Step 2 CK is like the “little brother of Step 1.” Step 2 CK is still an important exam, particularly for certain specialties and competitive residency programs. The test becomes much more critical if an applicant scored lower than ideal on Step 1. Unlike Step 1, the timing of Step 2 CK is less defined. Medical students can take the exam at the end of their third year, ideally after completing core rotations in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and OBGYN. Alternatively, many students opt to take the exam during the early part of the fourth year shortly before-or-after the ERAS residency applications. Both options have pros-and-cons depending on the specific circumstances.

Unlike the preparation cycle for Step 1, studying for Step 2 CK is less structured. Much of the learning takes place during and after clinical rotations. Analogous to the preclinical year content for Step 1, preparing adequately for the clinical rotations and shelf exams is the best way to master the concepts essential for Step 2 CK. Fortunately, most medical schools allow for some lighter elective rotations, which can serve as a dedicated study period before the exam.

When someone is studying for Step 2 CK, the first step is to reflect on the overall experience with Step 1. If Step 1 went well, do not underestimate the amount of preparation required to perform well on Step 2 CK. Alternatively, if Step 1 was less than ideal, you should think about the causative factors. Given the distraction from competing requirements (ERAS applications, clinical rotations, and residency interviews) having an organized approach to the study plan is essential. Failing to schedule adequate study time significantly increases the risk of a lower score or a failed attempt, so study regularly when possible, and utilize a lighter rotation before the exam.

At Medlearnity our mission is your success. If you are preparing for the USMLE, NBME, COMLEX or an equivalent examination, we’d love to share our expertise. Tutors at Medlearnity are exceptional. We have a rigorous training process for our tutors, and our average USMLE scores are 260+. Beyond our experience and knowledge, we also structure our sessions to be highly interactive. You will apply several high-yield concepts during each session, so you are bulletproof prepared for test-day. To help you stay organized we built our customized online task-manager. Together, we help you stay on target and towards the goal. Contact us for more information, or sign up for a trial so you can see our tutoring in action!



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