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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 04-25-2012
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Arrow Chococat CS experience :)

It’s an easy exam... in theory.
Now, practice is another thing, the exam might be easy in concepts but they evaluate tons of details that seem unrelevant only if you do them like 100 times, otherwise you will feel overwhelmed with all those things that will be easy to forget.

That’s what practice is for, to do in “auto mode” those little details. I didn’t have anyone to practice live, but I found a wonderful skype study partner. I realized that you can practice alone... but of course.... it will always depend of your imagination and your confidence. Although i wasn’t practicing “live” i was feeling familiar with the exam enviroment... but again, it’s because i might have too much imagination. For those who don’t have it then i recommend you practice live under exam conditions (real bed, knocking doors, gown, etc).

In my particular situation, i had a case with a “what the what?!?!?!” diagnosis... and i realized what the diagnosis was just after i began my CK studies... it means that i didn’t write it on the differentials... unfortunately i can’t share the cases i had but i really think they pay more attention to your questioning abilities and writing fair differentials in order instead of the exact #1 diagnosis, FA does a very good job in the data gathering part, but unlike FA, half of the cases are vague and noone knows the top differential in them.

MY PREPARATION:
1) We practiced FA for the CS at least 3 times like everyone else, in the end we practiced the difficult cases mostly, FA in enough for this exam, but we also did UW, CS protocol, youtube videos (i suscribed to mdofola) and the first section of Kaplan complex book plus some of it’s relevant cases.

2) Have a plan for most of the cases, not only the PAMHUGFOSS and LIQORAAA questions, have your personal plan, i didn’t even use the PAMHUGFOSS, i changed some things to my name, for instance, and adjusted and made many other mnemonics according to my preferences, even if the mnemonics had to be a word in my maternal language... whatever that helps you, use the mnemonics with imagination and you’ll see how they will help, specially if the patient comes with several complains

3) I practiced more the cases unrelated to pain because I had different mnemonics for every single one... the pain cases are the easiest one for me... we already know the mnemonic, in those cases you will only have to add the other mnemonics as you’re needing them. But the other cases like rash, insomnia, noisy breathing, etc. should have their own mnemonics... because that will look weird if you start thinking in front of the patient, plus, they save a lot of time.

4) I never ran out of time in any case, I actually felt there were more than 15 minutes!!! Lol, but I really think that was because in my practices I set the alarms at 9mins and 13mins, as well as 9mins for PN; besides, I was always realistic doing complain specific PE... it means that if I had a neurologic case I was realistic and only did the most relevant neurologic examination because the counseling should never be missed.

THE EXAM, MY MISTAKES AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
1) Most of the patients were not that nice (or they didn’t like me??) I don’t really know... I only had 3 nice patients, I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but the 3 were old patients with nice modals, the rest (younger patients) were kinda rude. I was feeling weird because in real life I smile a lot... and I didn’t find it would be a good idea to smile that much to a “sick” person... the smiling thing should be adjusted to everyone, i.e: if you’re a very serious person that has to “remember” to be empathetic and smile... then smile more than usual, if you’re a sweet and super nice person then try to “control” that sense of humor for another time

2) Don’t forget the info in the doorway information, I approached so differently a “48yo” woman who actually looked in her 20s... and of course, the DDs were mostly wrong :$

3) Do not loose your calm if you make any mistake, instead, apologize and go on. I had a dorrway information I was not familiar with.... and I assumed it was a typo... so I was asking questions according to what I thought it was, I realized the lady thought I was mentally ill when she said: “no... i mean this” with a bad attitude... and I was like... “oh, i’m really sorry”... and to worsen things, since I was in shock in the following seconds afterwards, I don’t know how the heck did the sentence “tell me more about that diarrhea” came out of my mouth!!!!!!! When the case was completely UNRELATED to diarrhea... I apologized like 30 times more and tried to LOOK confident... when I really was wishing I could turn back time and fix it!!!!!

4) One thing I never knew and wish I knew was the fact that you CANNOT copy-paste anything on the PN!!! in 1 case had the problem that I remembered that “X test” should be in the top of the list of the workup... I had to erase everything in order to move everything just one bullet down!!! I don’t know if you understand this, but I had to write the WHOLE workup again just to ADD one thing that MUST be in first place!!!! And what happenned? When I was re-writing again and I wrote the workup #4 in the bullet #5, the announcement to submit was made and I had no choice other than submit the PN with the bullet #4 EMPTY!!!!!

5) Also, one patient said she was taking “CTC” and she doesn’t know why... and I repeated TWICE to make sure we were saying the same thing: CTC? An she said: yes... CTC... and after I came out of the test center I started thinking she might have meant ACTZ!!!! And I wrote CTC on the PN!!! :/, in general, almost all the patients were using medication’s brand names! And not common brand names like Tylenol or Advil or any listed on Kaplan... my recommendation... I really don’t know... better do not write the medications down if you didn’t understand them?? :s

6) One thing I didn’t like is the fact that sometimes the patients gave me incoherent history... it’s hard to explain without telling you exactly what happenned, but, for instance... a patient told me he was having “X” complaint during 3 days... and when i asked about medications he had “Y” medication 2 weeks ago to treat the “X” complaint... got it? I was like... ok... let me confirm what you just said, and i said the NONSENSE story and medication use and he said: “that’s correct doctor”.... i really didn’t know what to do... because the use of that medication was important for the differential and i couldnt miss that one... so... i had to write it down on the PN... i don’t know now if the physician reading my PN thought i was mad or something :s

7) I made many silly mistakes about forgetting X or Y examination... as it happens to everyone, but remember: no matter what happens, you are the doctor and the SP (as in real life patients) has no idea of what is going on and what the correct Dx/answer is!!! Just show yourself confident and be nice with the SP

FINAL OUTCOME:
Pass!!!
I know this exam is very subjective anyway... i know it's easier for me to say "you can handle this"... but... the best single advice i can share is mold and shape this exam your own way and according to your needs and you'll succeed, with this i mean, practice you're weakest areas more than the others... i think that's the real key
Good luck to everyone!
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The above post was thanked by:
dr.dhruvdesai (04-27-2012), dr.Zh (12-03-2012), drortho (07-27-2012), meanmr.mustard (04-25-2012), pass7 (04-28-2012), patelMD (04-25-2012), sandybaba (04-25-2012), stepdoc1 (05-22-2012)




  #2  
Old 04-25-2012
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congrats and thanx for sharing wonderful experience
can you tell something about the typing
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  #3  
Old 04-25-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandybaba View Post
congrats and thanx for sharing wonderful experience
can you tell something about the typing
hmmmm... it will depend of how fast you type, i type average 45-47WPM so it doesn't represent a "big" problem for me except for the times i had to re-write everything down again on every single bullet...
In general I finished typing before the 2minutes left announcement was made... and i wrote descriptive PNs and used Capital letters only when needed... so... i think it's true that you can write a PN with no problem even if you write <20WPM, I had more problems because I decided to change some things last minute...
Hope this helps
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  #4  
Old 04-25-2012
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Thanks for sharing your experience!

Where did you take the exam? Chicago,Houston, LA, Philly or Atlanta?
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  #5  
Old 04-25-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meanmr.mustard View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience!

Where did you take the exam? Chicago,Houston, LA, Philly or Atlanta?
Chicago
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  #6  
Old 04-27-2012
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How did you feel when you finish the test? I know there is no point on worry after the exam, because you can't change the result...
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  #7  
Old 04-27-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rulz View Post
How did you feel when you finish the test? I know there is no point on worry after the exam, because you can't change the result...
Like you said... there is no point in worrying after the exam, because what's done is done... (i know it's more easily said ) but, to be honest, i didn't feel that way, i just was relieved that i finally got rid of that exam

Overall i felt confident, maybe because i practiced so many times (as i mentioned in the post) that i did almost EVERYTHING in "automatic mode"... another thing that might have helped me to be "worry-free" is the fact that i took some "minivacations" on that weekend and i was with my best friend knowing the city... and, since she is NOT a doctor we talked about everything except medicine and met tons of people... that is a trip i ill cherish in my heart forever... <3....

Do you know what makes you worry the most??? talking about that... the few times i felt worried was minutes after we left the test center and started talking about it with the other examinees and days before the results release... because EVERYBODY was talking about that...
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  #8  
Old 05-06-2012
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I see. Thanks for your experience. I m looking forward to see my results!
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