May 30, 2024

Step 2 USMLE : Study Strategy

  • March 23, 2023
  • 4 min read
Step 2 USMLE : Study Strategy

Since the Step 1 scoring system has been changed to Pass and Fail now, the paramount has been placed on Step 2 CK scores as per the speculation of all online advisors and resources. So for all students , specially IMGs, scoring in step 2 has become a priority. A well prepared step 2 would be needed for this. So here is a strategy we would like to share.

Time needed- 3 months to 6 months depending upon your commitment, Step 1 knowledge, study hours and Endurance.

Before you start, you must know that Step 2 is build upon foundation of knowledge of step 1. In Step 1 you read about the basics, pathophysiology and mechanisms. In Step 2, you will be focusing additionally on Investigations, Managements, Protocols, Follow up and knowing prognoses. You must be more acquainted with the American system of managements, US Insurance, Communication and Ethics.

Types of Questions

Patient scenario format

Single step Question

Abstract format -3 questions

Sequential Question 1 and 2

What are the Best Resources?

  1. Uworld CK : As earlier, UW is still the best resource that will help you learn for step2. But unlike in step 1 where UW was complemented by First aid that filled the gaps in knowledge like the DNA ligase connecting fragments, you will feel lack of proper assembly in the knowledge you gain. So there are certain ways you can compile them well.
    1. Uworld has 2 options, do in Shelf mode or Step 2 Preparation mode. There are some hundreds more questions in Step 2 Preparation mode. Chose one and try to do systemwise in first pass. Try using tutor mode and read explanation after each questions. Read all differential options explained. Slowly it will build you concept on the topic.
    2. There is Notebook available in UW inbuilt, use it for best, make short notes , stick algorithms and add eternal pictures and concepts.
    3. If possible create good flash cards
    4. Involve a circle of friends and discuss. Group study, discussions, experience sharing and reading is very helpful.
    5. Start with 25 MCQ a day and target 60 MCQ a day. Focus on Quality reading than trying to cover more and ignoring concepts.
    6. Fill the Gaps in knowledge with other resources.
  2. Amboss : Never ignore Amboss. It is the most complete resource for step 2. The Amboss librabry is where you can get all the knowledge for step 2 , precisely. You can use Amboss with your UWorld MCQs or as a base before starting UW. The Qbank is one thing you shouldnt miss if you aim for big scores. Questions are shorter and more to the point and you lose less time compared to Uworld. UW has lenght tangential questions which is often frustrating.
    1. The Interface is awesome and you can just try the monthly payment first and you can keep going unlike the UW which you need to buy at a bulk rate.
    2. Resource is helpful, well connected and makes sense , if you need a solid information.
    3. Read- Patient Safety, Ethics and communication from amboss.

Uptodate: is undeniable the best reference you need when you want to look for the lastest resources, algorithms and protocols. You can subscribe to it on monthly payment scheme.


First Aid Step1 is still the Big companion for step 2 CK. In my guess, 50% knowledge is based on step 1 itself, only the diagnostics and treatment is added in 2 nd step.

White Coat Companion : Book from writers of BNB. Awesome concise resource. You will be able to quickly review it at dire times.

First Aid Step 2 CK: Though they say it is not very useful, but the content still helps you connect questions from Uworld.

Video Resources:

Dirty Medicine USMLE on youtube

Divineintervention Podcast

Final Verdict:

Try to narrow down resources. Using too many resource will get you no where. Use atleast 2 Qbanks. Uworld and Amboss are highly recommended if combined with White coat companion, it should all come to a good conclusion.

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