How to Prep for the USMLE Step 2 CK
As a medical student, you know how important it is to pass the USMLEs if you want to practice medicine professionally in the United States. USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) assesses your ability to work within a clinical setting while applying scientific knowledge.
To some, this sounds complicated. But you completed pre-med courses and graduated college. You’ve also been in med school for some time now. So, you should be well-prepared to show your clinical skills with a winning score. All you need are some valuable tips and resources to help you ace Step 2 CK.
Step 2 CK is a 1-day test taken over a 9-hour period. There are eight blocks of about 40 questions each. You only have 60 minutes to complete each block. That means you must be prepared to answer the questions quickly, so you get a good score on this US medical licensing exam.
This exam tests your clinical knowledge in two primary areas:
- Physician Tasks
- Categories of Diseases
These are the areas you need to study the most when prepping for Step 2 CK. Now, let’s discuss some resources created to help you pass and ace this test.
USMLE Step 2 CK Resources: Question Banks
Step 2 CK Question Banks are essential resources created to help you determine your weak areas in clinical knowledge. They give you access to hundreds of practice test questions that resemble those on the real exam.
You can take the practice tests as timed or untimed. There are question banks dedicated to specific categories, blocks and full mock exams. They provide you with a score at the end of each mock exam, with explanations for your incorrect answers.
The creators of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) offer free Step 2 CK prep resources, including:
- Question Blocks
MedSmarter’s instructors have licensed physicians who know what it takes to pass the Step 2 CK. They recommend using these free USMLE resources as a starting point for your test prep.
The question blocks are formatted like the real exam. So, you learn how to maneuver through the test system. That way, you’re comfortable with it on your big day. You’ll also determine what areas you’re weak in, so you can concentrate on studying those areas specifically.
The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) offers a low-cost comprehensive clinical science self-assessment (CCSSA). Combine this Step 2 CK test prep resource with the free USMLE practice questions for a better overview of where you stand with your clinical knowledge.
Both resources help you highlight areas you need to give the most attention. Discovering this early on in your Step 2 CK prep helps you spend your study time where it’s needed most.
USMLE Step 2 CK Resources: Prep Courses
There are many online prep courses on the market. But, according to most of our students, the best USMLE Step 2 CK prep courses are live and in-person. This allows you to get immediate feedback from experienced healthcare professionals. You also get the chance to engage with other medical students and graduates and take part in live mock exams.
With a live Step 2 CK test prep course, you learn in a structured classroom setting. There are lectures as well as comprehensive preparation materials created to help you ace the USMLE Step 2 CK.
USMLE Step 2 CK Preparation Strategies
Remember, you only have 60-minutes to complete each block of about 40 questions. And you have to complete this process eight times in one day. That means you must be prepared to answer the questions quickly. Here are some tips to help you do well on Step 2 CK test day:
- Before you start prepping for the exam, create a weekly study schedule. It needs to include times for eating, breaks, working out and taking full practice tests. Make changes to the schedule as needed.
- Start taking practice tests from day one of your test prep. That way, you know where you stand and what areas you need to concentrate on most.
- When you first begin prepping for the exam, start a digital study diary. Use it to track all the questions you get incorrect, the correct answers and where to find them. Test yourself on these questions over and over until you get them all correct. Keep adding to the list as you take more and more mock exams.
- Take as many practice tests as possible. Complete at least one question bank daily… and complete them over and over again.
- When you’re ready, take full-length practice tests within a 9-hour time frame (1 hour for breaks and lunch, staggered out however you see fit… see section below). Take as many full-length mock exams as you can, so you can practice completing each block within 60 minutes. This also helps you get used to being in a test-like setting for many hours.
- Keep your digital study diary near and only study the topics you do NOT know. Once you’ve mastered a particular subject, take it off the list. Time management is a major issue for many people who take the USMLE Step 2 CK. So, spend your prep time focusing on the areas where you’re having trouble.
- Come up with cute, corny, funny or even geeky mnemonics to help you memorize your study material. Click here to learn more about mnemonics.
What to Do with the Extra Hour on Test Day?
On USMLE Step 2 CK test day, you’re allotted one hour for lunch/breaks. But, it’s up to you how you use it. Some test takers say it’s best to just take a one-hour lunch in the middle. However, most of our students advise breaking it up.
Here are two examples of how to utilize your one-hour break time on Step 2 CK test day:
- Complete 4 blocks, take a 1-hour lunch, complete the last 4 blocks
- Complete 2 blocks, take a 15-minute break, complete 2 blocks, take a 30-minutes lunch, complete 2 blocks, take a 15-minute break, complete the last 2 blocks
Atlanta Live USMLE Step 2 CK Test Prep Services
MedSmarter offers live Step 2 CK test prep courses and tutoring services in Suwanee, Georgia, just miles from Atlanta. Our tutors and instructors are licensed physicians who all hold MDs and/or PhDs. Learn how to pass this US medical licensing exam from industry experts who know what it takes to get a high score.
Let us help you train your body to become accustomed to the challenges of taking this long test. Learn in a clinical-like environment through classroom engagement and mock exams. Get the in-person, live prep you need to ace this test.
Click the button below to learn more about MedSmarter’s Live USMLE Step 2 CK test prep services in Suwanee, GA.