My Top Clinical Resources

Studying during clinicals is hard. Aside from trying to find the time and knowing exactly what material to cover, there just aren’t that many good resources out there. It’s surprising, given the plethora of Step 1 sources. While we haven’t tested everything, and all sources are constantly developing so there is a certain amount of timeliness to this article, here is what I used to help me get through my rotations and how I use them. They are in order based roughly off of when they are used during a rotation. Oh, and no one is paying for this, so nothing to report.

Online MedEd
The absolute standard according to most 3rd and 4th year med students, this guy is like a force all unto himself. With a free account, you can access pretty much the entirety of his lectures, which is plenty. It is also worth paying for the lecture notes so that you have those on hand to review. Plus, they include a recommended viewing schedule for your rotations. I cannot comment on the qbank since I have not really used it.

This was a mainstay for my basic sciences but its value seems to have waned a bit during clinicals. I bought a 4 year subscription, so I figured I might as well stay with it. It’s pretty good, but not awesome.

I have mine focused on Step 2 CK material, with the rotation I’m currently in set as “urgent” topics, meaning that material will get served to me more often. The previous rotations are all set to “current” meaning it will get served a little less often. Everything else is set to “past” meaning that it only comes up every so often. This helps me focus on the rotation I’m in, while trying not to forget the stuff I’ve already learned.

U World Q bank
There is nothing like studying for a test like actually doing question practice. U World is still the standard here, but that presents with a bit of a problem. Since there are limited quality question banks to work with, combined with a limited budget, I only used the U World for my clinical years. At the end of each rotation is a shelf exam that needs to be passed. So, by the time that I get to my dedicated Step 2 CK prep, I’ll have already exhausted that supply.

I really wish I had another robust Q bank to work with because of this issue. Firecracker has some decent clinical vignettes, so I have been using that. I have not worked with any others in order to give them a proper review.

Also Rans:

Emma Holliday Lectures
The only reason this isn’t on the above list is that there isn’t one for each rotation. I highly recommend incorporating these into your review process leading up to the test. They’re a little meaty at 2 hours a piece and definitely keep a healthy pace. There isn’t a dedicated resource offering her lectures, but they can be found on YouTube. She is very direct and concise, offering little in the way of explanation. You won’t learn anything here, but that isn’t the point. Knock out 1 or 2 passes in the last few days and you won’t regret it.

Not that great for Step 2 prep, but since I paid for it, I figured I might as well keep using it. Although the content is very much Step 1 oriented, there is enough applicable content that it doesn’t seem to hurt. I had already exhausted this resource by the time I hit the end of basics, so clinicals was just hitting the daily quiz.

Case Files
This is another pretty hit or miss resource, depending on the rotation that you’re in. Some are pretty good, some have quite a few errors. They seem to be a bit dated and at times a bit convoluted. The recommendation here would be to use them if you need some extra material, but don’t study them too closely.

Of course, there are some rotation specific materials as well, but these can also be pretty hit or miss. I wouldn’t think about working through proper textbooks at all, other than consulting them occasionally for reading up on things that you feel weak on. I made a list of the pathologies that I am just consistently poor at and spent some dedicated time on those. For these, I thought it was important to go back to a Step 1 level and then work my way up.

Time is a difficult thing to manage during clinicals. Whatever resources you decide to use, make sure that you are using them effectively. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many options and just keep moving forward.

Best of luck with studying!