My Step 2 CK score won’t be available until October. Should I apply now or wait?

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There are several factors that you should consider when making your decision.

1. How strong is your Step 1 score? Programs take risk reserving interview slots for IMGs who do not have all steps passed. The risk is in having their resources waisted in case if one does not pass the remaining step(s). If you got 85+, it is a good predictor of passing Step 2CK. Otherwise you may better wait till you get your results.

2. How strong is your application otherwise? Do you have a green card, do you have U.S. clinical experience in your specialty and strong LORs? If you do, programs might think your application is worth the risk of a wasted interview slot.

3. When did you graduate? If you are still in medical school, you follow a pattern most American Graduates do. They typically do not have Step 2 CK at the time of application. If you are yet to graduate, you should apply without waiting for the score results.

What is a risk of applying too early, before the score is available?

Programs are receiving over 1,000 applications each year. They have a tough task of selecting most suitable applicants. They only have time to go over each application once. So, if they deem you as unqualified during first pass, it is unlikely they will go over your application again. In other words, you have one shot only. This does not mean you should just give up after the shot was used. If you applied early and did not get interviews, you should follow up with programs where you sent your application and inform them that you passed the CK and ask them to review your application again.