After more than two years of preparation, 50+ dedicated physician editors, and one too many cups of coffee to count, we are proud to announce the launch of our full Step 2 CK package. Following the USMLE™ Content Outline, our Step 2 CK package offers a new and efficient way of studying, with an interlinked Qbank containing challenging questions, customized study sessions and platform features which enable you to feel right at home when it’s time to take the actual exam.
For those of you currently preparing for the USMLE Step 2 CK, it is not only important to study with resources that will help you succeed, but it’s key to garner helpful tips from the experts. That’s why we sat down with three physicians to gather some pointers that will help you ace your exam. Here is what they have to say!
Tip #1: Approach each question differently.
“I approached questions differently based on their type, which required that I first read the lead-in. Doing so provided context and primed my brain for what to pick out of the stem.
"If the question was asking for a diagnosis, I would skim the answer options and read the chief complaint and exam findings until one of the options was most likely to match. For questions asking about associations to an unknown diagnosis, such as pathophysiology, complications, or other expected findings, I would read until I suspected a diagnosis, and then review the options to see if one of the choices matched. If not, I would read more details to determine the best option.
“I took a similar approach to ‘next best’ step questions, but if multiple options were relevant for the same diagnosis, I would read the entire stem to make sure I wasn’t missing a detail that would determine the best approach. In a few rare cases of trivial questions, I wouldn’t even need to read the stem. Sometimes, the question gave me the diagnosis already, typically within the diagnostic findings, so that the rest of the text was irrelevant. I saved a lot of time on such questions.” - Zeb Tolman, MD
Tip #2: Use multiple resources.
“I used different multimedia, especially when I needed a break from those voluminous medical textbooks. I watched a lot of videos and listened to audio files. Sometimes, I would even record some facts on my phone with a recording app so that I could go back to them later. In addition, I annotated my textbooks and made a list of the things I didn’t know on my phone. It was also important for me to go through as many questions as possible within a Qbank. This way, I could revise the annotated facts when I was on the bus or in the subway. Maybe this all seems a bit extreme. Of course I made time for my partner and friends, but I really tried to focus on studying, especially since the time allotted was limited to only a few weeks. Trust me, afterwards, I got back to my usual YouTube watching and general state of procrastination!” - David H., MD
Tip #3: Totally immerse yourself.
“I recommend the ‘total immersion’ technique. When I studied for the Step 2 CK exam, I created sticky notes for all of the hard facts that needed memorizing, and for all of the topics that I struggled with. I would place the sticky notes on my bathroom mirror, in the kitchen, and various other places around the house. Once I had memorized a sticky note, I would replace it with one that I had yet to learn. Before going to bed, I would sit down and review some facts, which helped me retain the knowledge while sleeping, or at least that’s what I told myself.” - David H., MD
Tip #4: Practice, practice, and more practice.
"Start preparing for the Step 2 CK exam as early as possible. Many students recommend starting the process at the beginning of your third year of medical school. In addition, prepare well for each Shelf exam so when your Step 2 CK rolls around, you will already be in a position to excel. For up-and-coming MS3 students, this advice is paramount to your success." - Angela Klingmuller, MD
Tip #5: Identify key factors.
“I tried to be as conservative and precise as possible when highlighting so that in the end not all my stem turned yellow. Identifying the unique, key factors that differentiated a condition or step from others helped me avoid being distracted by the more general ones that can apply to multiple options.
“These were trends that worked for me but I don’t think there’s a single strategy that works for all questions or for everybody. In the end, working through questions efficiently and accurately just takes practice to determine what works best for you. The more unique questions you do and review, the better you will score- it’s as simple as that.” - Zeb Tolman, MD
Now, you can access all of your Step 2 CK learning material in one place. Our full Step 2 CK package contains over 2000 high-quality questions, which covers all relevant topics you will face on your exam! The symbiosis of high-quality medical content and technology provides an advanced way to study medicine. Questions are added daily to ensure that relevant topics and new concepts are consistently covered. Practicing as many high-quality questions as possible is key to a high score on the Step 2 CK Exam. That’s why AMBOSS is with you every STEP of the way!
The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE™) is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB®) and National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME®).