absolutely wrong adcomm but we were never told anything about the auto release thing. I took mine July 31 and still had to release them myself. But who knows, anyone with questions should ask NBME directly imo! :)
 

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I got confirmation from my school's admin that Step 2 scores are automatically released if the test is taken before Sept 1. Then why even take Step 2 before Sept 1? Let's say I take the test Sept 2 and get my score back in early Oct. That's still relatively early in the game. In fact, my school's dean's letter doesn't even come out until Nov 1. Any thoughts?
 

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I got confirmation from my school's admin that Step 2 scores are automatically released if the test is taken before Sept 1. Then why even take Step 2 before Sept 1? Let's say I take the test Sept 2 and get my score back in early Oct. That's still relatively early in the game. In fact, my school's dean's letter doesn't even come out until Nov 1. Any thoughts?

that's how I did it and it worked out perfectly fine for me :) I got my medicine sub-i in on a renal/pulm service which was a nice review.
 

Tired

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I am going into OB, and I took Step 2 CK at the end of July....taking it at the very end of 3rd year was the best deicision I think - as the months go by you forget more and more of rotations done long ago, and not having to worry about it for the rest of the year has been wonderful!

I think this is a point that cannot be over-emphasized. I understand the worries about releasing vs. not releasing the scores, but in my limited interview experience, even programs that did not "require" a CK score frequently asked about it anyway.

The relaxation factor of not having to worry about the exam, and the freshness of the knowledge from third year, makes me vote for taking the exam early after third year is done.
 

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I got confirmation from my school's admin that Step 2 scores are automatically released if the test is taken before Sept 1. Then why even take Step 2 before Sept 1? Let's say I take the test Sept 2 and get my score back in early Oct. That's still relatively early in the game. In fact, my school's dean's letter doesn't even come out until Nov 1. Any thoughts?

Interesting, because I never heard about that "auto-release" date.

And remember, no one's Deans Letter comes out before Nov. 1, that's the first date that schools can upload them to ERAS.
 

anon0308

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Does anyone know if Step 2 is used in conjunction with Step 1 in determining who gets an interview? And if so, would getting my score back in late Sept/early Oct be soon enough for this?
 
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