Those were the longest three weeks of my life but now I know I passed Step 2 CK!! I am so glad to have gotten that behind me and ready to move on towards submitting my ERAS application, going on interviews, and Match Day coming up in March. That much closer to becoming a doctor!
So now, I feel at least slightly more qualified to share how I studied for Step 2 CK. I was lucky enough to get July off of rotations to study, so I developed a pretty intense schedule for the month. Of course, if you don’t have as much dedicated time, you might have to start studying earlier and just keep studying a little bit each day.
UWorld: I cannot emphasize enough: questions, questions, questions!! More so than even Step 1, doing practice questions is the single best way to study for CK. Not only do you get to see the types of questions that will be asked, but you get to see what topics you really know and which ones you might need to review again. In order to keep track of all of this, I definitely suggest starting a Smart Book. Check out the previous post I wrote about my Smart Book for more information. I had tried to complete each subject in UWorld throughout my M3 year as I was doing that particular clerkship, but this didn’t always happen. So for dedicated CK studying, I scheduled out to finish the entire question bank and have time to go through at least most of a second pass.
Master the Boards: When I wasn’t doing practice questions, or honestly just got so overwhelmed with them all that I had to do something else, I would schedule time to read Master the Boards. This is a great review book that summarizes all the high yield topics that are important to know for Step 2. The chapters are generally quick reads and so doesn’t take away as much time from practice questions but still helps to review the major topics.
Sketchy Pharm: I watched Sketchy Micro so much for Step 1 and basically credit this program for me knowing anything about microbiology. Sketchy Pharm was the same way and I really enjoyed the familiar visual triggers and word associations used to help me remember important pharmacology topics. My only regret was not starting this program earlier because I didn’t have enough time to finish everything, but what I was able to get through was very helpful. Click here to sign up for a free 15-day trial of SketchyMedical.
I had 6 weeks dedicated to Step 2 CK studying, with one week being taken over by Step 2 CS (post on this experience coming soon), and so scheduled out how to finish getting through all of UWorld, read all the chapters of Master the Boards, do some Sketchy Pharm sessions, and review my Smart Book. Of course, you should make whatever schedule works best for you, depending on the resources that you decide to use. Some people prefer to make a more flexible schedule per week so they have the freedom to cover certain topics that they feel might need more time. For me, though, I need a strict schedule of the goals I have for each day in order to make sure I am keeping on track. Below is an example of one of my studying weeks. This week was before I took Step 2 CS, so I also planned out cases to read each day from the First Aid for Step 2 CS book.
Click the button below to download your own blank weekly subject study schedule to fill out however you’d like.
1. Trust your instincts: You know how you study best! Don’t doubt this! I had trouble during the first few weeks of studying for Step 1 (you can read more about how I studied for this test here) by being influenced by how my other classmates were studying. I thought that I should be studying like them, but soon realized that it just wasn’t working for me. So for this test, I already knew what works and went for it. This time, I knew that I couldn’t sit and read a book for hours on end and retain the information. I am much more of an active learner, so I integrated tons more practice questions and ways to quiz myself on the material.
2. Have a plan: This sort of goes for every board test, but with so much information it is pretty much impossible to find the time to go over it all. That is why having worked out a plan that meets all of your studying goals before you start is imperative to making sure you stay on track. While you can certainly change it up if you find that it’s not working best for you, having this framework in place when you start is important to making sure you are accomplishing what you want.
3. Don’t be afraid to change your test date: I had originally scheduled to take my test a little over three weeks before when I actually took the test. At first, I thought I could make it, especially with having the whole month of July off from rotations, but with a whole week being messed up by taking CS and with me not getting as much studying done during my last rotation of third year as I thought I would, I was feeling so overwhelmed the closer my test day got. I was nervous about changing the date because then I was starting to get into fourth year rotations and was worried about how it would affect applications, but in the end I am so glad that I did. I felt so much more relaxed and confident walking into my test than I would have if I was taking it three weeks earlier and I believe this helped me tremendously.
Have you taken Step 2 CK? What studying advice would you give? If you have any other questions about my CK experience, please let me know by leaving a comment below.
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