USMLE Step 2 CK Test Prep: Where Do I Begin?
Dr. Syed N. Kamal, MD is a recent med school graduate. He’s also an instructor at MedSmarter in Suwanee, GA. Students enjoy his energetic, bubbly teaching style while learning how to ace the USMLE Step 2 CK.
I asked Dr. Kamal, other instructors, and some of our students for tips to pass the USMLE Step 2 CK. They provided me with some valuable resources for anyone studying for the US medical licensing exam. Get advice from medical experts who know what it takes to pass this test.
What Is the Best Way to Start Studying for the USMLE Step 2 CK?
Most of the instructors we asked this question said it’s best to figure out where you’re weak and start there. By now, most med school students have completed enough coursework and clinical rotation work to understand where they struggle most.
However, another effective way to determine your Step 2 CK weaknesses is to take the Comprehensive Clinical Science Self-Assessment (CCSSA) offered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).
This multiple-choice self-assessment resembles the content on and format of the real CK test. It’s offered to all medical students and graduates preparing for this US medical licensing exam.
NBME will provide a breakdown of your USMLE Step 2 CK self-assessment score. Start with your weakest areas first.
What Are Some Tips on Step 2 CK Study Methods?
Students who actually aced the exam advise not reading through an entire chapter before looking at the questions when prepping for CK. Instead, study both at the same time.
That way, you read the question while looking at the explanation simultaneously. You absorb the information better this way.
Also, keep a diary to help you track the questions you get wrong. Use it to help you keep up with what you need to study most to ace the USMLEs.
Specifically, What Should Students Study to Ace the USMLE Step 2 CK?
According to MedSmarter’s instructors, over 60% of the questions on the USMLE Step 2 CK exam are related to internal medicine. There are other topics you need to be comfortable in, such as psychiatry, surgery, and pediatrics.
But the majority of the test covers various internal medicine topics.
Are There Any Standardized Mock Exams Created to Help Students?
Yes, the NBME offers multiple online self-assessments to both international and US med school students and graduates. All of these mock exams were designed to help you understand where you need more help to pass the Step 2 CK:
- Comprehensive Self-Assessments – Discover just how ready you are to take Step 2 CK while tapping into your weak areas with a comprehensive breakdown of your score
- Clinical Science Mastery Series – Get feedback that breaks down all of your incorrect answers by categories to help you study and prep for CK more effectively
USMLE Step 2 CK Time Management Tips
Most of our instructors and students say that time management is the biggest challenge people face when taking the Step 2 CK exam.
This one-day exam takes nine hours to complete. There are 8 blocks, all of which are 60 minutes each. Each block contains about 40 questions.
That means you need to answer each block of questions within a specific amount of time. Because of this, many students run out of time before completing every Step 2 CK block.
Time Management: Clear Diagnosis
One graduate says you should already have an idea of the most likely diagnosis by the time you finish a question stem. Keep this diagnosis in mind before looking at your answer choices.
She says it’s bad practice to look at the choices before coming up with a likely diagnosis. This causes you to waste time going back and forth, rereading questions, and unlikely answers.
While prepping for the Step 2 CK, train yourself to come up with a clear diagnosis before you reach the end of each question on mock exams. This time management tip will help you ace the USMLEs.
Time Management: Lab Values
According to our students, when taking the CK exam, many people waste a lot of time dealing with lab values. They spend too much test time checking whether values are low, high or normal.
So, during your Step 2 CK test prep, be sure to learn the normal lab values. This will help you save time, so you finish each block within 60 minutes.
How to Ace the USMLE Step 2 CK Exam: Practice & Prepare
The most key advice MedSmarter’s instructors offer is to practice and prep for the USMLE Step 2 CK. Practice taking the test using online question banks, including NBME self-assessments. This helps you get used to the format of the real exam and the way the questions are presented.
You must be prepared to answer about 40 questions within a 60-minute period… eight times in a row. Develop good time management skills, take multiple mock exams both online and in-person and get one-on-one tutoring if needed.
Do whatever it takes until you feel comfortable and confident about taking this US medical licensing exam. That’s what our medical experts suggest.
MedSmarter offers in-person and online USMLE Step 2 CK tutoring. Or take a CK course on our Suwanee, GA campus, just miles from the City of Atlanta. Our comprehensive courses have proven records of helping medical students and graduates pass the USMLEs.
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