AMBOSS Step 2 CK Self-Assessment  2023: Results & Analysis

Sophie Moran - Jun 02, 2023
Score chart from the AMBOSS Step 2 CK Self-Assessment

AMBOSS Step 2 CK Self-Assessment Week has come and gone for another year—a big congratulations to everyone who participated. 

Taking place from May 2-7, 2023, the self-assessment had thousands of participants in the US and around the world. Those in the US had huge representation with students from >99% of US medical schools participating. And you were all hard at work! Collectively, you answered millions of USMLE®-style Step 2 CK questions. Now, let's dive into the analysis:

The Step 2 CK Self-Assessment format
The results of the AMBOSS Step 2 CK Self-Assessment
The question answered most correctly by students
The question answered most incorrectly by students
The top 5 most recommended articles 
How to use your report to improve your Step 2 score 

The Step 2 CK Self-Assessment format

The Step 2 CK Self-Assessment was a mock version of the USMLE® Step 2 CK exam. It was comprised of four question blocks containing 40 questions each and was presented in the official timed format of the USMLE, meaning you had one hour to complete each block. 

The results of the AMBOSS Step 2 CK Self-Assessment

Following the self-assessment, students who completed all four blocks received their results in the form of a score report that is designed to look similar to the USMLE’s. The score report also included the most high-yield topics to focus on based on the student’s performance and their relative strengths and weaknesses. If you took part in the self-assessment, you can view your score report here. 

The mean score of AMBOSS USMLE Step 2 CK Self-Assessment-takers was 230 with a standard deviation of 19.4. The mean score of the reference cohort (self-assessment takers who are within two weeks of their actual exam date) was 239 with a standard deviation of 20.

The highest score anyone got was an astonishing 280. This was achieved by four superstars: one in the US and three IMG students. 

For more information on how the score is calculated, check out this post.

The question answered most correctly by students

The question that most students managed to crack this year was from psychiatry. The USMLE often tests alternatives to initial treatment—which was the case in the patient with schizophrenia in this question, who had relapses due to medication non-adherence. Nonadherence is relatively common in patients with schizophrenia for several reasons (e.g., medication side effects, lack of patient insight into the need for treatment, and difficulties adhering to a daily medication regimen) and physicians should consider patients’ circumstances and preferences when prescribing medications. So, good job to everyone who chose a therapeutic option that also supported the patient’s wishes! 

The question that students answered incorrectly the most

The (dis)honor of being the most incorrectly answered self-assessment question has traditionally shuttled between the subjects of ethics or neurology. However, this year, it goes to a question from hematology. The question needed test-takers to diagnose a (fairly obvious) presentation of multiple myeloma and then select the most accurate confirmatory test. Most students managed to zero in on the diagnosis quite well… but then got tripped up by not reading the lead-in question carefully enough (“Which of the following is the most accurate test to confirm the diagnosis?”). Most students ended up choosing the option Serum Electrophoresis, which is the best initial test—but is not confirmatory, as it does not differentiate MM from other monoclonal gammopathies, such as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance or Waldenström macroglobulinemia.

Exam-goers should note that such language is fair game for the real exam. The NBME® expects students to know the most accurate confirmatory test AND the best initial test for such high-yield conditions. It is recommended, therefore, to always read carefully and confirm which of the two is being asked for in the question. There’s nothing worse than getting a question wrong when you knew the knowledge being tested. 

The top 5 most recommended articles from the Step 2 CK Self-Assessment 

1. Substance-related and addictive disorders

2. Principles of medical law and ethics

3. Normal labor and delivery

4. Acyanotic congenital heart defects

5. Sickle cell disease

How to use your report to improve your Step 2 score 

The ultimate goal of the AMBOSS Step 2 CK Self-Assessment is to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can shape the remainder of your Step 2 prep. The score report contains personalized study recommendations that help students identify where they need to focus their attention most. 

When reviewing these topics, you can avail of the powerful AMBOSS study tools such as the high-yield library, extensive Qbank, and our popular Study Mode features. With these tools, you can deep dive into any areas you struggled with. This will close any knowledge gaps and help you get the Step 2 score you’re aiming for. 

If you’re in the final stretch before Step 2, we’ve got the study plan that will make all the difference: 200 Concepts That Appear in Every Step 2 CK Exam. This is the highest-yield collection of questions out there. Go through this plan and you’ll feel confident on exam day. Keep up the great work—you’re nearly there! 

Go to study plan