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Are step scores still important for seeking competitive fellowships? And what other factors are considered important?
No. Phone calls/LOR from ur attendings, and publications in the field of interest are what carry the day. That being said, fellowships are generally very easy to get overall in whatever field u are interested in, the only challenge arises if you have a specific program in mind.
I obtained my fellowship without any difficulty. Interviewed and received offers from every place I applied to, including so called competitive ones. Had minimal research, but attendings who were proactive on my behalf.
I wouldn't say fellowships are generally very easy to get overall, it depends on what fellowships you're looking for. There are a ton of spine fellowships out there so those tend to be less competitive. If you're looking to do an open skull base or vascular fellowship then it's a different story, especially if you have specific ones in mind. Step 1 scores don't matter and neither to ABNS scores, but publications and references from home institution attendings are crucial.

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