Now that I’ve returned from my away sub-internships, I have some time to study for the next set of exams, Step 2 CK and CS (Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills). One thing I will say is that studying for these exams is much easier than studying for Step 1. It’s probably because we’ve already gone through an 8-hr exam and have subsequently taken multiple exams throughout the 3rd year clerkships.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned from studying for Step 2:
- The test is longer. It’s 8 blocks, not 7. And while we’ve conditioned ourselves to sit for a long exam, it’s never easy to take a test that long. The art of test taking for 8 hours requires practice.
- The test also isn’t based on new knowledge. Unlike Step 1, this isn’t summative. A lot of the test material is based on what we’ve learned in rotations as well as in the pre-clinical years. Studying, therefore, doesn’t require us to learn new pieces of information, only to remember what we’ve learned.
- Practice questions matter. If all you do is use UWorld to study for Step 2, you will be fine. First Aid and online resources are only helpful to go through topics you’ve noticed you have a deficiency in.
- Give yourself less than a month to study. You’ve learned this material before. You also are busy trying to balance interviews with electives and with enjoying the last year of medical school. Any more and you will be exhausted.
- The test questions are clinical. Gone are the days of buzzwords. Now, most of the questions are 2-part thinking questions. In other words, you have to not only diagnose the patient, but you have to identify what the next best step is or how to treat them.
Luckily, Step 2 is important but is not as important as Step 1. But it still matters. So I hope for those fellow 4th-year students that you take Step 2 and don’t get overwhelmed in preparing for it. And you will be fine.