The USMLE: Step 2
Even though this step is called “step 2,” you are not required to take this set of exams after step 1. In fact, you can take them at the same time or long before step 1, if you’re ready! However, most people take it afterwards because it asks about specific skills and knowledge that take longer to gain than the basic science understanding from early on. While you can take step 1 and step 2 in any order, you have to pass both of them (plus any additional certifications, like ECFMG) before you can take step 3 and be done with the USMLE forever.
The USMLE step 2 is actually made up of two different tests, the clinical skills section and the clinical knowledge section. The clinical knowledge section is nine hours long, and the clinical skills section isn’t much better! However, both of these tests seem to be slightly easier than step 1, and they are certainly much more similar to what you will be facing every day on the job, so take heart. Tell yourself that when these two tests are over, you will be 75% finished with the USMLE!