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The USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 CK are the three exams required to become ECFMG® Certified and move on into residency training. These exams are challenging and time-consuming to study for and take. It is no surprise that many residency candidates face difficulties while getting these exams completed with consequences that can affect how Program Directors view your application.
One of the most devastating feelings a residency candidate can have is finding out they received a low score on their USMLE Step 1 or USMLE Step 2 CK. It’s no surprise many residency applicants end up feeling frustrated, disappointed, or defeated. Low scores may limit some of your residency choices, such as which medical specialties you should consider, but if residency candidates with low scores work hard and improve the other components of their ERAS® Applications, it is still possible to Match.
Even more devastating than a low score is having multiple attempts with any USMLE® exam. It can happen to anyone. No matter how well you prepared, you can’t always control for life’s unexpected turn of events such as:
Or any other number of circumstances which may cause you to not pass a USMLE® exam on the first attempt. While USMLE® exam attempts are not ideal to have on your USMLE® transcript, they are not considered primary factors residency Program Directors and Interview Committees look at when examining residency candidates. It is still more than possible for a residency candidate to Match with multiple attempts.
Every exam taker knows you have your good days and your bad days. Unfortunately, this, and other factors, can result in a gap between you USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 CK scores. The two gaps you can have are:
While the first scenario is actually ideal and proves you have the capacity to improve, the second scenario can be much more difficult to express to Program Directors and Interview Committees.