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Scheduling the USMLE Step 2 CK

Check out our rundown of how to register and schedule your second big board exam.

It’s January and for a lot of med students, that means it’s time to get serious about planning for the USMLE Step exams later this year. This post will be focused specifically on sorting out the scheduling process for Step 2 CKand how you can get organized for the exam and stay ahead of things. Getting a high score on Step 2 CK is strongly associated with matching into your preferred residency, so you should create a game plan today!

Although anyone currently enrolled in a medical school that meets the eligibility requirements outlined by the NBME can technically take Step 2 CK, there is a good reason that most students take it late in their 3rd, or early in their 4th year of med school. The “CK” moniker stands for Clinical Knowledge, so it’s strongly recommended that students wait until after they’ve completed their core clinical rotations. Doing this allows medical students to gain the vital clinical experience necessary for success on the exam.

Eligibility and Registration

Once you’re nearing the time to schedule your test day, you’ll first need to apply for eligibility to register through the NBME. After verifying that you fulfill the requirements for taking Step 2 CK, you can then select your specific exam date online through Prometric. As of the publication of this post, registration for the exam costs $645 if scheduled at a test site in the US or Canada. The summer months are popular for taking Step 2 CK with Cram Fighter users, with the top most popular months being July, June, and August (as of January 2021).

Rescheduling Your Exam Date

Don’t be too worried about which day you select, though, because it is always possible to reschedule. In fact, if you know early on that the day you initially chose won’t work, you’ll be able to reschedule for no charge if you do so more than 31 days out from your scheduled exam date. Rescheduling closer to your exam date is certainly possible, but this is when the fees start to kick in. For rescheduling Step 2 CK with more than 5 days to your exam but fewer than 31 days, you’ll incur a $50 fee to change the date. A reschedule with 5 days or fewer left before your scheduled exam will have a $136 fee, but it’s certainly worthwhile changing the date rather than wasting your chance to prepare and do well.

What’s Covered in the Exam?

Regarding the content areas covered on Step 2 CK, the core topics tested on the exam span body systems, physician competencies, and disciplines. Essentially, all of the major body systems as well as behavioral health, biostatistics, epidemiology, social sciences, and related topics can populate possible exam questions. Interweaving these core sciences with processes relating to patient care will help to carry you through the physician competencies aspect of Step 2 CK, with the specific medical disciplines covered including medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychiatry. For greater detail on the content of Step 2 CK, be sure to check out our blog post all about it.

How Long Should You Study for the Step 2 CK?

According to Elite Medical Blog and Med School Tutors, the general consensus is that students should set aside a solid few weeks for Step 2 CK preparation. Maximize your studying effectiveness by making certain that you don’t have any major responsibilities, academic or otherwise, that can be distractions leading up to your exam date.

It’s recommended that you start preparing as soon as possible, and Cram Fighter’s users typically follow that advice. Our customers currently (as of Jan. 2021) spend 77 days til the date of their exam following their Step 2 CK study schedule.

Whatever your plans to tackle the Step 2 CK exam, Cram Fighter can help you stay organized and on track. Sign up here for a free 7-day trial of Cram Fighter to see how easy it is to build a personalized study schedule for Step 2 CK.

About the Author

Erica Forrette is the former Director of Marketing at Cram Fighter.