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All about USMLE Step 2 CK Exam

STEP 2 CLINICAL KNOWLEDGE (CK)

USMLE Step 2 is massive nine hour long one day multiple choice question examination. It analyses medical graduate’s ability to apply Clinical Knowledge. The Step 2 examination assesses the ability of Medical graduate to apply clinical science knowledge to patient care in supervised settings emphasising health promotion and diseases prevention. According to the past student’s experience, best time to take up the exam is when your clinical science knowledge from rotations is still fresh. There are many students who opt for the USMLE Step 2 in fourth year also.

Step 2 Clinical Knowledge is a Multiple Choice, computer-based examination administered in nine hours, divided in blocks of 60 minutes. the required information is available on rtimgvillage.com for updated reference.

What’s on USMLE Step 2 CK Exams

The test items on Step 2 CK examination focus on the principals of Clinical Science that are deemed important for the practice of medicine under supervision in post graduate training. Step 2 Examination covers content related to the traditionally defined disciplines listed below

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Paediatric
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Psychiatry

The test features an integrated content outline organised in two dimensions:

  1. Physician task (Table 1)
  2. Disease categories. (Table 2)

Let’s breakdown the dimension %wise for better understanding.

  1. Table 1. Physician Tasks
Physician’s Tasks/ Competency Range (%)
Patient Care: Diagnosis

·History

·Physical Examination

·Lab Value Study

·Diagnosis

·Prognostication

40-50
Patient Care: Management

·Pharmacotherapy

·Clinical Interventions

·Mixed Management

 

22-27
Fundamental Science Concepts/Disciplines 12-16
Patient Safety, Practice based Learning, Communication, Professionalism, improvement 3-7

 

  1. Table 2. Breakdown of the Disease Categories % wise.
System Range (%)
Cardiovascular System. 8-12
Respiratory System, Gastrointestinal System. 7-11
Behavioural health, Nervous system and Special Senses, Musculoskeletal sys/Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue. 6-10
Multisystem Processes & Disorders. 5-9
Renal & Urinary System & Male Reproductive, Pregnancy, Childbirth & the Puerperium, Female Reproductive System & Breast Endocrine System. 4-8
Blood & Lymphoreticular System. 4-7
Immune System. 4-6
Biostatistics & Epidemiology/Population Health / Interpretation of Medical Literature. 1-5
General Principles of Foundational Science. 1-3

Note: Not all the topics listed above are included in USMLE Examination. Overall content coverage is comparable in the various examination administered to different examinees for each step.

 

How to Navigate the Preparation.

IMGs can score decently with 5-6 month of preparation. Further, knowing what system is having what weightage makes it easier for the examinees to decide when they need to start and where to put more efforts while preparing for Step 2 CK. Most Test Items in Step 2 examination describes clinical situations, and examinee needs to provide either

  • Diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Indication of underlying disease
  • Succeeding Medical care and Preventive measures

Basic question which haunts most students is how to start preparations, having rotations going, it makes life horrible to take out time for preparations. But knowing super seniors and immediate seniors can relieve stress. Communication with past students is important, more important is not to repeat the mistakes they made while preparation or on the day of the exam.

Practice tests and self-assessment are like mirror for the students doing clerkship/rotations. It assesses the knowledge gained from the rotations and their proper application in the given Medical situation. R&T IMG Village provide required Question banks, Study Materials, Practice videos, Test Videos, video Lectures, etc. for the concrete preparation of USMLE Step 2 for sparkling scores.

Combining revision of old and preparing new disease/system/competency is good strategy to overcome extraneous information overload. Make such a study plan so that while preparing new, you are not forgetting what you have studied last week. One of such plans could be Practice Exams combined with flashcards revision and preparation of new disease/system all settled in daily routine. All the things combine makes preparation effective from the scoring point of view. From the experience of past students, it can be said that if you have gone through all the categories you can pass step 2. But if you want to score more and do not want to take any chances for the resume then one must go for Practice tests and Shelf exams by NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners). Whatever the result of these exams is but they surely increase the level of excellency.

Spare last week for the revision of all the blocks. Make simple and effective flash cards while preparations for faster go through. Do not panic seeing a new question/topic in practice exams because no one can read everything. Give your self-time to analyse the question, sometime gut feelings overpower knowledge which is natural.  Do not worry if you are not able to review all the markings you have done. let your Hard work pay off in your scores.

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