Hussain Khan – USMLE Step 2Ck -257 Experience

Ishtiaq Hussain
Exam Date: 1st june
Score: 253
Prep time: 6 months
My background: I am resident Internal Medicine in my
home country .Already done with step 1 last year in
January. My Total preparation time was 11 months with
average 3-4 hours per day study with last 1 & half
month full time study with 8-10 hours per day
Sources Used:
1.Uworld ck mainly
2.Mtb 2 (only IM)
3.CMS (OBGYN,Paeds,Surgery,Psychiatry)
4.uptodate (for difficult Qs in Cms & occasionally for few
topics not cleared from Uw but didn’t revise any of them
5.uw 3 (dermatology once,paeds once)

Study Plan:
Unceratain period: First couple of months were like in
confusion for me as I wasn’t able to select appropriate
sources for my self.Although my class fellows who had
recently taken the exam with high scores very firmly
advised me to focus on uworld only but inspite of their
advise I started with Mtb 2,3 & Kaplan IM. Reading a
system in Kaplan book, then reading the same system in
mtb 2 & 3 & annotating whatever was extra in Kaplan &
mtb 3 to mtb 2. I continued this for a few systems but
then soon I realized that this is wastage of time. So I
stopped this & switched to uworld. Also did Kaplan
qbank for few systems.
Uworld first read: uworld first read was quite difficult as
it always is. Reading different concepts,new guidelines
were taking a lot of time & energy. As I was also having
my residency duties along so I used to get 4 hours
average per day & those 4 hours too weren’t with much
focus. I used to get frustrated a lot in between because of
the tough routine in ward & then giving time to my ck
study daily but I continued my study anyway.So I started
uw first read with mtb 2 for IM. I would study a system
from mtb 2 & then solve that same system from uworld.
In this way I finished IM in about 2 & half
months.Paeds,OBGYN,Surgery I did only from Uw; no
other source at all. These took about 1 & half months.
Didnt do biostat, ENT,EYE, preventive medicine till last
month of my prep.
Method of study: My method of study was to give read
only without taking any notes.I used to study in pdf
where I would read the whole explanation while among
the answer choices explanation I highlighted the one
with some new or very important points & would revise
those highlighted only in the subsequent reads to save
time.In the second read of uw I started copying whole
explanations from pdf to Microsoft word with
highlighted options as well. I did this for paeds & some
systems of Internal Medicine but it was time consuming
so didn’t do it for other subjects. I wasn’t very much
satisfied with my method of study but didn’t have any
other choice so continued like this.

Uworld 2
read & CMS:
In second read I was quite tensed coz it was about 6th
month of my prep & I was feeling like I am doing it for
the first time with very little memory of the first read. In
the mean time I got a study partner who was interested
in doing cms together so we started from surgery & then
did paeds 2 blocks (rest did alone) & Psychiatry. we
solved cms with difficult qs from uptodate as well. I
never revised the stuff of uptodate. The timing of solving
cms should be after 3
or 4 th read to apply the uworld
knowledge as well as to save time from searching extra
sources when actually you have those explanations in
uworld. This read took about 3 months. In the second
read I would try to memorize the stuff & would go ahead.
I took nbme 3 offline in which I got 225.I wasn’t happy
with this score & got a bit frustrated but then re
organized my self & started uw revision with emphasis
on weak areas.
Read :Again I started uw revision in offline mode
With same style, reading the explanations & highlighted
options & trying to consolidate the stuff.This read was a
bit better with retention of stuff better than the previous
reads & less time consumption. This read took about 2
At this satage I took nbme 6 online & got 236. It was a bit
encouraging but still not that good.So started revising
weak areas again.
4 th read: This read was mainly focused on weak areas
from last nbme & revising the whole uw.
I went for nbme 7 online which was quite difficult &
again got 236.As nbme 7 underpredicts the real score so
I was happy with this score.
Now I took 1 month subscription of uworld & started in
timed tutor mode subject wise.I did few systems of IM &
revised OBGYN, surgery, biostat ck(first & only read) &
went for uwsa 1, 2 weeks before exam& got 273.This
was a very good score & I was very happy with it.I
continued revising remaining uw online & took uwsa 2
after 1 week. It was hell difficult & I got extremely
nervous in first block left 3 qs unattempted due to time
shortage & was so scared that I was going to quit the
exam but then reoraganised myself & completed the test
any way with 2 more qs left unattempted. My score
dropped to 248.I started Fred 150 Qs after a short break
& got 87 % (13 wrong).At this stage I felt that I need
another full revision of uw to stabilize my scores but due
to unavoidable reasons I couldnt delay my exam any in last 3 days I revised uw tables only & went for
the exam.
Exam day: I had a good sleep at night so was feeling fresh
in the morning. First few blocks were pretty easy & Qs
were very similar to uw/uwsa 1 concept wise as well as
in lenghth. Time management was good with 4-5
minutes remaining in every block.70-80% of exam was
based on uw concepts while the remaining 20% was
very difficult where I used uw knowledge & did
exclusion upto the best of my knowledge. Till 6 th block I
was ok but after that extreme fatigue started & I was
doing mistakes because of the fatigue.I did some easy
mistakes ; few were from first aid step 1 & many others
were from uw which were the main reason for my drop
in actual exam score.Ethics Qs were very difficult, did
them by exclusion & educated guesses. As I did biostate
Ck only once in my whole prep so I didn’t waste time on
its Qs & just quickly solved them with educated guesses.
There were few Qs from First Aid 1 with calculations.
Step 1 stuff was very little & limited to few Qs only.
I would recommend following:
1.There are a lot of suggestions on the forums regarding
best sources for ck but In my opinion these sources are
not for everyone. Following is the order of different
sources I would recommend based on target score:
 230-240 target score:uw more than enough with
cms if time allows.
 240-260:A very thorough study of uw with
mastering each & every concept can take u to
260.can do cms & uw 3 only after mastering uw
with cms better if time is short.
 >260: master uw & then do cms,uw 3 thoroughly
with Kaplan q bank if time allows.
2.take notes from uw topic wise which helps a lot
in the last few days of prep.Dont substitute notes
for uworld reads, they should be apart from the
notes revision.
3.try to revise uw tables during different reads so
that they are firmly consolidated in your brain
before going to exam.
4.Do uworld along with Qs at least 4-5 times
which helps in familiarizing with uworld pattern of
disease presentations & really helps in time
management in real exam.
5.prioritize the sources with uworld on top & keep
in mind that couple of reads aren’t enough to
master uworld & uworld covers most of the exam.
6. Do ethics from uw 3 & mtb 2,3…
7.Dont worry about the very difficult Qs in real
exam they will not affect your score(upto 255-260)
but the doable Qs from uw concepts will affect
your score if you get them wrong. So focus on
those moderate to difficult Qs instead of worrying
about very difficult ones.
8.Usmle is a tough path with a lot of sacrifice &
hard work required so patience & perseverance is
key to get your desired score.
Best Of Luck To You All.
Remember Me In Your Prayers!!

October 11, 2019
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