USMLE Part 2 Tips

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Any words of advice? I'm using the NMS question book, first aid part 2, boards made ridiculously simple part 2 and rereading the blueprints series.

I've heard it is easier than step one but still not a piece of cake ... is this right?

And ... does anyone know if this score is ever even looked at? I've already put in my rank list, and programs have too ...

Let me know what you think on any of the above. Thanks!!!


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15+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2000
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You asked:
does anyone know if this score is ever even looked at?
My reliable sources all told me that the step-2 score is MORE important than step-1;
Scoring 80 & 90 is better than 90 & 80.


Interesting. I think that may be true for if you take them early enough that they show up in your residency applications. But now it is beyond the time when they'd matter to residency directors, since they have already put in their rank lists, and the match will happen before my scores are even back. So given all this, is there anyone else that will ever care about this score (e.g., fellowship directors)?


IMHO Fellowship Directors are more apt to care about your specialty exams (ie, ABSITE, etc.) than Step 2 or even 3. In my *vast*
experience it appears that more competitive programs may ask for test scores reaching farther and farther back - hence some residency programs asking for my MCAT scores. I wouldn't give much worry that your score on Step 2 will negatively influence a Fellowship application unless it is substantially below the mean.

As for Study tips I had a lot of trauma/ER eval type stuff which wasn't covered well in First Aid. I found the NMS MCQs good, First Aid and the High Yields and NMS reviews for each field were helpful. There's also a "night before" review source - I can't recall its title right now; I know its on the Medschool.com Book Review site. There just aren't as many good resources as for Step 1. Almost all of mine was IM related - very little Surgery, some Ob-Gyn and Peds and only the teensiest Psych/Biostats.

Good luck!