Will Step 3 help me?


I am a US-IMG that went to a Caribbean school. Year of graduation-Feb 2016, Step 1 (1st) pass 201 in 2013, CS (1st) PASS with high marks in 2014, CK pass (2nd) 226 in 2016.
The first match cycle ‘17match I got 4 interviews but did not match. The ‘18 match I got zero interviews. I was told I needed Step 3 at this point to show programs a new score. I stayed out the ‘19 match because I had to move houses and then my wife gave birth and I did not have time to study with a full time job and the move and new baby. I was told not to even apply to the ‘19 match because it would be a waste of money without step 3.
I have worked in a family medicine clinic as an MA and scribe since graduation. The doctors in the practice like me let me help with procedures. I also shadow a physician doing Stem cell PCR procedures on the weekends and am writhing a case study on one of our patients. I hope to apply for the ‘20 match with a step 3 score and the case write up being reviewed.

I am wondering realistically what my chances are to get a residency? Some say that Step 3 is the answer and that I will get interviews with a passing score in light on my CK fail. But there are others who say that even with a passing score it will be very difficult to match as an IMG with a CK fail and 3 years since graduation.



Having multiple attempts especially on USMLE Step 2CK is worrisome to many residency programs and passing the USMLE step 3 will help much in clearing residency programs’ doubts. Saying this, you need to be careful of failing USMLE step 3 during the application season, if you decide to take the exam make sure you are certain and prepared to pass, otherwise do not take it. If you decide to have it before applying or not you need to make sure you strengthen your application’s supporting documents. That means you must have fresh hands-on US based Clinical Experience and obtain strong letters of recommendation and present yourself with a flawless personal statement.

Do not evaluate your situation wrongfully based on anyone’s opinion. One attempt in the USMLE step 2 CK does not disqualify you. Your positive mindset and focus on the application makes a great difference. Applying for residency is an art, its the art of convincing the programs that you are the perfect candidate for them despite the setbacks.

You should also be concerned about your interview approach since you have already received 4 interviews the past and didn’t match. You need to evaluate what happened in the 4 interviews and find a different approach in preparing for future interviews. It honestly takes only one interview to get a residency position. When programs select to rank candidates they have interviewed they seldom look at you credentials to leave you out of the rank… leaving a great impact is what they remember. Make sure you focus is exactly that, leaving a great and positive impact.

Good Luck. :blush:


Thank you so much for your advice. What do you recommend to prep for step 3? I am doing UWorld Step 3 bank and CCS cases. I am reading First Aid for Step 3,Pretest and doing the Archor video series for CCS. Is there anything else you think I need to do to prep?


From what you’ve listed in resources I feel that is more than enough to prep for step 3.