In the course of your clinical career, you will have to take the USMLE Step 2 CK exam. The exam is meant to assess your knowledge on physician tasks, diseases, and normal conditions. As you await for the exam, you should get one or two prep books to help you sharpen your skills and get familiar with the questions you are likely to be asked.
There are many USMLE step 2 CK prep books on the market. How can you know which one will be right for you?
In this guide, we present the best study materials that will ensure you are well prepared for the exam.
USMLE Step 2 CK Prep Book Comparison Table
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USMLE Step 2 CK Book Reviews
If you need a comprehensive resource for the USMLE Step 2 CK exam, you should get the Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CK Lecture Notes. This guide is written by Kaplan experts and regularly updated with the information you need for the residency you want to get into
The guide is broken into topics like Infectious Diseases, Hematology, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, and Preventive Medicine for easy navigation.
Here’s what you will get in the Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CK:
- Outline format with excellent summaries
- 5 book, each that cover a section of the text
- The books have over 450 color tables and images
There are over 1,300 pages with detailed information in the USMLE Step 2 CK Lecture Notes. The high-quality color images and tables help to make the text content easy to understand. The books also have summary boxes that highlight important information you should know about the concepts you may be studying.
- 5 separate books that you can easily carry with you for quick review in-between classes or when commuting
- The books are well laid-out and important information is put in the summary boxes
- Reviews concepts in a comprehensive manner
- The organization of the topics may be wanting for some students
If you are looking for USMLE Step 2 study materials that cover safety and quality improvement topics, the First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK is the guide you should buy. This book is well laid out and the content is formatted with bullet points, making it easy to digest. Important facts are also highlighted in the margins.
We love the First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK book for the rapid review section, which many students find handy when studying at the last minute and need the most essential important.
Below is what you should expect from the First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK:
- Hundreds of color clinical illustrations and image
- The rapid review section is excellent for last minute cramming
- The flash facts integrated in the margins will help you know what to focus on when studying
- The content is presented in bullets for easy reading
You will find all the information you need to pass the USMLE Step 2 CK exam in this book. Moreover, there are dozens of catchy mnemonic that will help you remember complicated information. The topics are comprehensively reviewed and all the information that is tested in the exam is presented.
If you need to dive deeper into Internal Medicine, basic treatments and the pathophysiology of diseases, we recommend this USMLE prep book.
There are a couple of areas where we feel the First Aid for USMLE would do better with more in-depth content. In particular, the Pediatric and OB/GYN section is not thoroughly covered. Also, while the Cardiology section is well detailed, no information is provided for treatment options for some arrhythmias.
- Has detailed pictures, which make it easy to learn complicated topics
- The fast facts and mnemonics are useful for cramming before the exam day
- Comprehensive review of the topics tested in the UMSLE Step 2 CK exam
- Some facts are too basic
If you are looking for a quick USMLE Step 2 CK guide, get the Master the Boards. This book has just the information that is likely to be tested in the exam. Complex topics that are covered in the book are well-explained through diagnostic images, algorithms, and tables. There is also information about diseases like Zika and Ebola in the topics.
The Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK book provides test-taking tips that will ensure you have an easy time when taking the exam.
Below is an overview of what is included in the Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK book:
- The diseases are presented in question format for easy understanding
- Features 57 new illustrations and diagnostic images in full color
- There are 57 diagnostic/management algorithms and tables
We recommend using this book to complement the Kaplan Lecture Notes. The book is especially helpful when it comes to Internal Medicine.
There are plenty of questions available in the book that will help you practice for the exam. You should also complete at least two full-length tests to ensure you are familiar with the question format and caliber of the USMLE Step 2 CK. Going through the questions and tests will help you prepare yourself mentally for the challenges of the CK test.
However, the book does not cover topics on Infectious Diseases and the Musculoskeletal system comprehensively. Moreover, there are some issues with formatting. For example, the Spinal Stenosis and Disc Herniation are covered in two different chapters.
This book is best used as a complementary guide with one of the more comprehensive USMLE Step 2 guides.
- Presents information in question review format, which makes it easy for you to remember
- Provides techniques on the process of elimination, which is useful when you encounter questions whose answers you do not know
- The topics are presented in a logical, step-by-step format
- Does not cover the concepts comprehensively
The Step-Up to USMLE Step 2 CK features full-color illustrations that make it easy to understand complex concepts. The book has current information that you will need for the test.
As you go through the topics, you will see a “Quick Hit” area on the side that shows the topics that are likely to be tested in the USMLE Step 2 exam. There are also mnemonics and notes that show the proper workup of the patient.
The book comes with 300 practice questions that will help you get familiar with the exam questions. The answers to the questions are explained. Therefore, you will know what a particular answer is right and why another is wrong.
We love the USMLE Step 2 CK Book for:
- Easy outline of the content
- 300 practice questions
The sections of the book are color coded to help you to easily find the next topic to study. These are also dozens of illustration and pictures to help you understand complex topics.
Some of the disorders covered in the book include Pediatrics, Dermatology, Musculoskeletal, Neurological, Emergency Medicine, Oncology, Hematology, Endocrine, Genitourinary, Gastrointestinal, Pulmonary, Cardiovascular, and Psychiatric Disorders. Generally, the book is concise and covers all the topics you are likely to be tested on during the exam.
The USMLE Step 2 CK prep book is colorful. Therefore, if you usually use a pen marker to highlight important information, it may not show up as you are used to.
- Short, concise, and straight to the point
- Has practice questions that are similar to those asked in the USMLE exam
- The excellent outline makes studying easier
- Does not cover concepts comprehensively
The final book on your review is the USMLE Step 2 Secrets. This prep book is portable, has a simple layout, and featured dozens of colored images and illustrations. The book also has bulleted lists that make it easy to digest the content provided.
We love the “secrets” and memory aids presented in the book. This information will come in handy when you are taking the exam. Apart from this, the content is separated into small chunks, making it easy to read.
Here’s what’s includes in the USMLE Step 2 Secrets book:
- Colored illustrations and images that make it easy to understand the concepts you may be studying
- The content is arranged in small chunks and bulleted lists to make it easy for you to study’
- Has a list of 100 study secrets
The book presents the facts you will need for the exam. Its simple layout makes it an easy read and allows you to cover a lot of information within a short time.
- You get test secrets that are helpful in detecting the tricks that may be presented during the exam
- Concise and straight-to-the-point content
- The concept review is not very comprehensive
Editor’s Verdict: Best USMLE Step 2 CK Book
Passing the Step 2 CK exam is an important milestone in your medical career. Therefore, you need to use the best study guides to improve your chances of passing. We highly recommend the Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CK book. This guide is written by experts, updated, and goes in depth on the information you would need for the exam.
However, if the Kaplan is too expensive, you can go for the cheaper option of the First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK. This is also a comprehensive book that is highly rated by many medical students.