My recent USMLE Step2 experience

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Hi everyone, hope all is well. This thread and forum has been super helpful to me as I prepared for my Step1 and Step2 CK exams. Just wanted to share my recent Step2 CK experience in case anyone is like me (3 months ago) wondering how to study for this exam and do a decent job. I had some personal issues involving the health of my father and I had taken some time off from school to be able to care for my father. My preparation time was very limited in that I had to study for and take this exam within a 3 month time period.

I started studying on July 1st and all I used was USMLE World Step2 Qbank. I was determined that I was going to use one trustworthy material and that I was going to be happy with a decent score. I did about 150 questions every day (finishing and reviewing for the first time) and it took me easily 30 days or so to finish the complete question bank. Then around early August, I started my second round of reviewing the same question bank. I'll be honest - it almost felt like studying them again (and I got worried that there was no way I was going to retain all the material). Also, I'm an average test taker - I tend to focus on minor details and always had difficulty finishing multiple choice exams within a time frame. But nevertheless, it took me easily another 25+ days to finish USMLE World Step2 Qbank for the second time.

I did not use First Aid or any other material that is out there. After the second review, I felt slightly comfortable with the material. I bought the Biostatistics review from USMLE World but did not get time to study. I also did not take any practice exam. After just two rounds of UWorld review, I took my exam around mid September and recently received my score.

My USMLE Step2 exam experience - The questions were definitely longer than typical UWorld practice questions. There was a lot of information that I had to just skim through. But they were not too bad. I felt comfortable with only 50% of questions. I knew I got them right. But out of the other 50% - I had to mostly guess 25% of the questions (especially ethics based questions) because more than one answer choice definitely looked right to me. I just went with my gut feeling. And then because i'm not a good test taker, I was always running short on time. In every section, I had ~ 8 questions to answer when I had less than 10 minutes. So I just looked at key words in the question and then picked the answer based on the key words. Definitely did not feel good doing this.

Overall, after I finished the exam, I knew I definitely answered 50% of the questions right. Then the other 25%, I just guessed and picked the better of two choices that seemed possible. I thought I had a 50-50 chance of getting them right. Then the last 25%, i rushed through and just answered based on key words that I could pick up while scanning thru them. I thought i had a slight chance of getting few questions right.

So after the exam, for the next 3 weeks, I just wanted to pass this exam so I can move forward. I was worried that there is a chance that I failed this exam. After the exam, as I read through this forum, many mentioned Amboss, Anki, etc for ethics, and NBME practice exams being similar. I felt bad that I did not use any of it. But I trusted my initial judgment that UWorld will help me. I recently received my score and to my pleasant surprise (call it my parents' blessings and divine intervention), I got 248 (about 10 points more than my Step1). I am truly truly happy and glad that this worked out.

So my advice to anyone out there (in my situation with limited preparation time or confused as to how to prepare for this exam) - Please do UWorld as much as you can (I did the whole Qbank 2 times). This is all that I used. And definitely, Ethics section on Uworld is not adequate enough to cover all the possible scenarios that one might be tested on in the actual exam. So please supplement your Ethics/Social Sciences preparation with additional material (it looks like Amboss or Anki might have lots of ethics/social sciences questions. Then definitely, do one or two complete practice exam about few days prior to your exam to help yourself get into the exam mode (I did not have time to do any practice exams and I was running short of time in every section. So don't be like me - do few practice exams - it looks like UWorld second practice exam and couple of NBME practice exams are really good. So definitely go for it).

My advice for timeline:
UWorld 1st pass - one month - about 150 questions per day
UWorld 2nd pass - one month - about 150 questions per day
Ethics/Social sciences preparation from other materials - probably a week
Couple of practice exams - probably a week
With dedicated 10-week period, this exam is doable. You will get through this! I'm an average test taker with limited time for preparation. But it still worked out for me.

Hope this helps at least some of you guys! Best Wishes!

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