USMLE Step 2CK experience by Ashok Chaudhary, [Test Date April 11,2017]
I may be new to many of you. I am a government officer working under Ministry Of Health, Government of Nepal. I got my Step 2CK score report a few days back.
I am sorry for the delay in writing this. I am writing this with a hope of making you all believe that “If I can do good, you can do it even better” and vice versa. I have named this file “surviving step 2CK” because during the course of its preparation, I think,my life was like that of in a survival mode, roughly speaking. If you have read my step 1 experience, I want to assure you that this is gonna be shorter than that.Partly because the study materials for step 2CK are less diverse than that of step 1 and partly because I don’t want to hypnotise anymore.
I started my preparation for CK with the book named ”step-up to medicine”. Many people I talked to and many experiences I had read suggested MTB2 for medicine and MTB3 for other subjects like pediatrics,surgery, OB&Gyn. I bought those books as well. Actually I began with MTB2 for medicine and instantly realized that it was not my type of book. I didn’t have that bullet proof jacket to bear all those bullet styled points of MTB2.
I think I was able to read only initial few pages of that book and was soon searching for its alternative.” Step up” was a nice alternative I think. Its written in more of explanatory way and reading it was a smoother process. Took almost 1 month to finish it. Plz don’t get scared with the time I took for it. I was working at government hospital and it was so for the most of my preparation. So some days I could study well and some days weren’t that good. Combining job with study wasn’t very easy, I think.
After stepup, I subscribed to Uworld for 6 months. There were 4 or 5 days remaining in the subscription when I took the exam.If , for step 1, First aid and Uworld were the holy sources; for step 2, uworld is both. Many of you in the beginning phase of your preparation may find it difficult to accept this fact and I also didn’t realize that initially.
Is it true? Are you kidding me? Only uworld and no books? Yes it is true. I am not kidding and books have very minor role. I think I didn’t remember a thing from step up but the greatest help was it made my transition to the uworld easier and smoother.Understand uworld very well. Dont just read it for the sake of reading.The tables/charts in uworld are like the pages of first aid for Step1. I mean each and every word there is for the purpose.Simply cramming up only wont help you.You need to understand those and then if needed mug them.But yes,there are few topics which you have to just mug it up.There is not much point in wasting your time understanding the developmental milestones of a child and screening/vaccination guidelines age and evaluation of pap smear of the female of age 23 and 26.But yes there is some logic behind it.
Whatever you don’t understand from uworld, consult uptodate for that. Both the google and Wikipedia for the step 2 is uptodate. I think most of the things given in uworld are derivatives of the things that are already available in uptodate. You cant go through all of uptodate. It is very very detailed.
So consult Uptodate for topics which are difficult to comprehend from uworld and you can also consult it for topics which are not given in uworld. Would you believe it if I said many sentences given in uworld seem to be exact copies of uptodate? And yes prepare the notes from uworld from the beginning.
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I had made brief notes of volatile things and things that were added from uptodate. it was brief because I did revision from uworld online on my laptop itself.Some people find reading from the notes/notebooks easier,so if you have time you can make detailed notes as well.
I took photos of all the uworld tables/algorithms/charts and I used to go thru them whenever I got time like while going to my gym and while travelling.It helped me consolidate the things given there.I cant overemphasize the importance of those tables/charts.Very important and they are many. I also did CMS forms(all offline) for most of medicine,OBG,Psychiatry and few of surgery.If you have time go through all of them.If you don’t have time, go through psychiatry and OBG at least.
I also did some topics from uw-3 like portions of cardiology,psychiatry and biostat.For biostat,also do Biostat review from step 1 and those portions from first aid for step 1.Actually,first aid for step 1 helps a lot for step 2.Many topics are related and while doing 1st round of uworld, I got many many qsns right because of knowledge of step 1.So I think,having read for step 1 before step 2 helps very significantly.
I don’t know how much is the impact of taking step 2ck first has on step 1 exam,but I am very sure that taking step 1 before step 2 has big impact on step 2. There were many topics which I studied from “first aid for step 1 “ for my ck exam.I read mtb3 rapidly for peds, obg and surgery. I think I completed those within 1 week.I don’t know how useful it was but I did it because everybody else was doing it. I had read uworld total of 2 times from laptop and my short uworld notes once. During thelast month before my exam,I took nbme 4,6,7(all offline). 4 and 6 were good,7 was demoralizing . If you are drooling for your friend’s girlfriend and you want your friend to break up with her,ask him to take nbme 7. Dont get demoralized with nbme 7 my friends.
It is very ..hmm…what should I say…idiotic or you can call it stupid.Yes it is hard but it more weird than it is hard.Exam qsns were not in any way like that.Instead exam was closer to uwsa2 for me. I did uwsa1 online around 8 days prior and got 288.Yes…I also didn’t believe it thatswhy I had to shell out another 35$ to take uwsa2.It was 273 or 4.Exam was close to uwsa2 . Friends,practice time management very well.The resources for step 2 ck may be less than step 1,but the exam was harder,that is what I felt.
Time was very tight. On a good block,I finished 3 minutes earlier and within that I had to review 8 or 9 qsns which I had marked.It was not a good feeling.I remember making some very silly errors and I think time pressure contributed significantly to it.Believe me,in every block you will get 7 or 8 or 9 very confusing qsns and that’s what that makes them difficult.
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The topics of the qsns are not new,even the options are not new(most of them).What makes them difficult is the very twisted way of asking qsns and the confusion between two options.If you think that you have understood the qsn and you are confused among two options in that qsn,just pick one option,mark it and move to another qsn,review it at last.Dont lose much time on it.In the exam,it may be very tempting that reading the qsn once again may help you clear your confusion among two options.Do so only if you have not understood the qsn properly or the options properly.
If you think you have understood the qsns and options but you are still confused,pick one and move on. Many times during preparation, I used to feel so blank. I used to think I don’t know anything and some days were frustrating and depressing.Avoid those things/fb posts/persons who make you feel yourself inadequate,no matter whoever they are. Friends,the preparation time was not easy and I think it wont be very easy for many of you.
It is very difficult to focus on your studies when many of your friends are busy talking about messi and ronaldo,when they are busy measuring how much cranberry juice to add to the whiskey,when they are busy making plans for a trekking, when there are so many responsibilities towards your family. But I believe,”if you want to have what other don’t have,you need to do what others cant do.”
All the best
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