USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) From A to Z

USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) is a critical component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and is designed to assess a medical student’s clinical knowledge and problem-solving abilities. Here are the key details about USMLE Step 2 CK:


  • USMLE Step 2 CK evaluates a candidate’s clinical knowledge and their ability to apply that knowledge in the context of patient care.
  • It focuses on assessing medical skills and decision-making abilities in real-world clinical scenarios.


  • USMLE Step 2 CK is a computer-based multiple-choice examination.
  • The exam typically consists of approximately 318 multiple-choice questions.
  • These questions are divided into eight blocks, with each block containing 40-44 questions.
  • Examinees have a total of nine hours to complete the exam, including breaks between blocks.


  • The content of USMLE Step 2 CK covers a broad range of clinical topics, including, but not limited to:
    • Internal Medicine
    • Surgery
    • Pediatrics
    • Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Psychiatry
    • Preventive Medicine
    • Emergency Medicine
  • Questions on Step 2 CK often present clinical vignettes, which are scenarios based on patient cases, and require examinees to make diagnostic and treatment decisions.


  • Scores on USMLE Step 2 CK are reported on a three-digit scale.
  • The minimum passing score may vary from year to year and is determined by the USMLE program.
  • To pass Step 2 CK, examinees must achieve a score equal to or higher than the minimum passing score established for that particular testing cycle.


  • Preparing for USMLE Step 2 CK is a rigorous process that usually involves several months of dedicated study.
  • Many medical students use a variety of resources, including textbooks, review books, online question banks, and dedicated study programs to prepare.
  • Practice exams and self-assessment tools can help candidates gauge their readiness for the actual exam.


  • USMLE Step 2 CK is a critical examination because its results are used by residency program directors to assess a candidate’s clinical knowledge and skills.
  • High scores on Step 2 CK can enhance a candidate’s competitiveness when applying for residency programs in the United States.
  • It is typically taken during or after the clinical clerkship years of medical school.

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