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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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  #1  
Old 02-29-2012
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Thumbs Up My CS Experience - A Word or Two

I got my result today and it's payback time now! First of all, i'd like to thank each and everyone whoever has contributed in whatever manner in this forum. It's the collective work and effort that makes freshers and other candidates like us successful. This forum and its members have shown us a proper direction, guided many and have made the road ahead a lot easier. In case you're wondering about my result, I obviously passed or else I wouldn't be writing this.

Introduction:
To start things off, let me tell you how I did things. I am a very recent graduate with above average English proficiency. I am only writing my experience and things in addition to those already discussed in the previous pages. I'm NOT going to include everything else that are in the other posts so be sure to read those IN ADDITION to this. (To avoid being repetitive).

Time:
So, I prepared for about 3 weeks full time. When I started preparing for CS, everyone was saying three weeks was a little too less, etc. But I was confident and which is what mattered because no two people are the same! But I also know people who studied for 5 weeks and failed (reasons many) the key word is individualize !

Materials:
First Aid for Step 2 CS and Videos. That book is amazing. Its worth your money so go buy one. Also invest in the time to find a study partner. With one, this exam becomes a lot easier!

Once you have your equipment ready, then begin the game. The key to the exam and this is something that can't be emphasized enough is **PRACTICE**. Its one of those things that the more you do, the more confident you feel. Think of it as a drama/play. Write the script. Take material and sources from everywhere. But, in the end and by the first few days, you should have your version of what you're going to say (dialogues) ready and stick to it for the entire length of practice. (The opening, the questions, the closure, etc). Think of it as memorizing lines in a movie. This should become your second nature. Once you use it every time for practice, you will eventually remember them.

Practice:
Me and my study partner practiced the whole book (40 cases) at least twice individually. Again, it all depends on your level of confidence. Although in the exam they give you 15 mins, it feels more like 5 minutes. There was not one case that I finished before the final bell rang. So, I suggest you time yourself for 13 minutes max when you practice so on the day of the exam, you feel at ease. Ask questions as you would ask a patient. Offer advice as you would to a patient. Basically, do everything as you would on a real exam day.

Typing It Up:
If you aren't a fast typer, then I suggest you use the template that is on this website (http://usmle.org/practice-materials/...-practice.html). This is exactly how you would type on the exam. This page is great as it even has character limit. Try to condense your patient note to as few words as possible because you WILL NOT have the time or the space to write as much as you want. Mnemonics are a MUST. It is totally acceptable to use them and you HAVE to use them. A list of acceptable Mnemonics are also given to you on the say of the exam. If you don't use them, its your loss. Type only the most important points in the history because if you type leisurely (like I am right now ) you will only realize you filled up spaces too far and you will go up and start erasing stuff from your history and will be wasting time. Instead, keep it short and sweet.

Extra Cases:
I believe there are a few extra cases that people in the previous posts said they got that are not there in FirstAid so prepare for them also. This is not an exam to take any chance in. So, research the internet, forums, ask other people, etc and gather information on the other cases that aren't common. Remember, on the exam, you might get anything and everything. Be prepared!

The D-Day:
Drinking lots of coffee helped me stay on my toes! I thought they'd give breakfast but they didn't so I had to stay hungry until lunch They will however provide you with a lunch so hog! Like I mentioned before, you will encounter all sorts of SPs with all sorts of problems. Getting the information you want is the trick here. At the end of the questioning, ask if there is anything else the patient would like to tell that you haven't already asked. The SP's are very friendly and will usually give you a point or two
Carry some high energy food/drinks with you if that helps you. Once you enter the room, you will be so tense you won't even have time to look at the clock. By the time you know it, your time will be over. So, as soon as the bell rings, take atleast 30 seconds to write on the piece of paper they give you your Mnemonics and the things that you will ask your patient (PAM HUGS FOSS, etc). This makes your life so much easier because once you enter, you will be totally preoccupied and all you have to do is just look at your paper and start filling in the blanks. This way you won't forget anything. This will also point you to a rough diagnosis. Do the rest of the questioning/exam as you have practiced. Don't forget to do the essentials (smiling, introducing yourself by name, washing hands, etc). This has been dealt in detail in FirstAid and other sections in this forum. When you finish your encounter, thank the patient, shake hands and smile and get out. By the time you realize what case you're dealing with time will be over and by the time you know it it will be lunch time. Your brain will be on FIRE and things will be happening so fast. Not to worry because after lunch you will have 7-8 more patients! After the exam, ALL you will remember is mistakes, mistakes and more mistakes. But, that's okay. Coming back and reading this (I have these mistakes in my CS exam!) made me feel so much better.

Conclusion:
Every person has his/her own ideas about the exam (hard, easy, etc) so don't compare. If you believe in a higher spirit above, pray. If you don't just hope for the best. But also be prepared for the worst!

Take Home Lessons:

1. Believe in yourself, you can do this!
2. This is a 'step' in your medical career so don't let it affect you too much!
3. Any person who has passed his/her basic undergraduate medical school in whichever country the right way has the knowledge to pass and can pass this exam. What is required is refining of your clinical skills and the right way of approaching this exam.

Good luck to everyone!

Last edited by AlgHuh; 02-29-2012 at 12:29 PM.
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Adamentium (03-07-2012), donofitaly (03-02-2012), Dr.Ast (02-29-2012), dr.dhruvdesai (04-15-2012), drZoe (03-01-2012), indigo (03-01-2012), jpalargue (11-17-2012), K06100 (11-11-2012), maksemous (03-02-2012), mitsua (03-28-2012), rulz (03-05-2012), USMLE-Syndrome (02-29-2012), zohra (03-04-2012)




  #2  
Old 02-29-2012
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Hi everyone, even i passed my exams yesterday. i wanted to write my experience as well, i read tis and felt tis is exactly wat i did as well. Again in brief.
I too took 3 weeks time, first week was not so good I just read first aid, from 2nd week onwards I practised two cases everyday, just like the real exam I timed my exam for 25mins, 15 mins of case taking and 10 min to type the PN. I practised all 41 cases in FA.
I also took one week of CSE video and watched only those videos, dint go to read too many stuff from the theory. A day before the exam I just looked through the short cases and the DDs which helped me a lot.
I dont touch type i see the keyboard to type, my speed was 24WPM, in the exam i also got a couple of minutes to check my spelling.

Thats all, like above read through different discussions in the forum it helps a lot and answers all ur questions. Everyone can do it with a little dedication and right practice...
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  #3  
Old 03-01-2012
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How long did you guys wait before entering the room? We can enter the room after whatever time we like. Right? Would you advise to form the dd's or think about the questions to be asked outside the room?

If the time gets over by the time we finish PE only,what to do?

And which center did you give it at.

Congrats and Thank you.
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  #4  
Old 03-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo View Post
How long did you guys wait before entering the room? We can enter the room after whatever time we like. Right? Would you advise to form the dd's or think about the questions to be asked outside the room?

If the time gets over by the time we finish PE only,what to do?

And which center did you give it at.

Congrats and Thank you.
You can enter the room whenever you like but I took atleast about 30 seconds after the bell to enter the room. What I did was:
1. Write down my Mneumonics
2. Form a few possible DDs looking at the CC and review the kind of questions to ask.
3. Write down the vitals (only if abnormal)
If time gets over, just formally thank the patient and say you'll be back to discuss more. SMILE and get out because that gives you points. (Don't freak out and run!)
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  #5  
Old 03-01-2012
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Thanks Al, what do you think is the best to do if a patient says his abdomen is paining and not to touch it? Should we say that 'in order to know more about your condition it would be nice if you could allow me to touch'. If he says no again then we tell him that we wont palpate him.
Is this the best way?

Also after taking the history is it helpful to summarize?

Thanks
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Last edited by indigo; 03-01-2012 at 07:34 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-01-2012
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Yes if the patient says no try to convince him atleast once, if he insists that he cannot then just say ok no problem, usually they say ok coz its a part of their acting. I summarised only the positive finding in the history,its takes a minute or so.
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  #7  
Old 03-01-2012
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Can we wash our hands and not use gloves in all cases? Or are there any cases where we should use gloves only?
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Old 03-02-2012
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Do the sp fake a lot of signs and symptoms, and are difficult cases such as psych very common on the exam? Could someone pls post their experience?
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2012
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I suggest you wash your hands. You can save time by talking to the patient generally in those 20 seconds. Engage in some form of conversation. This is because some people get offended if you wear gloves.. this is what i've heard!
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2012
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Thanks, Al.
Did you have any difficult uncooperative patient?
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