2021 Top 5 Study Resources for USMLE Step 2 CK
I’m the kind of person who will take 20 minutes to decide what to order off a menu with only one food option. So, when I had to choose which study resources to use for USMLE Step 2 CK studying, I agonized over the decision. On the one hand, if I picked too few resources, I wouldn’t be exposed to all the material tested on the exam. On the other hand, choosing too many resources would be overwhelming, and I’d never make it through each resource in its entirety. Well, in the end, I was actually able to score a 275 on my exam so I guess I did something right!
To save other students from agonizing over the decision as I did and hopefully steer people in the right direction, I have listed my five most trusted resources for studying for Step 2 CK. These resources may not work for everyone, but these are the resources that helped me score in the 99th percentile on Step 2 CK. As a quick disclaimer, I am not affiliated with any of these resources and I do not personally benefit in any way from recommending their use. This is simply what worked for me and I hope that it will work for you too!
The UWorld question banks are trusted by students everywhere. Almost everything you need to know for Step 2 CK is on UWorld. I did two-and-a-half passes of UWorld: one pass during my third year for shelf/clerkship exams, another complete pass during my 1-month dedicated period. UWorld has over 3,900 practice questions with high-yield explanations for Step 2 CK and shelf exams, and its performance function allows you to track your progress and address your weak subject areas.
2. Practice exams – NBME CMS forms and UWSAs
The Clinical Medicine Self-Assessment (CMS) forms are written by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). The NBME also writes the Step 2 CK exam. The UWorld Standardized Assessments (UWSA) are two practice tests written by UWorld. All of these practice tests are great ways to simulate the Step 2 CK exam experience. Set aside a couple of days to do these and review them. I did not find the scoring to be consistent. Still, the content is high yield, and – more importantly – they helped me get accustomed to the cadence and format of the exam.
Spaced repetition is the best way to retain information. It almost feels like hacking your brain. I used Anki throughout medical school and included it in my study plan for Step 2 CK. I used the Anki decks written by Reddit users Dorian and DocZay and created cards for concepts included in CMS forms and UWorld that weren’t in these decks. Now, some super-decks combine all of the cards you’ll need for Step 2 CK (See AnKing’s Anki deck). Take some time to learn more about Anki if you’re new to spaced repetition.
I stumbled across Reddit user r/divinepodcaster about a month before I started studying for CK. I was hesitant at first because I’m not typically an auditory learner. Still, after giving him a try, I soon realized that his podcasts are incredible! There were multiple questions on the exam that I wouldn’t have answered without the high yield material covered in his podcasts. He has a Step 2 CK podcast playlist that goes over all the material covered on the exam.
5. Tutoring services (or at the very least, a study buddy!)
Like many students, when I created my study plan for Step 2 CK, I felt a little bit lost. In the end, I got results, but looking back I could have avoided so much stressing out about the exam if I’d had a guide to help me along the way. After becoming a tutor for Elite Medical Prep, I realized just how much of an impact a good tutor can have on a student’s exam performance (especially highly anxious or lower performing students). Whether you’re skating by and just trying to pass or crushing the material and hoping to get those few extra points, talking to an experienced tutor (or bouncing ideas off of a study buddy) can help alleviate some of the anxiety about studying for Step 2 CK.
Best of luck studying for your USMLE Step 2 CK exam and I hope these resources help you to find success in the way they helped me!