pattern of studies USMLE Step 2 CK

Pattern of Studies for High Score in USMLE Step 2 CK Exam

This is the test taking experience of USMLE Step 2 CK submitted by a USMLE test taker. You can read other USMLE takers’ experience HERE.

I prepared for a total of 2 months for the USMLE Step 2 CK exam.

I studied from Kaplan, MTB-2, and UWorld.

Before I began preparing seriously, I read Yale G and Step Up to CK. Yale G appears to combine material from Kaplan and MTBs. I did not review it after going through it once. Step Up to CK contains only the basic concepts, so I did not study it more than once.

Pattern of studies:

While I was working and on calls, I attempted to study Kaplan notes occasionally. I studied Kaplan for IM, paeds, gynae/obs, surgery, and psychiatry many times. I found Kaplan especially good for surgery, paeds, and gynae/obs.

If studying IM from Kaplan, you need to consult the medicine section of MTB-2 and attempt questions from UWorld for a complete picture.

Next, I attempted questions from the print version of Kaplan’s question bank and made a note of the key concept. I reviewed these concepts toward the end of my preparations. Due to shortage of time, I had to complete it in 10 days and I memorized the questions and answers.

After this, I bought a subscription to UWorld online for a month and attempted the questions for each subject. I took detailed notes side-by-side but I felt that it was easier to review the material online. It is possible to see questions from UWorld turn up on your Step 2 test so it is important to attempt it properly. I put in 16 hours per day and completed UWorld in 17 days. In the next 10 days, I reviewed all the explanations of UWorld.

I re-subscribed to UWorld for another week and reviewed the concepts, explanations, and tables twice. I felt that reviewing UWorld until the actual exam helped more than attempting fresh questions.

Resources used:

  • IM = UWorld (most important), MTB-2, and Kaplan
  • Surgery, Paeds, Gynae/Obs = UWorld and Kaplan [You will find high-yield material for Gynae/Obs in Kaplan.]
  • Psychiatry = UWorld, Kaplan BS for Step 1
  • Biostatistics = UWorld, UWorld Biostats, Kaplan BS for Step 1
  • Ethics = 100 cases Kaplan authored by Conrad Fisher

I studied MTB-3 several times, but I could not remember material from it.

Practice tests:

During the last week before the test, I attempted NBME-7 online. It was a tough test and my low score demoralized me. However, it is said that NBME-7 is not a good predictor of your actual score.

I took a quick few days to study CMS.

One day ahead of the exam, I wrote NBME-4 and NBME-6 in order to build momentum and I did not score myself. However, I would suggest that you attempt NBME-6 during your preparations. Once you have completed UWorld, attempt NBME-4. In the last week, try NBME-7.

Most importantly, do not worry if you don’t know the answer to a question; just learn it.

Test experience:

I did not want to succumb to the temptation of delaying my test date, so I booked an early date. However, I found myself cramming the material in order to make the date.

I took a break after the first three blocks. My next break was after the fifth block. I did another two blocks before resting again. Then I did one block and took my final break before attempting the last block. This final block had just 36 questions.

The questions were similar to the concepts tested in UWorld. I had trouble managing my time and as a result, did not have more than a minute to review my answers.

I used a few additional resources—Heart sounds online, ECG made easy, CT scans and X-ray online.

Test tips:

  • Give yourself sufficient time to attempt the questions in UWorld.
  • Your test experience will depend on the set of questions you get. Some candidates got questions that were not similar to UWorld questions, while some got questions exactly like UWorld questions.


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