USMLE Step 2 CS & CK

USMLE Step 2 Resources


Take a Look at some of our favorite USMLE Step 2 Resources. We’ve included items for Step 2 CS and CK. 

If you’d like tips on passing the Step 2 CS read our article on it here.

Got a Comment or Question be sure to discuss it at the bottom of the page.

Step 2 CK

Step-Up to USMLE Step 2 – 4/5

One of the most if not the most comprehensive Step 2 Book. It checks in at a measly 300 something pages, but don’t underestimate it, it reads and takes the same amount of time as any 500-600 page book. It’s pretty difficult to move on from the First Aid Series to the Step Up series, and many students are hesitant to do it, however this is by and far the most popular Step 2 preparation book. It is comprehensive and when you start using a question bank you’ll realize many of the same high impact facts are from the book. I wouldn’t recommend any of these books without using a question bank as well as none are comprehensive enough by themselves. Step up to Medicine is a more comprehensive book, and can be used to fill in the blanks where you find yourselves struggled with specific topics. Several students complain that there are errors in this book, we compiled the errata we had here. This is also the book used for popular courses such as Doctors in Training.


First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK 3.5/5
The go to series for the Step 1 is still a highly recommended book for the Step 2. It is detailed and formatted in the same familiar manner you are used to. Student complaints range from the fact it is not as comprehensive or as in-depth. However, if you have studied throughout your clinical rotations and once again use an adequate amount of questions you will find this book suits your needs. If you are afraid to switch formats from what you know and love this is a great book, while it is more hefty than the Step up Series much of that is due to the fact it leaves room to write notes.


USMLE Step 2 Secrets 3/5
Likely the favorite book of crammers and students studying while in rotations. It is packed with high yield information, and provides a great quick review for the Step 2 CK. Ideally it is to be used in conjunction with another book such as Step Up or First Aid, as well as question banks. However, if time is tight other books may not be necessary and this with a good amount of questions will be one of your best bets to score as high as possible. This book may not be for everyone, but those who love it really love it, it is also likely the most affordable of the review books available.


USMLE Master the Boards Step 2 CK 4/5
A book from Kaplan by the famous Dr. Conrad Fischer. Honestly I regret not turning to it sooner, it is not as comprehensive as Step up or First Aid but it’s likely a much higher yield book. Many of the questions on my actual test seemed to have come directly from these pages. It is also packed with a lot of useful information for the wards. I’d recommend this just as highly as the Step Up series, and would consider using both if time permits.



Question Banks

Likely the most vital part of your Step 2 CK arsenal, the two most popular banks are from USMLE world and Kaplan Medical much like they were for the Step 1 Exam.It’s recommended you do question banks throughout your clinical rotations, and then review them before the Step 2 Exam. Some students prefer to use one throughout rotations and then the other for Step 2 Preparation. You cannot I repeat cannot expect to excel unless you have finished at least one of these banks.


USMLE World – 4.5/5
Much like Step 1 Uworld seems to have pulled away and is without a doubt the better bank. I found neither bank was as good as their Step 1 counterparts in replicating the actual exam, but Uworld was for sure the closest you could get. I’d consider it a mandatory resource, and much like Step 1 I’d consider getting through the bank at least 1 and then some times. Again much like Step 1 there is just as much valuable information in the wrong answers as the correct ones.


Kaplan Qbank – 3/5
Kaplan much like Step 1 version tends to be much more pedantic and detailed. I personally did not feel it was as relevant as it’s Step 1 counterpart and thought many of the questions were either overly complex or overly specific compared to the actual test. After speaking to many to many other students, there is some variation with the majority agreeing it was far too detailed but a few actually preferred it over Uworld.

Conrad Fischer’s Comprehensive Cases – 4/5
While not a Qbank, this is a series of ~15-20 cases explaining thoroughly by Conrad Fischer. If you struggle at all with Internal Medicine, I’d highly recommend these. He breaks down every single component of 20 of the most frequent diseases and their presentations. I’m not sure how high yield it is if you have already done Master the Boards and are strong at Internal Medicine, but for those who aren’t it’s quite a useful resource.


Flash Cards

Fire Cracker – 4.5/5

I’m a huge fan of the Firecracker system and their spaced memorization system. It’s a great way to ensure you keep those little details fresh, and ensures you see every topic at least a few times before the exam. I’m not the biggest fan of their actual question set up, as there are much better question banks out there, but their flash card learning system is top notch. The only warning I have is that if you haven’t begun this at least 2+ months before your test, it likely will be too late to incorporate it into your study ritual.

Memorang  – 4.5/5

Another flashcard system, that’s actually really impressive.   Unlike Anki where you have to create and share decks, Memorang has many decks that already exist. Developed by MIT students, it’s a great resource to help you memorize FA 2014. Some topics are lacking sufficient information, but it’s quickly being improved and it’s definitely a resource to keep an eye on. At the rate they are improving and mirroring the information within First Aid, it’d be hard for me to imagine this not becoming incredibly popular in coming years. I’d recommend checking it out.


Step 2 CS

Read our article on Step 2 CS.

First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CS – 4/5 
The best and most comprehensive book for preparing for the Step 2 CS. It features everything you need to know and covers it in more than enough detail. It is formatted in a way to learn the best way possible while reviewing while time is tight. It’s likely the only resource most students use. I will say that this test is not like Step 1 or 2CK, you MUST practice cases. A lot of examines often do not do as well as they hoped because of timing issues or steroids online for sale failing to understand some of exactly what the exam is testing. Read the first few pages before the book even gives sample cases very carefully, I think the section on PEARLS is likely the most high yield topic in the book.



Kaplan Medical USMLE Step 2 CS: Complex Cases: 35 Cases – 3.5/5
Looking for more review for the CS this is your best bet. Covering the most likely cases to occur and put your mind to ease teaching you what you need to know for the CS exam. Between this and First Aid you’ll see almost every possible case you’ll see and while most people don’t need the extra preparation, it never hurts if you are feeling less than confident about the Step 2 CS. There are also tearable flashcards in this book, which make reviewing while on the wards a little bit easier.