Almost anyone can agree with me when I say:
It is difficult trying to find the best USMLE Step 2 CS study guide.
With so many different preparation guides on the market, it is difficult to decide which ones are the best around. There are so many different options and possibilities to choose from.
The USMLE Step 2 CS is a tough exam, and having a good review book is essential to pass this section of the boards.
All of this is why I have created this list of the top books to prepare for the exam. All of the info below, researched over many hours, should make it quick and easy to choose which prep book is right to be recommended for you.
Ready to see the list?
Please note, all external links for the products below (geni.us links, etc.) link to the corresponding Amazon.com page for each product.
USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Book Comparison Table
First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CS
Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CS Strategies, Practice & Review
Target USMLE Step 2 CS Handbook
Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CS Complex Cases
Beat the USMLE STEP 2 CS
|Practice Exams / Questions||44 practice cases||30+ exam cases||N/A||23 patient cases||N/A|
|Pages||592 pages||324 pages||N/A||228 pages||56 pages|
|More Details||Read full review >||Read full review >||Read full review >||Read full review >||Read full review >|
Best Overall and Best Value USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Book
First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CS, 5th Edition Review
This book is a guaranteed way to thoroughly prepare for your USMLE Step 2 CS exam and successfully pass it. Written by Tao Le, Vikas Bhushan, Mae Sheikh-Ali and Kachiu Cecilia Lee (all authors with years-long experience), it captures all the relevant descriptions and cases that will be of great help in course of exam preparation.
This best-selling book has been a source that numerous medical students have turned to for help in recent years, and by doing so they have made the right choice. Each of its 592 pages contains highly relevant information on various cases that will further your knowledge for the test.
First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CS also includes:
1) 44 complete, full-length practice cases which simulate the real exam
2) A revised and expanded series of mini-cases which represent the most common complaints aimed at helping you to quickly and easily develop a set of differential diagnosis
3) Very detailed descriptions of high-yield physical exam maneuvers to help you get a great score on the exam in a time-consuming way
Given its price on one hand and its quality on the other, this book is easily the best value that you can get for that amount of money. That is why we rank it as our best overall and best value prep book for the USMLE Step 2 CS.
- Concepts included are taken from former medicine students and professors, which makes the content highly relevant
- The book lists all of the relevant questions and gives accurate sample patient notes
- Review sections are very detailed and comprehensive
- Practice cases are similar to the actual exam, designed to prepare you for the exam in the best way
- The cases and information are not presented in the order that you would get in a real-life patient encounter
- The book might be too detailed and includes some irrelevant differentials, it would be better if it were more concise
#2 Best Overall USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Book
Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CS Strategies, Practice & Review, 1st Edition Review
This is another book by Kaplan Publishing that sets a standard when it comes to medical exams preparation. This will certainly be one of the books that you will be grateful to for containing simple and accurate explanations which lead you through the book effortlessly.
The book includes detailed descriptions and well-supported differential diagnostic studies in the form of notes, which is another reason why medical students love this book. The content is presented in a simple, coherent and well-organized manner, which will facilitate your study process.
It is of great help when it comes to testing students' information obtaining skills, performing a physical examination, as well as communications about findings.
Even though this is definitely not the essential aspect of the book, it should be noted that its covers are designed in a rather appealing way, with a predominant navy blue color, elegant and understated, making you want to hold the book in your hands.
Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CS Strategies, Practice & Review also includes:
1) Over 30 exam-like cases on frequently tested patient scenarios
2) A simple, step-by-step guidance for taking patient history and performing relevant physical exam maneuvers
3) Various strategies for articulating the differential diagnosis and ordering appropriate diagnostic studies
With 324 pages and its practical approach, it contains all the things that are necessary for you to stay stress-free and inspired while studying for your USMLE Step 2 CS exam.
- Cases included are very similar to those that you will see on the actual exam
- Test strategies are extremely useful for tackling common topics and questions on the exam
- Time management strategies help you learn how to use your allowed time on the exam in the best way
- Review topics and patient notes are full of advanced medical vocabulary, which makes studying difficult and tedious
Budget Pick USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Book
Target USMLE Step 2 CS Handbook Review
Written by Mary June, this book is sold only in a digital format, as a Kindle book. However, if you are not a hard-core fan of printed editions, it might be just the right book for you when preparing for the USMLE Step 2 CS exam.
Numerous students have regarded this book as one of the very best when preparing for this exam. Even though it is not too detailed, it contains all the important aspects of the exam which are organized in a very logical manner.
The book is very interactive and comprehensive. Together with this book come video lectures and demos, which will be immensely helpful for all the visual learners, particularly if we take into account the fact that in these lectures students are guided by a mentor for easier understanding.
The red-and-white front cover is designed in such a way that it draws a reader's attention to the book in a subtle way, but still enough to appeal to them.
Target USMLE Step 2 CS Handbook also includes:
1) Focused data gathering – system wise history taking and physical exam
2) The most important tips to write a great patient note
3) Exclusive hyperlinks to video lectures and demos
Another aspect of this book that might be very attractive, apart from its quality, is its price. Compared to other books in this category, it is more affordable, which is always an important thing to have in mind. So, if you are not willing to spend a lot of money to prepare for this exam, this book is definitely worth considering.
- The book is short, concise and to the point, so it does not waste your time
- The step-by-step review process makes the concepts very simple to understand, so the book is very easy to follow
- The book is great at directing you to the essential aspects of your CS exam
- There is only an e-book edition
- There are some grammatical and editing errors in the book
#4 Best Overall USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Book
Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CS Complex Cases, 4th Edition Review
This book's content is not about regular cases that you encounter on the exam or in real life. As a matter of fact, this is one of few books that deal with more advanced cases, some of which are rather challenging and are probably not encountered in other books.
The book's length is very moderate, maybe even below average. However, this is its advantage, since it presents all necessary details concisely and coherently.
With short explanations, it conveys the ideas in such a way that everyone can easily adopt them.
In addition, the design of the book covers is modern and elegant, as is the case with many other books by this publisher. Yellow and white letters which stand out very clearly on a navy blue background, as well as the smiling doctor, evoke a feeling of self-confidence in a reader.
This feature, along with many others, will make you actually want to study for the exam. From this book, you will study harder and, consequently, get a better grade.
Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CS Complex Cases also includes:
1) Complex and challenging cases seen on the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills exam
2) Clear, concise and hands-on advice on how to communicate, perform physical exam maneuvers and differential diagnosis
3) 23 patient cases narrowly focused on advanced clinical content
In case you still have not found a source to prepare more complex cases from, this book is precisely what you want.
- Case difficulty makes sure that you are prepared for everything you can get on the exam
- There is no redundant content and the book does not waste your time
- Great clinical scenarios and patient notes formats
- The cases included are less frequent and may not apply on the exam as often as those found in the first two books on our list
#5 Best Overall USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Book
Beat the USMLE STEP 2 CS Review
This book covers special pro tips which might come in handy in the course of your preparation for USMLE Step 2 CS. In this book, you will find advice that cannot be easily found anywhere else. This book simply covers the details that remain untouched or not well explained by other books that aim to help you prepare this exam.
This feature of the book, however, also comes with a warning. An important thing to bear in mind is precisely the fact that this book contains only pro tips, so it should not be the main source you turn to for your CS exam. As long as you regard it as a 'tips and tricks' book, you will be satisfied with what you learn from it.
The front cover of the book, with predominant white color, is rather inspiring and instills a sense of relief, especially given the fact that a doctor and his patient are depicted during a seemingly very friendly conversation in a hospital room.
Beat the USMLE STEP 2 CS also includes:
1) Pro tips and advice that you won’t find anywhere else
2) Essential information and key things that can easily be overlooked while preparing for CS
Apart from the aforementioned features, what might attract you to this book is its price. It is significantly cheaper than many books in its category.
- Short and concise, very useful in case you have to cram for the exam
- Helps you prepare for the test maker's tricks
- Rather short and somewhat lacking in the subject review
The books that we have listed are among the best, if not the best books that you can use to successfully prepare for your USMLE Step 2 CS exam. All of the books offer high-quality content, highly relevant cases and very useful advice that will help you pass your exam successfully. Our choice of books was based on some of the most up-to-date, relevant and genuine reviews that can be found online nowadays.
However, we also want to let you know that not all the books from this list are equal, but what is more important, not all students are equal. What we mean by this is that one student might need only general information that will appear on the exam, whereas another might want to take a look at some more advanced tips and cases.
With that in mind, it should be noted that the first three books on our list are great if you want to learn everything from scratch for this exam. The first book is the best value, the second one was published by a go-to publisher for medical exams, while the third is the best budget pick, though it does come only in a Kindle edition.
On the other hand, last two books are designed to help you with specific things, such as complex and more challenging cases or special tips for this exam. As such, they can be used as additional sources to help you cover even the smallest details and be fully prepared.
These are all things that you want to consider carefully prior to buying a book for your USMLE Step 2 CS exam.
We hope this review helped you decide on the book you want to purchase.
Good luck on your exam!
Best USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Books: Reviewed
|USMLE Step 2 CS Prep Book||Award|
|1||First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CS||Best Overall and Best Value|
|2||Kaplan USMLE Step 2 CS Strategies, Practice & Review||#2 Best Overall|
|3||Target USMLE Step 2 CS Handbook||Budget Pick|