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 Don't panic, don't relax. Focus!  

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This forum helped me a lot and now it is the time to reciprocate. I am an IMG graduated 5 years ago and 3 months ago I decided that I'd get my ECFMG Certification. The reason: I was offered a clinical fellowship upon successful completion of the steps by next June. I gave it a shot, although most people insisted that it would not be possible. In 15 days I prepared and gave the Step 2 CS (which seemed to me to be the easiest, although this is not true for every IMG, it depends on his/her fluency in English, performance under pressure, etc).
Five weeks later, I gave the Step 2 CK (last Feb-26) and I just got my score: 97/241. No big deal, one can say, but an excellent cost-benefit in my humble point of view. To be honest, I studied hard (4 hours on average) for 2 weeks and harder (6-8 hours) for 1 week (I had this week off, exclusively devoted to my last minute study). I used only First Aid and USMLE World. I subscribed Kaplan Q bank, but I didn't have time to go in depth. Believe me: Do not waste your money nor your time with Q bank, UW is by far the best. I used around 40-50% of the UW questions, with an average score of 70% (in the beginning, my scores would be in the range of 50-60%). If you stick with FA and UW, alone but knowing that by heart, you can definitely score 99.
During the test, the first 2 blocks were easy. But from that on, I was in despair, every question seemed similar, and I couldn't keep myself concentrated throughout the exam. It is a marathon. I really didn't know if I had passed or failed. Fortunately, I did and everyone can achieve the same using a similar approach. I am far away from being a genius, the important word is focus (do not lose your grip if you score low in the question banks during your preparation, use that as a learning tool). There are many threads correlating score in these banks with the actual exam, and a lot of people scoring in the 60-70% range in UW jumped for 95-99 in the actual exam. The USMLE CD is worth a try, but do not expect to have that dificulty level (the exame is harder).
Now I am studying for Step 1, which I should take in 2 months.
I hope this can be useful, and thanks for everyone enrolled in this forum.


Hey Dncosta,
I am also an older FMG,that means I graduaded also 5 years ago.It is funnny because our stories are pretty the same. Had also limited time in the same time frame like you to study,my exam experience is the same like yours and I did step 2CK also on feb,26. But I am still waiting for the results here in South Carolina. Did you use the oasis trick by the way before getting your results? After the test I felt nothing for 2 days,now I am inbetween failed and passed and the waiting is horrible.


Hello Chrisjac, what a coincidence. Yes, I used oasis trick, but since I live in Boston and it seems that results are mailed from Philaldelphia, it took only 2 days to receive the score report (I got it yesterday). I really know how hard is the waiting time, but do oasis trick (in case you don't know how to do it, there are a lot of threads explaining in details). Good luck!


Congratulation great score GOOD LUCK for step 1
thanks for sharing with us


thank you for your post it really helped i am using just usmleworld and first aid sometime boards and wards i have passed step 1 what i can
recommend is know pathology physiology and pharmacology well
and with a score like yours in step 2 ck you will no problem


Thanks for your support, vanshita and ram3. I'll post my experiences for Step 1 once I get it done.


hi docnosta,really very inspiring,thanks for sharing ur exp.,can u pls pls let us know,how did u finish UW in 2 weeks,how many q's were u doing.thanks.pls help. my exam is in 4 weeks,i wana give my best shot,but i am runing shoort of time,on UW,i cud best do only 2 blocks..


Hi Shaina, actually I used UW for 4 weeks, I could only use around 50% of the questions (during the real exam, I kept thinking that I should have done more). Anyway, it worked pretty well.

My approach was to do the questions right after studying the topics, but accumulating the ones that I had already studied. In my opinion, it is a good method to better assess your overall knowledge and at the same time avoid forgetting what you've studied so far.

Good luck!!!


I want to know if the UW is finsihed, which is to be the next bank?kAPLAN Q bank?
now I just got 50% right in UW,and I feel some are picky inUW, in true test,it is the same?how to improve the score?especially in IM
you did not use the kaplan notes,it seems you have the strong and good medical base,envying
please give me more adivessmiling face


Thanks snake 0613, don't worry, the real test is not as picky as UW, but the format is almost identical (in UW, the options are too identical from one another, I think this is the reason our scores are not that great). I really would not invest any time and/or money using Kaplan, I did for a couple of days and really regret it.
If you have time to spend, I'd review the explanations of the incorrect answers.
It seems, from what I've read in other threads, that Kaplan Lecture Notes are a good source for IM, I would go for it.
It is also important to stick with the high-yield points, thus you should know FA inside out. People usually say that FA is not enough for a great score, but this is because they don't know everything you can find there. If you pay attention, almost every question in UW has its answer in FA.
Good luck!!!


hi dncosta,thnks for sharing ur experience with us.good luc for stp1


Because of public request, here it goes my score sheet for this component...

Attached Files:
thanksgod2.jpg (168 KB, 105 downloads)



thanks for your experiences. it seems everyone is having a tuff time on the step 2 exam. but in the end their score is better. do u think its becoz everyone is actually not performing too well on the exam and so the number of questions to get right to get a good score is less? congrats again.


how come your 241 is not a 99?


You'll notice that the exam was a few month ago, when the 2- to 3-digit scale correlation was slightly different, unfortunately.


Guys....dont agree with the post. May be it is dncosta personal advice but people are facing tough time giving their exams. I dont believe that Kaplan Q bank is waste bcoz now tey have updated new one. You should do Kaplan Q bank only if you are done with UW because Kaplan Q bank makes you understand some good concepts which is difficult to understand from UW directly. Many people say that First Aid is waste of time & i too think that it may be true because FA only gives superficial knowledge & these days they are testing really deep.
You need to know things properly than just doing things from different books again & again. You will end up nowhere. There are good post going on in different usmleforums.

Check that out before just sticking to one person's advice because it might not help you. may be dncosta reading time & knowledge is insufficient for most of us. So dont get into false belief of scoring more by reading this much.

NBME- Best SCORE Predictor. Dont go for real exam if you dont score in NBME.

Good Luck!


Dont agree with dncosta at all about doing FA & UW & scoring 99%.

Do Kaplan Books & Videos on some subjects. UW. Kaplan Q bank if time permits(atleast can do Internal Medicine questions because of highly tested subject). For Psychiatry do some other book than only Kaplan. Do USMLE Secrets. Practice Qs in time mode than in tutor.
Give NBME at regular interval to see whether you are on right track or not. If not you are missing lot of things & you need a change wink


So moderator, your opinion is another one to be taken into account. That's what makes this forum interesting, people can be exposed to different points of view.

One should not take anyone's experience without adjustments to him/herself peculiarities. But I guarantee you that my prep was worthwhile for me, in both Steps 1, 2 CK and 2 CS.


And I guess everybody believes you disagree with me, after all 67% (2 out of 3) of all your posts make this clear grin

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