When to take Step 2?

Discussion in 'Step II' started by Bigeminy, Dec 19, 2012.

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  1. Bigeminy

    Bigeminy 2+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    I'm an MS3 and trying to decide when to take Step 2. My main concern is how Step 2 is used by residency programs. Generally, do they use it as a screener for residency interview invitations? Or is Step 1 and 3rd year clerkship grades used more for that?

    I've heard that if you've done "well" on Step 1 you should push Step 2 off as long as possible. I don't know what I will be applying for yet (ER? Rads? Internal? --all over the map, i know) but my step 1 score was a 249. I am concnerned if I do worse on Step 2 that is going to look bad.

    My school sets a deadline for Nov. 1st 2013 as the last possible date and they strongly recommend taking it by Sept. 1st 2013.

    Alternatively, taking it soon after the end of MS3 has its advantages too. Material would be fresher and I would have gotten it out of the way. And doing better on step 2 would look good.

    Any suggestions? Does this all ride on what I want to apply to come next year?

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  3. FrisbeeDocIM

    FrisbeeDocIM 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    I'm doing IM, so take this with that in mind.

    I recommend taking Step 2 CK as soon as possible. Get it over with. I did my required sub-I's back to back to start off M4, then took a month off to take Step 2. I also did well on Step 1 and had the same concern as you, but I improved my score (most do, and even if you stay within 10 points, no one's going to care; I admit I don't know if rads will care). Step 2 CK is basically one long shelf exam, so IMO it's better to take it when everything's still fresh.
  4. K31

    K31 5+ Year Member

    May 10, 2011
    I'd also suggest taking it as soon as possible after you are done with the core clerkships so the information is fresh, and also so you have your score for applications. I'm not sure about rads, but both IM and EM put heavy emphasis on Step 2 (I know a good number of EM programs want to see a Step 2 score before they rank you).
  5. mtwop

    mtwop 5+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2009
    Along the same lines as the OP, what's the lowest step 1 cutoff that we should consider not taking step 2 early? 240?
  6. SMC123

    SMC123 7+ Year Member

    Jun 30, 2009
    How should one prepare to take step two without having set foot into rotations. What books question banks will be worth it?

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  7. FrisbeeDocIM

    FrisbeeDocIM 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    Prepare for Step 2 CK by doing well on your clerkships and shelf exams. Study hard for each clerkship and try to learn the most you can while in the hospital. I felt CK was pretty much an 8 hour shelf exam, so working hard to do well on those is probably the best prep you can do (especially not having started rotations yet). Good question books vary for each rotation, you can probably find other threads on that. UWorld is also key.

    And to mtwop: I say take it early regardless of your score. Mine was >240 and I took it early. The average score goes up ~10-12 points, so just don't blow it off and you'll most likely be fine.
  8. xtina0

    xtina0 5+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    What exactly does everyone mean by taking it early?
    July ? August?

    I was hoping to sit for the exam by the end of August, scores will not be released till end of September, is that too risky having the potential to be screened out the first round of interview invites?
  9. xtina0

    xtina0 5+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Bump, hoping to schedule this thing this week.. Anyone?
  10. Stellar Clouds

    Stellar Clouds Lightly Seasoned Meat 2+ Year Member

    If your step1 score is less than stellar, and you are looking to improve it with step2, then I think you would want your step2 score back by the first week or so of September. ERAS can be submitted Sept 15 and your step score will follow in a day or so. Invites will start going out a couple days or so after Sept 15 (depending on the specialty of course). Therefore, you would run the risk of not having your step2 score for the first round of invites if you don't get your score til late September.
  11. xtina0

    xtina0 5+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Thanks, I would be happy to match my step 1, so I guess it might be worth the wait. I guess this way I would not have to submit it if my score drops.
  12. Stellar Clouds

    Stellar Clouds Lightly Seasoned Meat 2+ Year Member

    If you are only trying match your step1, then I probably wouldn't deviate from your original plan...

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