USMLE Information for Step 1 and Step 2 CK & CS

 

USMLE Step 1: Planning and Preparation

Selecting your Date: Considerations

  • DUCOM Step 1 Policy: Students must sit for Step 1 prior to the start of Intersession I.
  • Your individual study needs/plans:
  • Our data shows that performance during Year 1 and 2 is a strong predictor of USMLE Step 1 scores.  In considering the amount of time you need, you should consider your performance in the preclinical years to help gauge the amount of time you may need. 
  • On average, DUCOM students take 5-6 weeks to prepare. 
  • Consider how you will study, whether you feel you need a structured course, whether group study works best for you, etc.
  • Intersession I preparation:  You will need to complete on-line modules prior to Intersession and will need some time to do them.
  • Vacation: Plan your study so that you have some time to relax before Year 3 begins.  Most students need this!

Registration for USMLE Step 1

  • www.nbme.org
  • Register at least 3 months prior to the exam
  • You will need to complete the Certification of Identification and Authorization Form
    • Attach Photo
    • Drop off in Student Affairs Office
  • You will select a three-month eligibility period during the registration process
  • Cost: $535
  • Accommodations: Apply at least 6 months in advance

Scheduling the USMLE Step 1 Exam

  • Once registration is complete, the NBME will send you a scheduling permit via email
  • You MUST bring the scheduling permit with you to the exam
  • Print scheduling permit and put in a safe place
  • Don’t delete NBME email
  • Schedule your test at your preferred center: www.prometrics.com
  • What if I need to change my test date? 
  • If > 31 days, no fees to change date
  • If <31 days, change fees. 
  • Review NBME website for details.

Exam Format

  • Seven 60-minute blocks (8 hour test day)
  • Approximately 325 total questions (maximum of 46 questions//block)
  • Question Format:
  • Clinical Stems
  • Multiple choice questions with 3-11 answer choices
  • Some require interpretation of graphs and images
  • Some sequential item sets
  • One best answer

Preparation

    • Step 1 Content Description
    • Step 1 Practice Items
  • Years 1 and 2: Performance in DUCOM curriculum is predictive of performance on USMLE Step 1
  • Work hard to learn course material well
  • Practice good study strategies
  • Use strategies that promote long term learning
  • Practice good exam strategy
  • Cover the answers
  • Don’t change answers
  • Don’t second guess yourself
  • Ask for help if you feel you are not developing good strategies
  • Commercial Courses: Some students prefer structured review course. 
  • DUCOM Classes of 2012, 2013, 2014: Approximately 60% took a formal review course.
  1. Review Books: Most students use at least one review resource. 
  • DUCOM Classes of 2012, 2013, 2014:
  • *First Aid – Most commonly used review book                   
  • Goljan
  • BRS Series
  • Pathoma
  • Step Up
  1. Question Banks: **Very important in studying for USMLE Step 1
  • Benefits
  • Active Learning
      • Must be engaged
      • Review of explanations à active studying
      • Review topics as necessary
  • Increases familiarity with vignette-style question format
  • Increases endurance
      • Question blocks, practice exams
  • Which ones?  DUCOM Classes of 2012, 2013, 2014:
  • *USMLE World – most commonly used
  • Kaplan Q bank
  • USMLE Rx
  1. Diagnostics: Practice Tests are very important to assess where you are in your studies
  • NBME Practice Tests -
  • NBME Practice tests are most predictive of Step 1 scores
  • DUCOM provides students with two(2) NBME practice tests
  • Students can purchase additional NBME practice tests
  • Others
    • NBME website – free
    • USMLE World
    • Kaplan
  1. Review Upper class Feedback: DUCOM student feedback can be found on the Career Development Center website.  http://webcampus.drexelmed.edu/cdc/
  • Salient feedback
    • First Aid: Used by most
    • Goljan Pathology, Audio – presented in very logical way
    • DIT: provides structure, lectures follow First Aid, less depth than others
    • Kaplan Comprehensive: More depth, may be difficult to get through all
    • Kaplan High Yield: More commonly used than Comprehensive
    • USMLE World: A Must
    • Kaplan Q bank: Good explanations
  • CAUTION: One size does not fit all.  Different strategies work for different students.  It is important to select your study plan based on what types of review work best for you.

 

USMLE Step 2 CK and CS: Planning and Preparation

Selecting your Date: Considerations

  • DUCOM Step 2 Policy: Students must sit for both Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS no later than October 31st of the Senior year.  
  • Step 2 CK:
  • Performance on the NBME Subject (Shelf) exams during Year 3 strongly predicts scores on USMLE Step 2 CK.  In considering the amount of time you need, you should consider your performance on the Year 3 Shelf Exams to help gauge the amount of time you may need. 
  • On average, DUCOM students take approximately two weeks to prepare for Step 2 CK. Many use the last two weeks of June to study. 
  • Consider your individual needs and goals when planning your Step 2 study and test date.
  • Do you need a break?
  • Do you need additional time, i.e. Block 1a, 1b, or all of Block 1?
  • Consider your Step 1 score.  Is it important that you can show an early Step 2 score to enhance your competitiveness in your chosen specialty?
  • Consider which study strategies have worked best for you in the past
  • Consider how you will study, whether you feel you need a structured course, whether group study works best for you, etc.
  • Step 2CS
  • The DUCOM end-of-third year mandatory Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) can assist students in assessing USMLE Step 2 CS readiness. It is recommended that students schedule the Step 2 CS exam after the Year 3 CSA. Students with significant deficiencies in the CSA will be contacted within 1 – 2 weeks of the exam and provided with necessary remediation.
  • Preparation time for Step 2 CS is variable among students.
  • Preparation for this exam is a MUST.

Registration for USMLE Step 2 CK and CS

  • www.nbme.org
  • Register at least 4-6 months prior to the exam. 
  • Eligibility Period
    • USMLE Step 2 CK: You will select a three-month eligibility period during the registration process
    • USMLE Step 2 CS: You will select a 12-monthy eligibility period during the registration process
  • Cost: Step 2 CK -  $535
  • Cost: Step 2 CS - $1200
  • Accommodations: Apply at least 6 months in advance.  Follows guidelines on NBME website.

Scheduling the USMLE Step 2 Exams

  • Once registration is complete, the NBME will send you a scheduling permit via email
  • You MUST bring the scheduling permit with you to the exam
  • Print scheduling permit and put in a safe place
  • Don’t delete NBME email
  • Schedule your Step 2 CK exam at your preferred center: www.prometrics.com
  • Step 2 CS: Online Step 2 CS calendar and Scheduling allows registered applicants to use the E-mail Notification feature to indicate their preferred test dates/centers and receive e-mail notification when testing appointments that match their preferences become available
  • What if I need to change my test date? 
  • Step 2CK:
    • If > 31 days, no fees to change date
    • If <31 days, you will be assessed change fees. 
  • Step 2 CS
    • If > 14 days, no fees to change date
    • If < 14 days, you will be assessed change fees. 
  • Review NBME website for details.

Exam Format
Step 2CK

  • Eight 60-minute blocks (9 hour test day)
  • Approximately 340-355 total questions (maximum of 45 questions/block)
  • Question Format:
  • Clinical Vignettes
  • Multiple choice questions with 3-26 answer choices
  • Some require interpretation of graphs and images
  • Some sequential item sets
  • Some matching sets
  • Some items are associated with a pharmaceutical ad or an abstract – these tend to be longer questions.
  • One best answer

Step 2 CS

  • 12 patient encounters, 8 hour test day.
  • 15 minutes for each patient encounter and 10 minutes to record each patient note.

 

Preparation

    • Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS Content Description
    • Video orientation for Step 2 CS
    • Patient Note Simulation and Sample Patient Notes for Step 2 CS
    • Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS Practice Items
  • Clerkship Shelf Exams: Performance on NBME Clinical Subject exams is predictive of performance on USMLE Step 1
  • Work hard to learn clerkship material well
  • Practice good study strategies
  • Use strategies that promote long term learning
  • Practice good exam strategy
  • Cover the answers
  • Don’t change answers
  • Don’t second guess yourself
  • Ask for help if you feel you are not developing good strategies
  • Commercial Courses: Some students utilize a structured review course but this is less common for USMLE Step 2
  1. Review Books: Most students use at least one review resource. 
  • Common resources used by DUCOM students:
  • *First Aid – Most commonly used review book       
  • Step 2 Secrets
  • Crush Step 2  
  1. Question Banks: *Important in studying for USMLE Step 2 CK
  • Benefits
  • Active Learning
      • Must be engaged
      • Review of explanations à active studying
      • Review topics as necessary
  • Increases practice with vignette-style question format
  • Increases endurance
      • Question blocks, practice exams
  • USMLE World – most commonly used by DUCOM students
  1. Diagnostics: Practice Tests are very important to assess where you are in your studies
  • NBME Practice Tests -
  • NBME Practice tests – Full length Clinical Science Comprehensive Exam
  • These are important assessments
  • DUCOM students who have underperformed on at least one Clerkship Subject Exam are provided with a token for an NBME Clinical Science exam. 
  • Students can purchase additional NBME practice tests
  • Others
    • NBME website – free
    • USMLE World
    • Kaplan

 

  1. Review Upper class Feedback: DUCOM student feedback can be found on the Career Development Center website.  http://webcampus.drexelmed.edu/cdc/

 

Questions/Concerns: Make an appointment to meet with Dr. Fuchs,  215-991-8221