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Dear All,
Thought I would contribute my two cents worth of my exam experience.
About me : 2nd year resident in Singapore. Took Step 1 in October 2006. Tarried for a year and just took step 2 on Nov 16 2007. Scores reported on 6th Dec 2007
Prep Time for Step 2 : 4 Months (was working full time during that period but intentionally chose a light rotation that gave me free weekends )

(A) Study materials :
1. Kaplan Step 2 notes
2. USMLE World
3. Step 2 Secrets/ Crush step 2
4. Kaplan Simulated exam
5. NBME Forms 1,2,3
6. NMS Review

( B ) Study Methods:
1. Used Kaplan Step 2 notes and USMLE world exclusively. I personally feel this would suffice. Did 1 reading of kaplan step 2 notes and 2nd reading onwards, did questions from USMLE World side by side. Annotated the kaplan notes with additional information from USMLE World. The questions in USMLE world are more challenging that the actual exam and occasionally test more obscure details. But overall, they cover the essential topics and concepts that are important for the exam . I found the NMS review questions challenging - hovering more on management principles which may be potentially useful for step 3. As such the questions in NMS review are not in anyway similar to the ones in the actual exam. But it is a good source of questions for the sake of pure pursuit of knowledge !

2. Read USMLE Secrets ( lent to be by a friend ) halfway through preparation and did kaplan simulated exam 1.5 months before exam. I found kaplan simulated rather straightforward - the exam also tends to test material found in the kaplan books exclusively. So no suprises there. But I still decided to do the exam to train myself to sit down for 8 hours ! Last 1 month before the exams, I did NBME forms 1,2 and 3. The last week before the exam, read only Crush Step 2 and some of my own notes of important formulae . Though I was aware there were going to be audio/ video questions, i did not practise any before the exams and decided to just face the questions head-on at the exams.

(C) Exam experience
My step 2 exam was far more pleasant than my step 1 exam in which i was simply a bunch of nerves ! Did not sleep a wink the night before my step 1 exams and was determined for history to not repeat itself ! Took half a lorazepam night before the exams and slept well ! Arrived early at exam centre where I was the only one taking the exam for the day ! There were no other students, not even GRE / GMAT exam takers ! Was thankful for the peace and absence of vigorous keyboard noises ( which was all too prevalent during my step 1 exam ! )
Exam itself : Equally distributed exam I would say, with questions predominantly from Internal Medicine, ObsGyn, Peds, Surgery, Psychiatry. Had at most 3 ECG questions and 2 CT scan / imaging questions for the whole exam. only 2-3 biostatistics questions. No audio/video questions. Was pleasantly surprised to find questions were a lot shorter compared to the step 1 questions. At most each block had 2-3 lengthier questions. All others were 5-6 lines , similar to the ones in NBME. No out of the world questions, though there were a few tricky and vague ones where you narrow down answers to 2 choices and then you are stuck ! But overall the material tested was all covered by kaplan and USMLE World. Degree of difficulty and format of exams was closest to the NBME forms ( I found all 3 forms similar in difficulty ). I had enough time after each block to look through my marked items and re-check each block .

(B) Prep Scores :
1. USMLE World - 76% overall
2. kaplan Simulated - 86%
3. NBME 1- 720, NBME 2 - 720, NBME 3 - 730.

Will be happy to accept any queries / questions :-)


congratulations nod

great score smiling face smiling face


Congrats !!! Great Preparation.


congrats on excellent score, iam planning to give my step 2 next year, iam using step up to medicine for im what do you think about that book be coz i find kaplan is in adequate ,good luck for rest of your exams


hey congrates...
my exam is in this weeksad....any help will be very much appreciated..


CONGRATS!n Good luck, SUKHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! U'll be fine.grin


what was your step 1 score if you don't mind telling??


Hi laxmig,
I did 1 reading of Kaplan then took UW got average 45% after completing whole UW (all timed,unused,46 Q block)
I read kaplan again and started UW again,now in 8 timed unused 46 Q blocks got average of 63%.
I still have 20 days in my exam but I m doing a full time job so can spare effectively only evening time and weekends.
confusedPlease suggest me is this UW score now is OK to take the exam after 20 days? confused
I need just to clear my exam. of course better to have good score but not worried about the score because my aim is to get ECFMG certificate and not going for match or residency.
Please reply soon. Highly appreciate ur advise.
Thank u


Hi, lakshmig

Congratulation of ur great score. Did u listen Kaplan Videoes lectures?

GL for ur residency


Dear Falcon : Thank you ! I did not listen to the video lectures ! I tend to fall asleep during lectures and am not much or an aural learner ! I only read the kaplan notes.

Dear drdt : I think with your second reading of kaplan and UW scores of 63% ( of unused questions ) you do stand a good chance of passing ! I would also suggest that you do one of the nbme forms . I find it correlates well with the actual exams. That might also give you an indication of how likely you are to pass. There is still 20 more days to go, keep at it ! You will be able to do it ! I did my exams in the midst of a very busy childrens' emergency rotation too !

Dear rhmtascp : I had 249/99 in my step 1.


Dear Srita - I did not use Step Up so i really will not be able to comment on the book ! But i am told that it is good ! I only used kaplan IM and USMLE World and i found that to be sufficient !

Dear Sukhs - hang in there , you will do just great ! The last 1 week before the exams, i read just crush ! Also i was in the midst of a busy rotation so i had very little time to read anything more complex ! I would suggest just review your notes and read a concise review and that should be more than enough ! All the best for the exams !


Thanks lakhsmi g ..nod

and mytime, thank you for your wishes and good luck to you toosmiling face


Thanks , lakshmig

Thanks for clearly guiding regarding DVDs because I myself think videos very time consuming and redundant and I wanted to get confirmation from a very high scorer like you.

GL for ur residency of ur choice


Thanks lakshmignod




congrats....... you must be feeling like top of the world.


fang you! congrats on awesome scores


Big Big Congrad.s thanks for the sharing. one of the best description i have read.

one question though, are kaplans current enough for the test? do we have to look up to see if the latest guidlines have changed or not? did you also read First Aid? how is it for STEP 2? it looks much much thicker than STEP 1'

Thanks for the help


dear dragonfly : I infact used Kaplan 2004 which was lent to me by a friend - while most of the core information remains unchanged, i do agree with you that some of the information is outdated. Thankfully the emphasis of step 2CK is not so much of management principles as apposed to diagnosis and understanding if disease mechanism. I had the benefit of clinical experience in the wards which filled in for the outdated management principles. If you feel compelled to, any of the current sites ( uptodate eg ) should be able to fill you in on the latest guidelines. Hope this helps !
I did try reading first aid for step 2 but somehow i did not benefit from the book ! I did not feel the information was assimilated and as high yield as first aid for step 1.



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