1. As part of our nonprofit mission, SDN supports medical student publications, websites and blogs. Students with blogs are encouraged to apply for our publisher stipend. It's a small amount to help defray costs and encourage open discussion and exchange of ideas. Contact: [email protected]
  2. It’s Test Prep Week! Visit the Test Prep Forums to learn about test prep products and services, ask questions in test-related AMA threads, take advantage of exclusive SDN member discounts, and enter to win free stuff!
What can I do to get my MCAT, DAT, or OAT score up? Ask in the Test Prep Week AMA threads.

Step 2 vs Shelf Exams?

Discussion in 'Step II' started by OneStrongBro, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
  1. OneStrongBro

    OneStrongBro Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 13, 2002
    I'm getting ready to take my Step 2. For those that have taken the exam, is there any noticeable difference between the Shelf Exam questions in medicine, psychiatry, surgery, ob/gyn, family medicine, and pediatrics compared to questions in these subjects on Step 2?

    Thanks for the heads up

  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. orientedtoself

    orientedtoself resident 5+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2005
    In terms of content, it's exactly like taking a really long shelf. It's just on the computer. Unfortunately, my assigned computer had a flicker that drove me nuts, but it did keep me from second guessing my answers, because I just submitted when I was done with each section! Good luck!
  4. maugham

    maugham Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2002
    Not to be contrary, but I think the Step 2 questions were very different than those on any Shelf exam I ever took. Many Step 2 questions were much, much longer and full of extraneous and distracting information. There was also something indefinably odd about a lot of the questions...many had classic clinical descriptions with a few atypical details that often made me second guess myself. Rarely did I immediately know the answer, as became more common on Shelf exams as I neared the end of my 3rd year clerkships. I found Step 2 to be very challenging and draining, and left the exam completely depleted. Having talked to many others, I don't think this is an unusual reaction, despite the often repeated "Step 2 is easier than Step 1". I don't say this to alarm anyone, just to warn that you may not feel on top of the world after completing this test.
  5. tigershark

    tigershark Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Dec 7, 2004
    I felt they were the same. We've been told they are written by the same people.
  6. Pox in a box

    Pox in a box 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Aren't shelf exam questions just old Step 2 exam questions? I thought Step 1 questions were more difficult than shelf exam questions in path, micro, biochem, etc. They seemed to be much more advanced and less direct. The test writers seem to have spent more dollars in improving the questions for their top moneymaker (USMLE) while leaving the shelf exams "on the shelf" in terms of R & D.
  7. Plinko

    Plinko Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    I concur with the above posts. I found both the shelf exams and the Step 2 questions challenging but for different reasons. The shelf exams had long vignettes that took forever to read but once you found the needle in the haystack (e.g. long vignette of respiratory distress that eventually lead to a small tidbit about a tender/swollen calf to give the dx of DVT/PE) fact that you needed you were okay. Not so on Step two. There were more questions than I could count that I felt I knew everything there was to know about the disease process in question (Dx pearls, treatment, etc.) and I still could not decide between the two anwers choices I was contemplating. Looking back, even if I had my PDA in hand I still would have been in the same predicament. I felt confident based on my qBank score that I would do "OK." That confidence quickly eroded once I got into my third module. Maybe it's just me but found the experience very humbling. Much more so than Step 1. All and all I found myself 90% sure of my answer choices on roughly 50% of the questions for Step 2, whereas I found myself 90% sure of my answer more like 65% to 70% on Step 1. Scary stuff.

Share This Page