Which USMLE Step 2 CK Resources to Use While on Peds Rotation

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • Pediatric medicine is vastly different from adult medicine. For one, every patient doesn’t have high blood pressure, type II diabetes and high cholesterol. Other differences center around what diseases are common, normal vital signs and vaccines. The good news is, for all these differences, there are some top-notch resources that will help you successfully navigate your pediatric rotation, Shelf, and USMLE Step 2 CK prep.

    With any rotation, you won’t be able to just dive into UWorld questions right away. You need to build a foundation of knowledge. The best way to build your knowledge foundation for any rotation is to do some short reading or video watching followed by some quick question review. Firecracker, Online MedEd, and Case Files are all good resources for this. I personally, am a fan of all three because they’re super short and give you a lot of the basics needed for UWorld.

    Case Files Pediatrics, Online MedEd, and Firecracker for Step 2 CK Prep

    Case Files Pediatrics is an especially good resource because most cases are 6 or so pages. A typical way to use these effectively would be to:

    1. Find the topic you want to review in whatever book you prefer to annotate in (i.e Mastering the Boards, Step Up to Medicine, First Aid, or even just your journal) and then,

    2. Watch the Online MedEd video for the topic.

    3. Next, read the Firecracker material on the topic and work through the associated questions.

    4. Finally, you can reinforce your topic review one more time by finding the corresponding topic in Case Files and working through the associated questions.

    This can all be spaced out over a few days, so you can get some spaced repetition in there as well.

    A note about Case Files: you don’t necessarily need to read the entire book cover to cover. Its utility lies in the clarity in which topics are presented. If you feel you need a little more clarification on a topic, Case Files are a perfect place to go. Once you’ve done this with a few topics (pediatric rashes, common pediatric cancers, vaccination schedule and congenital defects for example), you will be able to move on to the serious questions.

    UWorld for the Pediatrics Rotation and Step 2 CK Prep

    When it comes to serious vignette style questions, UWorld will always be the best. UWorld gives the clearest explanations and even references articles, should you want to learn a bit more in depth (if you’re interested in pediatrics or any specialty in general, having up-to-date knowledge outside of what’s necessary for your exams will really help you stand out). Typically, going through these resources once (again, be picky with Case Files) is more than enough in order to do well on your Shelf, have a solid foundation for Step 2 CK, and navigate the day-to-day of your pediatrics rotation. Once you go through the pediatric section of UWorld once, get the NBMEs. I typically review UWorld in between doing NBME questions, as often UWorld will explain an NBME question.

    NBMEs for Step 2 CK & Shelf Prep, and the Pediatrics Rotation

    There are four NBMEs for Pediatrics. In my opinion, the first one isn’t the most accurate in terms of what the exam is like. That being said, question exposure is crucial, so make you sure you do it anyway. Once you complete all the NBMEs and missed UWorld questions, it’s time to take your test. Just like any other exam, there will be missed questions no matter how many questions or resources you’ve used. Don’t let it discourage you! Covering all of this material in 6 weeks may sound daunting but it’s all about using your time wisely. Whenever you have some downtime in clinic, or the wards are slow, try and read a case here and there or pull up UWorld on your phone. I’m sure you will all do great. Take care everyone and happy studying!

    Looking for additional Pediatrics Rotation materials? Have a look at our Pediatrics Shelf Preparation Guide.