If you’ve read my blog post about studying for Step 1 and Level 1, you know that I had a really specific way of going through questions and using outside resources. In contrast, I kept things pretty simple for USMLE Step 2 CK and COMLEX Level 2. I relied on one main resource: UWorld. I kept my other resources to a minimum! Below is an outline of how I used each resource.
- During third-year rotations, I completed as many corresponding UWorld questions as I could with each rotation. I used this to study for my rotation-specific shelf exams. I didn’t get through all of UWorld, but I got through most of it (roughly 85% of the the qbank).
- During dedicated, I reset the qbank and this time began doing mixed question sets. For Step 1, I did most of my question sets on tutor mode. However, I found that this was taking me too long when studying for Step 2. So instead, I would do small timed questions sets of 10-20 questions. I’d then set a time limit for how much time I could take going through the answer choices (usually 30-60 minutes total for the question set). This way, I would get through the questions faster and didn’t spend too much time on the small details.
- Overall, I found that I did better on Step 2/Level 2 by simply getting through as many questions as I could, as many times as I could. If you read my Step 1/Level 1 blog post, you know this is not how I studied for those boards. I feel that Step 1/Level 1 ask more small-detail questions, whereas Step 2/Level 2 ask more broad clinical and treatment questions. Hence the difference in study strategy.
- I didn’t use any pre-made Anki sets – they aren’t really my things. It’s difficult for me to use other people’s Anki cards because they usually aren’t organized the way I would organize things and that is distracting to me.
- I reviewed Sketchy Micro and Pharm using my own Anki decks (which you can download here). I still found this extremely important for Step 2/Level 2 as micro and pharm take up the majority of all med school board exams.
- Similarly to my Step 1/Level 1 study strategy, I added cards to a specific Anki deck that I made for missed UWorld questions. I limited myself to 1-2 cards per question missed, since I didn’t want to become bogged down creating a million cards that I would never go through. Pick the most important reason(s) you missed that question, make a short card from that info, and move on.
- Anki walks – every day I would take a 30-60 minute walk (or two) around my neighborhood and do Anki cards! This helped me feel more active and also retain the information better.
- OnlineMedEd is basically a necessity for Step 2/Level 2. The videos are free and SUPER helpful!
- I also printed out his notes (which are part of the paid subscription) and had them bound into a textbook. I’m a visual learner so this allowed me to draw and write all over his pre-written notes while I watched the videos.
- I did not schedule this into my plan, but rather would watch specific videos based off of questions I missed. The only thing I truly scheduled was how many UWorld questions to do per day.
- I actually did not buy any NBMEs or NBOMEs for Step 2/Level 2. I only completed the two UWorld self-assessments that came with my UWorld subscription. This was plenty for me!
- Of course, this is going to be a personal preference. But I learn best when I can go through questions and understand why I missed something. It’s difficult for me to do this with practice exams because there are so many questions and I don’t ever remember why I answered a certain way when going back through them. Taking too many practice tests takes away my valuable learning time and feels like I’m dumping time into something that will only give me a score and freak me out, instead of teaching me. Again, totally personal preference, but I’d rather do more practice questions that I can review efficiently.
COMLEX specific studying
- I took COMLEX 3 days after USMLE (similar to how I scheduled Step 1/Level 1). This gave me a full 2 days in between the exams to study.
- The first day, I took the morning off – slept in, worked out, sat outside by the pool. Then in the afternoon I began going through OnlineMedEd’s OMT review. This doesn’t take long to go through if you put it on high speed!
- The second day, I did as many Combank questions as I could. To be honest, I wouldn’t have spent any money on this. However, my school provided this qbank to us for free so I utilized it to brush up on ethics and OMM questions. I found that COMLEX asks way more complicated ethics questions. So reviewing this + OMM was a perfect way to spend the day prior to COMLEX.
So, as you can see, this was a long shorter than my Step 1/Level 1 blog post. The only thing I scheduled into my day was how many UWorld questions I needed to get through and the rest I just used as needed. I found that this worked really well for me!