All About the USMLE Step 2 CK

The next part of the demanding United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) series is Step 2. We’ll take a look at USMLE Step 2 CK in this post.

The Step 2 CK exam assesses your ability to apply clinical science to patient care in a supervised practice setting. The test features an integrated content outline that’s organized along two dimensions: physician task and disease category.

If you’re looking ahead to when you’ll take Step 2 CK, here are some helpful answers to questions you may have about the exam and test prep.

Who takes the USMLE Step 2 CK?

Just as with Step 1, to be eligible to take Step 2 CK you must be in the following category at the time you apply for Step 2 CK and on the day of the exam:

You need to be officially enrolled in, or a graduate of, a medical school outside of the U.S. and Canada that’s listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools as meeting the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) eligibility requirements and other ECFMG criteria.

As a non-U.S./Canadian medical school student or graduate, you’ll want to make sure to register on the ECFMG website.

When should I take the USMLE Step 2 CK?

According to the USMLE, most medical students take Step 2 CK in their fourth year. Some students feel the best time to tackle the Step 2 CK is when clinical science knowledge from their rotations is still fresh in their minds.

How do I apply?

The test is administered by appointment on a year-round basis. Once you begin applying, you’ll choose a three-month eligibility period for testing. You’ll get an email letting you know that your scheduling permit is available, and then you can visit the Prometric® test center website to schedule your test date.

The USMLE Step 2 CK can be taken at Prometric test centers worldwide. Keep in mind that your test center choices will depend on which part of  the USMLE exam series you’re scheduling. Not all exams are offered at all centers.

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What’s on the USMLE Step 2 CK?

Step 2 CK is a one-day, multiple-choice, computer-based examination lasting about nine hours. As of this post, it’s divided into eight 60-minute blocks, and test item formats may vary within each block.

According to the USMLE, Step 2 CK includes test items in the following content areas:

  • Internal medicine
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Preventive medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery
  • Other areas related to providing care under supervision

Most Step 2 CK test items describe clinical situations, and you’ll have to provide one or more of the following:

  • Diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Indication of underlying mechanisms of disease
  • Next step in medical care, including preventive measures

How can I make sure I’m prepared?

It’s important that you figure out how much time you need in your schedule for test prep. Many students base their study schedule on achieving a certain Step 2 CK score—the higher the score needed, the more study time they set aside.

Many students attest to the power of the question bank, or QBank, when it comes to USMLE prep. Two major benefits of a Qbank are how closely it simulates an actual exam and that it explains the answers to hundreds of practice questions.

With the right test prep and the confidence that comes from preparation, you’ll take the USMLE Step 2 CK and move forward on your path toward a medical career.