Step 2 CK Experience
(2012 Graduate from Pakistan)
Before going into the details I would like to thank Allah SWT for giving me such an honor of high scores. I canít thank him enough for this blessing.
I have read countless number of experiences on different USMLE forums and finally tried to give my best shot based on my aptitude and way of learning.
Prep time: 4.5 months
Exam date: 18 July 2013 Result reported on: 7th August 2013
USMLE step 1 scores: 254 (result report date 16 January 2013)
Internal medicine: Kaplan lecture notes
Master the boards for Step 2 ck
Master the boards for Internal medicine
Pediatrics: Kaplan lecture notes
Master the boards for Step 3
Gynae & obs: Kaplan lecture notes
Master the boards for step 3.
Psychiatry: Kaplan lecture notes
Master the boards for step 3.
Surgery: Kaplan lecture notes
Master the boards for step 3.
Question resources: USMLE world question bank and nothing else
Assessment exams: NBME 4(16 days before exam date)-------------250
UWSA(3 days before exam date)-----------------265
After the step 1 result was out in mid of January 2013, I was very motivated to start the step 2 CK preparation as I was only left with this exam in order to apply for this yearís residency match. So, I called all my seniors the same day and worked out my plan of action. At the very beginning I had a goal to take the exam up till the mid of June with the score of 260+.
So, the very next day I started preparation with the first target set on internal medicine. Here I would like to emphasize the importance of taking step 2 immediately after passing step 1. Step 1 is way more complex, extensive, time taking and foundation building exam as compared to step 2. Time spent on step 1 and the extensive study pays off in both exams because step 2 is not all about investigations and treatment and lot of people say that there is no correlation between both exams but keep in your mind you will be tested on pathophysiology, pharmacology and immunology stuff on CK which you will only know to the core if you read them extensively in your step 1 because most of the CK books do not cover those topics very well.
e.g I have got 2 mechanism of actions of drugs which I have read in pharma for step 1, two questions from Fragile X-syndrome which can only be covered by genetics which you must have studied very well during your step 1. Secondly the course for psychiatry is almost same as behavioral sciences thatís why keeping both exams in a row will help you better correlate and reinforce your basic and clinical sciences together.
Bottom line, donít go for very long vacations after step 1 result. Just suffer sometime more for CK and then do whatever you want.
I started internal medicine preparation but in February my Dad got MI superimposed on CHF, he went into ARF and shock liver. It was the most difficult time for the whole family, and I being the only doctor in the family was more into it. During this time I stayed by his side and look after him being a Son, and a doctor. Thanks God he recovered from all this completely and came home healthy. So eventually I started my preparation once again from 3rd march, 2013. The things which I studied from internal medicine before were all out of mind so I started fresh once again.
FIRST READ: (3 months and 10 days)
Started first read with MTB 2. I used to read a chapter from it and then the same chapter from Kaplan and Master the boards for Internal medicine. So in this way I read all three books side by side. Annotated all the important and additional points of MTB IM on MTB 2. My speed was very slow during the first read and sometimes I used to take even 4-5 days to do 1 chapter from 3 books. I didnít watch any of the Kaplan lectures because I always fall asleep while watching them. Conrad fischer seems to be a good lecturer but I donít like his style at all. He is slow and drifts away from the topic all the time. Its good for beginners or the people who have weak basic concepts or people who wana attach emotional feelings of conradís expression with the medicine. I enjoy medicine with its own flavor intact. people with strong base and good grasp can easily skip the lectures. You can watch 20 comprehensive clinical cases by Conrad fischer, I have watched 15 of them.
I made flash cards of all the most important things, I,e algorithms, important concepts and easily forgettable things, from all the 3 books.
After completion of first read in this way, i read all the flash cards once and started doing offline usmle world. Usmle world for IM is having almost 1300 questions. I used to attempt 2 blocks of 44 questions everyday and time my blocks manually. My avg score was around 82%.
This is the most important learning tool available for the step 2. Try to grasp every concept from it and donít try to hurry up and leave the minor details unattended. Give it a due respect and it will pay you back. I could hardly read the explanation for maximum 60-70 questions in a day. I kept my tradition of making flash cards alive and made almost 350 flash cards of important and new details of uworld from medicine. took pictures of questions which were having lot of details which I cant write it down on flashcards. In this way I completed my first read of medicine in almost 2 months.
Important resources: most important and must for CK is MTB 2 and Usmle world. MTB IM is a great book and its upto you if you want to read it. So its optional. Regarding Kaplan for medicine, its just full of crap. Nothing useful. Becoz CK is all about knowing the specifics of stepwise management and Kaplan did that job pathetically. Management is written all in haphazard fashion and even if you read a topic twice or thrice youíll not get any idea of managing the patient when you come across a tricky question. So, in my opinion even if you are keen enough to read Kaplan then give only one read and nothing more.
On exam: Medicine makes the major portion of exam, so you should better hit it hard. They will ask you everything. Sometimes even from the same topics you can get 4-5 questions asked from different angles. Xrays, CTs, MRIs will come. so all along the prep keep looking for them on internet. Google images are fine. Heart sounds and murmurs will also come, ECGs were very simple. I got 4 of them. There will be lot of vague questions and you have to keep your exclusion mode always on. Exclusion is the only way to deal with those tricky ones. But remember, majority(~50%) of the questions will be straight forward, around 35% will be tricky but you can eventually find an answer by exclusion, 10-15% will be vague and will confuse you between 2 answer choices and you have to select the better option.
Gynecology and obstetrics:
Started with MTB 3 obs and gynae portion. Itís a great revision book for all the subjects except medicine(for medicine its MTB 2).
After MTB 3, I started Kaplan without lectures. But most of my seniors stressed so much on the lectures so I had to swallow this bitter pill anyway. I watched obstetrics lectures and they were good but at the end of obs lectures I was not having enough courage to watch gynae section so I just skipped it.
Read MTB 3 again after Kaplan and then started doing usmle world offline. My pattern of doing the uworld was same as I have mentioned for Internal medicine and my average score in gynae obs was 84%.
Made flash cards all along the way and read them once after completion of first read of gyane obs.
Important resources: I would stress on the importance of Kaplan here. Itís a great book for gynae obs and combining it with MTB 3 and usmle world makes it all amazing
On exam: gynae and obstetrics questions were mostly the sequence questions. It was heavily tested. There was no specific areas they were hitting. I was thinking that they asked almost everything.
Started with MTB 3. Its awesome, covers most of the important and high yield stuff efficiently. After doing MTB 3, I started Kaplan. Kaplan also did a fine job for pediatrics. I used no lectures at all. After completion of the first read, started uworld and ended up with avg score of 82%.
Most important resource for pediatrics is MTB 3 and Uworld. But you cant skip Kaplan for pediatrics also, specially the first 70 pages of Kaplan are very important.
On exam, pediatrics was heavily tested but most of the things were covered by uworld and MTB3.
Started with MTB3 and then did kaplan. Trauma part is the most important in surgery and most of the questions from surgery in exam will definatly be involving all aspects of trauma. So, do it very well. Did offline uworld for surgery after doing Kaplan and MTB3 and ended up with score of 81%
In exam, there will be very minor portion of questions from surgery. Mostly 3-4 questions in a block.
Started with MTB 3 and then did Kaplan. MTB 3 is a good book but it doesnít cover epidemiology and biostats portion, so you have to do Kaplan for it anyway. Rest of the psychiatry is pretty similar to the step 1ís behavioural sciences.
Did uworld with avg score of 80%.
On exam: in contrary to the other peopleís experience I got a lot of psych questions. Specially in the later half of my exam. And they were mostly confusing. Biostats and epidemiology was pretty straightforward. Got 4 questions on NNT. Drug ads were very simple. abstract questions were little time consuming but doable.
So in this way I completed my first read of everything including uworld in almost 3 months and 10 days.
Second read: (20 days)
Second read was pretty fast as compared to the first. Did only MTB 2 for internal medicine in 4-5 days with all the annotated stuff. Did Kaplan and mtb3 for gynae obs, surgery and pediatrics. For psychiatry I did only MTB 3 and biostats portion from Kaplan.
Revised all my flash cards which were over 1500 in number 2-3 days.
And took nbme 4 on 2nd july 2013. Got 250 on it
time was the major problem in nbme. Question stems were long thatís why it was very difficult to manage time.
After getting 250 I was bit relieved. Then with only 16 days in my hand, I took online subscription for USMLE world. Started doing 5-6 blocks per day and read the explanations of only the incorrect questions, which were not many. I Did 46 out of 51 blocks in timed, random mode in 9 days And got and average score of 92%.
After that I revised the weak areas of nbme and revised whole pediatrics coz that was the weakest area on nbme. That took almost 4 days.
After that I took uworld self assessment 3 days before exam and got 265.
Time management was again the major problem on my uwsa even I ran out of time in 1 block and missed 1 question.
In next 2 days I revised all my flash cards and on the last day I did nothing except watching movies and listening music. Thatís it.
Slept around 8pm without any pills and got up at 5:30 am. I was fresh.
During exam, first 4 blocks were piece of cake. I was having a feeling that my exam is going very well. But after 4th one the concentration level was decreasing so thatís why I didnít know what I was doing. But still I had an idea that its fine. 7th and 8th block were very difficult, having lot of psychiatry questions and I was exhausted too. Time management was not an issue in first 4-5 blocks but in later part of the exam I was having hard time managing the time but at the end it went well and I didnít miss any question.
When I was out of test center, it was the best feeling of the world that finally its over. I didnít think about the exam very much and tried to keep myself busy in some other things but last week before the result reporting date was the most difficult one to handle. I was having all the mixed thought and feeling of fear. But eventually, I did it. Thanks God