By Dr. Adarsh Srinivas
The Step 1 connection
The first step in doing well on the CK is to do step 1 well and look at CK as an extension of it. Even though step 1 has become pass/fail, it is still important that you try to do as well as possible and understand fully the concepts of basic pathophysiology, microbiology, pharmacology, genetic syndromes, storage diseases, and biostats.
Also more step 1 content has now started showing up on CK so don’t throw away your step 1 First Aid book!
The best time to take CK is after you finish your final year of medical school and you’ve had the experience of rotating through major clinical specialties. Never take CK before taking Step 1!
Ideally, as an IMG, you would want anywhere from 4-6 months for CK
Caution! Going more than 6 months can make you feel jaded and your knowledge curve starts to plateau and might even start to dip.
CK is a 9hrs exam with 8 blocks of approximate questions with 1 hr to complete each block.
1 hr of break time is given which can be split as you prefer between the blocks.
Boards and Beyond(BNB) and OnlineMedEd(OME)
The best way to get your feet wet with the content material for step 2 is the video resources.
OME videos give you a general idea of all the disease processes and management. The problem with OME is that it isn’t a complete resource and the videos are a little outdated regarding treatment guidelines.
BNB goes into much more comprehensive detail with each system and the content material is updated. Slides are attached as pdf for free if you’re not a video person.
Combine the first pass of Uworld (system-wise) with BNB videos. This will be an ideal start to your CK journey.
Uworld Uworld and Uworld some more!
If you had to pick one resource to get a high score, this is the one.
Doing Uworld twice is always desirable and even if you can’t go through everything in the second pass, finish all the marked and incorrect questions.
The first pass can be done system-wise timed/untimed. The second time must be timed randomly with 40 questions as a proper block as you would do it in the real exam to get into the groove of test-taking.
Make flashcards or notes to effectively review material from Uworld at the end. Readymade Flashcard decks like Tzancki can be used.
Biostats – Uworld
Uworld provides a separate biostats subscription consisting of 60 questions which cover almost all biostats topics in detail.
Clinical Mastery Series (CMS)
These are subject-wise tests in medicine, pediatrics, OG, surgery, neurology, and psychiatry.
These are 1.15hrs tests with 60 questions provided by the NBME. The 4th and 5th forms in each subject are the latest forms and I highly recommend you do them timed and read all the explanations as those similar topics are tested in CK.
- Step up to medicine – Goes into detail about pathophysiology.
- De Virgilio – Surgery – Extensive surgery resource in a Q&A format with lots of surgical case scenarios to kindle your interest in surgery.
- Master the boards can be your primary book resource for all subjects. Use MTB after you finish a pass of Uworld as it is very concise and presented with lots of tables, flowcharts, and bullet points and will be more ideal as a revision tool.
- First Aid for Step 1.