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USMLE Step 2 CS Forum USMLE Step 2 CS Discussion Forum: Let's talk about anything related to USMLE Step 2 CS exam

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Old 04-29-2015
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Default Passed CS (Just Barely!) BUT LEARN FROM MY EXPERIENCE!

Hello all

I'm an IMG from an English speaking medical school with an American standard\quality of education.

Students in our medical school usually take this exam in the end of their 3rd or middle of their 4th year and around 1 in 5 or 6 of our peers fail. Everyone who passes tells you it's easy. Everyone who fails gives you a warning not to take it lightly.

I'm here to tell you not to take it lightly.

I had scheduled this exam for last year and postponed it because I didn't feel good about it (even though all my SPs told me I was ready).
My advice: if you have any doubts, postpone

I practiced with skype SPs the first time (before postponing) and with my friend when I postponed.
My advice: practice with a live partner

We started out practicing cases without the note and then the last week before the exam practiced doing many cases in a row with note typing and everything being timed and same 10 minute breaks every 3 cases.
My advice: simulate the exam every time you can.

On exam day: I was so prepared I thought I would not get nervous at all but I couldn't have been more wrong. I looked and performed the same as I practiced but my heart was racing and I was sweating. I probably should have anticipated the nerves and practiced being calm better by doing more practice situations with strangers and putting myself under pressure in practice.

After the exam: 2 months and the half of pure torture. I remembered sooo many mistakes or things I could have done better. The truth is the only reason I remembered so many things I didn't do is because I prepared so well and I didn't want to miss any of them. Essentially I had done enough things to pass (but didn't remember them) but let my recalled mistakes haunt me.
Very important though: During the exam, I did not worry about the mistakes of my previous cases. My first case was the worst, and I went into every encounter after it telling myself I have to do my best here. I had around 5-6 perfect encounters where I wouldn't change a thing. All the other ones I missed some things or messed up the note a bit or counseled improperly or ran out of time.

Finally, and most importantly, for time management, I practiced with 14 minute timers because it was always an issue for me. On the actual exam, SPs take their time speaking slower and being wordier and sometimes pausing before they answer. And you should not interrupt them. So I was actually late on my closure in around 4 cases because of this. Also the handwashing was a dead 30 seconds every time (I would try to get a challenging question from the patient but they just want to hold it to the end every time!). Practice doing cases in under 13 minutes to account for these things.

Good luck guys!
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