Kaplan Lecture Notes (except for the book on ethics/psych)
USMLE World Q-bank
Step 2 CK First Aid.
-MTB-3 was really not useful at all. I was told that the minor subjects like gynae/obs were best done from this book, but really, Usmle World covers all of them superbly. I wouldn't waste my time on it again since it's really just MTB-2 with a few modifications.
-Step 2 CK First Aid: During the last week I skimmed through many of the FA tables and side-notes, and was pleasantly surprised. It has a lot of clinical detail and I think I would have done just as well using FA instead of MTB 2. I recommend that you go through at least the tables on fractures and nerve injuries.
-I did Kaplan Lecture Notes once, and I am convinced that was quite enough. Annotate your review book as you read the lecture notes.
-Kaplan Qbank: An absolute waste. I tried to drudge through half of it but couldn't. Do not do this qbank unless you have a lot of spare time, and enjoy learning minutiae that are highly unlikely to be tested in the USMLE.
-USMLE World: I love this qbank. I was impressed by the quality of the questions during my Step 1 prep, and this time was no exception. The explanations are outstanding and really help you consolidate all you've read. However. . . it's still nothing like the actual exam! More on that later.
Any way, I did not do UW from the beginning. Instead, I used it to test myself after about 9 weeks of preparation. I took 12 days to solve the entire bank in timed, random, unused mode. I would do 4-5 blocks a day, and go through the marked/incorrect questions. I did not read the explanations for questions I found easy.
The Big (Bad) Day
-The actual exam was weird and irritating. Questions were vague and overly long. Most of the stems had an outrageous amount of irrelevant information. To further compound the difficulty, at least 2 of the answer choices often seemed equally reasonable. I found myself going back to the oh-so-long question stems several times to find clues to steer me in the right direction. That definitely did not help, and I wound up going with my gut instinct.
-Medicine made up about 40% of the exam. Around 40% was split between paeds/gynae/obs/surgery, and 15% between psych/ethics/biostatistic. The rest was drug ads/research abstracts - I had 2-3 of those per block.
- I had one block of 35 questions. It was the hardest of them all! The rest of the blocks were 43/44/45 questions long.
-I ended the exam mentally exhausted, and was frankly devastated. I had walked into the test center expecting well made UW style questions (the step 1 lesson had faded away apparently) and instead had to solve frustatingly long and vague exam. Oddly enough, many concepts were tested several times, sometimes within the same block! I think they did that deliberately, trying to psych me into picking an incorrect answer.
UW (once, timed, random, unused): 82%
Free 150 (1 week before exam): 89 or 90%.
UWSA (4 days before the exam): 265/800
Step 1 score: 262
Step 2 CK score: 273
Thanks for listening. If you have any questions, fire away.
And if you are one of those people who left the exam center sad and disappointed, don't worry! If your UW and UWSA scores are good, you most likely just aced the exam!