Just passed step 1 , going into step 2

Ive got a couple of unrelated questions I’m having some doubts with I would appreciate your opinion on the matter.
Took and passed step 1 a month ago (THANKS!, couldn’t have done it without ankihub, AnKing deck) the thing is I took a month off, so naturally allot of flashcards built up in this time.

  1. Have I messed up the entire algorithms o should I just study these accumulated flashcards (around 3.000) and let the algorithm continue its course?
  2. I have around 10.000 cards that overlap between step 1 and 2, some of these cards I won’t see till after my step 2 exam, and im not sure I really know them all, how should I go about this cards wich I wont see before my step 2 exam?
  3. Should I jump directly into a question bank and make cards or unsuspend cards based on question bank corrects and incorrect or should I approach this as I did with step 1 which was studying a subject (boards and beyond in my case) then going to anki and then going to qbank having already studied the subject, I ask this because I’m reding everywhere qbanks are key for step 2 and should be the primary study resource. Personally I really like the method of going to the question bank already knowing what I was gonna face, I used boards and beyond as my study resource, loved Dr. Ryan explanations and planting this in my brain using anking deck before going into the qbank. and was looking to watching his videos again for step 2, but now I’m doubting if this would be a smart approach.

Thanks in advance

By no means do I consider the approach to be the only correct one, but I had a lot of success with this.

#1. Suspend and forget all cards. Yes, all of them. It might be counterintuitive / anti-algorithm, but I think a fresh start is nice (plus you will benefit from seeing cards again before your shelf exams).

#2. I was also a die-hard Boards and Beyond → follow with Anki cards type user. I needed to learn from a primary source before doing cards. I didn’t use it for Step 2 and didn’t feel like I had the time. My primary source became question banks (it isn’t as bad as you think… you will know probably 50-60% already) with careful review of questions, even the ones that I got right.

#3. Get the AnKing UW QID add-on and make your life easier. After every block you do, copy the string of QIDs and paste into the add-on. All cards related will populate and you can unsuspend as needed. This was a huge time saver for me and helped alleviate the anxiety of needing to do something before the cards.

#4. If your Step 1 knowledge is feeling really weak: Before each rotation, go ahead and search for the cards that overlap with Step 1. For example, if starting family medicine, search “tag:#AK_Step2_v12::!Shelf::FM::no_dupes tag:#AK_Step1_v12” and unsuspend in large chunks (let’s say 250 per day for 4 days to get through them), hitting “easy” as much as possible to skip learning steps for cards you 100% know. Be careful here or you’ll end up with too many cards to do daily while also trying to complete clinical rotations… it is a recipe for disaster.

Please let me know if you have any questions!


First of all thanks for your response, your comment was the final push i needed to suspend most of my cards (left in sketchy pharm and micro that also had a Step 2 tag on them) the rest is gone. Feel kinda dizzy to be honest haha. after all that work suspending and forgetting all of those cards wasn’t easy but i truly believe this is the right path.

I’ve got a couple of questions if you don’t mind sharing your opinion. Im a IMG, already graduated from med school in my country which means i don’t have to deal with shelfs, 100% of my time going forward is going to be dedicated to step 2 prep. Having said that how would you go about it if you were in my place? I’m planning to take 6 months or till my nbmes scores gets above 250 (wichever comes first)

Jumping straight to a q bank without first looking at a primary resource scares the shit out of me, but i believe it would be more efficient than going through so many flashcards in a passive manner. Heres my plan, i would like to get your opinion on it and any modifications you would make to it.

For the first 3 months im planning on going through uworld in tuttor mode and in a system wise manner while at the same time creating or un suspending cards i find relevant based o qbank mistakes or difficulties (i feel like if i do this in random mode if would be difficult to get the big picture) . Also CMS + anki

For the next 3 months Amboss in random mode, timed + anki + nbmes

You aren’t alone - I also felt a bit crazy (and nauseous) when I finally did this myself!

I think your approach sounds great - doing system-based Q-bank will help you divide the learning. Since you are done with school already, I think I would actually incorporate my #4 more heavily. You still don’t want to overdo it and end up drowning, but I think 350-400 cards daily is very doable if you don’t have clinical duties at the same time. So before each “block” of studying, you could really try to get through the cards that are tagged for a given shelf AND have Step 1 overlap using the strategy I outlined above in #4 (even though you aren’t taking shelf exams, the tags line up well with UWorld content so I would keep the approach). Still limit to what’s necessary, but doing these before each block will be a great review of the basics and will probably boost your performance.

After doing the above, continue with your plan as is. Unsuspend cards relevant to each 40 question block you have done (can use the QID add-on), and make good use of the lecture notes/missed questions fields on these cards. I agree that learning cards based on questions makes more sense than jumping into cards right away, but that is a matter of preference - I also support tutor mode for immediate feedback. AMBOSS randomized after doing UWorld is a great way to check learning and is also how I used my dedicated Step 2 prep time. Personally, I hate the NBME forms (both subject tests and full CCSSA) because the explanations are not very good, but they can still be helpful for drilling. Finish with UWorld self-assessments.

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