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Old 10-20-2012
freebielady's Avatar
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Idea! My advice

The Exam is stressful and the question always is What do I do?!? How Do I Study?!? I have been asked by quite a few what they should do so I have decided to give my advice here, you can take it or leave it choice is yours.

Just a quick FYI the main differences between the old and new CS are
1-you don't have to give as many differentials (3 now 5 old)
2-you need to show support for your differential. If you understand basic signs and symptoms of a disease this should be easy if not ask on the forum or use CSEVideo to see what sorts of things they have in their pt notes. Also sometimes the patient may not have any physical findings to support a diagnosis do not stress it can happen!

My advice on things to make sure you do:
1- Practice Practice Practice!! That is everything- differentials, history, physical and patient note.

2- Pick a way you are comfortable with and practice that way always. I tried a few different ways in the beginning until I decided what order I wanted to ask my questions and write my mnemonics down. You get used to it by practicing over and over again so even if you stress out on exam day that comes almost naturally to you! If you keep changing the way you do things on exam day you may get all jumbled up

3- once you get the basic idea of how the exam works practice in TIMED MODE! Personally I cut the time I practiced by 2 minutes (8 to write pt note and 13 for history and physical) just to make sure that when I was stressed on exam day I was actually prepared with extra time.

4- Find a partner to practice with! Best are people in the medical field because they can help you with the medical aspect. But try a few with someone not in the medical field. My sister has no medical background but she gave me some good pointers from a SP perspective! Also was a good way the gauge if I was correctly explaining medical terms.

5- Practice the pt note on the website!!! This is important because there is a line and a character limit when typing. Practicing on the USMLE website while timing yourself gets you used to seeing that you have run out of room and having to go back to change things around. You don't want the first time that happens to be on exam day!!

6- Learn or Make up your own mnemonics!! They really do help you save time!!

7- Learn simple abbreviations to save space on your pt note as well as help you type faster!

8- Do Not Forget about challenging questions, closings and counselling. I picked a way to word my counseling for smoking, drinking, drugs and safe sex. That way whenever I had a patient to counsel I never had to "come up" with anything. I had a set speech (more like sentence or two) and would counsel them then move on.

9- During exam day pay attention to you not to others!!! If others are going in before you WHO CARES! If others are out before you WHO CARES! Just make sure you are doing everything you have to in the time you

10- When you leave try to remember the things you did RIGHT. After I left all I could focus on was what I did wrong and had myself just about convinced I failed. I passed with high marks. Its easy to remember your mistakes but even easier to forget what you did correctly!!! So try (emphasis on the try) not to psyche yourself out!

Good luck studying!!!! Hope this helped you at least somewhat. If I come up with any other tips I will post them. Feel free to post here or contact me with any questions!

For those who always want to know what I used- CS Protocol and this website for mnemonics. First Aid for cases. I also used CSEVideo but I now quite a few people who have passed with just FA.
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Old 10-21-2012
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This is very useful thank u.
Just wondering
are the mini cases in FA important for the exam? or should the focus be mainly on the 44 simulated cases?
thanks and congrats!
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Old 10-21-2012
freebielady's Avatar
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Default Yes

Originally Posted by add1 View Post
This is very useful thank u.
Just wondering
are the mini cases in FA important for the exam? or should the focus be mainly on the 44 simulated cases?
thanks and congrats!
The Minicases are good to practice differential diagnoses so be sure to read through them. For me most of my time was spent practicing the cases making sure I was asking the right questions and doing the right things in the physical.
Glad to help and thank you
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