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hypermedic 07-29-2013 04:36 AM

hypermedic's CK experience- 232
Dear fellow doctors,

It took me a while to write down my experience. My results appeared two weeks ago, 232. I wasn't in a shock, but I was numb. Thank God for everything. The score isn't that bad to be sad and not that high to be thrilled. Am I satisfied? Honestly, I am thankful for the result no matter what, although I aimed for more 240+ , but still thank God for everything.

one thing before continuing, the advice in this thread are based on someone who got 232, if u r aiming for higher, I think u might need to consider extra-measures. If u r satisfied with this score range, then it is up to you ;)

Tiny background:

one piece of advice here, never read an experience without knowing the background of the person who did it, especially when it comes to CK. Why?
It varies a lot, whether u r a graduate or a student, whether u took step1 first or not. Many variants shape your outcome, that’s why it is of utmost importance to know the circumstances of the person’s experience u r reading.

About me, I finished step1 on September,2012 with score of 233. Wanted to start CK immediately but couldn't open a book for at least 3 months. I was totally burnt out after step1.
I started in late December to open and read few stuff along with reading experiences, but then I knew I might get myself into trouble if I didn't man up and start real studying.

well, I applied for a vacation without pay and started a 13 hour of daily studying starting from February 1st, 2013 and raised to 15 hours from May.
took the exam mid-June . so the whole studying time is 4.5 months only.

so, when u browse other experiences, u will see those who said we did it in 6-9 months, others in 2 months …etc. what is the difference? As I said, background info along with daily hours of studying.

on average, I studied for 12 hours per day
12hours X 30 days X 4.5 months = 1620 hours

hours are the most accurate way of estimating and understanding any CK experience u read.

i used to finish 3 pages per hour in the first two reads, 4 pages/hour in the second two reads. 6 pages/hour in the fifth read and 8 pages per hour in the last read

if I was studying only 8 hours a day instead of 12 on average, then I will need extra 67 days to finish the same amount of info I finished in 4.5 months> which means I need around 6.2 months instead of 4.5 months. I hope this intro helps u understand why there is nasty big fuss about the required duration for studying the CK.

Should I have increased the studying duration? Honestly, I would say yes. :redcheeks;
I have been only able to revise the whole materials cover to cover 6 times. I wished for extra two time to be more confident, but due to many circumstances I couldn't postpone my exam, especially i had to cut down my CS studying time to 21 days instead of 30 and gave this week for CK. :toosad:

I revised my step 1 materials 9-10 times before I enter the exam, i couldn’t re-do the same thing with step2, I hope this tip helps you.

Materials used:

if CK is your first step I would highly recommend Kaplan lecture notes, if not then it is a waste of time.

what I used is :
- Master of the boards 2
- Master of the boards 3
- First Aid 8th edition

I see these sources are more than enough. Honestly, I read psychiatry and biostats from Kaplan lecture note, but I was dumb. The book is so bad-written that I really recommend step 1 book of psychiatry and biostats over it.
I also read the respiratory chapter from KLN, just to see if there any difference between KLN Vs MTB/FA, and there wasn’t much difference. I just had to make sure that I am in the right direction.

I didn’t have time like step 1 to experiment many books and sources, so I prayed to God that this is the right choice and sticked FA/MTB combination.


I used Kaplan qbank and UW qbank online. Both are of equal importance. Don’t get fooled with people saying that UW is the best. Yes it is outstanding, but Kaplan qbank is marvelous too.
If u are really and I mean really short in time( less than 2.5 months) of study time then u can skip Kaplan qbank, but under any sort of circumstances, it is almost a must to do the two qbanks together before stepping into CK exam. I hope I made this clear.

my scores:
Kaplan Qbank: 60% timed-subject wise
UW Qbank: 72% timed, cluster-wise

never solve any block untimed, even if for practice. Time is money, especially in CK, the question stem is almost double or triple those in step 1 exam.
So u have to be ready and be able to read as fast as u can and in the same way to see the red flags and triggers in the question stem and be able to make a differential in 55 seconds. What is the point of solving a question in two minutes right when u know u won’t have time for at least 7 questions or more with such slow rate!
In the real exam I ran out of time in 4 blocks although I was a very fast reader, and didn't run out of time the entire UW qbank except for a block or two out of 49 blocks.

Another piece of advice, when solving the blocks online, do it as if it is your real exam. Don’t take it lightly, I was really sweating and had palpitations during solving at home, coz I knew that this is what I will be in four months. Don’t expect it to be different from what u do at home. If while relaxed and u can’t score well, then under real pressure in exam, u will always score less. Trust me on this.

Cluster Vs Random Vs subject-wise:

I totally recommend solving in the subject-wise mode during the first qbank you solve. It is much better for consolidating the info.
the second qbank, it is your call. Solve it either Random or cluster but never subject-wise, simply coz u will solve randomly in the exam.

so what is cluster mode? Well, instead of complete Random I choose three related branches and solve them, for instance, Cardio-Resp-Renal or GI-Endo-heme ….etc. why?

Well, I didn’t have time to stop solving and doing a full review before I start the second qbank, UW in my case. So that was the closest to Random that I can get. Of course it is better if u can do it completely Random. OK, why choose similar branches? Simply to simulate randomness, if u solve GI with Cardio, or Endo with Psych, it won’t count as random as the questions are completely different and u will lose the benefit of surprise. Cardio/resp/renal branches are so close that u can’t know if the question is targeting which branch exactly and this is the point.

Studying technique

I spent the last three days of January, reading the psychiatry and biostat KLN book, I felt it is boring and badly written. When feb started I switched to FA and subscribed to Kaplan qbank. I remember the first block score it was 55%. I didn’t freak out. I knew it is my first and I was expecting that. It took my 8 weeks to fully finish the Kaplan qbank, by that time I finished FA twice, and 30% of MTB.

What happened is I was consistently scoring in mid-fifties and I got depressed, so I switched to FA+MTB before solving the branch instead of FA alone, and surprisingly my score jumped to 70s, so my cumulative balanced by the end of solving the Kaplan qbank at 60%

in my third read, I combined the whole FA with MTB, I had to read FA twice and MTB 2, 3 once in order to combine the sources together and form a final one source.

my final source was exactly: 838 pages plus 162 pages of printed explanations from UW plus 246 pages of printed explanations from Kaplan qbank.
so i read the 246 pages of Kaplan qbank twice and had to stick to 838 of my final source along with UW 162 pages notes to have 1000 pages to fully revise.

revised UW 3 times and the 838 of final source additional 3 times.

to sum up:

FA: 2 times
MTB2: 1 time
MTB3: 1time
combined FA/MTB2/3 : three times
UW printed notes: 3 times
Kaplan qbank printed notes: 2 times

what saved me much time is that I was able to print-screen UW and Kaplan qbanks. If I was taking notes manually I think 4.5 months will never be enough. This is a thing to consider when managing your studying time.

this is a sample page of the notes (blurred for copyright)

April: I started studying the combined source along with solving the UW. It took me 6 weeks to finish it once.

then solved the whole wrong questions again along with 50% of the right questions. also managed to read the whole printed explanations extra two times.

UW first pass: 72% 72 percentile
UW second time: correct blocks: 95%
UW second time: wrong blocks: 82%

so as u can see even the right answers I did in the first pass, I had some mistakes with the second pass. This is important as some answers u get right are by luck, or even your thought process that led to the answer is wrong, but it led ya to the right choice, so once the question is re-done, u will eventually get it wrong. My advice, read the explanations carefully of both right and wrong answer and understand why your answer is right is even much more important than for your wrong answers.

Subjects Analysis:

As u can see from the table, the combined source contained 71% from MTB and 29% from FA. This simply coz I liked the way MTB is written, but still the 29% are really missing from MTB especially in neuro, where I almost entirely relied on FA, and in pedz/OBGYN too, considerable percentage.

The real difference between MTB and FA is that MTB is written in a way the broaden your horizon and makes ya think deeper. It is as if u r solving an exam rather than studying. The FA is written in a textbook format. It has dense info but lacks the exam-oriented format. However, both FA and MTB must be read carefully before u enter the real CK exam.

for the images, EKGs, CT/x-ray....etc the qbanks are more than enough
i made ATLAS out of the available images in the qbank


I solved only UWSA and I scored 245. Surprisingly I solved it the night of the exam. I know that this is the riskiest thing I have ever done, but really I was short in time and I know that I have only one assessment shot, so I studied hard till 5 p.m the day before the exam and took the assessment.

last day:

as I did with my step 1, I slept only 4 hours and woke up at 3 a.m the day before the exam, and then stayed till 2 a.m the next day, so by the time I reached bed, no matter how anxious I was, I slept in seconds for consecutive 6 hours.

Again, I don’t trust anyone who says that s/he go out and have fun the last day before exam. I feel such a thing is a major distraction before your exam.
Anyway, I spent half of that day revising few chapters and then the second half I solved UWSA, revised the wrong answers and went to bed by 2 a.m

Exam day:

I felt refreshed in the morning. Brought 1 energy drink(power horse), two vit.C conc. Drinks, bottle of water, two bars of chocolates, and chicken sandwiches.

I checked the headphones in two minutes and then skipped the intro. Took a break after each block. Believe me, never do two block in a row. It is suicide.

Overall, the exam was ok. The worst part was biostatistics. I felt I was screwed up. Especially in the drug ad/ abstract questions. One was easy the others, I have never seen them before. Surprisingly I did ok in the analysis of my score, the one that missed me up was OBGYN. I don’t know why?

for detailed review of the exam day check this thread:

I didn’t get a star in any subject, but was on the high performance in all subjects except OBGYN. :(

after I finished the exam, I was dull. Didn’t know If I screwed up or not. Honestly, I marked at least 10-14 questions per block. But I used to do the same during the UWSA and I got 245 so I thought it is ok, but then I got 232 in the real deal.

Thank God for everything

final Tips:

- well, I recommend 12 hour/day for 5 months. I really needed additional two weeks b4 entering the exam. I think it would have made a difference in my score. 4.5 months was a disaster for my brain. Just imagine the amount of stress I was in. I wish I could have solved at least one NBME but I had time only for UWSA and I did it the last day :toosad:

it is better to solve UWSA so u get the highest u can score and NBME so u get your lowest score.

- solve at least 2 online qbanks. Always timed and more preferably random.

- Always have a break at the weekend. I skipped many breaks during my study to save it for CK study, I went out only 5 times(4 hours each) during the whole 4.5 months. I was almost burnt out by the exam date.

-once u start studying, don’t take long breaks and don’t reschedule unless u critically score very bad. You r in a momentum, if u lost it, u will need much time to restart your pace.

At last, I wasn’t in the mood to write my experience, I am anxiously waiting for my CS results and the waiting is killing me. The only reason I wrote it now, is that I believe if someone read my experience and benefited from it, s/he might not forget me in their prayers and I might pass my CS exam. :sorry: :sorry: :sorry:

I hope this thread might help those whom are studying the CK now, and please don’t forget me in your prayers.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

God help us all.

smartfetus 07-29-2013 04:45 AM

thanks a lot for your time. My prayers for you to pass CS ..

good luck :)

eveli55 07-29-2013 05:44 AM

what are your score on NBMEs? thx

med_ziva 07-29-2013 07:39 AM

wow this is the most detailed experience i have read till date. well done! all the best wishes for your cs exam :)

Medicine23 07-29-2013 09:19 AM

Great post...congrats and thanks for the wonderful post!

rg99 07-29-2013 11:07 AM

congrats and thanks for the whole breakdown of hrs and days,
really helpful
best of luck for cs

mostafath 07-29-2013 04:48 PM

congratulations for ur scores
which speciality ur scores will match according to the previous match statistics?

creme 07-29-2013 07:08 PM

the most detailed post i've ever read..thank you so much.

dont worry about cs..u must have rocked it:)

JJtheMD 07-29-2013 09:39 PM

congratulations!!! you got the dream score i wanted!!! Hopefully i get same score!

hypermedic 07-30-2013 01:56 AM


Originally Posted by mostafath (Post 205922)
congratulations for ur scores
which speciality ur scores will match according to the previous match statistics?

honestly, i have no idea, i hope i can match in IM enshalla :sorry:


Originally Posted by eveli55 (Post 205851)
what are your score on NBMEs? thx

i wrote down that i didn't solve any NBME, just UWSA and i got 245, however i recommend doing at least one NBME beside UWSA

mostafath 07-30-2013 05:40 AM

[QUOTE=hypermedic;205990]honestly, i have no idea, i hope i can match in IM enshalla :sorry:

I hope inshaallah u can match IM
but I wanna ask a question: which is more important step 1 or step 2 score
for an IMG to match IM ?

mycoplasma 07-30-2013 08:42 AM

thank you so much that was very helpful

i want to ask this , how you got uworld notes ???if u can help me with that as i really have no time to write

Ardsomal 07-31-2013 10:18 AM


And thank you very much for all the information. That was very detailed and very helpful.

hypermedic 08-01-2013 01:10 AM

you are welcome docs. wish you all the best in your CKs :)

Chaand 07-02-2014 05:07 AM

just a quick question!
any of you guys from Kuwait ?

thanks hypermedic for your informative experience ... sounded very hard

hypermedic 07-02-2014 05:14 AM


Originally Posted by Chaand (Post 392385)
just a quick question!
any of you guys from Kuwait ?

thanks hypermedic for your informative experience ... sounded very hard

Are you currently in Kuwait?

Chaand 07-02-2014 05:20 AM


Originally Posted by hypermedic (Post 392409)
Are you currently in Kuwait?

nope, will be in a couple of weeks though

why? you in Kuwait?

steps_8186 07-02-2014 06:35 AM

hey how did u take print of u world?

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