Best Resources for USMLE STEP 2 CK! How to Study and Prepare for STEP2 CK?


Best Resources for USMLE STEP 2 CK! How to Study and Prepare for STEP2 CK?

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What are the best resources for USMLE STEP 2 CK? How to Study and Prepare for USMLE STEP2 CK?


In this article, I will answer these two questions and share with you a USMLE STEP 2 CK study guide to show you the most popular resources and materials and help you score +260.

As USMLE STEP 1 is going pass/fail next year, residency program directors will focus more on USMLE STEP 2 CK scores when selecting applicants for interviews. For this reason, obtaining a competitive score on USMLE STEP 2 CK will be extremely important to increase your chances of getting into residency training in the United States. We will start by discussing the Question banks, then books, and finally self-assessment exams.

STEP 2 CK Question Banks: Is UWorld STEP 2 CK Enough?

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The value of question banks varies from one to another, and not all of them are important. However, UWorld STEP 2 CK is by far the most trustable and highest yield among the others. The table below summarizes the features of each question bank in details:

Interview Preparation
The best way to learn something is to do it. That’s why we divide our one-hour interview preparation sessions into two parts. The first half of the session would be a mock interview as if you are interviewing with a program while the second half would provide you with feedback on your performance.

I only have a few months to prepare, what Q bank(s) should I select from the table above?


Undoubtedly, the answer is UWorld STEP 2 CK. As mentioned above, Uworld STEP 2 CK is the most important resource to study for STEP 2 CK. UWorld STEP 2 CK covers most concepts of the exam and gets you familiar with the question styles. So, understanding the UWorld STEP 2 CK inside out is the milestone to scoring high on the exam.

AMBOSS VS UWorld STEP 2 CK: How helpful is AMBOSS for USMLE STEP 2 CK?


AMBOSS is also a well-known bank for USMLE STEP 2 CK and is ranked second (after UWorld STEP 2 CK). So, after mastering UWorld STEP 2 CK properly, solving AMBOSS questions is absolutely the best next step. AMBOSS questions are well written, cover a wide range of the exam concepts, and are somehow similar to UWorld STEP 2 CK and real exam questions. One disadvantage is that some questions are very tough and may break your confidence, but they are unlikely to show up on the real exam, so stay optimistic even if you fail to get these questions right. 

Another feature of AMBOSS is its online library. AMBOSS library is an amazing tool that will help you find answers to concepts that are not well covered in UWorld STEP 2 CK. It is super comprehensive and presents information in a simple and organized way.

Is doing more than one Q bank necessary to score high on USMLE STEP 2 CK?


The decision to do another Q bank is subjective and depends on your desired score. The best study strategy is to do UWorld STEP 2 CK, at least twice, then move on to do another Q bank. If you are aiming for a 250+, then doing an extra question bank will help. However, it is not always the case, as UWorld STEP 2 CK alone can serve the purpose if you do it the right way. A fair proportion of top exam scorers report that doing UWorld STEP 2 CK twice was more than enough to cross 250+ and even 260+ on the real exam.

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Are books as important as Q banks in preparing for USMLE step 2 CK?


Unlike studying for USMLE STEP 1, using books to study for USMLE STEP 2 CK is unnecessary as question banks cover most of the concepts needed for the exam. Furthermore, clinical knowledge is updated periodically, and it is easier and faster to add these updates to question banks than books. On the other hand, the basic science concepts of USMLE STEP 1, such as enzyme names or drug mechanisms, are unchanged and can be gathered in books and accessed easily. On the other hand, some students consider studying from books a great way to keep information organized in one place.

What are the most important books to use for USMLE STEP 2 CK?


Here is a list of books that you may find handy during your STEP 2 CK preparation:

First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK, Tenth Edition: Le, Tao, Bhushan, Vikas: 9781260440294: Books

A- First Aid STEP 2 CK:

First Aid STEP 2 CK contains over 650 pages divided into systems. It is designed to be done along with UWorld STEP 2 CK or USMLE-Rx. First Aid STEP 2 CK is not as essential as the First Aid for USMLE STEP 1. It is available for purchase from Amazon with a price range of 43-47 USD. Rating on Amazon: 4.7/5.

Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK 6th Ed.: Fischer MD, Conrad: 9781506254586: Books

B- Master the Boards USMLE STEP 2 CK:

This book contains over 750 pages divided into systems. However, it is too concise and lacks high-yield facts that are important for the exam. The book’s price is 28 USD. Rating on Amazon: 4.5/5.

Master the Boards USMLE Step 3: Fischer, Conrad: 9781506254456: Books

C- Master the Boards USMLE Step 3:

This book is 608 pages and is sold by Kaplan Education Publishing. Master the Boards is structured in a system-wise manner going over the main concepts tested in the STEP 3 exam. It has a rating of 4.5/5 on Amazon.

An Amazon link for the latest (2020) 6th edition of Master the Boards USMLE Step 3

Surgery: A Case Based Clinical Review - Kindle edition by de Virgilio, Christian, Frank, Paul N., Grigorian, Areg. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @

D- Surgery: A Case-Based Clinical Review (Christian De Vergilio):

A great book to improve your surgical knowledge for the exam. It contains over 700 pages of different surgical cases presented in an interactive Q&A format. If you do not have time to read the whole book, go through the ‘’summary of essentials’’ found at the end of each chapter, it concisely covers high-yield points that are likely to show up on the exam.
The book is slightly expensive (78.57 USD), but is worth buying. Rating on Amazon: 4.8/5.

E- First Aid for the USMLE STEP 1:

Basic science questions always show up on the STEP 2CK exam, and the number of these questions vary. Therefore, a thorough revision of some sections and concepts from the FA STEP 1 book is recommended. There is no need to review the whole book. Recommended sections to review for STEP 2CK are: biostatistics, public health, immunology, pharmacology, and physiology. You can also choose to review certain topics as you are preparing for the STEP 2CK from UWorld or other questions banks rather than review a whole section.

📚🛒: Here is the link for the latest version: The First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2021

F- Kaplan Books: USMLE Step 2 CK Lecture Notes 2021

This set consists of five books: Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Surgery and Psychiatry/Epidemiology/Patient Safety. Many students find these books as condensed containing low-yield information.
The set price is 228 USD. Rating on Amazon: 4.6/5.

In addition to UWorld STEP 2 CK, what extra resources can I use to cover Biostatistics and Ethics well?


Mastering biostatistics and clinical ethics is key to score high on USMLE STEP 2 CK. Here is a list of additional resources that may help you master biostatistics and clinical ethics effectively:

  1. a- UWorld Biostatistics Subject Review: It is a fast way to learn biostatistics and epidemiology concepts. It consists of 73 questions with concise explanations. Actually, most biostatistics concepts are covered in UWorld STEP 2 CK, and this review may not add much if you study UWorld STEP 2 CK well. For this reason, some students and previous exam takers did not find this review very useful. On the other hand, others believe it was a great tool during their preparation and that it helped them master the subject easily.

     The price is 25 USD available for purchase from the UWorld official website

  2. High-Yield Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Public Health (High-Yield Series) - Kindle edition by Glaser, Anthony N.. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @ High-Yield Biostatistics (High-Yield Series): this book explains biostatistics in a more comprehensive way than the UWorld Biostatistics Subject review, but contains some low-yield information. However, it is a good resource to improve your biostatistics knowledge.

     The price of the book is 42 USD. Rating on Amazon: 4/5

  3.,204,203,200_.jpgc- The 100 Cases You are Most Likely to See on the Exam (Kaplan USMLE): this book contains 100 cases from different ethical scenarios that are likely to appear on the test day. However, there is no guarantee, and your exam may not contain any of these scenarios. Nonetheless, it is best to cover them well before the exam day.

    The book price is 499 USD.
    The older version is cheaper for $160

  4. d- UWorld USMLE STEP 1 + First Aid for the USMLE STEP 1:Biostatistics concepts and questions are similar in all steps of the USMLEs, and if you are looking for more practice questions, then solving UWorld USMLE STEP 1 biostatistics questions is the best idea. Along with that, you can also review the biostatistics section from the First Aid for the USMLE STEP 1 book.

Assessment Exams for USMLE STEP 2 CK: How many are there? which assessment tools are the most predictive?

Self-assessment exams are a vital part of USMLE STEP 2 CK preparation. In the table below, we include the most common assessment exams, their prices, and predictability. Please note, the information provided in the table below is based on previous exam takers’ experiences shared on Facebook, Reddit, Telegram, and the Student Room.


Note: UWSA1&2 are included in the 6-month subscription of UWorld STEP 2 CK. However, each one costs 40$ if you buy them separately.

New: The AMBOSS USMLE® Step 2 CK Self-Assessment Week (May 3-9):

AMBOSS is releasing their USMLE STEP CK assessment exam soon. All students are invited to take the exam for free between May 3-9.
The price of the exam after May 9 is 39 USD.

I hope this article helps you choose the best resources for your STEP 2 CK exam and I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below. If you find any value in this article, share it with your friends and colleagues. GOOD LUCK everyone!

By Khaled Harmouch and Malke Asaad

Are UWSAs and NBMEs predictive of your actual Step 2 CK score?

Get a full list of actual applicants' scores on the real Step 2 CK exam and the different assessments like NBMEs and UWSAs on our FREE USMLE Journey course. (It will be under the Step 2 CK section)
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