Apr 10, 2010
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Hi, this is my first post, but I'm trying to get some advice.

I am wondering when is it best to take Step 2 CK and CS. My school is really pushing us to take them early because they say that schools now want everyone to have Step 2 scores so that they can see a trend. However, I hear mixed things from different people. I just want to know what are people's thoughts on this? Below is more information about my current situation, so that maybe someone in a similar position could give me some better advice

Currently, I'm an MS3
Step I Score: 260
Specialty applying for: Emergency Medicine
Basic science: Honors for all
Core Clinicals: HP for all
Board scores: Mid to high 80s for all except neuro and surgery (mid 70s, these were my first 2 shelf exams). These are uncurved scores.

So my question is would I gain much by taking the Step 2 early vs. how much would I lose if I take it, mess up for some reason and don't do as well.

Any thoughts? Thanks!
 

Dakota

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Sep 5, 2005
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I matched in EM this year. With a Step I of 260 I wouldn't take Step II early unless you want to go to a program that requires it (George Washington and UCSF comes to mind). And even then I would probably take it ~November. You'll get your score back in plenty of time to submit it before programs have to rank and if it's not as good as you hoped you don't have to submit it.

I would strongly encourage you to take CS early. It's not that many programs care about seeing a "pass;" rather, it takes an outrageously long time to get your score back. If you take your test before Dec 31st you should have your score back well before match day. I took mine in January and it was almost April before I got my score back. If I hadn't passed (thank goodness I did!) I would have had to rush to take it again and cross my fingers the score came back before residency starts. Taking CS late just adds unnecessary stress to your life at the end of the year.

Good luck!
 

Treyno1

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Oct 13, 2006
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I'm actually in the same boat as the OP except I am applying to anesthesia. Our numbers are nearly identical but here's my dilemma. I finish with Medicine in June. Should I wait until later to protect my Step 1 score (like December) or take it in August when everything is still fresh. From my understanding you don't need to release your scores if you take Step 2 after late august. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
 

Instatewaiter

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Apr 28, 2006
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I'm actually in the same boat as the OP except I am applying to anesthesia. Our numbers are nearly identical but here's my dilemma. I finish with Medicine in June. Should I wait until later to protect my Step 1 score (like December) or take it in August when everything is still fresh. From my understanding you don't need to release your scores if you take Step 2 after late august. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
I finished with medicine too. Taking step 2 2-3 weeks after it is a good idea. I did that and I barely studied. Just did USMLE world for a few hours a day and kinda read First aid. I did well.

Remember to take step 2 CS before dec 31st so that you can get your score back early enough to retake if you need to.
 

lord_jeebus

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Jul 12, 2003
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If you want the option to hold your CK release, you just have to take CK late enough so that the results come back after you submit your ERAS application. Any time after the last week in August should be safe. EM rotations should be excellent for reviewing CK material, however, so it may be advantageous to take it after your 4th year rotations in that field.

Take CS early so you can schedule a retake easily if that Random Failure Generator picks you.