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Finally USMLErx step2 CK Qmax came out

August 23, 2008



I was waiting long time for particularly this Q-bank. I used it for step 1 as a supplementary to UW and “a week before the exam” Q-bank.

The pros in my opinion based on the experience from step 1 Qmax are:

1. May be 50-60% of the questions on the real step 1 test were very similar to USMLErx Qmax. Of course, the rest were UW type of questions.

2. The price is 69$ (Step1) and 48$ (Step2) for 1 month. Two times lower compare to UW and Kaplan. I ordered that Q-bank 10 days before step 1 and finished more than 1000 questions. I was doing 200 questions on average per day. When I went to the real exam, the feeling was just like another day of doing questions in the library.

3. The software is well organized and user friendly. For every answer it shows you the percentage of test takers picked that answer. UW and Kaplan gives you only the percentage of people answered correctly.

They also offer Step 2 CK Qmax Test Drive, which can give you an idea how everything looks like.

Cons: I had some problems with highlighting the text. It’s kind of slow and not very precise, but I assume they fixed that little problem.

Step 2 CK Qmax [USMLErx]

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2008 4:25 am

    If you do not mind I would like ask you a couple of questions:

    1- If I am planning on doing the three top Q banks in which order do you think I should do them?
    2- Should I take notes? Do I need to read all explanations?


  2. August 24, 2008 9:17 am

    @Y.S.: I think I can give you some good points. Of course, this is the way I use Q-banks, so I can’t guarantee that it is the best one. In my opinion we all need to read other people’s experiences, but we also have to adjust the situation to the unique way of thinking and processing information everyone of us has. One could be very good in doing the questions fast, and going trough the Q-bank 2-3 times. Somebody else is may be good in taking notes and doing all the 2400 Qs very slowly. It all depends which is the best way for YOU. This is what counts. Because on the day of the exam, you will be the one who has to sit in front of the computer and get this 99 score.

    This exam is made for humans. There is nothing extraordinary and impossible. There is only one condition. Hard work. This is the key for success. Hard work, perseverance and well planned strategy.

    You will never get the whole idea about the question banks before you really face the questions. In the beginning it is always very frustrating. No matter how many times you read Kaplan and FA, you scores will be not very satisfactory. After 10-15 tests you will start getting the idea, how the questions were written and where exactly the catch is for some of the very difficult questions. Once you start answering correctly some of the difficult questions, the rest of the Q-bank is fun. It is like mini Dr. House cases. They challenge you and when you solve the puzzle you feel happy. So, the one and only way to know what best works for you is to start with UW. It is like swimming. In order to learn how to slim you need to get wet first.

    What I did for step 1:
    1. Started UW in the beginning of May. Scores above 40. Sometimes above 50.
    In the beginning in tutor mode, but overall I was trying to finish before 60 minutes.
    After the end of each test, I was taking thoroughly notes in FA. For additional information and explanations, I referred to Kaplan notes and Internet.
    2. In the beginning of July I did the first NBME. The score was 86. So, I knew I will pass the exam scheduled for the end of August. From now on it was only matter of how much information I will remember and recall in order to improve my score for two months. I stepped on the gas. Nothing else was important for the next 2 months. Only studying, studying, studying.
    3. By the beginning of August I finished UW Q-bank and started reading my notes. I did it 2 times, which wasn’t enough. If I had time to go trough the notes 1-2 more times I could score even better. All the information was there: FA+UW notes+Kaplan notes+Tommyk notes+USMLErx some very short notes. Yes, the information was there. I collected it properly, but didn’t have time to remember everything.
    4. As I said in the post above I used also USMLErx. On the exam may be 50-60% of the questions are clear cuts, very similar to USMLErx. This Q-bank is easier than UW, but it helps you to practice your recall on some easy facts you think you know, but in reality you don’t.
    4. Don’t have experience with Kaplan Q-bank. UW took me more time than I expected and didn’t have time to think for another Q-bank of the rank of UW. Let me put it in this way. UW Q-bank has about 2400 Qs, right. That means close to 2400 new pages you need to read and remember. All the Kaplan books together are probably less than this 2400 pages. If you take notes of every concept and explanation from UW that will be more than enough, especially when you add this information to your knowledge from Kaplan notes and FA.

    The time you have for preparation is a very important factor too. If you have enough time, sure, go ahead and test yourself on as many Q-banks (there are plenty of them on Internet) as you want. That will improve you score, no doubt. If you have only 5 moths, don’t waste more time and start with UW now, because it is very time consuming process.

    Hope, that will be helpful.

  3. August 24, 2008 9:56 am

    Helpful? That was awesome! Thank you very much. You and askdoc made it clear that I should start with UW. I guess that is what Ill do. I am planning on subscribing in a week or two. To be honest I am very tired of Kaplan Lecture notes. Not that I know them that well. I am just bored of them and would like to try studying in a different style.

  4. August 24, 2008 6:47 pm

    @Y.S.:Exactly, Kaplan’s notes are good and very important for the good score. They are the base, the mainstay, the spine of the USMLE studying. These notes will just help you to collect and store (to some extend) the necessary amount of knowledge in your brain. Asc-doc explains that phase of the studying very well. The problem with Kaplan notes is that you cannot remember that huge amount of information. Speaking of recall from Kaplan notes…impossible.
    At this point after 2-3 reviews of Kaplan’s notes you need to start mastering test taking skills and recall. Here it comes UW Q-bank and FA. Few more points:
    1. For good recall use mnemonics. The best is if you make your own. I made more than 500, and that helped me big time on the exam. Some of them were weird, some stupid, some were mixed of languages, but who cares…I knew what I am doing. I call that “the fast recall method”. There are many easy question in which they ask for very specific things such as numbers and names. You need to store that information attached to something (in this case a mnemonic, but it can be anything), so if you need to recall certain fact, you can easily reach it and use it. If you need more information how to store and recall let me know.
    2. Some people underestimate Goljan and find his style too difficult. I highly recommend his audio and notes. There was a period in my preparation after I read 2 times Kaplan notes and still couldn’t explain to myself many of the concepts. Goljan did it in his unique and brilliant way. Goljan is my favorite lecturer of all I have listened and watched so far.

  5. docstep2 permalink
    September 25, 2008 4:12 am

    thank dokidok. how much did u score on the exam. thanx

  6. Ambien202 permalink
    August 8, 2009 12:01 pm

    Ur advice above for step 1 is excellent. I’m preparing for step 2ck and would be really appreciate your advice and technique for studying for ck.

  7. August 8, 2009 8:30 pm

    @Ambien202: Glad you like my strategy. I will write a very detailed post on Step 2 CK exam, just give me some time, because I am busy applying for the match. I will appreciate if you refer USMLEMD to some of your friends. You also can find me on

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