USMLE step 2 focuses on your patient management skills. It tests your ability to put together a working differential diagnosis, your ability to decide which tests to order, and your skill in interpreting clinical and laboratory data etc. Given a clinical scenario, it tries to gauge your ability to decide the next step.

Step 2 in effect determines whether you are safe enough to be let loose in a US hospital as a resident. It focuses mainly on Internal Medicine, but you should also have a sound knowledge of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pediatrics. Surgery is also represented in this exam, but overall surgery is not a major player in the USMLE step 2. Another area that could trip you up is Psychiatry. You need to have a solid grounding in Psychiatry and behavioral sciences to survive the USMLE.

Keep in mind that simply being able to rattle off a list of investigations is not enough, you should be able to pick the most relevant investigation that should be done in a given clinical setting. This is highly important when you consider the new financial constraints that have befallen the US healthcare industry.

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