When Do Med Students Take Step 2


When Do Med Students Take Step 2?

Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is an important milestone for medical students. It assesses their ability to apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science in the context of patient care. Step 2 consists of two parts: Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Clinical Skills (CS). In this article, we will explore when med students typically take Step 2 and answer some frequently asked questions about this examination.

1. Timing of Step 2 CK:
Step 2 CK is usually taken after completion of the third year of medical school. Most students take this exam during their fourth year, as it covers a wide range of clinical subjects that are typically covered during clinical rotations. Since Step 2 CK is a computer-based examination, it offers flexible scheduling options, allowing students to choose a convenient time during their fourth year. However, it is recommended to take Step 2 CK before submitting residency applications, as some programs may require the CK scores for consideration.

2. Timing of Step 2 CS:
Step 2 CS is the clinical skills component of the USMLE and is typically taken in the fourth year of medical school. It assesses the student’s ability to gather information from patients, perform physical examinations, and communicate effectively with patients and colleagues. Step 2 CS is a hands-on examination conducted in person, and it has specific testing centers in the United States. Due to limited availability, it is essential to plan ahead and schedule the exam well in advance.


Q1. What is the passing score for Step 2 CK and CS?
A1. The passing score for Step 2 CK is 209, while for Step 2 CS, it is a combination of three components: Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS), Spoken English Proficiency (SEP), and Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE). Each component is scored on a scale of 1-9, and a minimum score of 2 is required in each component to pass the exam.

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Q2. How long does it take to get Step 2 CK and CS results?
A2. Step 2 CK results are typically available within 3-4 weeks of taking the exam. On the other hand, Step 2 CS results are released around 3 months after the examination date.

Q3. Can Step 2 CK be taken before Step 1?
A3. While it is not mandatory to take Step 1 before Step 2 CK, most students prefer to complete Step 1 first, as it covers the foundational knowledge necessary for clinical practice. Additionally, some residency programs require Step 1 scores for application consideration.

Q4. Are there any eligibility requirements for Step 2 CK and CS?
A4. To be eligible for Step 2 CK and CS, students must be enrolled in or have graduated from a medical school that is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools. It is recommended to check the specific eligibility requirements outlined by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) or the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

Q5. How can I prepare for Step 2 CK and CS?
A5. There are various resources available to prepare for Step 2 CK and CS, including review books, online question banks, and practice exams. It is essential to create a study schedule, review clinical cases, and practice time management skills for the CS component. Additionally, seeking guidance from peers, faculty, or online communities can be helpful in understanding the exam format and content.

In conclusion, Step 2 of the USMLE plays a significant role in the medical education journey of students. The timing of Step 2 CK and CS is typically during the fourth year of medical school, allowing students to build upon their clinical experiences. By understanding the process and preparing adequately, med students can approach this examination with confidence and take another step towards their future careers in medicine.

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