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  #1  
Old 06-13-2013
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Smile val7 Step 2 CS experience: Philly, May 2013

MY STEP 2 CS EXPERIENCE

Hi everyone!

I got my result yesterday and I passed with a high performance in all three subcomponents.

I was waiting for my results to come out to write this because this exam is really not one where you will know if you passed or failed coming out! This experience describes not only my prep but also everything leading up to it, like applying for the exam. Sorry it got so long. Feel free to ask questions. I will try to answer them as well as I can! I will not, however, answer questions that are clearly answered in this text!
My CS experience is a little different from the “mainstream” one, as this was my first USMLE exam. It also is not very “mainstream” since English is neither my mother tongue nor the language spoken in my country nor the language I study in. Almost no one from my school takes the Steps. So far I have heard of maybe three people in my school taking Step 1, but I have not heard of anyone taking CS. The hardest thing about this test for me was probably explaining to the patient what I was doing during the exam (in English), and asking some specific questions in layman’s terms.
I decided to take Step 2 CS first for a number of reasons. Mainly, I had scheduled electives in the US and figured since I would be in the US, I might as well take it, as I did not want to pay for an additional flight in the near future. Also, I figured this was the one Step that does not require that much prep since it is only pass or fail, so you are aiming for a “pass” rather than for a certain score like for example a 240.
The way I went about the whole thing: First I read the whole ECFMG information booklet. The WHOLE thing! It took me quite a while and it was boring at times. At the beginning, there were a lot of ECFMG-specific terms I did not know. I think it was very helpful starting with that though. From there, I realized lots of people never read any of the ECFMG information, but rather ask their questions in a forum. This works too, of course, but since there are always other people who have not read it either, just telling you what they heard, you will end up very confused until one of the admins comes and clears up the commotion.
Then I went ahead and payed all the fees to be able to apply. The process from submitting the online application for Step 2 CS until I got my scheduling permit took about 6 months. I was lucky to have applied on time! My school sent the wrong forms and things like that, so that’s why it ended up taking so long. Originally my plan was to take the exam in March. Anyways, I finally got the scheduling permit end of March and scheduled my exam right away. I wanted to take it in May in Philly (this is just because I did my electives close to Philly, and I did not want to pay for an extra flight), so I never even checked spots at any other test center. There were no spots for May in Philly, so I signed up for sometime in April hoping to be able to change to date to early May. I signed up for the ECFMG email notifications through the Step 2 CS scheduling calendar, which notify you when one of your preferred dates becomes available. I got a lot of notifications but kept missing the dates because I was in the hospital. I got lucky about three times and read the email right away, so I kept postponing the exam a few days further until I got my “dream date” (after my electives but before my flight back).
So, after I had secured the spot I wanted I went ahead and looked for a study partner more seriously. I had looked before, but not very seriously because I did not know if I would even get my scheduling permit before I left the US, etc.
I was looking for a live study partner only and finally found one close to me. I found him on here, in usmle-forums, which is the only place I looked.
Less than three weeks before my exam, I met with my study partner for the first time. We hit it off right away. I remember, the first time we met, I had only read maybe 10 pages of FA. I am serious when I say that I was probably the luckiest person in this forum because he was an amazing study partner. He told me so much about the exam, reading FA later I realized pretty much everything was in there but it was a lot easier learning it from him. I had electives up until the week before my exam, so we were not able to meet too often. We met at night on the weekends and sometimes during the week and studied in a public place. I could not do every night because my electives were actually quite a lot of work and very exhausting sometimes.

My study material: FA, the usmle video (http://usmle.org/practice-materials/index.html, it is called “onsite orientation vieo for Step 2 CS”) and DR_Laura’s videos. I did watch about 2 of the CSE videos, but I felt like the doctor in the videos did and said lots of things I did not like and would have never said (for example, she said thank you after pretty much everything she did and in the video I watched, she took 15 minutes for the history alone), so I did not watch any more of the CSE videos. We also did minicases from FA sometimes and just tried to think of the differential or the workup. We asked each other challenging questions, in the beginning using FA and then just coming up with them ourselves. My partner was a great patient, always asking one or two challenging questions. I feel like the way we did the cases was pretty real. We probably had way too much fun and I feel like most of the time we ended up talking a lot about other things. We had the greatest food while studying and went to some fun places! I think we both felt like we might as well enjoy our breaks so we always ended up taking a lot of food breaks. I did every case in FA exactly once, mostly with my study partner. I also met with a girl that had offered to just “be my patient” and did a few cases with her, and one time I met with another girl I met in this forum. Two days before my exam, I was missing about 16 cases from FA. I did 4 cases with the girl that was not actually studying for CS, just helping me prepare, and the same day my study partner set up a mock exam for me and we did 12 cases in the same time as the exam would be. That day, I did 16 cases! It took all day and I was really tired after. The other thing I used to prepare were Dr_Laura’s videos. She is very active in this forum and first thing I did, even before opening FA, was starting to watch her CS videos! I ended up watching every single one of them . The one were she tells you what she writes on her blue sheet was THE BEST! I think my study partner and me both ended up using the blue sheet exactly like she shows it in her video. Here is the link, for anyone that is interested:

The day before the exam, I did not do much. Took a bus to Philly. I had planned to study on the bus, but did not even take FA out of my bag. Just did nothing at all. In Philly, I had some dinner and relaxed. I ironed the two sets of pants and blouses I had brought with me, and ironed my coat. I watched the orientation video from CS once again and then went to bed.
I stayed at a friends place, and could not sleep at all. There was a party going on all night, people cooking (the kitchen was right outside my door so I kept hearing people stirring in pots and then doing dishes and stuff) and drinking and having fun. Apparently a lot of people feel like cooking in the middle of the night! I felt like I did not sleep at all, but avoided looking at the clock just so I would be able to tell myself that I probably slept but just didn’t realize it.
In the morning, I got up and had some oatmeal. I packed some fruit, nuts, granola bars and water plus my stethoscope in my bag. They do have food at the test center, but I did not know if I would like it and figured I’d rather have too much food than not enough . same goes for water, they have water bottles.
I walked over to the exam center (it was very close) and checked in. I was the only person out of 24 with an ID that was not issued in the US. I also was the only non-US IMG there. There were lots of US students and a few people from the US studying in the Caribbean. From then it was just like in the official video: We put our stuff in the bins and food on our table. We each sat down at our assigned seat. Got a notepad with 12 blue sheets. We watched the video and had a short talk from one of the proctors and from a lady that trains the standardized patients. She basically just told us not to push on the abdomen too hard and things like that, which is also in the video itself. After that, all our stuff was locked in and we were told we would get it back after the exam. We all lined up and 12 of us went to one exam area, 12 to the other one. Everyone had to stand in front of a door and then we were waiting. I heard the “SPs, please prepare” and then the announcement that we could go in. I was not nervous at that point. The first two cases, I did not finish the case and ran out of time. After that, I felt like it got better, I had a better feeling about the time and time management. I always read the doorway information, wrote down a few things, wrote down my mnemonics and was usually one of the last ones going in the room. About leaving the room: I have read on this forum probably a million times that AMGs are finished with their cases faster. I have written my opinion about that in a thread before. Basically I just saw what I thought before, which is: everyone is doing a different case at the same time. Some are more complicated, so they take you longer. Some are quick, like a phone case, so you will be out with a few minutes to spare. I was sometimes one of the earlier ones out of the room, sometimes later, sometimes the last. I noticed that the cases I found hard and where I got cut off or stayed till the end, the person after me got out late also. So, I don’t think it is really a matter of being an AMG or IMG, but just a matter of the difficulty of the case!

The first five cases went pretty fast. Having to give the blue sheet to the proctor after each case felt somewhat liberating. Also, the blue sheets are numbered so you always know which case you are working on! After the first 5 cases, we had lunch. It was pasta and sandwiches, not very healthy but an ok lunch, plus I had my fruit and nuts and stuff. 30 minutes for lunch is not very long, plus there were only 4 bathrooms for 24 people. During the lunch break, a lot of people mentioned that they ran out of time in the first two or three cases. I guess it takes some getting used to. After lunch, we did the next four cases, then a 15-minute break, and then the last three. The whole exam was over a lot faster than I thought. I was really tired after! The first thing I did was take a long nap.
I know lots of people in this forum keep a long list of their mistakes. I did not even remember all of them until the end of the exam! I did not finish in at least two cases, and I know I sometimes forgot to do a specific exam. I also sometimes did exams that I forgot to note down on my patient note.
I did not have any problems typing the patient note, mostly because I was doing electives in the US before that, where I was writing notes. I typed using upper and lower case, because I wanted the exam to feel like a real day in the hospital. I sometimes felt very stressed because you don’t get exactly 10 minutes for your note when you leave the room after the announcement. A lot of times, I did not fill in any supporting findings from the physical exam in my differential. I did not feel that was necessary and did not think about it until I read some people discussing how many lines to put there! I did not even realize you could add lines, haha. I also just read an experience with someone listing not putting 3 differentials as a mistake. On the form where you type your patient note, it tells you to list UP TO three differentials. I just figured this meant I did not have to list three, so I listed only one or two sometimes.

Two last things:
First, when I told people I would be taking CS first I always got a lot of scared looks. Everyone was like “What, you haven’t taken Step 1 first??”
Not a single person that knows about the USMLE reacted differently. I didn’t actually know anyone who had started with Step 2 CS but I did contact someone on this forum who mentioned she had done the same thing, and she told me it was doable. For some reason, I was sure this was the best thing to do for me, so I did not listen to other people.
Second, I always planned on taking the exam in Philly because it was close to where I was. I figured I had already spent so much money on the test, I did not want to fly anywhere plus I had a friend who I could stay with in Philly. I heard a lot of rumors about the Philly test center. Here are just a few: “The test center in Philly is harder, because there are more AMGs taking there exam there, so you will be graded harder. You want to go to a center where lots of IMGs take the test.” One of the others was that the SPs in Philly were meaner than anywhere else, and I also heard they were harder to understand for IMGs (accent hard to understand, etc).
I listened to all these rumors and decided these were just rumors and I was not going to spend money on a flight and a hotel. Everyone at the test center was extremely nice. The proctors were really friendly, and most of the patients were as well. I did not feel any bias or anger or anything like that towards IMGs. I am so glad I did not spend any extra money to go to another test center farther away. For anyone trying to figure out where to take the test- listen to your instincts! I personally would chose the test center closest to you or, if you have to fly to the US anyways, the one with the cheapest flight.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone in this forum who share their experiences on here and answer questions. It is really helpful. I especially want to thank my study partner, drabdulkhadeer, and Dr_Laura for her videos!
I hope this report is helpful for some of you.
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2013
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Hey man, I'm really glad you passed and you are able to share your experience here rich in details! I really identified a lot with what you said and the most important thing is to avoid those rumors and believe in yourself! The main thing about philly is not the cases itself, but the intimidating sentiment of the fact you might be ending up the only IMG there on the day of your exam.. IF you think this could be a issue for you, I recommend other IMG-popular places like Houston..
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2013
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Originally Posted by cearamor View Post
Hey man, I'm really glad you passed and you are able to share your experience here rich in details! I really identified a lot with what you said and the most important thing is to avoid those rumors and believe in yourself! The main thing about philly is not the cases itself, but the intimidating sentiment of the fact you might be ending up the only IMG there on the day of your exam.. IF you think this could be a issue for you, I recommend other IMG-popular places like Houston..
Thank you!
And about Philly... if people would stop thinking like that, maybe you would not end up the only IMG in Philly...
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2013
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Originally Posted by cearamor View Post
Hey man, I'm really glad you passed and you are able to share your experience here rich in details! I really identified a lot with what you said and the most important thing is to avoid those rumors and believe in yourself! The main thing about philly is not the cases itself, but the intimidating sentiment of the fact you might be ending up the only IMG there on the day of your exam.. IF you think this could be a issue for you, I recommend other IMG-popular places like Houston..
I gave in Chicago and there was only one more IMG with me. Didn't stop me from passing.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2013
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Hey man
Oh and I just wanted to say, I'm not a man
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  #6  
Old 06-13-2013
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Congrats...and agree about Dr Lauras videos...those were money

(hopefully i can make a similar thread next week, :sorry::sorry::sorry::sorry
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  #7  
Old 06-13-2013
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Congratulations!

Thanks for sharing your experience and thank you for the tips. That is a lot of great information. I will definitely be checking out the Dr. Laura videos now. How long into your study process did you start using a study partner and how regularly did you use them? I am a little nervous about CIS and I need to increase my time with a study partner to work on this.

I subscribed to cse videos a few weeks ago and haven't seen the video with the 15 minute history. Maybe it was an old video? Someone I know showed me some videos he downloaded from the internet but they must have been old because the bootleg videos are not as good as what is on the paid site.

Good luck in the future!
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Old 06-13-2013
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Originally Posted by Medicine23 View Post
Congrats...and agree about Dr Lauras videos...those were money

(hopefully i can make a similar thread next week, :sorry::sorry::sorry::sorry

I agree. I promised God I'd get as detailed as possible and give back to this wonderful community once I pass I have so much that I want to say about my experience. I hope I can share next week.
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  #9  
Old 06-13-2013
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Originally Posted by vaibhavmanu View Post
I gave in Chicago and there was only one more IMG with me. Didn't stop me from passing.
Hey I gave mine in Chicago too. When did you give it. I gave mine on May 7th in the afternoon and I feel like I'm the only one who didn't get my results from Chicago.
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Old 06-13-2013
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congrats & thanx for sharing ur experience. I heard a lot of talk about IMG's vs AMG's. My q's is how do you differentiate between IMG & AMG at a test centre, I mean how would you know really? You cant talk to each & everyone at the test centre ask them If U are AMG or IMG? secondly do the SP's really know if someone is IMG or AMG? I dont think so why people are getting bogged down which centre has more IMG's vs AMG's I was sitting in the middle of 2 people I assumed were AMG's but when I talked to them one came from Australia & other one from Sweden you never know who is who?
waiting till next wednesday for results
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  #11  
Old 06-13-2013
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Originally Posted by hepevirus View Post
congrats & thanx for sharing ur experience. I heard a lot of talk about IMG's vs AMG's. My q's is how do you differentiate between IMG & AMG at a test centre, I mean how would you know really? You cant talk to each & everyone at the test centre ask them If U are AMG or IMG? secondly do the SP's really know if someone is IMG or AMG? I dont think so why people are getting bogged down which centre has more IMG's vs AMG's I was sitting in the middle of 2 people I assumed were AMG's but when I talked to them one came from Australia & other one from Sweden you never know who is who?
waiting till next wednesday for results
Hepevirus which date and at which centre did you take your exam ?
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  #12  
Old 06-13-2013
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Hepevirus which date and at which centre did you take your exam ?
@ chicago test centre may 16th
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  #13  
Old 06-13-2013
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Originally Posted by leene1982 View Post
Congratulations!
Thanks for sharing your experience and thank you for the tips. That is a lot of great information. I will definitely be checking out the Dr. Laura videos now. How long into your study process did you start using a study partner and how regularly did you use them? I am a little nervous about CIS and I need to increase my time with a study partner to work on this.
I subscribed to cse videos a few weeks ago and haven't seen the video with the 15 minute history. Maybe it was an old video? Someone I know showed me some videos he downloaded from the internet but they must have been old because the bootleg videos are not as good as what is on the paid site.
Good luck in the future!
Thank you! I started with my study partner right away and pretty much did most of the work with him.
Yes, maybe it was an old video! I did not have much time so I just decided not to watch any more of them/suscribe. For me, FA was enough...
Good luck in your prep!
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  #14  
Old 06-14-2013
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Originally Posted by hepevirus View Post
congrats & thanx for sharing ur experience. I heard a lot of talk about IMG's vs AMG's. My q's is how do you differentiate between IMG & AMG at a test centre, I mean how would you know really? You cant talk to each & everyone at the test centre ask them If U are AMG or IMG? secondly do the SP's really know if someone is IMG or AMG? I dont think so why people are getting bogged down which centre has more IMG's vs AMG's I was sitting in the middle of 2 people I assumed were AMG's but when I talked to them one came from Australia & other one from Sweden you never know who is who?
waiting till next wednesday for results
First and most important, SPs DO NOT know if you are an IMG or AMG or where you are from/Which school you go to. They don't even know your name.
As to knowing where everyone else is from, there are a few ways to tell: 1. ask
2. school on their white coat? most american schools have their logo on the white coat
3. ID: everyone was called and had to show their ID and I was the only person with a non-US-issued ID. but that is not 100%...

Good luck with your results!!
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  #15  
Old 06-14-2013
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Congratulations, and many thanks for sharing your experience. I have a couple of weeks to prepare for my CS exam in Philadelphia, and I was nervous about my choice of center. Your experience is heartening!
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  #16  
Old 06-14-2013
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Congratulations, and many thanks for sharing your experience. I have a couple of weeks to prepare for my CS exam in Philadelphia, and I was nervous about my choice of center. Your experience is heartening!
Thank you!! Glad this helps. Good luck with your prep!!
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  #17  
Old 06-15-2013
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Congrats...and agree about Dr Lauras videos...those were money

(hopefully i can make a similar thread next week, :sorry::sorry::sorry::sorry
Good luck to you! I feel with you having to wait another week (or more...) when so many people already got their results! But the wait will be over soon!
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  #18  
Old 07-05-2013
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Default what to write in the blue sheet besides mnemonics

thank you for sharing your experience with us. Im less than 2 weeks from my exam now and the feelings you describe here are the same I am experiencing now. Its comforting to know that you passed so I also have a chance. Im also using Dr laura's blue sheet, but I have a question, did you write what the patient told you in the blue sheet? for instance: sharp, 4/10, radiates to back, related to food, etc, etc? or just check marked it and memorized the rest? Im having so much trouble trying to finish on time. Im practicing with my wife who is not a dr but did 2 yr of nursing school LONG time ago (good SP), and I can not manage to do my PE in less than 16 min, and my PN in less than 12 minutes. and my exam is in 10 days!!! Im freaking out!
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  #19  
Old 07-05-2013
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Originally Posted by bullonto View Post
thank you for sharing your experience with us. Im less than 2 weeks from my exam now and the feelings you describe here are the same I am experiencing now. Its comforting to know that you passed so I also have a chance. Im also using Dr laura's blue sheet, but I have a question, did you write what the patient told you in the blue sheet? for instance: sharp, 4/10, radiates to back, related to food, etc, etc? or just check marked it and memorized the rest? Im having so much trouble trying to finish on time. Im practicing with my wife who is not a dr but did 2 yr of nursing school LONG time ago (good SP), and I can not manage to do my PE in less than 16 min, and my PN in less than 12 minutes. and my exam is in 10 days!!! Im freaking out!
Hey it's natural to freak out but try not to. Not sure how you're practicing. But this is something that helped me. I had my husband who also isn't a dr time me for 13mins and for the PN for 8mins. And I didn't do any check marks but I did write down all the positives to the case in abbreviations on the blue sheet. I followed some what of Dr. Laura's bluesheet. I didn't like the right upper quadrant of hers. And in fact the way my mnemonics were I didn't need that quadrant. I used LIQORDSSAAA PAMHUGSFOSSWAEDT where waedt is weight, appetite, exercise, diet, and travel hx. Also not sure of u have looked at the minicases in FA. But use this time to look at them. On there for each cc they tell u the questions u should be asking kind of like focused hx. That may help I with timing. And just practice practice practice. Honestly, I face the same problem as u did but then on the day of the exam I actually walked out of the room with about a min to 2mins to spare. I did have a hard time typing my PN and for that I'd recommend an actual keyboard instead of laptop it'll help on the day of the exam. Also practice that off of the usmle website it's the same format. And lastly wear gloves it'll same 30secs for u. I wore gloves on the day of my exam. Got high performance on all 3 sections! All the best with ur exam. I am sure u'll rock it. Just keep practicing!
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  #20  
Old 07-05-2013
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wow! thank you very much for that prompt and encouraging response. yeah I'll try to stick to the relevant questions only but I must say that the FA cases have a lot of information, that takes a lot of time to ask about. maybe that is because they have to have at least something to justify every one of their 7 or 8 DD's they have in some cases. too bad not even the latest FA edition has been modified to mirror the actual exam cases (max 3 DD's). or maybe they just do like Uworld that gives you more challenging questions that the actual ones in order for us to be better prepared even though sometimes it makes us feel like crap! jajaja. anyways, thank you for your reply, thats why I love this forum. there is always somebody out there to make me remember that I am not in this alone. best of luck to you too.!
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Old 07-05-2013
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wow! thank you very much for that prompt and encouraging response. yeah I'll try to stick to the relevant questions only but I must say that the FA cases have a lot of information, that takes a lot of time to ask about. maybe that is because they have to have at least something to justify every one of their 7 or 8 DD's they have in some cases. too bad not even the latest FA edition has been modified to mirror the actual exam cases (max 3 DD's). or maybe they just do like Uworld that gives you more challenging questions that the actual ones in order for us to be better prepared even though sometimes it makes us feel like crap! jajaja. anyways, thank you for your reply, thats why I love this forum. there is always somebody out there to make me remember that I am not in this alone. best of luck to you too.!
FA big cases expects you to ask more then what u actually can on the actual exam. I think in the intro of FA or perhaps uworld in one of those it mentions that the aim should be to ask at least 70% of those questions from the big cases. I had the hardest time with those female question with abdominal pain bc u also need to consider Gyn issues so I always ran out of time. One thing I'll tell u is on the actual exam on the day of it the issue is related to abdominal pain they'll tell u more about that and if u ask anything outside that they'll somehow clue u in that that's not the direction u want to go in. PM if u have any further questions. I'll try to be as prompt in replying but I have my CK coming up so it's crunch time for me as well.
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  #22  
Old 07-08-2013
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hey thank u so much ... very helpful post...
i need to ask u that im also gonna take my exam in philli so FA with practice is enough? pts ask challenging ques same way as in FA? we have to ans ttheir ques like FA? and do the pts ans only 1 ques at a time or they give u detail in 1 ques of HPI? and while noting on blue sheet how can we maintain eye contact?
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Old 07-08-2013
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hey thank u so much ... very helpful post...
i need to ask u that im also gonna take my exam in philli so FA with practice is enough? pts ask challenging ques same way as in FA? we have to ans ttheir ques like FA? and do the pts ans only 1 ques at a time or they give u detail in 1 ques of HPI? and while noting on blue sheet how can we maintain eye contact?
You're welcome, glad I am able to help someone with my post!
For me, FA was enough, but I can't tell you if it will be enough for you, since I don't know anything about you. If you have clinical experience, it should be enough. I think FA for Step 2 CS is an excellent book, read every single page! Definitely read the introduction and all the explanations, go through the big cases, and read through the minicases or go through the differentials in your head.
Most of my patients answered only one questions at a time I think, but not quite sure anymore. The SPs are very professional, they act just like any of your real patients would! So don't worry about that!
About the blue sheet and eye contact - only write down what's really necessary, and no full sentences. The encounter is not that long, so I am sure you will remember all the important things even when you are outside typing the note!

Good luck and let us know if you have any more questions
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Old 07-09-2013
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thank u so much 4 reply...
u didnt tell abt challenging questions? do the sps ask questions in the same way as written in FA or it depends upon the case? and do we have ans in the same way as written in FA? and im living in dubai, dont have any live partner, practicing with my frd on skyp and examinations on my husband who is non dr patner. will it help me or i should find live partner? plz help plzplzplzplz.....
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Old 07-09-2013
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thank u so much 4 reply...
u didnt tell abt challenging questions? do the sps ask questions in the same way as written in FA or it depends upon the case? and do we have ans in the same way as written in FA? and im living in dubai, dont have any live partner, practicing with my frd on skyp and examinations on my husband who is non dr patner. will it help me or i should find live partner? plz help plzplzplzplz.....
About the challenging questions: I don't think I am allowed to disclose what they actually were, but they were a lot like in First Aid and First Aid really prepares you well for these. I think First Aid plus Common Sense and you will be fine for the challenging questions!
If you can find a partner, definitely practise with a partner. You can post a thread here looking for one: http://www.usmle-forums.com/usmle-st...tudy-partners/
Practising online is great, and time yourself doing exams on your husband, eg do a full exam, focused on one system, in three minutes. (like, imagine the patient comes to you with LOC and do the appropriate exam, then for cough, palpitations, and so on). Going through the motions will help. I think it is better if you do the exam on someone without a medical background, because we med students/doctors already know what the exam is about and tend to help.
But like I said, a live partner is best so if you can find one, practise with him/her!
Good luck
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About the challenging questions: I don't think I am allowed to disclose what they actually were, but they were a lot like in First Aid and First Aid really prepares you well for these. I think First Aid plus Common Sense and you will be fine for the challenging questions!
If you can find a partner, definitely practise with a partner. You can post a thread here looking for one: http://www.usmle-forums.com/usmle-st...tudy-partners/
Practising online is great, and time yourself doing exams on your husband, eg do a full exam, focused on one system, in three minutes. (like, imagine the patient comes to you with LOC and do the appropriate exam, then for cough, palpitations, and so on). Going through the motions will help. I think it is better if you do the exam on someone without a medical background, because we med students/doctors already know what the exam is about and tend to help.
But like I said, a live partner is best so if you can find one, practise with him/her!
Good luck
thank u so much 4 helping....
i ll keep asking ur help
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Old 07-09-2013
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can u help me in PN? if i post my pn here can u check my mistakes? plz plz?
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Old 07-09-2013
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Nothing to add, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experience in such detail. It was really helpful.

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MY STEP 2 CS EXPERIENCE

I heard a lot of rumors about the Philly test center. Here are just a few: “The test center in Philly is harder, because there are more AMGs taking there exam there, so you will be graded harder. You want to go to a center where lots of IMGs take the test.” One of the others was that the SPs in Philly were meaner than anywhere else, and I also heard they were harder to understand for IMGs (accent hard to understand, etc).
Lol Philly people are usually stereotyped as jerks across the US. It's probably not a fair stereotype - I have several friends from Philly that are all great people - but I've also noticed that any friend that visits Philly as a tourist generally comes back mentioning how rude many of the people there are. Not the majority of them, obviously, but you tend to remember the ruder and louder ones. Glad your testing experience went well.

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secondly do the SP's really know if someone is IMG or AMG? I dont think so why people are getting bogged down which centre has more IMG's vs AMG's I was sitting in the middle of 2 people I assumed were AMG's but when I talked to them one came from Australia & other one from Sweden you never know who is who?
I think that's a great point. There's no need to psych yourself out over every little detail. The standardized patients aren't trying to figure out who's from where. They could differentiate based on accents (an Australian accent, for e.g., is noticeably different from an American one) but that would be a horrible way of judging, as many of my AMG classmates were immigrants and many US-born students go to the Caribbean. The SPs, I'd imagine, are too well-trained to do that. You'll be judged on your individual interaction with the patient, not where you trained at or how the person who went before you did.
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Old 07-09-2013
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thank u so much 4 reply...
u didnt tell abt challenging questions? do the sps ask questions in the same way as written in FA or it depends upon the case? and do we have ans in the same way as written in FA? and im living in dubai, dont have any live partner, practicing with my frd on skyp and examinations on my husband who is non dr patner. will it help me or i should find live partner? plz help plzplzplzplz.....
I had a hard time finding a sp and I am from Chicago. So ppl are rude to the point that they'll have multiple partners and they won't even have courtesy to msg you and cancel with you, esp when they were the ones who posted and said they wanted a "serious" sp. Some ppl asked too many personal questions. And there were some who made me feel like as if they were doing me a favor by studying with me. I even face that now when I am preparing for ck. I had this one person msg me from this forum that they'd like to study with me for ck but then when I showed them interest they already had too many restrictions like they couldn't come online b4 11am as they can't wake up sooner then that. And then told me that since its the summer too many outings n all.

But anyway similar has happened to me for cs so i got frustrated that I stopped wasting time behind these ppl and just practiced on my husband for CS. And my husband is not from a medical background and I honestly think it worked best for me. Bc he didn't know so of the medical terms and therefore he made me simply things. My best advice to u is to practice on your husband and have him take a look at the big cases first make him read and understand his role and what he's supposed to do. My husband was a great actor. I made him watch sample CSE videos online for him to get what I wanted. And I Am so glad that he was my sp. on the day of the exam my sps asked similar questions. Also from my experience I'll say ALL sps have a question for u. I used to ask while I was wearing my gloves. I always thought it was better for me to ask if they had any questions or concerns in stead of them telling me. And b4 I left the room and after I did my closing I had asked again if there is anything else I could do. I hope this helps.
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  #30  
Old 07-09-2013
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can u help me in PN? if i post my pn here can u check my mistakes? plz plz?

sure, go ahead, but you could open your own thread for ppl to look at your PNs
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  #31  
Old 07-09-2013
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I think that's a great point. There's no need to psych yourself out over every little detail. The standardized patients aren't trying to figure out who's from where. They could differentiate based on accents (an Australian accent, for e.g., is noticeably different from an American one) but that would be a horrible way of judging, as many of my AMG classmates were immigrants and many US-born students go to the Caribbean. The SPs, I'd imagine, are too well-trained to do that. You'll be judged on your individual interaction with the patient, not where you trained at or how the person who went before you did.
Lol I agree with u chicagograd. In fact all I think the sp judge is despite ur accent how comfortable u make them. IMGs not from Caribs have a rep for being rude or not having the manners to be modest or make the sps comfortable. And I noticed that when I practiced with some ppl on Skype. I actually told them to their face it no wonder we have to take these exams bc ur rude. So I thinks about how comfortable u make the pt feel and honestly if ur not comfortable which could be mistaken for being nervous the pt is not going to be comfortable. I used to take a deep breath b4 every encounter and said to myself u can do this and b4 I knew it it was all over and walked out with a huge smile on my face.
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Old 07-09-2013
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Lol I agree with u chicagograd. In fact all I think the sp judge is despite ur accent how comfortable u make them. IMGs not from Caribs have a rep for being rude or not having the manners to be modest or make the sps comfortable. And I noticed that when I practiced with some ppl on Skype. I actually told them to their face it no wonder we have to take these exams bc ur rude. So I thinks about how comfortable u make the pt feel and honestly if ur not comfortable which could be mistaken for being nervous the pt is not going to be comfortable. I used to take a deep breath b4 every encounter and said to myself u can do this and b4 I knew it it was all over and walked out with a huge smile on my face.
I think it is a little harsh to throw all IMGs in the same boat and say they are rude... I for one did not study in the Caribbean and seem to be fine... I am guessing you studied in the Carribbean? When you say "IMGs not from the Carib" you are probably thinking of one specific country or maybe a few. But where I come from we are actually not rude to our patients either...
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Old 07-09-2013
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I think it is a little harsh to throw all IMGs in the same boat and say they are rude... I for one did not study in the Caribbean and seem to be fine... I am guessing you studied in the Carribbean? When you say "IMGs not from the Carib" you are probably thinking of one specific country or maybe a few. But where I come from we are actually not rude to our patients either...
Yes I am from Caribs. I am only Indian so not racist at all. I did find ppl from India to be rude, selfish to an extent. I grew up my whole life in the states born in India. My husband happens to be a self made person worked hard came to states on student visa and then work permit. So b4 anyone goes a head and judges me. I only said what I experienced. Also, I did a rotation in India when I there 6months ago for my wedding. And it's completely different from how u'd interact with a pt here. Also I have friends from Iran, and Middle East that went Caribs with me n told me how it's different there too. I am not saying all ppl are like that. And ppl also have situations too. Like myself I wanted to take time to study for ck. but unfortunately for me my director wanted me to do rotations. So I do have to inform my sp. but again I have the courtesy to be honest.
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  #34  
Old 07-09-2013
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Yes I am from Caribs. I am only Indian so not racist at all. I did find ppl from India to be rude, selfish to an extent. I grew up my whole life in the states born in India. My husband happens to be a self made person worked hard came to states on student visa and then work permit. So b4 anyone goes a head and judges me. I only said what I experienced. Also, I did a rotation in India when I there 6months ago for my wedding. And it's completely different from how u'd interact with a pt here. Also I have friends from Iran, and Middle East that went Caribs with me n told me how it's different there too. I am not saying all ppl are like that. And ppl also have situations too. Like myself I wanted to take time to study for ck. but unfortunately for me my director wanted me to do rotations. So I do have to inform my sp. but again I have the courtesy to be honest.
All I was trying to say is that there are people from other countries here too. I study in Europe and have never been to India or the Middle East, so I have no right to say what teaching is like there or if ppl are rude to patients. I only know that most ppl in Europe are not rude (of course, you will always find a rude person... anywhere you go).
But then again, there are not many Europeans on these forums so ppl don't really think about them as IMGs I guess.
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  #35  
Old 07-09-2013
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I actually told them to their face it no wonder we have to take these exams bc ur rude.
This is actually what I really disagree with. You are blaming someone that we have to take Step 2 CS... Really?
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This is actually what I really disagree with. You are blaming someone that we have to take Step 2 CS... Really?
No not blaming someone.....if you had met some of the ppl that I met when I practiced for my CS...you'd share the same feeling..but I was only telling the person that's from Dubai what I had experienced...and everyone has different experiences..and she didn't sound too confident to practice on her husband..so just want to give her some words of encouragement that practicing on her husband will actually work to her benefit/advantage. I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone or anything...Just saying that there are ppl out there that post they was a serious sp but then they themselves don't show that seriousness by not showing up. If I offended you Val7 then I am sorry...I was only trying to help by posting that she practicing on her husband will be good for her. I have a different post of what I did for my exam..and actually used Dr. Laura just like u did...anyway...GL to you!
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No not blaming someone.....if you had met some of the ppl that I met when I practiced for my CS...you'd share the same feeling..but I was only telling the person that's from Dubai what I had experienced...and everyone has different experiences..and she didn't sound too confident to practice on her husband..so just want to give her some words of encouragement that practicing on her husband will actually work to her benefit/advantage. I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone or anything...Just saying that there are ppl out there that post they was a serious sp but then they themselves don't show that seriousness by not showing up. If I offended you Val7 then I am sorry...I was only trying to help by posting that she practicing on her husband will be good for her. I have a different post of what I did for my exam..and actually used Dr. Laura just like u did...anyway...GL to you!
Oh I see... I was really lucky, met the best study partner anyone could have had! He was not rude, fortunately. (And I don't have a husband I could practice on... )
But yes, I too think it will be good to practice on someone that is not from the medical field because it will force you to explain everything and not expect the other person to know what you are looking for. I think I said that somewhere, but not sure where that was.
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Old 07-09-2013
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Anyways, I am glad we got that cleared up
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Oh I see... I was really lucky, met the best study partner anyone could have had! He was not rude, fortunately. (And I don't have a husband I could practice on... )
But yes, I too think it will be good to practice on someone that is not from the medical field because it will force you to explain everything and not expect the other person to know what you are looking for. I think I said that somewhere, but not sure where that was.
Yup! That's exactly what happened to me with my husband...esp. for the PEs...he was like wait wait wait...what are you doing me..even though I asked for his permission to start PE...you do need to tell them what you're about to do instead of assuming u know that they know..and some of the terms..like when I asked do have any phlegm...he asked me what is that...

Lucky u that found a great partner like that...anyway good luck to u!
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I had a hard time finding a sp and I am from Chicago. So ppl are rude to the point that they'll have multiple partners and they won't even have courtesy to msg you and cancel with you, esp when they were the ones who posted and said they wanted a "serious" sp. Some ppl asked too many personal questions. And there were some who made me feel like as if they were doing me a favor by studying with me. I even face that now when I am preparing for ck. I had this one person msg me from this forum that they'd like to study with me for ck but then when I showed them interest they already had too many restrictions like they couldn't come online b4 11am as they can't wake up sooner then that. And then told me that since its the summer too many outings n all.

But anyway similar has happened to me for cs so i got frustrated that I stopped wasting time behind these ppl and just practiced on my husband for CS. And my husband is not from a medical background and I honestly think it worked best for me. Bc he didn't know so of the medical terms and therefore he made me simply things. My best advice to u is to practice on your husband and have him take a look at the big cases first make him read and understand his role and what he's supposed to do. My husband was a great actor. I made him watch sample CSE videos online for him to get what I wanted. And I Am so glad that he was my sp. on the day of the exam my sps asked similar questions. Also from my experience I'll say ALL sps have a question for u. I used to ask while I was wearing my gloves. I always thought it was better for me to ask if they had any questions or concerns in stead of them telling me. And b4 I left the room and after I did my closing I had asked again if there is anything else I could do. I hope this helps.
thank u so muchhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 4 encouraging me... thankgod there r people in the same situation like me, im not the only 1, so i wud definately do it like others did!!! yeah!!!! thank u once again...
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hey
congrats on passing!!!
i gave cs few days back in atlanta
i screwed up 2 cases badly
first case...i blanked up, missed the diagnosis entirely and wrote 3 ddx of which 1 is related to the system and maybe correct. however, i believe my history and examination was ok
second case...i made a blunder in the pn...1 of the 3 ddx was completely wrong...

Rest cases were ok....might have missed some points in writing pn due to lack of time...also i believe i might have missed counseling about smoking in 1 case...but overall they were ok...

Do u think i will pass??
This wait for results is killing me...
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Old 07-11-2013
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hey
congrats on passing!!!
i gave cs few days back in atlanta
i screwed up 2 cases badly
first case...i blanked up, missed the diagnosis entirely and wrote 3 ddx of which 1 is related to the system and maybe correct. however, i believe my history and examination was ok
second case...i made a blunder in the pn...1 of the 3 ddx was completely wrong...

Rest cases were ok....might have missed some points in writing pn due to lack of time...also i believe i might have missed counseling about smoking in 1 case...but overall they were ok...

Do u think i will pass??
This wait for results is killing me...
I also screwed 2 cases badly in terms of diagnosis, took it on atlanta too and got a awful note. Even though I passed Borderline in ice and high performance in CIS and SEP.. So, don't be discouraged!! I got my results today, the last day of the schedule and this miracle happened!! You'll be fine my friend!! I'll pray for you!!
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I also screwed 2 cases badly in terms of diagnosis, took it on atlanta too and got a awful note. Even though I passed Borderline in ice and high performance in CIS and SEP.. So, don't be discouraged!! I got my results today, the last day of the schedule and this miracle happened!! You'll be fine my friend!! I'll pray for you!!
Congrats Cearamor on passing! I remember your posts and how every week was torture for u. Good luck!
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Congrats! Thanks for the great post

Question plz:My exam is in September, I have an elective in the US AFTER it and trying to get one before it. Do you think it can be done without some US clinical experience before it? Will good medical knowledge and practice suffice? i think I have excellent English but as you said describing and asking things in layman terms might be challenging for IMGs at times.
Can you please advise me on this??

By the way I have taken Step 1 but most of my colleagues here take the CS first so in my school you are doing the usual thing rather than the exception


Thanks
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Originally Posted by meddoc90 View Post
Congrats! Thanks for the great post

Question plz:My exam is in September, I have an elective in the US AFTER it and trying to get one before it. Do you think it can be done without some US clinical experience before it? Will good medical knowledge and practice suffice? i think I have excellent English but as you said describing and asking things in layman terms might be challenging for IMGs at times.
Can you please advise me on this??

By the way I have taken Step 1 but most of my colleagues here take the CS first so in my school you are doing the usual thing rather than the exception


Thanks

Thank you! Where do you study?
I think the CS is very doable without any US electives and from what I have seen in this forum, most IMGs do it without. Practicing with a study partner is very important in my opinion. However, it is a lot easier if you have done an elective, so I would try to get one before your test, or postpone your exam after the elective you already have!
I do think a study partner is more important than doing an elective though. Hope this helps!
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Thank you! Where do you study?
I think the CS is very doable without any US electives and from what I have seen in this forum, most IMGs do it without. Practicing with a study partner is very important in my opinion. However, it is a lot easier if you have done an elective, so I would try to get one before your test, or postpone your exam after the elective you already have!
I do think a study partner is more important than doing an elective though. Hope this helps!
Thanks a lot ! I'm from Jordan
I'm trying to reschedule but all dates are full and no one ia cancelling! Hopefully I'll get lucky someday.
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Thanks a lot ! I'm from Jordan
I'm trying to reschedule but all dates are full and no one ia cancelling! Hopefully I'll get lucky someday.
Good luck!
There are two ways of finding a new date: Check4change, an addon for firefox, and the ECFMG email notifications. I used the email notifications and got lucky and got a date!
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Originally Posted by drtimmy View Post
hey
congrats on passing!!!
i gave cs few days back in atlanta
i screwed up 2 cases badly
first case...i blanked up, missed the diagnosis entirely and wrote 3 ddx of which 1 is related to the system and maybe correct. however, i believe my history and examination was ok
second case...i made a blunder in the pn...1 of the 3 ddx was completely wrong...

Rest cases were ok....might have missed some points in writing pn due to lack of time...also i believe i might have missed counseling about smoking in 1 case...but overall they were ok...

Do u think i will pass??
This wait for results is killing me...
Thanks!
No one here can tell you if you will pass or not. We don't know how this exam is graded and anyone who tells you differently is lying.
To me, it sounds like you did ok. Messing up 2 cases is not too bad, I have read of lots of people who did this. Of course, it depends on how many mistakes you actually made. Also on your other encounters!
No one can tell if they passed right after the exam. Everyone is worried they will fail. Will it be enough?
Unfortunately, the only way to find out is wait!
I know it is hard and it takes a lot of patience. Lots of people are in the same boat. I hope you get your results soon and hope you pass!
Good luck
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Thanks!
No one here can tell you if you will pass or not. We don't know how this exam is graded and anyone who tells you differently is lying.
To me, it sounds like you did ok. Messing up 2 cases is not too bad, I have read of lots of people who did this. Of course, it depends on how many mistakes you actually made. Also on your other encounters!
No one can tell if they passed right after the exam. Everyone is worried they will fail. Will it be enough?
Unfortunately, the only way to find out is wait!
I know it is hard and it takes a lot of patience. Lots of people are in the same boat. I hope you get your results soon and hope you pass!
Good luck

Thanks Val for replying...it actually sounds harsh but you're so right. WE WERE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT DUDE...my best advice to you is to to literally sit down and on a paper write down side by side of what u did and did not do on the exam...and then judge urself. You'll go crazy if u post in EVERY single post of others' exam experience..bc u're going to get different responses...some will be nice and baby u and say to that u passed..and other will be mean and tell u that man u failed...we all are DOCTORs NOT ECFMG or NBME...also u're a doctor be a professional..buck up dude! And u got a while till ur scores come out...DISTRACT YOURSELF...enjoy the nice weather...wish I could but can't have CK coming up. GL!!!
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Congrats on passing Val7. I just
have one question since my cs is coming up
provided u do all the fa cases and
read the minicases
how similar are the real cases to first
aid??
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Congrats on passing Val7. I just
have one question since my cs is coming up
provided u do all the fa cases and
read the minicases
how similar are the real cases to first
aid??
I'd say very similar. I did all of FA, big cases and minicases (just went through those by myself trying to come up with differentials and workup, sometimes with my study partner). I was planning on also doing Kaplan Complex Cases but did not have time, and looking back I can say that First Aid prepared me very well and there was definitely no need to do a second book.
But I'd like to hear what others say about this as well!
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Originally Posted by add1 View Post
Congrats on passing Val7. I just
have one question since my cs is coming up
provided u do all the fa cases and
read the minicases
how similar are the real cases to first
aid??
In my exam all the cases were very similar to FA cases. I only did a few minicases that too very casually. For further practice, I would recommend Uworld. After doing FA several times I had most of the cases memorized. So doing Uwold gave me a good idea about where I stand.
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Originally Posted by val7 View Post
MY STEP 2 CS EXPERIENCE

Hi everyone!

I got my result yesterday and I passed with a high performance in all three subcomponents.
I was waiting for my results to come out to write this because this exam is really not one where you will know if you passed or failed coming out! This experience describes not only my prep but also everything leading up to it, like applying for the exam. Sorry it got so long. Feel free to ask questions. I will try to answer them as well as I can! I will not, however, answer questions that are clearly answered in this text!
My CS experience is a little different from the “mainstream” one, as this was my first USMLE exam. It also is not very “mainstream” since English is neither my mother tongue nor the language spoken in my country nor the language I study in. Almost no one from my school takes the Steps. So far I have heard of maybe three people in my school taking Step 1, but I have not heard of anyone taking CS. The hardest thing about this test for me was probably explaining to the patient what I was doing during the exam (in English), and asking some specific questions in layman’s terms.
I decided to take Step 2 CS first for a number of reasons. Mainly, I had scheduled electives in the US and figured since I would be in the US, I might as well take it, as I did not want to pay for an additional flight in the near future. Also, I figured this was the one Step that does not require that much prep since it is only pass or fail, so you are aiming for a “pass” rather than for a certain score like for example a 240.
The way I went about the whole thing: First I read the whole ECFMG information booklet. The WHOLE thing! It took me quite a while and it was boring at times. At the beginning, there were a lot of ECFMG-specific terms I did not know. I think it was very helpful starting with that though. From there, I realized lots of people never read any of the ECFMG information, but rather ask their questions in a forum. This works too, of course, but since there are always other people who have not read it either, just telling you what they heard, you will end up very confused until one of the admins comes and clears up the commotion.
Then I went ahead and payed all the fees to be able to apply. The process from submitting the online application for Step 2 CS until I got my scheduling permit took about 6 months. I was lucky to have applied on time! My school sent the wrong forms and things like that, so that’s why it ended up taking so long. Originally my plan was to take the exam in March. Anyways, I finally got the scheduling permit end of March and scheduled my exam right away. I wanted to take it in May in Philly (this is just because I did my electives close to Philly, and I did not want to pay for an extra flight), so I never even checked spots at any other test center. There were no spots for May in Philly, so I signed up for sometime in April hoping to be able to change to date to early May. I signed up for the ECFMG email notifications through the Step 2 CS scheduling calendar, which notify you when one of your preferred dates becomes available. I got a lot of notifications but kept missing the dates because I was in the hospital. I got lucky about three times and read the email right away, so I kept postponing the exam a few days further until I got my “dream date” (after my electives but before my flight back).
So, after I had secured the spot I wanted I went ahead and looked for a study partner more seriously. I had looked before, but not very seriously because I did not know if I would even get my scheduling permit before I left the US, etc.
I was looking for a live study partner only and finally found one close to me. I found him on here, in usmle-forums, which is the only place I looked.
Less than three weeks before my exam, I met with my study partner for the first time. We hit it off right away. I remember, the first time we met, I had only read maybe 10 pages of FA. I am serious when I say that I was probably the luckiest person in this forum because he was an amazing study partner. He told me so much about the exam, reading FA later I realized pretty much everything was in there but it was a lot easier learning it from him. I had electives up until the week before my exam, so we were not able to meet too often. We met at night on the weekends and sometimes during the week and studied in a public place. I could not do every night because my electives were actually quite a lot of work and very exhausting sometimes.
My study material: FA, the usmle video (http://usmle.org/practice-materials/index.html, it is called “onsite orientation vieo for Step 2 CS”) and DR_Laura’s videos. I did watch about 2 of the CSE videos, but I felt like the doctor in the videos did and said lots of things I did not like and would have never said (for example, she said thank you after pretty much everything she did and in the video I watched, she took 15 minutes for the history alone), so I did not watch any more of the CSE videos. We also did minicases from FA sometimes and just tried to think of the differential or the workup. We asked each other challenging questions, in the beginning using FA and then just coming up with them ourselves. My partner was a great patient, always asking one or two challenging questions. I feel like the way we did the cases was pretty real. We probably had way too much fun and I feel like most of the time we ended up talking a lot about other things. We had the greatest food while studying and went to some fun places! I think we both felt like we might as well enjoy our breaks so we always ended up taking a lot of food breaks. I did every case in FA exactly once, mostly with my study partner. I also met with a girl that had offered to just “be my patient” and did a few cases with her, and one time I met with another girl I met in this forum. Two days before my exam, I was missing about 16 cases from FA. I did 4 cases with the girl that was not actually studying for CS, just helping me prepare, and the same day my study partner set up a mock exam for me and we did 12 cases in the same time as the exam would be. That day, I did 16 cases! It took all day and I was really tired after. The other thing I used to prepare were Dr_Laura’s videos. She is very active in this forum and first thing I did, even before opening FA, was starting to watch her CS videos! I ended up watching every single one of them . The one were she tells you what she writes on her blue sheet was THE BEST! I think my study partner and me both ended up using the blue sheet exactly like she shows it in her video. Here is the link, for anyone that is interested:

The day before the exam, I did not do much. Took a bus to Philly. I had planned to study on the bus, but did not even take FA out of my bag. Just did nothing at all. In Philly, I had some dinner and relaxed. I ironed the two sets of pants and blouses I had brought with me, and ironed my coat. I watched the orientation video from CS once again and then went to bed.
I stayed at a friends place, and could not sleep at all. There was a party going on all night, people cooking (the kitchen was right outside my door so I kept hearing people stirring in pots and then doing dishes and stuff) and drinking and having fun. Apparently a lot of people feel like cooking in the middle of the night! I felt like I did not sleep at all, but avoided looking at the clock just so I would be able to tell myself that I probably slept but just didn’t realize it.
In the morning, I got up and had some oatmeal. I packed some fruit, nuts, granola bars and water plus my stethoscope in my bag. They do have food at the test center, but I did not know if I would like it and figured I’d rather have too much food than not enough . same goes for water, they have water bottles.
I walked over to the exam center (it was very close) and checked in. I was the only person out of 24 with an ID that was not issued in the US. I also was the only non-US IMG there. There were lots of US students and a few people from the US studying in the Caribbean. From then it was just like in the official video: We put our stuff in the bins and food on our table. We each sat down at our assigned seat. Got a notepad with 12 blue sheets. We watched the video and had a short talk from one of the proctors and from a lady that trains the standardized patients. She basically just told us not to push on the abdomen too hard and things like that, which is also in the video itself. After that, all our stuff was locked in and we were told we would get it back after the exam. We all lined up and 12 of us went to one exam area, 12 to the other one. Everyone had to stand in front of a door and then we were waiting. I heard the “SPs, please prepare” and then the announcement that we could go in. I was not nervous at that point. The first two cases, I did not finish the case and ran out of time. After that, I felt like it got better, I had a better feeling about the time and time management. I always read the doorway information, wrote down a few things, wrote down my mnemonics and was usually one of the last ones going in the room. About leaving the room: I have read on this forum probably a million times that AMGs are finished with their cases faster. I have written my opinion about that in a thread before. Basically I just saw what I thought before, which is: everyone is doing a different case at the same time. Some are more complicated, so they take you longer. Some are quick, like a phone case, so you will be out with a few minutes to spare. I was sometimes one of the earlier ones out of the room, sometimes later, sometimes the last. I noticed that the cases I found hard and where I got cut off or stayed till the end, the person after me got out late also. So, I don’t think it is really a matter of being an AMG or IMG, but just a matter of the difficulty of the case!
The first five cases went pretty fast. Having to give the blue sheet to the proctor after each case felt somewhat liberating. Also, the blue sheets are numbered so you always know which case you are working on! After the first 5 cases, we had lunch. It was pasta and sandwiches, not very healthy but an ok lunch, plus I had my fruit and nuts and stuff. 30 minutes for lunch is not very long, plus there were only 4 bathrooms for 24 people. During the lunch break, a lot of people mentioned that they ran out of time in the first two or three cases. I guess it takes some getting used to. After lunch, we did the next four cases, then a 15-minute break, and then the last three. The whole exam was over a lot faster than I thought. I was really tired after! The first thing I did was take a long nap.
I know lots of people in this forum keep a long list of their mistakes. I did not even remember all of them until the end of the exam! I did not finish in at least two cases, and I know I sometimes forgot to do a specific exam. I also sometimes did exams that I forgot to note down on my patient note.
I did not have any problems typing the patient note, mostly because I was doing electives in the US before that, where I was writing notes. I typed using upper and lower case, because I wanted the exam to feel like a real day in the hospital. I sometimes felt very stressed because you don’t get exactly 10 minutes for your note when you leave the room after the announcement. A lot of times, I did not fill in any supporting findings from the physical exam in my differential. I did not feel that was necessary and did not think about it until I read some people discussing how many lines to put there! I did not even realize you could add lines, haha. I also just read an experience with someone listing not putting 3 differentials as a mistake. On the form where you type your patient note, it tells you to list UP TO three differentials. I just figured this meant I did not have to list three, so I listed only one or two sometimes.

Two last things:
First, when I told people I would be taking CS first I always got a lot of scared looks. Everyone was like “What, you haven’t taken Step 1 first??”
Not a single person that knows about the USMLE reacted differently. I didn’t actually know anyone who had started with Step 2 CS but I did contact someone on this forum who mentioned she had done the same thing, and she told me it was doable. For some reason, I was sure this was the best thing to do for me, so I did not listen to other people.
Second, I always planned on taking the exam in Philly because it was close to where I was. I figured I had already spent so much money on the test, I did not want to fly anywhere plus I had a friend who I could stay with in Philly. I heard a lot of rumors about the Philly test center. Here are just a few: “The test center in Philly is harder, because there are more AMGs taking there exam there, so you will be graded harder. You want to go to a center where lots of IMGs take the test.” One of the others was that the SPs in Philly were meaner than anywhere else, and I also heard they were harder to understand for IMGs (accent hard to understand, etc).
I listened to all these rumors and decided these were just rumors and I was not going to spend money on a flight and a hotel. Everyone at the test center was extremely nice. The proctors were really friendly, and most of the patients were as well. I did not feel any bias or anger or anything like that towards IMGs. I am so glad I did not spend any extra money to go to another test center farther away. For anyone trying to figure out where to take the test- listen to your instincts! I personally would chose the test center closest to you or, if you have to fly to the US anyways, the one with the cheapest flight.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone in this forum who share their experiences on here and answer questions. It is really helpful. I especially want to thank my study partner, drabdulkhadeer, and Dr_Laura for her videos!
I hope this report is helpful for some of you.
Excellent post .Congratulations .

Can you please explain how the latest changes affected the preparation for the exam?

How many months did you prepare for that .

One of the new additions on 2013 is in the CIS are .

Can you explain what does it mean to enable patients's behavior ? and to provide some examples ?
Thanks .
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Excellent post .Congratulations .

Can you please explain how the latest changes affected the preparation for the exam?

How many months did you prepare for that .

One of the new additions on 2013 is in the CIS are .

Can you explain what does it mean to enable patients's behavior ? and to provide some examples ?
Thanks .
I think it is in my post somewhere. I prepared about 2.5 weeks. This was while doing (very time consuming) electives, so I was only able to prepare at night. I could not prepare every day because sometimes I was just tired out. I also studied at night on weekends - my study partner practised with someone else during the weekend so we were only able to practise at night.
I dont think the latest changes should affect your studying/prep too much. Just make sure you read the CS information booklet! Everything you need is in there, especially regarding the latest changes.
Once you have read it and you still have questions, feel free to contact me.
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I think it is in my post somewhere. I prepared about 2.5 weeks. This was while doing (very time consuming) electives, so I was only able to prepare at night. I could not prepare every day because sometimes I was just tired out. I also studied at night on weekends - my study partner practised with someone else during the weekend so we were only able to practise at night.
I dont think the latest changes should affect your studying/prep too much. Just make sure you read the CS information booklet! Everything you need is in there, especially regarding the latest changes.
Once you have read it and you still have questions, feel free to contact me.
Thanks for the prompt answer ,
I did read the USMLE info booklet 2013 where are all the changes made on 2013 and the ECFMG .

I just came out of Step1 (Passed )this year in Jun and I intend the CS for November if spots will be available .

How about the Kaplan STEP2 case book last edition 2013 By Dr B ?
Did you use it or FA Step 2 CS will be enough ?

Thanks again and good luck with electives .I'll look for a study partner as well .
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Originally Posted by monvy View Post
can u help me in PN? if i post my pn here can u check my mistakes? plz plz?

I am just out of Step 1 ( got the result last week \ passed ) .
I did not apply yet for Step 2 CS but intend to do it if the spots available , on Nov 2013
Pls contact me .
Will communicate through the Skype

I 'll be available in the evenings because I work full time
Thanks
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Thanks for the prompt answer ,
I did read the USMLE info booklet 2013 where are all the changes made on 2013 and the ECFMG .

I just came out of Step1 (Passed )this year in Jun and I intend the CS for November if spots will be available .

How about the Kaplan STEP2 case book last edition 2013 By Dr B ?
Did you use it or FA Step 2 CS will be enough ?

Thanks again and good luck with electives .I'll look for a study partner as well .
If you read the info booklet, it describes exactly how the test is now. I did not do any research to find out what the format was like before because I did not care but I am sure if you compare it to an old info booklet or ask around you will find out. I just don't know why you would need to know. The only thing that is relevant is what the test format is like now.
I did not use that Kaplan book from 2013 because it came out after I took my test. Thus, I can't tell you if it is good. I assume it uses the new test format though, which is certainly helpful.
For my, going through FA once was more than enough. Some people do the cases a few times until they know them by heart. Don't know if that helps but like I said, once was enough for me.
I definitely recommend finding a study partner. In my opinion, the most important things for this exam are:
1. Study partner
2. FA for Step 2 CS
3. Believe in yourself
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Originally Posted by val7 View Post
If you read the info booklet, it describes exactly how the test is now. I did not do any research to find out what the format was like before because I did not care but I am sure if you compare it to an old info booklet or ask around you will find out. I just don't know why you would need to know. The only thing that is relevant is what the test format is like now.
I did not use that Kaplan book from 2013 because it came out after I took my test. Thus, I can't tell you if it is good. I assume it uses the new test format though, which is certainly helpful.
For my, going through FA once was more than enough. Some people do the cases a few times until they know them by heart. Don't know if that helps but like I said, once was enough for me.
I definitely recommend finding a study partner. In my opinion, the most important things for this exam are:
1. Study partner
2. FA for Step 2 CS
3. Believe in yourself

Great .
Thanks a lot .
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Unhappy congrats

hey friends i m also waiting for my results...can anyone please guide me about my mistakes i mean to say are they just minor mistakes ,blunders or big blunders
1..i forget to do leg rest in my 4 abdominal examination cases
2..after doing my counselling at the closure of my all cases i forget to remove my gloves i all 12 cases and hand shake with all sp e my gloves
3....in 2 cases i found the name of my sp a bit difficult and just during the knock i used to kall my sp e name and after that i used to kall him e YOU or MR

can u people give ur valuable feedbacks..can i pass my cs exam e these mistakes??everything else was ok i think but these mistakes bother me a lot.plx need ur advise,its a real torture for me,,thanks
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hi, thanks alot for your post.
i am also giving my step 2 CS as the first usmle exam and i'm really tensed. all i want to know is, will doing the cases in first aid be enough or what else should i revise from medicine to be able to formulate accurate differentials?
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Originally Posted by dowite22 View Post
hi, thanks alot for your post.
i am also giving my step 2 CS as the first usmle exam and i'm really tensed. all i want to know is, will doing the cases in first aid be enough or what else should i revise from medicine to be able to formulate accurate differentials?
Here is what other people are saying about the exam .

Be aware Step 2 CS today is not what it was 5 yrs or 3 yrs ago .
Has a TOTAL different face :

"In the interest of time and the fact that the actual cases may be very different from the FA cases, i'd recommend spending no more than about 8 minutes gathering the whole history. Subtle things like, asking more about the menstrual hx, pregnancies, abortions/miscarriages etc from a young female vs asking about screening exams like mammography/colonoscopy from an older male/female is important. You won't remember to ask everything but as long as your questions are pertinent to your differentials, you're good.

Before starting any section, it's always good to ask for permission. However don't over do it. SPs want to see a confident doctor who knows what he/she is doing instead of somebody who repeated seeks permission before every step. Keep explaining what you are doing as you go along though. Something like "Im now going to take a look at your belly, is that ok?". Hope this helps! "

Good luck
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Originally Posted by dowite22 View Post
hi, thanks alot for your post.
i am also giving my step 2 CS as the first usmle exam and i'm really tensed. all i want to know is, will doing the cases in first aid be enough or what else should i revise from medicine to be able to formulate accurate differentials?
Like I said in my review, I just did FA cases. Whenever I didn't know something or did not understand why a particular disease was in the differential, I looked it up online (usually wikipedia was enough).
I don't believe you need a lot of medical knowledge for this test. It is more about how you interact with the patient, knowing which tests to do, knowing your physical exam, and writing a good patient note!
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  #63  
Old 08-13-2015
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guys quick question i applied for cs but since 2 weeks have been waiting 4 ecfmg 2 email me the conformation upon which i can book the exam.
I contacted them today and was told it takes 4 weeks and that there is no way 2 expedite the process
issue is the appointments r getting booked extremely fast and dont want to delay my flight
how long do u think it will take me 2 get the confirmation?
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  #64  
Old 08-28-2015
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my personal case is very smilar in that i will take cs first and i was very confused on what test center i should choose.

your text was very supportive!

thanks!
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  #65  
Old 08-29-2015
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post removed from listing

Last edited by jmcelv; 09-05-2015 at 07:16 PM.
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