While so much emphasis is put on the Step 1 exam, it is equally important to pay special attention to the USMLE CK exam and ensure that you don’t blow your chances of a great residency program by scoring poorly on the Step 2 CK exam. If you scored well on the Step 1 exam, you can hurt your chances of a great residency by doing poorly on the CK exam, whereas if you didn’t fare so well on the Step 1 exam, a solid Step 2 score can increase your odds of landing a great residency spot in the specialty of your choice.
In order to ensure a great score on the CK exam, you must pay attention to the details and stay focused on proper and adequate preparation. Here are four tips I found useful in my preparation, and I ensure you that they can be useful in helping you score well on the Step 2 exam as well.
Tip #1 – Get a good study guide
The CK exam, while more clinically oriented than the Step 1 exam, is still very voluminous in information. The information found on this exam may not be covered while you are doing your clinical rotations. In order to ensure you get to see and master everything on the CK exam, get yourself a study source that is above and beyond the “review” books. This means getting a comprehensive study/preparation guide designed to help you learn everything the CK will potentially throw at you.
Tip #2 – Quality over quantity in the question banks
Some people swear by doing thousands upon thousands of questions as practice for the USMLE examinations, but when it comes to doing questions, always think quality over quantity. There are a handful of important tidbits that can be learned from each question you encounter in the top question banks. Take your time and go through these questions thoroughly, and you will find that one question can supply you with a great deal of high-quality medical information.
Tip #3 – Start your CK preparation early
It’s important not to rush this exam and “just get by”. Grab a question bank subscription nice and early, even at the beginning of your third year, and go through these questions slowly and thoroughly, which will allow you to learn and master the information on the test as well as implement it with your clinically based education.
Tip #4 – Master the high-yield information
While this statement may seem obvious, there are so many things that you will see over and over in the wards that are so high-yield that you will probably be tested in some form or another on the CK exam, and even on the Step 3 exam. Learn and master the high-yield stuff so you can answer it in your sleep and this will go a long way in helping you get a great score. If you master the really high-yield information, you will have enough to come close to passing with this information alone. After this, the rest of the details will help you bring your score past the mean and into the 230’s and above.