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Jefferson Medical College Alpha Omega Alpha

Guide to USMLE Step II: Clinical Knowledge


After the rigorous third year at Jefferson, the last thing you feel like doing is taking another day-long standardized test. Well, you can relax because this exam is generally considered to be easier and less nitpicky than Step I. Jeff students also tend to do well on Step II, since we are well prepared in our clinical rotations and the questions are similar to those found on shelf exams.

The USMLE Step II CK exam is a test of the clinical knowledge gained during the third year medical school core clerkships. It is similar in format to Step I, but is more clinically oriented, i.e. you are given a patient scenario and asked about the diagnosis or next step. The exam consists of 370 questions which are divided into eight blocks which is one section longer than seven-block Step I, but each section contains 46 instead of 50 questions, so you have a little bit more time to answer each question. One hour is allotted for each section, with a maximum of nine hours in total, such that the additional hour may be used for break time. As with the USMLE Step I exam, additional time from each hour block may be added to the examinee's cumulative break time.

Subjects tested include Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry, Neurology, Emergency Medicine, Dermatology, selected surgical sub-specialties, and a little Radiology. Recently the exam began to include a few (no more than 5) "media" multiple choice questions consisting of audio and/or video clips. More detail on all aspects of the exam is available on the USMLE website if you follow the link below. Most students have not had all of these rotations prior to Step II CK, so it is important to read a review book for these topics.

The Jefferson AOA Guide to the USMLE Step II CK will answer your Common Questions about the test, will assist you in Planning a Schedule, and will suggest the Right Resources to help you prepare appropriately. Also, please check out the official USMLE Step II website for more information:

Last updated: March 2013

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