This post is concerning my experience with Step 2 CK exam:
Alhamdulellah, I took my last USMLE exam yesterday. I know many interns are taking this exam next week so this post might be of great help to them and the rest insha’allah.
As you know, Step 2 CK exam lasts for 9 hours with 15 min tutorial and 45 min break. I couldn’t find an appointment here in Riyadh so I traveled to Dubai for one day to take it. I started my exam with three blocks, took a break for 10 min, did another two blocks, another 15 min break, then after each subsequent block I took 10 min break. Unlike step 1, I really became so exhausted after 5th block so had to wash my face (and rehabilitate :P) during the break time.
Around 70% of exam content is covered in both Master the Board book and USMLE World Qbank I guess. Before entering the exam, I reviewed the feedback of those who took the exam and found that none of them stated that the exam was easy or straight forward. After taking the test, I really feel the same as the exam is very tricky and challenging one. Unlike step 1 where it is either you know or you don’t, most of Step 2 CK answers lie in grey area in which you choose the best but you never know if it was truly the right answer. Most of the questions require more than two steps analysis. For example, they provide you a case where they merge two to three differentials of certain complaint in one scenario so you have to know which one is most likely going on and decide your next step based on that. Usually, the answers are very close to each other and in real clinical setting, you do them together but the question asks you what to do first. Unfortunately, such stuff is not clearly covered in MTB or UW. Also, I had many cases where they provided many risk factors of a disease and the question would be which of the following risk factors contributed the most to his/her disease. In MTB and UW, they list all risk factors but never mention which one is the most contributing one. A lot of questions were like that so you basically do an educated guess and move. I don’t want to discourage those who will take it next week but this is the reality and one of my friends told me the same thing before my exam.
The most critical thing in this exam is time management. Questions are usually one page long so you have got 1.3 min to read, analyze it and choose the best answer. Alhamdulellah, I never run out of time but only in one block I had the chance to go over the marked questions.
Most of the questions were from internal medicine with few questions from other fields. I got decent amount of statistical questions and they were easy for me. There are questions where they bring drug ads or long abstracts and then you will be provided with a clinical scenario. The question asks you to assess this patient’s outcome based on outcomes of patients with similar demographics in the study. I didn’t face difficulties in answering such questions but it usually takes around 2.5 min to answer it right so I know a lot of examiners choose a random answer and move as they want to save time for other questions.
The resources where I studied from include Master the Board and USMLE World Qbank. I went over the MTB four times and UW once. The total time spent was one month and one week with the average of 12-14 hours per day. Truly, I enjoyed studying for this exam :)
Taking step 2 CS a month before my CK helped me in better narrowing the differentials down.
Also, Step 1 was useful in answering some basic questions that I was provided.
Finally, confidence is a major playing factor in this exam. Always, be confident that you will make it and it is very important to sustain it so you can focus on the test. Also, I personally enjoyed the exam so you better feel the same in order to maintain your attention span throughout the long test.
Good luck to all and may Allah grant you great success in your career