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First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK, Eighth Edition (First Aid for the USMLE Step 2: Clinical Knowledge) 8th Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071761376
ISBN-10: 0071761373
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tao Le, MD, MHS is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at The University of Louisville (Louisville, KY). He is the founder of USMLE Rx.com, an online subscription database of USMLE review questions.

Vikas Bhushan, MD practices diagnostic radiology from his home-base in Los Angeles, CA.

Nathan Skelley is the senior student editor.

Contributing Authors and Junior Editors are from Yale University School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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Product Details

  • Series: First Aid for the USMLE Step 2: Clinical Knowledge
  • Paperback: 566 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education / Medical; 8th edition (April 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071761373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071761376
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me begin by saying I seriously struggled about getting this book. I LOVED (and loved to hate) FA Step 1.. FA + Goljan audio + UW for 4.5 weeks got me >230 after being a mediocre student for the first 2 years of medical school. I was 100% set on doing FA for Step 2 after I took step 1 but then all these reviews on Amazon and SDN scared me away so I started panicking and got Step Up to Medicine and got overwhelmed by it during my IM clerkship and then got MTB Step 2 and feel duped (too much obviously missing and I do not believe the reviews for it on Amazon anymore). I also bought Secrets to Step 2 and I really like that one but it's kind of hard to learn from initially but it's definitely a keeper.

Anyways, I ended up buying FA Step 2 CK and just started skimming it. I don't know why everyone keeps saying that it is lacking in information but then I remembered people used to say the same about FA Step 1. I'd constantly hear people saying that it NEEDS to be supplemented by RR or Pathoma or BRS or whatever. I ignored them and told myself if I could memorize every line in FA I will fill my little brain to maximum capacity for a single exam.

Now that I am looking at FA Step 2 CK, I feel like I can say the same... If I can memorize everything in this book + understand all answers of UW, I will feel confident about taking Step 2. Secrets for Step 2 will be my Goljan audio (mention interesting little high yield factoids). In summary, if you ignored the haters that told you FA Step 1 is not enough only to see for yourself that it was, then at the very least you owe it to yourself to give FA Step 2 CK a shot.
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Almost all med students know of the importance of "First Aid for the Step 1" in their board preparation; it's almost a rite of passage to buy, read, and annotate in it until it's dog-eared and the spine breaks. So, when I began my Step 2 preparation, I naturally purchased this book as it seemed the intuitive choice. However, for those expecting the ease and terseness of the Step 1 book, you will surely be disappointed. This would make for a two-star review, however, after a review of the other main options, I'd give it three stars, because it certainly isn't much worse than the competitors.

For starters, the format is not the mnemonic and diagram-driven format of the Step 1 book, but is written in paragraph and bullet point format. It's something I actually prefer to the outline format of "Step Up to Step 2", but some may find it dense.

The second thing--and my main dig on this book--is that it doesn't say much more about diagnosis and treatment than the Step 1 book! I expected it to be more focused on management of disease, but was underwhelmed. Unlike "Step Up to Medicine" and the Kaplan High Yield course, which tell you exactly what the "best initial diagnostic test" or "most accurate test" or "best initial therapy" is, First Aid for the Step 2 really...doesn't tell you that much at all. In many cases, it merely lists a bunch of diagnostic tests that "may be useful" or "may show (insert finding here)" but does not tell you in what order to do them. With treatment, it is equally as vague for many conditions.

It also surprisingly omits many conditions I've ran into in my question banks, such as every other type of aphasia except Broca's and Wernicke's.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm loving the new full-color printing of this book. It's a pleasure to read and the graphics are much more engaging. First Aid is the place to start for Step 1 and now Step 2 studying. The outline form (with some tables) is a good condensed way to reconnect with an overview of the information during a first pass through. Unfortunately, the content isn't nearly comprehensive enough, and this absolutely shouldn't be a single source for study material. I used this book, going through a chapter and then doing all of the USMLE World Qbank questions on the subject for that same chapter, writing in additional notes in this book's margins to create a cumulative reference for my final pass through. Once that was done I was much more comfortable with an adequate coverage of the material, and it was always a bit shocking how much I needed to add (and looking back after the test I'm glad that I did). Another complete pass through UWorld questions and then a final read through this book and I was ready to go.

The best part of the book is the quick review pages at the end, perfect for the few days before the test to get the last cram session completed with a rehashing of the most high yield mnemonics and associations.
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I had some doubts initially because people don't seem to love First Aid for step 2 CK as much as they love First Aid for step 1, but it's a solid review book with lots of tables and pictures. This book definitely does not seem to be as comprehensive as the step 1 book, but as long as you use a good qbank you will cover all your bases.
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Missing a LOT of key information asked in USMLE World QBank. And when I want to write in this information in the wide margin, there is this new "helpful" crap all over the place taking up a ton of space--blue "key concept flash cards", purple "mnemonics", and "vignette questions/answers." I have an older edition of this book I used years ago with plenty of margin space, but that space keeps getting taken up more and more with each new edition. The main content and organization is very good, but the newer format is NOT ideal for margin notes.

Another complaint is that there should be a dedicated Eye section since there are eye conditions sporadically throughout the book and many concepts not covered at all. I've had to write up an entire new chapter on my own for this.

As a suggestion for this and pretty much all other review books, I go to Staples/Office Max and have the book unbound (they slice off the binding edge) and either spiral bound or 3-whole punched (to put in a binder so you can add/remove pages, like I did with this book to add in material they don't cover at all) so that the book can lie flat while you are studying for hours on end. One step further: for Q/A review books (i.e. the Pretest series), I separated the book into two books--one with all the questions and one with all the answers, so you can check your answers and accompanied explanations as you go, when the question is still fresh in your head; you also don't have to mark your answers in the questions sections then, so you can retest yourself later.
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