The Best USMLE Step 2 CK Review Books of 2019

By May 15, 2019 October 16th, 2019 Medical Book Reviews
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There are three steps in the US Medical Licensure Exam. The second step is then divided into two parts: Clinical Skills (CS) and Clinical Knowledge (CK). In connection with that, CK differs from CS in the sense that you are tested only based on knowledge instead of skills. And, in that regard, you need to be able to equip yourself with the best USMLE Step 2 CK review materials so that you will come to the exam with the necessary knowledge to pass or even ace the USMLE.

Our Favorites for the Best USMLE Step 2 CK Review Books (the best out of the bunch)

USMLE Step 2 CK Lecture Notes by Kaplan Medical

A leader in the industry of medical books, Kaplan delivers you a five-book volume containing five comprehensive books that are designed to give you the best kind of review that money can buy. Each of those five books functions as individual review materials on their own because they are so comprehensive and complete. But, in this case, Kaplan has bundled them up in a set to make reviewing for the USMLE Step 2 CK easier.

As every book gives you an in-depth review, you will find that it is quite easy to breeze through them because of how well-organized and easy they are on the eyes. The books are fully colored and they have their own diagrams and images to make learning and reviewing easier and more understandable for you. And, if you want a targeted and quick review, there are summary boxes that contain the most important concepts and information.

For its price, this volume might seem expensive. However, considering that it already contains five in-depth books that function as complete study guides on their own, you do not have to worry about spending too much for such a comprehensive volume. It consistently garners five stars on Amazon and is considered to be the only set you need to ace Step 2 CK of the USMLE.

What makes it unique:

  • It is a five-book volume.
  • While it seems like a lengthy read, there are summary boxes that you can use to make things quicker and easier.

Why choose this book:

  • This five-book volume is nothing short of complete in terms of content.
  • It is a great choice for whenever you are building your foundation.


First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK by Tao Le, Vikas Bhushan

You can never go wrong when choosing a First Aid book for the USMLE. In this regard, the book for the USMLE Step 2 CK continues the tradition of success as it is a study guide that is consistently updated not only to fit the changes and to stay relevant but to adjust to whatever feedback it gets from medical professionals and students alike.

Priding itself at being a well-organized material, this book presents you with all of the most important details and information all in one place. It explains the topics in great detail while also making it easier read through the book by using images and illustrations that are in full color. The topics are also organized well enough for you to easily pick out certain subjects you want to focus on.

Also included in the book are bulleted presentations of the most important diseases and disorders you need to remember, a section that focuses on rapid review, mnemonics to help you remember important information, and flash facts that not only test your knowledge but also help improve your retention as well.

F0r its price, it is a lot more affordable than the first one on this list and can already be used as a standalone guidebook for the USMLE Step 2 CK. It is well-accepted by medical students on Amazon because of its good organization and because of how it was able to summarize certain topics concisely.

What makes it unique:

  • Contains mnemonics to help you memorize important concepts and information.
  • It has a list of the most important diseases and disorders to remember.

Why choose this book:

  • This is a complete all-around book that makes it easier for you to gain a foundational knowledge that is vital to pass the USMLE Step 2 CK.
  • It is not as lengthy and as comprehensive as some of the other books on this list but it can already act as a standalone material.


The Runners-Up for the Best USMLE Step 2 CK Review Books (still good but a little lacking)

USMLE Step 2 Secrets by Theodore O’Connell

This is not your conventional review book in the sense that it does not follow the usual flow of some of the study guides on the market. Instead, it is a material that is unique on its own because of how it helps you get the most out of your review time by giving you secrets and tips and tricks that can help give you the edge on the day of the exam.

Secrets discusses the topics in a way that is concise and short so that you will be able to study in a quick and targeted manner. In that regard, it uses a simple layout that uses colored images, illustrations, and bullet points to make it easier for you to absorb and connect the different concepts and information.

The book prides itself at giving out “secrets” that are actually are actually tips and strategies you can use to get into the test writer’s head and to answer the exam based on what he/she was thinking. There are about 100 of those secrets in this book. And, on top of that, it also has memory aids that can help make memorizing and familiarizing yourself with certain concepts easier and quicker.

For its price, it is a really affordable book that works best as a companion to the more comprehensive materials. In that sense, it is not as complete and as thorough as some of the books on this list but it can be quite useful especially if you are looking for that one factor that can give you the edge on the day of the exam.

What makes it unique:

  • It contains 100 secrets that can help you answer the exam in the trickiest of ways.
  • It comes in a handy and portable size that makes it easy for you to carry wherever you go.

Why choose this book:

  • It is a quick and handy book that is quite easy to use and bring. In that sense, it makes studying an easy task for you.
  • The secrets are quite useful in the sense that you will be able to sense the tricks you can use to answer the different questions efficiently.


Step-Up to USMLE Step 2 CK by Brian Jenkins, Michael McInnis, Chris Lewis

This book was designed to be a quick review material you can use if you are short on time. In that regard, it makes learning and reviewing easier for you with the help of full-colored visual tools such as diagrams, images, and illustrations. It was also able to weed out all of the fluff and unnecessary details to provide you with a study guide that only has the most essential information and concepts you need to perform well during the USMLE.

To help you focus more on the topics and the concepts you need to remember, the book has a Quick Hit area that shows you the things that will most likely come out of the exam. It also makes it easier for you to jump from one topic to another because of how the sections are coded based on color. Finally, one other aspect that stands out is that it includes 300 practice questions you can use to improve and hone your knowledge of the topics.

For its price, Step-Up to USMLE Step 2 CK is a really affordable book for anyone looking for a targeted study material. Again, like the other runner-up on this list, it does not have the same type of comprehensive review experience that some books deliver but it works well as a complementary material you can use if you are short on time.

What makes it unique:

  • The Quick Hits help you in knowing the topics that will most likely be tested in the exam.
  • It does not waste your time because of how short and concise it is and how it was able to eliminate as much fluff as possible.

Why choose this book:

  • This is really a great choice for you if you want a quick and targeted review that does not eat up a lot of time.


The Best Value for Your Money for the Best USMLE Step 2 CK Review Books (good and affordable)

Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK by Conrad Fischer

Because this book is published by Kaplan Medical, you are assured that it is a high-quality study guide. Though it comes from the same publisher as Kaplan’s five-book set, it was designed to be a more targeted and concise material. In that sense, you can think of it as a summarized version of all of Kaplan’s five books.

Because it is a targeted review book, it makes things easier for you to digest and understand. It has full-colored images, diagrams, and illustrations that were designed to make the topics condensed and easier to absorb and retain. There is also a step-by-step process on patient care that is quite easy to follow. And, finally, this book has a section that helps you recognize incorrect answers.

For its price, Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK might be a better choice for you than some of the more complete books because of how much more affordable it is. But, then again, it is not as comprehensive and as in-depth as some of the other choices on this list. It might work for you if you want a more targeted and condensed type of review.

What makes it unique:

  • This book is easy to understand and digest especially with its right use of illustrations and diagrams.
  • It has a section that gives tips on how to spot incorrect answers.

Why choose this book:

  • It is a good choice for you if you want a book for the purposes of a targeted review.
  • This book is quite easy to read and understand especially if you are a visual learner.


Summary of the Best USMLE Step 2 CK Review Books

To sum up, here are the best USMLE Step 2 CK review books we looked at today:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
USMLE Step 2 CK Lecture Notes 2019 $329.99 1616
First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK, Tenth Edition $50.00 656
USMLE Step 2 Secrets $44.99 424
Step-Up to USMLE Step 2 CK (Step-Up Series) $58.99 352
Master the Boards USMLE Step 2 CK $54.99 784

Because Step 2 CK is more about knowledge compared to Step 2 CS, it is important for you to come equipped with all of the information and concepts that will be tested during the USMLE Step 2 CK. Our top choices of USMLE Step 2 CK review books will help you in that regard. However, endurance is also key as the exam will last for nine long hours. That said, mental and physical preparation are both important for you to perform well during the USMLE Step 2 CK.

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