USMLE Step 2

Step 2 is similar in format to Step 1, but is more clinically oriented. The exam is actually 1 section longer than Step 1, but each section has 46 instead of 50 questions so you have a little bit more time to answer each question. The exam consists of questions from the 3rd year clinical rotations, as well as selected surgical subspecialties, neurology, emergency medicine, and a little radiology. Most people have not had all of these rotations prior to Step 2 so it is important to read a review book for these topics.

Popular study aids include:

  • First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 by Le, Amin, Bhushan, and Choo. Similar in format to its Step 1 counterpart but lacking in surgery topics. A good start for studying.
  • Boards and Wards by Ayala and Spellberg. This book contains an outline style review of the pertinent topics to Step 2. It also contains a lot of radiographic images. Some people swear by this book.
  • Crush Step 2 by Brochert. This book contains a more text-based approach to studying for Step 2. If this is your style, you may like this book. The author maintains "If you know all of the concepts in this book, you should do much better than pass USMLE Step 2: You should CRUSH STEP 2!" It's hard to argue with that logic.
  • Prescription for the Boards USMLE Step 2 by Miroiu, Feibusch, and Bader is another popular text-based book.
  • NMS Review for USMLE Step 2 is a very solid question book. It has 900 questions (broken into 5, 180-question exams) with excellent, detailed explanations. The only knock on this book is that it is from 1999 and some of the question styles may not be applicable to the current exam. Most of the questions are still valid and very challenging. USMLE Step 2
  • Kaplan Q-bank is also used by many students for Step 2. Word is that Q-bank is not as good for Step 2 as it was for Step 1. It does offer you computer based practice and has good explanations, though. Many students choose the NMS questions over Q-bank, but that must be an individual decision.

Blueprints series has books on every topic covered in Step 2. Some students found that reviewing these books helped tremendously for Step 2, but others just didn't have the time to read them again. These books all contains USMLE Step 2 style questions, which may be a bonus for you. Again, it will be a personal decision based on time and amount of effort you want to put into Step 2.


USMLE Test Practice Questions: USMLE Practice Questions and USMLE Review Information.

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Last Updated: 04/23/2014