USMLE experience from Dr Kaleab, who scored 278 on Step 2 CK, August 28 2022
Hey everyone. I am writing this to share my experience and to answer some questions that are asked frequently. I graduated 2 yrs back and worked for 1 and a half years trying to study for step 1 and and making little progress. After seeing abudi’s post on this group about dedication I decided to give myself a deadline and set my Exam date for February and promised myself I wont move it. But I was making little progress with work and the exam fast approaching thus I decided to quit and dedicate my entire time to step 1 prep.
My dedicated period was 9 weeks (about 2 months). I only used first aid and the offline uworld version available on telegram. I decided to not do pathoma because I used it during my university and upon a few repeats I found I was not gaining enough new information from it. I also used BnB for a few topics I was getting many wrongs on. Didn’t use sketchy or anki. Did a few amboss online sections online mainly to learn to time myself but amboss in general is over kill for the exam. Saved my NBMEs for the last 2 weeks and did them every other day during that time.
I took two weeks break and started studying for step 2. I used uworld offline, amboss online and cms forms. No videos or books. For me the most important resource was amboss. It’s the closest to the exam in terms of difficulty and content. My study schedule was wake up 80 questions amboss random timed. Review upto lunch. Rest. Uworld subjectwise offline as much as I can for the rest of the day. I kept light post-it notes on my laptop of all the wrong I made on both. I was planning on buying uworld for 1 month near my exam but I was thrown away by the redudance and cost. While reviewing my postits I found I remembered most of the info and my practice scores were where I needed them to be. Besides the cheapest package (1 month, no practice exams) was 399 dollars. I had already done about 3300 questions offline thus I would basically be paying 1 dollar for 2 questions and that for me wasn’t worth it. So I decided to add new questions and I spent my last month doing cms forms, reviewing my wrongs from my post its and doing NBMEs (9,10, 11, new free 120).
Where to take the exams?
The logical options for Ethiopian students are kenya and dubai. Kenya is cheaper and has visa on arrival. I took the exam in Kenya and had a pleasant experience except for voice disturbance. The exam center is on a busy street. There is a market, a mosque, and a church within 1 block of it. During my step 2 exams there was an election campaigning on the road that took what seemed like 2 hrs. There are many hotels in walking distance from the exam so you wont have any problems with lodging. So unless if u r very distractable go for kenya. You have to decide ur test center area (middle east or africa) while registering for the exam so decide early.
What to do when there is conflicting info on different resources?
This is actually an uncommon problem that you will probably face atmost 20 times during ur prep. Uworld amboss and cms are very overlapping and in general don’t contradict each other. First thing I did in this situation was look up both questions on both qbanks simultaneously and check if there are differences in what was being asked, and often there is. If there is not I would try to read a bit more if I feel the topic is particularly high yield and if not I just take amboss as my standard since it was the only online up to date resource I used.
What to do for screening and vaccines, biostat, ethics?
Screening meshemded the USPTF guidelines. There is no way around it. In addition I read all guidelines available on amboss for all screened diseases making sure to make notes of discrepancies and grey areas. In general these grey areas wont appear on your exam but u can choose ur answers more confidently if u know them well. A study partner made this way more tolerable. In addition also learn, actually meshemded about screening at well child exams. These are specially tricky because as opposed to adult screening questions which are clearly screening questions this are presented with vague developmental histories which u r just not sure if they are significant or not. Also well child screening isnot properly represented on either amboss or uworld and I only read about it because of a question on the pedi cms and ended up with 2 question on it on the exam. Vaccines just learn the reasoning behind every vaccine and u can work out the answer no reason to meshemded. In addition to routine focus on screening and vaccine in special populations like HIV asplenia SCD etc. Biostat amboss overprepares u for uworld and uworld overprepares u for the exam. Ethics, QI, infection prevention, death, pallative care, patient communication and health care system read these articles on amboss and do the questions on all of them when u start ur step 2 prep.
Then reset and then start the qbank so u get the questions again. Uworld underprepares u for these topics
ANKI and divine intervention?
Anki if a memorization tool not a study or reasoning tool. Only use is if u r having problem remembering specific facts. I think its bad for step1 and even less useful for step 2. DI can be good if u don’t know the basics for a topic as he goes through them well. But I wouldn’t recommend relying on it,
Practice Test Score Results
1. UWSA1- didn’t do 7.NBME 10-279 3 weeks out
2.NBME 6- didn’t do 8. NBME 11-265 2 weeks out
3.AMBOSS SA-267 6 weeks out 9. NBME 12- didn’t do
4. NBME 7- didn’t do 10. UWSA2- didn’t do
5. NBME 8- didn’t do 11. OLD FREE 120- didn’t do
6. NBME 9-274 4 weeks out 12.NEW FREE 120%-93% 2 days out
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