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USMLE Failed Step 2 CK

Discussion in 'Step II' started by CoolieHighCat, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. CoolieHighCat

    CoolieHighCat 2+ Year Member

    Mar 1, 2013
    I've never posted on this website or any medical forum. However, upon failing the CK, I need to extract as much feedback as possible then re-assess my approach. I went to a Carribean medical school.
    Step 1 = 206 (1st attempt)
    Step 2 CS = Results pending
    Step 2 CK = 204
    Goal = Primary--> IM Secondary --> FM

    I just got the results back yesterday, what can I say more simply than it sucks to be in my position. However, I'm not depressed about this and right now I am anxious to start studying again and optimistic that I can bounce back with this and I know I have to get 230+ on my re-take. Tentatively thinking of an exam date sometimes in January. Before this result came out, I was working on ERAS. I only submitted the application portion and have not entered any program codes because I wanted to wait for my CK score - glad I waited, saved a lot of potentially wasted money.

    My previous study plan:
    1. I studied from the 4th week of May -- Aug 24th (exam date); 8-9 hours a day studying. Plus, I squeezed in CS studying throughout this time. Obviously I am not a strong test taker and I feel if most people put in as much time as me studying they would've easily gotten 220+.
    2. MTB + U-World [ completed 1st attempt; avg. ~58% (If i remember correctly); 2nd go on UWorld only finished ~400 questions (~70%) ]+ Kaplan High-Yield (did most lectures by Fischer that complemented MTB)

    Critique of myself:
    I would do U-World blocks, annotate in relevant information in the margins of MTB, and then re-read that entire diagnosis entry. I went through 95% of High Yield lectures by Fischer (except for ER, Radiology, and Ethics) and took notes accordingly. I felt this should have reinforced the information properly. Clearly that isn't working. Looking back on my study habits, I feel maybe I am too passive in how I study.

    1. I need to be more actively thinking during my studying? Does anyone have any unique study strategies? Off the top of my head...writing things out (though that takes forever)?....using a blank piece of paper and just pop-quiz myself by covering/uncovering certain areas of MTB?
    2. I potentially have a study partner in a roommate who is going to be studying for Step 2 CK as well. Never had a partner for these exams. We were thinking of buying a whiteboard with markers and just giving mini-review lectures to each other? Anyone recommend any unique approaches for partner based studying?
    3. I will enter next year's match, should I take the Step 3 before that to bolster my application? (I know I need to graduate before I officially take that exam).
    4. Review courses? Kaplan??


    P.S.- Please spare me any information about me not ever going to match etc., because I've dedicated too much time in this path to go back -- its all or none now, I gotta get this damn residency.
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  3. thehundredthone

    thehundredthone 5+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2012
    1. Take it more seriously. Don't rely on soft indicators of progress. Schedule NBMEs/Qbank based self assessments at regular intervals. 4 blocks, taken like the real thing.
    2. Do more questions, as many as you can get your hands on. USMLERx would be a decent option. Redo UWorld later in your study period. Don't just stumble through questions, if you are not improving over 5 blocks, go back to your study material and read again.
    3. Your active thinking strategies seem fine, but prioritize doing more questions.
    4. A study partner is useful as long as you motivate each other and engage in dialogue to hammer out weaknesses. It should not be a constant thing, you're going to give the exam alone, you should study alone for the most part.
    5. Passing the Step 3 can potentially reassure programs that you won't be failing any more components of your licensing exams. It could be of some benefit in your situation. But you have to pass comfortably.
  4. saudades

    saudades 2+ Year Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    Sorry to hear about this, I failed CK by 2 points (grr) back in July. First of all it sounds like you have a good attitude about it, which is key (I certainly let myself get very depressed after the news, which wasted some valuable study time). I've been critiquing myself as well to try to improve for my retake in October, and I think I can say that my studying was in fact too passive. It sounds like you studied a LOT (more than I did) so it might be a matter of you not "absorbing" the information you studied.
    The only questions I used (and am using again) are Uworld, but I realized that I often would just skim the explanations, taking pretty skimpy notes, rather than utilizing ALL the information there (of which there is a ton). This was especially the case for the wrong answer explanations. For example, say I'd get a renal question right, but one of the wrong answer choices was Goodpasture's, and I couldn't remember how Goodpasture's presents. Whereas before I'd just glaze over it, this time I'll stop, write down that information, and maybe look up a little more info that's not in the explanation but that they could ask on a test (ie, treatment).
    I try to go over at least one section of these notes (by topic) every night before bed. When you annotated in MTB, would you go back and reread the notes later, or just right after you annotated? I think going over them again later is important for reinforcement.
    Like the poster above me said, prioritize questions--I wish I had gone through Uworld one more time before my exam. And I never had a study partner but I thing it could have been valuable, especially if you are struggling with a topic it can be helpful to talk it out and get someone else's perspective on it. But like he said, don't rely on someone else too much, maybe meet up a few times a week or something.
    Finally, did you have any problems on the day of the test? Anxiety, time management, etc? If so try to address those now to avoid them next time.

    Hopefully my new strategy will work and yours will too. Good luck.
  5. as90

    as90 5+ Year Member

    Jul 8, 2011
    You have a good attitude for success on the exam and I wish you well on the retake.

    Which NBME's should the OP use? I certainly think its a lot easier to fail step 2 than step 1 considering the lack of NBME-correlation on score---how well is someone suppose to know they'll do?
  6. saudades

    saudades 2+ Year Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    I was wondering the same thing. From what I've read on SDN, people seem to think NBME 4 and UWSA are the best predictors, but I took UWSA a week before my actual test and passed quite comfortably, so obviously that wasn't true for me. Maybe it's more predictive at higher scores. I'm don't know if I should even take an NBME this time around.
  7. EMhopeful86


    May 13, 2015
    Hey guys, this is my first time on SDN. I have a similar problem that is eating away at me. I'm a 3rd year D.O. student looking to match EM but ACGME route.

    I have a potential problem that I need you wisdom. I took step 2 CK recently, sadly I spent the majority of the night panicking and got probably 4hrs of sleep. I loaded up with coffee and 5hr energy drinks and pushed through the test. I finished all blocks without time issues but I’ve never had this type of test anxiety or lack of sleep before.

    My score won’t come out until June and I am absolutely terrified of a fail or a significantly lower score compared to my step 1. I took several practice test prior to step 2 and ranged between 240-257. My step 1 was a 243. I doubt I matched that and even less likely did better. So my inner panic is at an all time high and I need your advice on how best to approach this “potential”, although likely problem.

  8. Xbocker

    Xbocker 7+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Did you take any NBME or USWA prior to the test? What were your scores?
  9. EMhopeful86


    May 13, 2015
    NBME 4: 240 - 4wks from test day
    NBME 7: 246 - 3wks from test day
    USWA: 257 - 2wks from test day
    Free 150: 86% - 2 days before test day
    Uworld: 73% Random - finished about a week prior to test day

    My biggest concern is that I didn't get enough sleep and feel that maybe my judgement or decision capacity was effected to the point that I made just enough stupid mistakes to do damage to the score. I'm worried I'll end up with a just barely passing score on step 2, trout right fail, but have a 243 on step 1. I doubt many programs, probably none really, would even consider me in that case for their EM program, especially being a D.O. Its a mute point I guess since I still need to wait for my score
  10. fervent1


    Jul 31, 2015
    Hello Cooliecat and others. I failed Step 2 CK last September.

    UWSA 219
    Actual exam 208 (1 point shy of passing)

    I am studying now and just did NBME Form 7 and got a 208. I am so frustrated. I just want to pass this exam.

    I've been studying for the past 3 months.

    How did the test go the second time for you.

    Any input on how accurate NBME 7 is?


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