Learn how to get a good score in USMLE Step 2 CK

How I Got a Good Score in USMLE Step 2 CK

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

Do Not Feel Scared!

I kept telling myself this while I was preparing for the Step 2 CK exam. I took 5-6 months to prepare for it and I began my preparations around 1-2 months after writing the Step 1 exam.

Materials used in sequence:

  1. Kaplan lecture notes and videos (2007 videos)

Only the gynecology/obstetrics and surgery videos are useful; the rest are outdated and low-yield. I watched the videos at 1.5X speed. If you have sufficient time, you can watch the videos. Check with somebody who has the updated videos to know if they are worth it. I also read the new lecture notes, which were long but well-written.

  1. Doctors in Training (DIT) (2011 videos)

These videos were not useful or high-yield. I would suggest watching videos in only the subjects that you are weak in. Again, check with someone who has access to the newer videos to know whether they are worth it.

  1. Master the Boards (MTB) 2 & 3

These materials work well as a companion to UWorld. A good way to study is to read MTB first and then attempt questions from UWorld. You can also review MTB later.

  1. Kaplan question bank

Questions in this bank are longer than those in UWorld and help you learn how to manage your time. However, they are more difficult and are not high-yield. I attempted the questions subject-by-subject and then randomly in timed mode. My score was 68%. You can try this question bank only if you have enough time and you should attempt it before trying UWorld.

  1. UWorld question bank

UWorld questions are easier than those in Kaplan and I attempted all 44 blocks of questions in random timed mode with a score of 78%. Whether you get a question correct or not, do read the explanations because they very good. I noted high-yield points such as algorithms and tables and reviewed them before the exam.

I attempted two blocks per day in the morning for both question banks and reviewed the explanations for the rest of the day.


These practice tests help you improve your performance and boost your confidence if you get good scores. However, do not use them to predict your final score. Attempt to get scores between 230 and 250. I took these tests toward the end of my preparation when I had read all the material and almost completed the question banks.

KapSim Test 1: 71% (I had attempted half of UWorld)

NBME 6: 254 (1 month ahead of the test)

UWSA: 265 (2 weeks ahead of the test)

NBME 7: 248 (9 days ahead of the test)

FRED (free 150): Approx 90% (2-3 days ahead of the test)

Actual score: 265

I reviewed weak subjects using MTB-3 and re-attempted 3-4 blocks of wrong questions in UWorld.

Test experience:

Blocks 1-3: Questions were like the ones in UWorld for the most part.

Blocks 4-5: Questions were quite hard.

Block 6: Questions were easier than 4 and 5.

Blocks 7-8: Questions were a combination of easy and hard. I missed a few easy questions because of the fatigue of answering questions for the last 7 hours.

It may be good to attempt drug ads and abstracts after all the other questions are done. I did an abstract in Block 7 with 8 minutes to spare and I may have gotten it wrong. Do not worry because it may not impact your final score.

Tips for the test:

  • Read questions carefully and do not spend more than 1.5 minutes on a question.
  • You may not be able to review all the questions you mark—it’s okay.
  • The materials for studying for the test are the same, but hard work should reap benefits.
  • Do not get confused by uncommon questions based on common topics.
  • Do not compare your step 1 experience with that of step 2—they are different tests.

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