I just gave my step 1 and am waiting for results.. In the mean time I gotta start preparing for step 2 CK.. can you plz tell me how should I start?? and from where should I get the latest Kaplan lecture notes??? and do I need to see the lectures??
Timing Most Programs will give you at least 6 weeks to take off for the exam, so use it wisely. I had about same time to study, so I scheduled my exam accordingly, this is the first thing you need to do, because spots fill up very quickly. Also, even if you are given more time, you should probably take it in six weeks because of the concept of recall may not be as effective. The longer you wait to take the test, the difficult it is to recall concepts and facts. I will revisit this issue under "Approach to studying". Also make sure to count the number of pages, and the number of days you have to study, and divide the amount of pages by the number of days to get an estimate of how many pages per day you need to study. This way you won't run out of time, and you would have a realistic approach to a completion date. The resources You need books and MCQ banks that will be easy to read, concise and high yield. As an author, I have had the opportunity to review many Step 2 review books and MCQ banks. So my recommendations are a complete but easily readable Step 2 text such as the Kaplan review books, or the Blueprints series, then a summary text that is very concise, for reinforcement, such as USMLE Step 2 Edge or Secrets, then finally buy a MCQ Q bank such as Kaplan Q bank or USMLE World Q bank. Mental psyche It is very helpful to have a positive attitude, even if you have not done well in your past exams, forget all about that and think only about the Step 2. Tell yourself that you are starting afresh, you have 100% score, and you are trying to maintain that great score. Eat healthy, sleep well, and typically do not study on a day before the exam, have a light quiet evening a day before the exam. Approach to studying The first thing to do before you open up any books is to do a diagnostic test (e.g NBME questions) to identify your weaknesses, Then you should tailor your studying to your weaknesses, for example if NBME exam shows that you are weak in OB/GYN, you should start off reading that topic.
OK, the most important part of making a high score is the way that you study. I know several of us study differently for exams, but this approach I will be sharing with you emphasizes reinforcement, which is the key in recall, and understanding, concepts needed for the step 2. I have divided questions in the Step 2 as recall and reasoning questions, you will need to memorize and also be able to reason your way out of questions.
The way to conquer this is to find books that can aid both memorization and those that enhance reasoning, for example, pathophysiology behind a condition will help you figure out the possible management of the condition. The books above will do this very well. Needless to say, the concept of reinforcement was taken into account in suggesting to read the books above. And reading properly will further allow for more retention of information.
So how do you read to retain most of the information from these books? Study concurrently. Uuhhhh, what does this mean? What I mean is that topics in the larger review text(eg Kaplan) should be studied concurrently with those in the reinforcement, smaller text. For example, after studying pediatrics in the Kaplan review book, review the same topic in USMLE Step 2 Edge, before using a question bank to reinforce the same topic(i.e pediatrics). You can do one to two question sets (48 Qs each) per day with this method. If you are doing USMLE World, you can use "tutor mode" for the first 4 weeks. This way you reinforce what you learn, from one resource to the other, this way you will be less likely to forget the material 6 weeks fromm studying it. But again, you don't want to study longer than six weeks, so that all that studying won't go to waste.
Also take constructive breaks while studying, most human beings have attention span of about 2 hrs, after that brain fatigue causes us to not retain information as much. So after studying for 2 hrs, take a short 10mins break to eat a high calorie snack, then go for another 2 hours.
OK.. now it will probably take you four weeks to complete studying this way, then you will probably have some Q banks left to finish. Now that you have finished the content (Books and reinforcement with q bank), you should concentrate on only questions in the last two weeks. After completion of content in the first 4 weeks, you should do your second NBME test, then continue doing questions with Q bank and work on your weaknesses according to the NBME. At the end of fifth week do your 3rd NBME and and 4th NBME test 3days after. Continue to do Q bank questions 2 days prior to your exam. And remember on the day before the exam, eat well, sleep well and no studying (absolutely not), and tell me how you scored. I used this method, and several of my colleagues used this method and did well, believe me, you can too. Even if you dont score that high, you should definitely score much higher than average