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MY USMLE STEP 2 CK EXPERIENCE

Ok guys, lets start;


Intro;
I graduated from Alexandria University dof3et 2009 (but finished the Imtiyaz 3/2011).
Got very good with honors and was ranked the 333rd out of 1200-1300 students.
I got into med school by getting 117% in IGCSE.
And before I start with my experience, I want to say that if anybody would like to meet
face to face (in Alexandria) for advice or materials, send me an e-mail at;
Bdisturbed1986@hotmail.com
Step 1 score; 253
Step 2 score; 275
Step 2 CS; pass 1st attempt.
I started studying step 2 in September 2011, I had just finished my step 1 two weeks
before. Studied for 3 months, then in January started studying for CS and kept studying
for it till I took the test in March. After my CS exam I did an observership for a month
and a half in Pennsylvania and finally came back to Egypt on the 1st of May.
My step 2 exam was scheduled for the 12th July and I spent everyday studying.
That was my time-line to delineate the gaps in my study. So looking back I guess I
studied Step 2 CK for 5 and a half to 6 months solid study time.
Materials;
BOOKS:
1-Kaplan books + Vids. (to build a base)
2-Master the boards 2 and 3(Priceless, your bible for the days before the exam)
3-First Aid for step 2 (almost useless, dont get it)
4-Step up for step 2 (mediocre at best, dont get it)
VIDEOS; (I love watching videos, visual + audio memory is the best)
1- Kaplan vids (Step 2 and 3)
2- Doctors in training (DIT) ; very concise review from the book step up
3- Internal medicine board review (too detailed for this exam, but still fun.)
4- Comprehensive cases (Conrad Fischers the man!)
QUESTIONS;
1- First Aid Q&A (I did it chapter by chapter with Kaplan books 1st read.)
2- Kaplan Q book (Did it after finishing every section of Kaplan 1st read.)
3- Kaplan Q bank finished in 1 month, dont remember score.
4- USMLEWorld, finished in 1 month, score 84% correct.
5- NBME 1.5 months before test; 253
6- UWorld assessment 2 weeks before test; > 265

GENERAL TIPS;
1-Take the USMLE very seriously and put it as your number 1 priority, if you wont you
wont get good scores, and without good scores, you wont get interviews.
2-Give yourself enough time to study and dont rush yourself.
3-Constantly evaluate yourself OBJECTIVELY! Dont think that because you studied a
lot that youll automatically do well on the USMLE, its a different ballgame and coming
out of med schools in Egypt, were unfamiliar and unprepared.
4-Ways to evaluate yourself;
1- While doing UWorld or Kaplan put yourself in the real test situation. Do 8
blocks + 1 hour break and at the end add up what you scored. My goal was more
than 80% correct. And NO cheating!
2- NBMEs ; they are pretty expensive(50 dollars for 4 hours) but the scores they
give you are very predictive of the score you will actually get in the test.
I recommend at least 1, 2 weeks to a month before the test to make sure youre
gonna get the score you want on the test, if you dont, postpone the exam.
5-Timing; a lot of students have a hard time with this. You have to accept that 1 question
should take 1 min. 10 sec. maximum, to finish the block in time. Now dont go with a
stopwatch timing yourself, but practice by doing a lot of questions and doing the online
Qbanks always in Timed mode.
6-English; Take an English course, it will help you on the test, you will read faster and
there wont be that many words youre not familiar with. It will also help on CS,
interviews and during the rest of your life if you continue in the USA. Take it NOW !
7-About the debate whether to take step1 or step 2 first, its completely up to you.
I took step 1 first and felt that I scored high on step 2 because of that base (specially
pathology, from goljan) that I had built from step 1.
STUDY TIPS;
1- I like to study from a lot of different sources, but as there isnt much time to
review everything before the test, I suggest adding the important things to
whatever book you will use for revision. Also add the things you didnt know
from the Qbanks.
2- In my opinion, the best book for revision is Master the boards (MTB). The layout
is great and it doesnt let you get bored of reading + theres enough space for you
to add your own notes. The bad thing is that the Surgery, Peds, OBGYN sections
are all deficient. What I did was get MTB 3 and studied those sections from there
in addition to MTB 2. I felt it was complete after that rather simple solution.
3- Make notes of the things you have difficulty with (ex. Renal tubular acidosis,
glycogen storage diseases, developmental milestones, and all those goddamn
biostatistics equations) and have them ready, written nicely so you can revise
them the day before the test. Maximum 10-15 pages, not more!
4- The week before the exam; your most important job is not to get stressed out and
get enough sleep everyday. Exercise and find your relaxation technique and stick
to it. Study but dont overkill.

5- The day before the exam; I suggest finding a hotel in the city youre taking the
test in, unless you already live there obviously. Just go through the important
notes you made, nothing else, and relax. I went swimming, to a caf and to the
movies the day before my test. Have a good nights sleep and go to the test center
early. Please dont study on the way there, you would only stress yourself out
more and youre going to need your brain working at 100% for the next 9 hours,
dont tire it out before youve even begun.
All right, thats all I can think of for now.
But there is one thing I would like from all of you;
Spread the knowledge, not only medical knowledge, but if you know
anyone struggling in med school, tell them about the USMLE, give them
hope, give them the USMLE materials (badal el araf el e7na zakerna
menno) and help them form a plan for their future, specially if they want
to work outside Egypt.
Hope this was useful.
And Im not going to say good luck, because this test has nothing to due with luck,
Study hard and stay calm, and youll do good.