USMLE Step 2: Best (and Worst) Qbanks- UWorld, Amboss, Kaplan, Board Vitals & MORE! (2021)

Your USMLE Step 2 CK is getting closer! But don’t worry, we’re here to show you how to select a question bank to best prepare. To start, let’s make sure we know what we’re up against. Similar to our Step 1 Qbank review, we will review the prices, differentiating features, and content covered in some of the most popular question banks on the market!

You’ll find reviews for:

How Many Questions are on the USMLE Step 2?

The test consists of a one-day, 9-hour examination and usually is harder than the remaining stage examinations. There are 8 blocks and 40 questions per set. Trust me, with the right practice you can complete each block in the given hour! This gives you an average of 80 seconds per question.

Unlike the USMLE Step 1, this board exam focuses on clinical sciences. Those from newer, smaller, or international schools may not have received significant hands-on clinical training in medical school. This exam alerts residency program directors to a student’s abilities and deficiencies in clinical practice.

What Are the Best Resources for the Step 2?

Selecting the Step 2 CK product with the most high-yield facts can be tricky. You will want to plan the appropriate study time in advance based on the number of questions you wish to cover and how many are in the q-bank.

Here is an overview of some of the key differences students need to know.

Review of 13 Top Step 2 Q-banks

Q-Bank#of QuestionsFree TrialPrice (complete breakdown below)Progress TrackerSelf-assessmentsCustomer Service
Kaplan3,900100 sample questionsStarting at $129YesAvailableEmail or Phone
UWorld2,90010-question free sample testStarting at $269YesAvailableEmail
BoardVitals1,400+Set of 12 sample questionsStarting at $89YesAvailableEmail or Phone
AMBOSS2,400+5-Day trialStarting at $79 (plus monthly subscription)YesAvailableEmail or Contact Form
Lecturio1,200+Access to all 1200+ questions + 20 hours of videosStarting at $24.99YesAvailableContact Form
USMLE-Rx2,300+360+ content for 5 daysStarting at $99YesAvailableEmail or Contact Form
USMLE-Easy11,000 (all Steps)Trial available only for institutionsStarting at $39YesAvailableEmail or Phone
Osmosis7,300 (Steps1 & 2)Available for institutions onlyStarting at $179YesAvailableChatbot
FirecrackerNot mentioned7-dayStarting at $99Not mentionedAvailableEmail or Phone
Archer Review2,600+1 monthStarting at $49YesAvailableEmail or Contact Form
MedBullets1,000+ (Step 1 & 2)90 daysStarting at $79YesAvailableEmail or Phone
OnlineMedEd1,200+Free videosStarting at $0.99 (promotional)YesAvailableContact Form
Exam Guru2,600+Not available Starting at $89Not mentionedAvailableContact Form

NOTE: This information may change. If you notice any discrepancies please don’t hesitate to contact us!

There are many differences between different question banks. Some of the most important include price and teaching approach. Let’s take a look at some of the important differences:

Where Can I Find Free USMLE Step 2 Questions?

Kaplan offers a pool of 40 free questions as a trial.

UWorld does not offer a potent free trial. Students are limited to a 10-question free sample test for testing any or their products.

BoardVitals offers detailed explanations and rationales with Targeted USMLE® Blueprint. Only selected questions are offered in trials.

AMBOSS offers a 5-day free trial to explore their content and platform. As medical learners are not limited by number of questions, we recommend using this when you can dedicate ample time to experimenting with their services.

Lecturio gives you 1200+ free questions with more questions that are added daily.

USMLE-Rx provides you free access to a 5-day trial of 360+ content. During the trial, you will receive full access to the complete Rx Bricks library. After the trial ends, you will retain access to all of the free Rx Bricks (over 150 Bricks in all).

USMLE-EASY does not offer a free trial to students directly. See if your institution is willing to sign up for a trial and gain access to 1100+ exam-oriented questions.

Osmosis offers a complete 1-week free trial only to institutions.

Firecracker by Lippincott gives you a 7-day free trial with complete access to the USMLE STEP-2 material.

Archer Review is offering a free trial for 1 month.

Medbullets gives a 90 days trial period of all the premium features for free.

OnlineMedEd gives free access to unlimited videos. To get started with their Qbank plan, the current promotion is $0.99 for the first month.

Exam Guru has no free access to its NBME Shelf or Step 2 CK q-banks.

Track Your Learning & Improvement

Kaplan shows the result with the help of suitable graphs. This will include test analysis as well as cumulative performance.

UWorld Progress tracker will help the user keep a track record of their performance and compare them with the individual test scores. Each of the questions will also display the percentage of students who selected that option.

BoardVitals qbank provides individual exam scores, the median score of all users, and the user’s percentile rank for each question.

AMBOSS provides you an easy way to track your progress in the analysis section. You can search by tests taken, categories, and other filter results.

LECTURIO a green bar will show you how far you are in a particular course or lecture. Furthermore, a progress percentage is also shown on the side of your screen to monitor qbank completion.

USMLE-Rx shows progress in a graphical form with red, green, and yellow colors displaying the status of questions completed.

USMLE-EASY tracks your progress in the form of graphs to easily understand the results.

Osmosis gives you a progress tracker that shows your progress in the form of a dial-circling icon.

Firecracker by Lippincott also offers a progress tracker to check the material you have learned and track your progress.

Archer Review offers Stats and graphs showing your strengths and weaknesses with Peer comparisons and strategies to excel.

Medbullets efficiently track your progress with the help of graphs and percentages.

OnlineMedEd gives a dedicated progress tracker.

Exam Guru does not mention a progress tracking feature.

Feedback and Customer Service

Kaplan has a help link in each question for those who need additional clarification. They have experts available via email to flush out medical content found in the questions. You can also try to reach them at customer.care@kaplan.com or call 1-800-KAP-TEST.

UWorld Fast, friendly, and reliable 24/7 customer support is available to meet your needs at support@uworld.com.

BoardVitals has 24/7 customer service. You can ask for help via support@boardvitals.com or calling 1-877-221-1529.

AMBOSS customer support help is available 24/7. You can send all your queries to hello@amboss.com or through their Contact page.

Lecturio customer support is available via email service in the Contact page and feedback can be given using a small tab that appears on a side of the screen

USMLE-Rx offers customer support by a help tab at the bottom of the web page, their Contact page or by emailing info@usmle-rx.com.

USMLE-EASY has an online customer service can be reached at 1-888-307-5984 or email inquiries to customersuccess@mheducation.com.

Osmosis has a small customer services chatbot in the right corner to assist you and.

Firecracker has a customer support service in its contact us section. They provide their services by email (customerservice@lww.com) and phone (1-800-638-3030).

Archer Review allows you to interact with physicians via the dashboard for personalized feedback. You can get access to customer support with their Contact Us page or via support@archerreview.com.

Medbullets allow you to give feedback directly on the web page or through email (info@orthobullets.com). You can also call the helpline at 917-647-5276.

OnlineMedEd has a customer service facility in the contact us section of the web page.

Exam Guru can be accessed through their Contact page.

What Content is Covered in Step 2 Qbanks?

Kaplan features questions similar to the NBME. The banks have audio questions, and explanations are provided for correct and incorrect answers to cover all topics relevant to the USMLE Step 2 CK. The Qbanks can be configured in timed or tutor modes.

Uworld provides real-life clinical scenarios to test high-yield concepts with Content tailored for both the Step 2 CK and shelf exams. A conceptual focus on important clinical topics and detailed explanations for incorrect options is also provided. Each exam consists of 4 blocks of 40 multiple-choice questions that span multiple subjects.

BoardVitals presents its exam questions in either a timed or review mode. You can set up your block of questions either by subject or a mix of subjects. Questions include audio question formats as found in the actual examination. Explanations are provided for correct and incorrect answers to cover all topics relevant to the USMLE Step-2 CK exam.

AMBOSS With 2400+ Step 2 CK questions and corresponding articles that encompass Neurology, Surgery, Internal Medicine, and other high-yield topics, AMBOSS provides you quality content.

Lecturio offers its q-bank of 1200+ questions for free with questions that are added daily. All the questions are per NBME standards.

USMLE-Rx offers over 2,300 thoroughly reviewed USMLE-style questions, a feature to flag the question if you want to review it later on, content-rich explanations with illustrations, charts, and more, page references to First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK, high-yield bottom Line takeaways.

USMLE-EASY has USMLE style q-banks with adequate explanation to self-evaluate.

Osmosis believes in interactive learning so they provide video lectures and USMLE style questions only.

Firecracker provides you questions useful for the exams with flashcards and topic summaries.

Archer Review offers high yield q-banks and basic concept-building clinical scenarios, 200 hours lecture videos, summaries for all questions.

Medbullets have 1000+ high yield topics, q-banks, and articles. They also offer 500+ educational videos and teaching cases are coming soon.

OnlineMedEd offers video lectures, notes, q-banks, flashcards, and downloadable audio lectures.

Exam Guru gives a wide variety of disease processes that you will be expected to know, in addition to normal development.

A complete list can be found in the USMLE Content Outline and the NBME Content Outline.

How Much do Step 2 Qbanks Cost?

A question bank for the Step 2 CK can run you $0.99-270/month (OnlineMedEd promotion vs UWorld)! Purchasing multiple-month or annual packages can not only save you a lot of money, but also unlock unique features. Of course, trying the free trials listed above first is a great way to determine which platform works best for your individual needs. 

Questions to ask before purchasing a Step 2 Qbank:

Kaplan subscription starts from $129 for 1 month to $299 for 12 months.

UWorld subscription ranges from $269 for 30 days to $719 for 730-day access.

Board Vitals offers a basic plan for $89 for 1 month. $139 for 2 months, and $209 for 6 months. The second two plans come with a Pass Guarantee, Ask a Clinician feature, and Buy Now Start Later option. 

AMBOSS subscription starts from $79 for 1 month to $299 for 12 months, plus a $9.99/month subscription fee.

Lecturio is offering q-banks for free but the premium membership can cost you $24.99 for 1 month to $8.99/month for 2 years ($215.76 total).

USMLE-Rx give you complete access for $99 for 1-month, $189 for 3-months, $269 for 6-months, $349 for 12-months, and $449 for 24-months.

USMLE-EASY subscription costs $39 for 1 week, $79 for 1 month, and $169 for 3 months.

Osmosis subscription starts from $179 for 6 months, $199 for 12-months, and $279 for 24-moths

Firecracker offers its subscription for $99 for 2 months and $149 for 6 months.

Archer Review gives its subscription for $49 for 1-month, $79 for 2-months, $90 for 3-months, and $159 for 6-months.

Medbullets offers a free trial for 90 days along with packages of $98 for 6 months or $175 for 12 months.

With OnlineMedEd you can register for their promotional offer of $0.99 for the first month. It’s unclear how much it is monthly after this. They also offer 12-months for $365.

Exam Guruis $89 for 1-month, $129 for 3 months, $189 for 6 months, or $209 for their “Until You Pass” deal.

Key Features of Each Question Bank

Kaplan

UWorld

BoardVitals

AMBOSS

Lecturio

USMLE-Rx

USMLE-Easy

Osmosis

Firecracker

Archer Review

MedBullets

OnlineMedEd

Exam Guru

For physician advice during your clinical clerkships, listen to the Rounds to Residency podcast!

Final Recommendations

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Step 1 moving to pass/fail, and several other uprooting changes occurring in medical education, knowing how to assess the Step 2 importance can be daunting!

Luckily, we can see from the most recent NMPR Residency Director Surevey 2020 how the program directors view the importance of this clinical exam. Let’s take a look at the where Step 2 CK stands in comparison to other important factors straight from the horses mouth.

USMLE step exam

The first consideration is simply getting your foot in the door. Each residency site has a different process for whittling down hundreds to thousands off applications into a more manageable selection for interviews.

As we can see, your Step 2 CK score has an average ranking of 4/5 as reported by 507 program directors (78%). This average has remained relatively stable over recent years, averaging a 4 out of 5 in 2018 and a 4.1 in 2016.

This is also now on par with the Step 1 score average rating, which was 4.1 in 2018 and 4.2 in 2016. We can expect this shift to continue as Step 1 moves to pass/fail in 2022.

However, being invited to the show is only half the battle! So how does this score stack up to final residency selection?

USMLE Step exam

When it comes to selecting applicants after the interview, interpersonal skills are always key! After all, would you hire someone to work with you for several years you didn’t get along with or had trouble holding a conversation? However, exam scores can still play a role if an applicant is teetering on the edge.

At this stage, Step 2 actually beats out the Step 1 though narrowly. It’s 4.0 ranking has actually slightly decreased from its position of 4.1 in 2016 and 2018. More interestingly is that Step 1 has consistently decreased in importance from 4.1 in 2016 to 4.0 in 2018 and now 3.9 in 2020.

One interpretation of these data is that the board exams are still important but their importance is waning over time. This means that students without the best testing abilities and scores may still be able to lock in competitive residency positions. Of course, you will want to look at the ratings given by your top institutions of choice to see which still covet the USMLE exams and which look for more well-rounded applicants.

In many instances, it’s more important to not fail than to pass with the highest marks. Just remember, you are only competing against yourself. Strive for slow and constant progress and know what, whatever the outcome, you gave it your all!

Boost your externship knowledge with our Medical Student Guide to Clinical Rotations & Clerkships!

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