The USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) is typically taken as the second test in a series of three national certifying examinations that are necessary to obtain a license to practice medicine in the United States. Step 2 CK is usually taken between the end of the third year of medical school and the end of the fourth year. How is Step 2 CK different from Step 1? Generally speaking, Step 2 CK is more clinically based than Step 1. Although there is no requirement to take Step 1 before Step 2 CK, this is the typical sequence for U.S. graduates.
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According to the test maker, the questions on Step 2 CK measure the ability to apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science as they pertain to patient care (under supervision), with emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Clinical Knowledge is one of two components of Step 2; the other, Clinical Skills (CS), uses model patients to test the ability to perform in a real clinical setting. Step 2 CK provides the foundation for the safe and effective practice of medicine by future medical doctors.
Results of the USMLE are reported to medical licensing authorities in the United States and its territories for use in granting the initial license to practice medicine. The sponsors of the USMLE are the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).
USMLE Step 2 CK is a computer-based test that will not exceed questions taken over a 9-hour period. The test is divided into 8 blocks, each of which lasts 60 minutes. Once you have completed a block or your 60 minutes has run out, you will not be able to go back and review or change any of your work on that block. You will have 45 minutes of break time, which is used to transition between blocks and for longer breaks that require you to leave your seat (i.e., authorized breaks). The computer keeps track of your break time. You must be sure not to exceed the 45 minutes or you will be penalized by having any overage break time taken from the 60 minutes allotted for the last block of the test.
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