AbeWorld Step 2 CK Prep Plan
Here's what I am planning to do for the USMLE Step 2 CK Preparation.
I will listen to Kaplan lectures and take notes in MTB 2. I understand that I might have to add a lot to MTB, but writing down stuff helps me remember better AND in the end I will have only one book (MTB) to come back to for revision. If a topic needs further exploration, I will look into Kaplan lecture notes. I have been told that Pediatrics, ObGyn and Surgery are lacking in MTB - so I will take notes in a separate notebook for that (like I said: writing helps me a lot). And for Epidemio/Ethics I will use KLN Step 1 book and 100 cases by Conrad Fischer, as suggested. I will also do Kaplan QBook questions after each topic.
I plan to take 6 weeks for this.
This will be followed by Kaplan QBank for 15 days and then USMLEWorld for 6-7 weeks (For Step 1 it took me 6-7 weeks for finishing the 2000+ questions and a review of all wrong answers, so I am guessing it should be the same here). I will keep going back to MTB for any question I get wrong. Also one or two NBME tests over the weekends 4 and 2 weeks before the exam date.
So, that makes a total of 4 (and a half) months with 15 days margin for unprecedented delays, further revision of weak areas, etc. making it a total of 18-20 weeks (5 months) preparation.
CK Plan in-sequence
Essentially, the following is the sequence of study that I have prepared based on numerous forums and tips all around. I believe it should suit most, if not all (+/- 2SD ;)):
1. Internal Medicine Kaplan video lectures with MTB 2 (note all the extra stuff in the book itself)
2. Internal medicine questions from Kaplan QBook
3. Surgery, ObGyn, Pediatrics Kaplan video lectures with Kaplan books
4. Surgery, ObGyn, Pediatrics Kaplan Qbook questions.
5. Step 1 Behavioral Science Kaplan Book
6. 100 Ethics cases by Conrad Fischer book
7. Psych, Epidemio, Ethics Questions from Kaplan QBook
8. Kaplan QBank - as many questions as possible in 15 days
9. USMLEWorld QBank - All questions and at least 1 revision, with review of wrong answers
10. MTB 2 and Kaplan books revision at least once on two random weekends where you want to take a break from UW questions.
11. 2 NBME Tests - 4 and 2 weeks before the exam.
Steps 1-7 in 6 weeks (make a schedule), steps 8-11 for the rest 12-14 weeks for a total of 20 weeks (5 months)
OPTIONS: It feels like it is equally fine to do MTB 3 instead of Kaplan video lectures and books for surg, obgyn, peds in #3. Whatever feels better to you.
Hope this helps!
Curtail step 2 study time from 5 to 4 months
I have also realized that the above schedule works for 5 months study. If you want to reduce your total study time -
1. Remove 15 days of Kaplan QBank - Although better than Step 1 Kaplan QBank, it appears that UW is more than enough and perhaps should be revised as much as possible.
2. In step #3 above, don't listen to lectures. Although helpful, they are very similar to the Kaplan books text. Give the books a quick read and skip the video lectures
3. #10 and #11 are certainly optional as you will be going back to these books as you do the UW questions.
This should bring your study time from 5 months (in the schedule above) to around 4 months (MINIMUM time you should give to this exam to score well, as suggested by all)
Please comment and critique!
Why MTB only and not Kaplan notes + MTB?
In short, I do think Kaplan notes closely follow the lectures and so if you are listening to the lectures, you have covered most, if not all, of the important parts of Kaplan notes. And I have come to realize that QBanks will definitely and adequately cover any important topic that you accidentally miss by not reading Kaplan notes.
First, as per the plan, I will be using the Kaplan notes with the video lectures for ALL subjects except IM. Using MTB 2 with videos is a personal choice based on my current situation. But here is what I have gathered and it should apply to most people -
Why I am reading MTB (instead of Kaplan notes) while listening to Kaplan video lectures?
1. Less time to prepare: I am trying to apply this year and have just started preparing. In essence, I don't have much time. Since MTB is pretty much the holy grail of CK (just as First Aid was for Step 1), if you read Kaplan notes with lectures, it would only take you longer.
2. I remember from Step 1 that I didn't use Kaplan notes AT ALL once I started FA. I assume that will be the case again. So, whats the point of doing the books if the time is constrained?
3. One big attraction to me was having everything I have to read AT ONE PLACE. Even if I have to take extensive notes in MTB, it will be just one book with all notes attached.
4. Lectures are very close to Kaplan books. To some people that helps a lot as they can see what they are reading. To me, it's not that big a deal. I can listen, process and note the extra stuff down in MTB.
5. I feel there is a big discrepancy between Kaplan books and MTB. They do cover the same topics of course, but their approach is very different. I believe MTB's clinical/question oriented approach is much better than Kaplan's textbook like reading. Because of less time and to avoid confusion by reading the same topic in two different ways, I prefer using ONE of the two books - MTB.
6. Eventually I will take notes from UWorld and put it in the same MTB which will make it complete and comprehensive 1 stop for all topics! (I firmly believe that if Superman was a medical student, he would probably use my annotated MTB!! hehe)
7. Physicality of it all: I currently work full time and have to carry stuff to study during lunch hours. It is easier to carry ONE MTB than 5 Kaplan books (especially when I will be doing random questions!!)
8. Eventually, the important bit will be Questions and not the books. So, if I find a topic not adequately covered in MTB IM, I will look into Kaplan books - and again, will paste that note into MTB.
9. Finally, if I use this way, I would have done my first read of the CK Bible (MTB) while listening to the lectures.
Having said that, the obvious shortcoming of reading MTB only is that the video lectures do not follow the book paragraph to paragraph. For that, I have to spend about 5 minutes per topic/video to know where in the chapter things are arranged. Also, I have to pay close attention at all times to listen to everything in the lecture so I don't miss anything. But, frankly thats the only 'shortcoming' that I have noticed.
So, in my opinion, you can still do Kaplan books with lectures and follow it up by MTB if:
1. You have enough time
2. You can carry books around if you need to
3. If you don't mind having to consult >1 book while doing questions.
4. If you don't mind having >1 place to take notes, probably even for the same topic.
Can anyone suggest DIT for ck?.... Dr. Jenkins this time around uses the Step UP to Step 2 CK book instead of FA.
There aren't many people on this forum or other forums who have taken the new DIT. So, I am hesitant in giving you an opinion on it. But, as i see it, it is important to do questions more than it is to find a book. So, whatever method you prefer, just finish it early and start hitting Kaplan QBank/UW/NBME, etc.
You can wait for other people's opinion and see what they have to say.
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