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Usmle Step 2 Ck Preparation, How to get a good score

July 4, 2008

There are thousands of “How to get 99”, “How to ace on USMLE”. For step 2 CK I particularly like this one, which is the closest to my understanding of the preparation for step 2 CK. I found it on, written by ReZ. Here it is:

My preparation for USMLE Step 2 CK was somewhat less dramatic, less intense and less varied than step 1. However if you sit for the preparation after giving step 1 it is still tiring. The first thing is that there are not a lot of good books as options for studying step 2. Almost everyone studies the Kaplan series with some additions. The books I used were:

1. Kaplan series for Step 2 CK: IM, OB/GYN, PED, SURG, PSY (All other series like HY etc are not popular for step 2)
2. Kaplan Qbook Step 2 CK (its quite easy compared to the exam but i thought it was still good for practice)
3. USMLEworld Qbank Step 2 CK (your main source of questions)
4. Step 2 Mock Exam (Not very useful, questions are not according to pattern in exam, can contribute to knowledge, do only if time)
5. Kaplan DVD: Only ones worth watching are Medicine. Pediatrics is totally useless avoid at all costs (just reading from the book). Many people like to watch the obgyn ones but I didnt. If you are gonna sit for step 2 right after step 1, chances are u will be pretty bored and u will wanna be over with it soon. In that case if u get very bored watching any DVD is still better than reading nothing at all. One more thing the DVDs in Pakistan are quite old (2002), make sure you have the latest books)
6. If you really wanna do good at screening questions you should go through some sections of the U.S. Preventive Task Force website (Google USPSTF): Here you have to go and see the latest guidelines for immunization and prevention of the most popular diseases. The website is pretty huge and you do not need to go through all of it. Go to this page:
Select the most common diseases in each category e.g. in cancer see colon, breast etc. Do the preventive measures only. Read the recommendations but make sure you LEARN only the stuff in BOLD. i.e. the actual recommendation. You can read the rationale but no need to memorize it. Remember do this only if u start early and have a lot of time. There are a good number of screening questions on the exam and although u can do most from kaplan, this web site will help you get the extra question or two correct.

Step 2 preparation is shorter and takes much less time than step 1. You should go through kaplan 3 times and then qbook and usmleworld or any other sources you can find. The main thing is to practice questions. Also you need to increase your reading speed. The questions on step 2 are much longer than step 1. Although there is a good mixture of short, medium and long questions throughout the exam but overall the question sizes are much larger. You need to practice reading through questions quickly and picking up all the facts. It is an exam of reading as much as knowledge. Remember it is one hour longer than step 1 (one extra block). It is a very tiring exam. Be very careful about time! It flies by! Do not ponder over a single question very long. You cannot do all the questions right and nobody does. If you can figure out the answer in less than minute then its fine. Otherwise take a chance and move on to the next question.

Although step 2 preparation is a little easier than step 1, ironically the exam is a bit tougher. But if you put in some good work there is no reason you shouldnt get a good score. If anyone has questions feel free to ask. Best of luck!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2008 11:52 am

    My method: ie read Infectious Disease section in crush and first aid and then hit USMLE World q bank for infectious disease. then repeat questions and move on to next topic!
    What is your advice?

  2. July 17, 2008 1:19 pm

    Hmmm, everybody has different approach. I always do mixed questions when I use UW Q-bank. It helps me to get the big picture, not just pieces of information from only one field.

    My goal is to have good performance in all subjects. Of course, this is not easy and I still have favorite and less favorite topics. For example, my weakest subjects is behavior science and statistics.

    Both step1 and step2 are exams full with information and facts. First, you need to master and store that information, so you can proceed to the next step of making associations and diagnosis.

    In my opinion 80% of the exams is memorization. The pathophysiology of the disease is more about thinking but overall you need a solid base in order to feel comfortable with the questions.

    The more you study the more you know, the highest the score. It is that simple. There is no remedy or universal recipe to knock out a huge exam like USMLE without studying the proper amount of time, which differ from person to person.

    Any other questions?

  3. July 17, 2008 1:38 pm

    Look also at my other blog:

  4. Julia permalink
    April 28, 2009 9:26 pm

    Hi! I recently took my step1 and am waiting for the results. I want to study for CK while waiting for my results since I want to join the 2010 match. But I am totally lost as to how to prepare for step 2 ck! I bought a copy of FA step 2 CK. I plan to read the entire book in about 2 weeks just to get an overview of the content. I don’t know if I should do UW after the 2 weeks of reading FA or start reading Crush for another 2 weeks then do UW afterward… or should I start reading the Kaplan Lecture notes instead. Or should I go straight to UW while reading FA? The thing is I am pressing for time, since I plan to take the exam in July.

    I am babbling…sorry, but I really am lost! thanks!!!

  5. nawaz permalink
    July 13, 2009 5:41 am

    its an informative website.pleased to find it. i am going for usmle step2 first,right after my mbbs. and after stp 2 i wll do stp 1. coz i thnk that that my final year course will be fresh afetr grauation. is it righttttttttttt ? waiting for suggessitons. thanks

  6. nawaz permalink
    July 13, 2009 5:44 am

    its an informative website.pleased to find it. i am going for usmle step2 first,right after my mbbs. and after stp 2 i wll do stp 1. coz i thnk that that my final year course will be fresh after grauation and i can pass through step 2 with good score. is this righttttttttttt ? waiting for suggessitons on my mailing adress.

  7. Anonymous permalink
    July 29, 2011 9:46 pm

    Check out – USMLE STEP 2 CK review

  8. Anonymous permalink
    October 20, 2011 4:57 am

    hi iam fatima i have to give usmle and iam starting again studying after four years of my how mch time i should take for studying for the exam??plz ans

  9. sabeen permalink
    November 23, 2011 1:01 pm

    I am studying for my Step 2 ck and plan to give it in april 2012. I just started studying. I really dont know where to start from? Can anyone help?

  10. November 23, 2011 6:15 pm

    I am starting my CK .. ur advices for best, shorter, less effort plan 🙂

  11. December 30, 2011 2:44 pm

    I like your post. You have a wonderful blog.There are very few nice blogs on this topic and you are one of
    them. Keep it up. Good Luck

  12. zayna permalink
    July 6, 2012 6:11 pm

    hi,,,,,,,,,,i want to apply for step 2 ck before step 1 cuz i have recently given mrcs. will i have any disadvantage if i give step 2 before step 1?

  13. August 1, 2012 12:50 pm

    I enjoy reading through a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  14. rana permalink
    October 29, 2012 4:24 am

    hello, i studied from first aid book , i used to understand well most o the concepts < and i answered all the usmle world questions < but i did both once..unfourtunatly i did not even get low score, i did not pass the exam ..but i have a notice ,while i was answering the usmle wprld questions ,i could know the diagnosis of the cases..but in the exam i could not even know the diagnosis of the case..i just want to know my mistake i want to reenter the exam <and i want to pass it with high score,,,,,can any body help me please?

  15. drszee permalink
    January 13, 2013 5:42 pm

    What do u think abt giving step 2 before step1?

  16. abhishek permalink
    May 31, 2013 10:04 am

    which step shud i take first step1or 2

  17. January 19, 2014 5:31 am

    Great post


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