Step 2CK Preparation and Experience

USMLE Step 2CK Write-up by Dr. Alia Tirish

Hi all,

Wanted to do a write-up for all the people who only see 250/260 write-ups here

I’m a US-IMG, my OET is scheduled for two weeks from now and I’m hoping to match into IM by next March.

Prep Time

3 months, took my Step 1 in June after a year of prep and I wanted to take CK in time to apply for Match.


Mainly UW and Dr. Emma Holliday’s youtube videos and Divine Intervention Podcasts.

I tried the Onlinemeded videos but it wasn’t as useful as getting through questions. It wasn’t like Step 1 where I depended on BNB to learn the material anew, this was a jump-off Step 1. So honestly, the best prep was Step 1. There was some PBS for the heme/onc q’s and I was like yay we’ll never be rid of it haha.

I would do 1-2 blocks at the beginning of my prep and increased slowly. By the last 2 weeks, I was doing 4-5 blocks because I didn’t even think I could finish one round by my test date. I believe the increase from my UWSA 1 and 2 can be attributed to forcing 5and sometimes even 6 blocks of UW. I know that doing 200+ q’s is not super practical and I probably missed the finer points on revision, but the sheer amount of questions I was looking at per day helped me to see patterns and focus better during my SA 2. During my jogs/errands/cooking, I would listen to the Emma Holliday lectures and choice Divine Intervention Podcasts.

This is a great post by the elusive man himself –

I thought the risk factors and the 3rd year medicine shelf review series (ep. 29-32 I think?) were really helpful.

Test Day

Slept well the previous night. I took step 1 with a mask because of Corona so it wasn’t a new experience for me. Practice wearing one during your prep days just to see how uncomfortable it is! I had protein bars and chocolate during my breaks. Took a break after each section. The test itself was hard of course, but after reading so many posts about how crazy vague and insane it is, I was (at least mentally) prepared for the randomness, even if I ended up guessing lmao. I thought the randy Neil biostats YouTube videos helped but because of time constraints/me sucking at these types of q’s, I think I mainly ended up guessing. I ran out of time on 3/4 blocks where I ended up not having time to review my marked questions. Mostly it feels like a fever dream and I’m glad I never have to take CK again.

Post Test

Didn’t look up any CK stuff, did the same for Step 1 and that was a great decision lol. I started my ERAS stuff and compiling LOR’s so I kept busy and tried not to dwell on what happened.

Result: I am pretty happy with this score given that I honestly thought I had failed! I have been up since midnight with fitful bouts of sleep and dreams of me opening the score report. The score discrepancy between my UWSA 1 and 2 gave me tons and tons of anxiety but I’m pleased that I at least got a point higher than Step 1! I wanted to get my CK score back before applying so the timing was a bit crunched but I’m content with my result.

Thank you to this forum for all the helpful advice and tips!!


📌 Real deal: 238 (9/12)

📌 Step 1: 237 (June 2020)

📌 UW%: 58% one pass only

📌 NBME 6: didn’t do

📌 NBME 7: 203 (5 wks out)

📌 NBME 8: 204 (4 wks out)

📌 New free 120: 64% (2 wks out)

📌 UWSA1: 214 (13 days out)

📌 UWSA2: 244 (1 wk out)

📌 Old free 120: 80% (3 days out)


Alia Tirish

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USMLE Step 2CK Preparation and Experience

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