After taking Step 1, I imagine most students realize how overextended they became trying to get through multiple books during Step studying. In the end, it was the questions that mattered. It’s always the questions. So, here’s my list of free Step 2 CK questions (updated September 2016):
- The NBME has its free Step 2 CK practice test in Fred (v2) software, as well as some good materials to familiarize yourself with Step 2 CS. I’ve written explanations for the most recent sets: 2014, 2015, and 2016.
- MedBullets has a 938 question robust Step 2 qbank with tutor mode, percentage of peers who answer correctly, detailed explanations, etc. They also have another 199 for Step 3.
- Lecturio has almost 1200 free questions organized by subject, though many of the freebies are not in clinical vignette format and do not have explanations. No registration required. If you’re interested in buying their video lecture/qbank product, you can get a 25% discount through this link.
- ExamGuru has a free trial with 10 questions apiece from each of their 6 shelf exam products and USMLE 2 CK (for a total of 70 questions). Coupon code BW15 gets you 15% off any package you might want to buy.
- For every Step exam, Kaplan lets you try one 48-question section for free after signing up.
- USMLERx (the qbank from the makers of First Aid) allows you test drive their qbank with a free (whopping) 20 question sampler.
- USMLE Consult has the usual tiny trial for free (30 questions)
- Learntheheart.com has 50 cardiology USMLE 2 CK questions with plans to add more.
- MedMaster (makers of the “made ridiculously simple” series) has a USMLE Step 2 question bank. Like their Step 1 qbank, it’s content review, not Step practice. But it’s short, high-yield, and to the point. It’s not a bad quick companion for the shelf exams as well, especially at the beginning of your rotations. It also includes a section for Step 2 CS full of the cartoons and mnemonics the series is known for.
Not a lot of resources, free or otherwise, are dedicated for Step 2 (especially when compared with its significantly more important sibling). If you take Step 2 CK in the summer after third year, a question bank (USMLEWorld of course) and Crush Step 2 / Step 2 Secrets (same book in different formats, both a very quick and superficial treatment and extremely quick read) are likely enough. For the gunner, the possible addition of a more “comprehensive” text: First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK (which is not as good as FA Step 1 but retains the same format you either loved or hated), Step-Up to USMLE Step 2 CK (previously the worst of the big three but recently updated and improved), or Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK (more readable but less complete, particularly good for “next best step” questions). Step-Up to Medicine (if you have it from your medicine clerkship) is still an excellent review for medicine (the bulk of the test) if it’s been a while.
Preparing for your shelf exams is 75% of the battle. The longer you wait, the more you forget, and the harder the test is. Contrary to what you might hear, Step 2 isn’t actually much easier than Step 1; it’s just that you’ve done this rodeo before. If you really want to do well, prepare for and take it right after clerkships.
If you’re attempting to cram for Step 2 in a month or less, I recommend forgoing books altogether (except as references PRN) and relying exclusively on USMLEWorld. Go through it once, flag all questions you get wrong or guess on, then do all marked questions again. Only if you can finish that is it worth reading a book cover to cover. More book-reading does not equal more knowledge when it comes to board review, and you’ve already spent a year reading review books for this exam via your shelf studying.