How To Ace The USMLE Step 2 CK Exam – 4 Tricks For A High Score

Ethel Gonzales

Are you getting ready to take the USMLE Step 2 CK exam but are not sure how to prepare or are finding it hard to make the time for yourself? This is a common concern for many students who are in their preparation mode, as there is not as much free time to dedicate to its study as there was for the Step 1 exam. So with that said, the best way to prepare is to multi-task your hospital time by mixing in studying at every available moment. This is achievable by bringing your notes and studying during down time, while on rounds, and while on lunch.

Though it can be tough to fit in some studying during those times, a few minutes here and a few minutes there will really add up. Let’s take a look at four strategies that can help you improve your Step 2 CK preparation while you are simultaneously working in the hospital doing your clinicals.

Trick #1 – Take your ward time seriously

Whichever rotation you are doing, be sure to take plenty of notes while rounding or during lectures, as this is a great opportunity to get plenty of learning in, and not only will this help with your CK prep, it will show your attendings that you are a hard-worker and it will only increase your grade.

Trick #2 – Study hard for shelf exams

Most schools give shelf exams as a way of grading your rotations. While some schools count the shelf for very few points, if you treat it as if it was worth your whole grade then you can really get a step ahead of the competition and when you are close to CK time, you will only need to review.

Trick #3 – Start using a question bank early

Some people only start using a question bank a few weeks before the exam, but a great way to make great strides towards your preparation is to start using a qbank plenty of months before your exam. This will also help you prepare for your rotations and your shelf exams, which will only help increase your chances for good clinical grades and good letters of recommendation.

Trick #4 – Review step 1 material frequently

It may come as a surprise, but the material from the step 1 exam will come in handy for your Step 2 CK exam. Things like pathology, biochemistry, and physiology are very important for your clinical years, so be sure to review the high-yield stuff every month or so.

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