USMLE Step 2 FAQs: Examine suggestions and perception on the examination’s future


Late spring and early summer season mark Step 2 season for a lot of medical college students. Whereas Step 1 of the US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE®), largely covers medical data and the way the physique works and why situations develop, Step 2 is a medical data examination of test-takers’ data base of analysis and administration. Most college students take the take a look at on the conclusion of their medical rotations, in order that info is contemporary.

Some consultants shared their insights about tips on how to put together, the way it would possibly change with Step 1 shifting to pass-fail scoring, and the way residency applications could view Step 2 scores.

The reply to this query goes to be extremely individualized. Traditionally, college students have studied much less for Step 2 than Step 1.

Christopher Cimino, MD, is chief medical officer at Kaplan Medical. He has seen medical college students examine for Step 2 about one-quarter of the time that they do for Step 1. When Step 1 goes pass-fail and Step 2 has a numerical rating, he expects the emphasis on Step 2 learning to extend. So far as what an excellent examine plan seems like, he stated it’s tied to your clerkship studying.

“A part of the rationale that individuals felt learning wasn’t as wanted is as a result of loads of what’s on Step 2 is so clinically related that you just’re overlaying it when you do your medical rotations,” Dr. Cimino stated. “So, based mostly on sufferers you see in a given day, do a deep dive on their issues in a approach that may aid you shine on each rounds and Step 2.”

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Since Step 2 is essentially rooted in your data of medical medication, your efficiency on Nationwide Board of Medical Examiners Topic Exams, generally known as shelf exams, might be an excellent place to begin on the subject of realizing your deficiencies.

Past that, search steering out of your medical college’s workplace of educational help.

“They need to speak to the individuals who perceive studying approaches, testing approaches, cognitive expertise growth,” stated Joanna C. Arnold, PhD, director of the workplace of scholar studying and academic assets on the College of California, Davis, College of Drugs. “It is well-documented that friends—who’re most likely the people who they typically speak to—whereas very well-intentioned, sometimes relay their very own expertise reasonably than the proof and knowledge about studying.”

For these in search of apply questions, the AMA has chosen Kaplan Medical as a most well-liked supplier to help you in reaching your aim of passing the USMLE® or COMLEX-USA®. AMA members can save 30% on entry to extra examine assets, akin to Kaplan’s Qbank and Excessive-yield programs. Be taught extra.

Get info on COMLEX Stage 1 going pass-fail.

One concept behind shifting Step 1 to pass-fail is to decrease the emphasis on high-stakes exams within the residency-selection course of. Nonetheless, there are various issues that for medical college students who don’t have a numerical Step 1 rating—those that took the examination after January 2022—{that a} numerical rating on Step 2 could merely substitute Step 1 as a sorting metric for interview slots, and, in the end, residency positions.

In keeping with a 2021 survey of residency program administrators (PDF), Step 2 rating was already among the many prime standards in choosing which candidates to interview.

In his function as vice chair for schooling in inner medication at UC Davis, Mark C. Henderson, MD, is closely in concerned within the residency-selection course of. His program has moved away from utilizing Step 1 or Step 2 as a key metric in sorting for interviews or residency positions. Apart from an applicant’s having handed, Davis doesn’t have a cutoff rating, not like different colleges.

As a substitute, Dr. Henderson and his colleagues are attempting to gauge different attributes, akin to “resilience, work ethic or dedication, and capability for enchancment, issues that make them good physicians, at the least for inner medication,” he stated.

Dr. Henderson, an AMA member, suggested medical college students “to consider the opposite parts of their software that might be seen favorably in such a holistic course of. … for instance, management of a company or exercise that they is likely to be freed as much as do as a result of the shackles of Step 1 are launched in a approach.”

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Dr. Cimino stated to not overthink it on the subject of examination day.
“The USMLE doesn’t write trick questions,” he stated. “There’s loads of feeling amongst college students that if you happen to did not get that query proper, it was as a result of it was a trick query. That occurs generally with apply questions simply because school are vulnerable to writing trick questions, however the USMLE throws these out and tries to keep away from them. So, if one thing appears like a trick query, it might be since you’re overthinking it, and it might be the query is easier than you thought.”

That very same 2021 residency program director survey indicated {that a} failed try at any Step examination is among the prime components thought-about deciding whom to interview; it needs to be famous that the Step 2 move charge was properly over 90% for test-takers from MD and DO colleges lately, in keeping with the USMLE. However if you happen to fail, you continue to have a shot at incomes a residency place.
“A Step 1 or Step 2 failure would get our consideration,” Dr. Henderson stated. “We have now seen people who’ve had some sort of occasion of their life or an extenuating circumstance, through which case we’ll take a look at what their subsequent rating to get a way of trajectory. We do not exclude folks for a failure, however I do assume it will get extra consideration than, for instance, getting a excessive rating does.”


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