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Old 06-15-2013
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Smile stormshadow Step 2 CS experience

Hi everyone, I took the CS exam back in April and I passed, so I thought I'd share my experience with everyone.

I took the exam at the Philly center and passed with high performance in English (I can speak the English good LOL) and mid range in CIS and ICE but way above borderline.

Prep: I prepped for around 1mth-1.5mths since I am kinda slow and don't like to rush things. Basically it is up to you, if you feel ready, go and take it. I know people who prep for just 5 days and also people who prepped for 3 mths.

Materials: I took the Kaplan 5 day CS course. It is expensive but well worth it especially since I haven't touched a pt in almost 2 years. They will teach you everything from how to introduce yourself right down to the most efficient ways to do the PE to maximize time management. The SPs in Kaplan are all trained actors and many of them use to work for the USMLE, so they teach you exactly what you need for the test. They even have a mock exam at the end of the course with feedback on all components and pt note. I recommend the Newark center course.

So I used the Kaplan materials and First Aid for practicing. I went through the mini-cases 2-3 times and practiced all the cases with live partners at least once. After that we started making up cases and we practiced those. I bought Uworld CS prep but didn't do those cases, I just read the parts on how to ask associated questions and review of systems.

Test Day: Got to the center 1/2 hour early and waited while the staff registered everyone. Remember your basics: Proper formal clothes (dress shirt, dress pants, tie, shoes and clean ironed labcoat), get a haircut, and wear deodorant only, try and avoid cologne.

Pt encounters: The cases were straight forward just like the First Aid cases. First case I ran out of time and couldn't finish the closure, but the rest I was able to finish. I didn't do health education for everyone since I ran out of time on some cases. I always washed my hands, I don't like using gloves since I think they create a subconscious barrier btw you and the pt, but if you have a genuine problem like a cut or a rash then go ahead and use gloves. Also the SP may ask you why you are wearing gloves, and you have to give them an answer.

Also remember to address any questions or concerns the SP may have, even if they ask you in the middle of PE or HPI, stop and answer the question. It shows that you care about the pt and are attentive to their needs. Even if you don't address it immediately, remember the SP's question and address sometime before you leave the room. Remember to always keep your cool and stay in character.

Pt note: I struggled with this part. The computers are fine but the keyboards are really worn out so you really need to press down on the keys when typing. Some notes I completely finished and justified all the 3 differentials, but some I could only do 1 or 2 differentials because I ran out of time. But every note I typed a complete history (whatever I had asked I typed it in, neg and positive findings), whatever PE I had done including vitals, Dx tests, and 3 differentials even if couldn't justify all of them. Practice typing notes since those 10 mins fly by really fast.

After the test I felt like I failed and the whole test was a big blur. But I guess this is a normal feeling since no one walks out feeling confident. Over the next 7 weeks I kept having flashbacks of the test and kept remember all the mistakes I made. It was stressful but I guess its part of paying your dues to becoming a doctor. But at the end of the day, thanks to God, I passed.

It is a simple test in terms of medical content, but remember to respect it. Study and Practice well. A little prayer doesn't hurt either.
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The above post was thanked by:
ifss (06-16-2013), littlecrasper (10-16-2013), MedicalExaminer (06-16-2013)

Old 06-16-2013
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Thanks for the write up and congrats on passing.
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