As it is mentioned in the previous article I posted, that a student who is going for the USMLE exam can take Step 2 CK before Step-1. Today I am going to give you a brief overview of USMLE STEP 2 CK and how you can score 250+ in your exam. STEP 2 CK is actually that part of USMLE which is concerned with your “Clinical Knowledge”, and its application in the management of the patient.
If you are a beginner in USMLE, then it is advised for you to give a thorough read on the following articles before reading USMLE STEP-2 CK guidelines:
What is USMLE Step 2 CK: A Brief Overview
USMLE STEP-2 or “Clinical Knowledge” is a nine-hour, MCQs part of the USMLE (The United States Medical Licensing Exam). This exam assesses the clinical knowledge through a traditional, MCQ examination system. This exam also assesses your clinical knowledge, skills, and knowledge of basic sciences which are required for the provision of patient care under the supervision of an authority.
Step 2 CK can be taken by students while in Medical School,
- US and Canadian Med-School Students recognized by Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
- US and Canadian Med-School Students recognized by American Osteopathic Association
- Students outside US and Canadian Med-Schools recognized by International Medical Education Directory (IMED) and Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. (ECFMG).
Components of USMLE Step 2 CK or Clinical Knowledge
Step 2 is the actual application of Physician’s clinical knowledge under supervision.
What is asked? How to apply clinical Knowledge to practice medicines.
When to take? During 3rd and 4th year. (Clinical Years)
Time Duration: 9 hours (one day), broken into 8, one hour block with 40-45 questions each block.
MCQ Questions: 355
Format: Computer Based
Test Place: Prometric Sites Internationally
The USMLE Step 2 exam is basically divided into two categories which are further sub-divided into two or three more categories:
- General Principles of Basic Sciences (1%-3%)
- Organ Systems (85%-95%)
- Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Population Health (1%-5%)
- Medical or Clinical Knowledge Concepts (10%-15%)
- Patient Care (Diagnosis) (40%-50%)
- Patient Care (Management) (30%35%)
- Professionalism/Patient Safety and Physician’s Behavior (3%-7%)
Given below is the brief description of above-mentioned criterion:
|Basic Sciences (15-3%)||Organ System (85%-95%)||Biostatistics (1%-5%)|
|The basic knowledge of the clinical sciences is focused in this part. There are very few MCQs on this topic.|| i. Immune System
ii. Blood system
iii. Lymphocytic System
iv. Behavioral Health
v. Nervous System & Special Senses
vi. Skin & Subcutaneous Tissue
vii. Musculoskeletal System
viii. Cardiovascular System
ix. Respiratory System
x. Gastrointestinal System
xi. Renal & Urinary Systems
xii. Pregnancy, Childbirth, & the Puerperium
xiii. Female Reproductive System & Breast
xiv. Male Reproductive System
xv. Endocrine System
xvi. Multisystem Processes & Disorders
|A very Small Portion of the exam consists of questions from biostatistics and you have to give it some time as it is a very difficult subject.|
What tasks are assigned to Physician in USMLE Step 2 CK Exam?
Below given is the brief description of the tasks assigned to a physician:
|Physician’s Task||How much is asked?|
|Medical Knowledge and Concepts||10%-15%|
· Physical Examination
· Laboratory or Diagnostic Test
· Outcome and Prognosis
· Health Maintenance
· Disease Prevention
· Clinical Interventions
· Disease Recurrence
· Mixed Management
Safety of the Patient
System Based Practice and Learning
In USMLE Step 2 CK exam, there are 355 Multiple Choice Questions. The following table will make it clear for understanding the type of the questions asked:
|Questions Format||Type of Questions Asked|
|Total Number of questions=355 (max) MCQs
· 9 Hours
· 8 Blocks
· 42-45 questions in each block
· 45 minutes break
· 15 minutes tutorial, in the beginning,
|There are long Clinical Vignette Type questions are asked focusing on the following sections:
· What is the most probable diagnosis>
· What be the ‘Next’ Step of management?
· What would be the most probable diagnostic or laboratory test?
· How would you manage this complication?
USMLE Step 2 CK Comprehensive Study:
For USMLE Step 2 CK exam following subjects are to be focused:
- Internal Medicine
- Biostatistics (2-3 questions)
USMLE Step 2 CK Study Material/ Content
Most of the students get confused when they start preparing for Step-2 CK as there are so many resources to go through but here are some of the sources which are considered very high yield for USMLE Step-2 CK Preparation.
- Kaplan Videos for USMLE STEP 2 CK
When it comes to preparing USMLE Step-2, Kaplan Videos are considered very high yield.
- First Aid for USMLE Step 2 CK
Now the first aid is considered to be very high yield as it is more accurate and contains almost all the knowledge necessary to clear step-2 CK exam.
- U-World (Online)- Gold Standard
USMLE World question bank is one very high yield resource for self-assessment and preparing for USMLE Step 2 CK.
- Online MedEd
Many of the Med-Students who have cleared their step-2, consider this source very useful as this helps in solving many questions during the exam.
- Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK
This book like First Aid contains a lot of knowledge to clear step 2 CK.
- NBME (Gold Standard)
There are a total of 7 NBME’s self-assessment exams which will give you the best results of your preparation.
As it is not possible for any student to study all the above-mentioned resources to clear USMLE Step 2 CK exam due to the very short period of time. I have divided the above-mentioned resources into 3 categories so that to make it easy for you to clear your USMLE STEP-2 Exam.
How to Study?
Remember one thing you have to study very hard to clear your Step 2 CK exam. It may not be as much difficult as STEP-1 but it still demands a lot of dedication and hard work. In order to study enough for Step 2 CK, follow the following routine for at least 4 months (if you do not work or you are not an intern) and 6 months if you are working somewhere or you are an intern.
- Wake up at 6:00 AM in the morning,
- 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM; Exercise, Cardio or Gym,
- 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM; Breakfast,
- 8:00 AM – 12 PM; Study,
- 12 PM – 1:00 PM; Lunch Break,
- 1 PM – 5 PM; Study Again’
- 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM; Relax, Exercise, Gym,
- 6:30 PM – 7:00 PM; Dinner,
- 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM; U-World, NBME, MedED,
- 10 PM, Bedtime,
Repeat this routine every day and you will be prepared to appear for USMLE STEP-2 CK.
Registration and Fee Structure:
To know about the registration procedure and fee structure please read the below-mentioned article;
No matter how smart or intelligent you are, on the exam day, you will be nervous or even may be jittery, shaking. But, after 20-30 minutes you will feel normal. Keep in mind:
- To go to bed early (10 Pm – 6 AM)
- Take your breakfast
- Take your lunch with you
- Use your break time wisely ( You will be having a break of total time 45 minutes and 15 minutes extra if you don’t attend tutorial. Split this break times into 3-4 parts of 10-15 minutes)
- Read the statement carefully, take your time. Do not hurry!
- Don’t indulge yourself in meaningless activities
Follow the following tips to save your precious time:
- Learn Vocabulary
- Study in groups
- Take active notes from videos
- Pause video when necessary
- Memorize Basics again and again
- Revise basic biology
- Make flashcards
- Look for patterns
- Connect all the information
- Do ask for help from others
- Highlight the important topics
- Attach paper tags
A word from Author:
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Disclaimer: All contents of this article are for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information is solely at your own risk.