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USMLE Step 2 CS Forum USMLE Step 2 CS Discussion Forum: Let's talk about anything related to USMLE Step 2 CS exam


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  #1  
Old 06-19-2014
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Default CS Experience

Hi everyone! I am done with Step 2 CS. Got my score report yesterday and I passed . So I thought of sharing my experience here.

The key to this test is PRACTICE. First Aid is more than sufficient for the cases.

PREPARATION: I did electives at Case Western for 3 months. I met other students over there and we did lots n lots of practice. I think the only 2 things u need for CS are First Aid and a study partner. That's it folks. About the time period required for preparation, well that depends upon the individual and how much time u have before your test. Some people can do it in a week, some take 2-3 months. On average, 1 month is sufficient for CS prep.

Two major hurdles are- English and Typing. So please focus on these 2 things. CS is not very challenging from knowledge point of view. If you have read your First Aid well enough, then you don't need to worry about anything.

Always practice with a timer. Timing yourself is critical. Infact try to finish your cases in under 15 minutes. Also time your Note typing. Most of the times, you can do it in under 10 minutes. Few days before the test, do full exam simulation. Do 12 cases on the trot so that you get a feel of the test.

And if you get to do clinical electives before the test, that will be really helpful because you get to deal with real American patients and you get to type notes. That gives you lot of confidence.

THE EXAM: As most of you know, this exam has 3 aspects- ICE (integrated clinical encounter), CIS (communication and interpersonal skills) and SEP (spoken english proficiency).

CIS is the major issue for IMGs, followed by SEP. So try to be really good at these 2 things. As per the latest PDF on usmle website, the SPs have a check list only for physical exam. The history part is covered in the note which will be examined by a physician. And 1 or 2 cases are pilot cases.

There are 12 cases. After first 5 cases, you will get a 30 minute break and lunch will be offered to you, so don't bother carrying food. Instead carry mints or gums or toothbrush and toothpaste. Then 4 cases and another 15 minute break. No food during this break, just coffee and soft drinks. And then last 3 cases.

The only things you need to carry with you to the test center are- Stethoscope, white lab coat, your scheduling permit, your confirmation notice, valid ID and some cash/ credit card. You will be allowed to keep your ID and cash with you all the time. You can put rest of your stuff in the locker.

They will show you the orientation video before the test and they will also give you time to examine the exam room stuff like the bed, the otoscope etc. Do that please, especially the bed. Pay attention on how to get the foot rest out.

As for the real test, you will be nervous before your 1st case, but after that you won't really have the time to be nervous and you will start seeing patients as if you are in a real setting. The SPs are really nice. You might get an angry patient, try to keep your cool and acknowledge the anger.

I think spending 40-50 seconds at the door is critical. Figure out the differentials at the door and jot down your mnemonics. It will be much easier for you to tackle the patient afterward.

At the end of the test, you will be confused about how you did But that happens to everyone. Don't worry about that. And wait patiently for your result.

MYTHS: One myth that I encountered during my preparation was that some test centers are IMG friendly and some are not. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. USMLE is a standardised test. Test centers are not biased. SPs are not biased. e.g I took my test in LA. Everyone told me that LA is not IMG friendly, but I still passed. So don't worry about the test center. They are all the same.

HOTELS and TRAVEL: Air travel can be really tiring, so reach your destination few days earlier. Give yourself good amount of rest and try to stay as close to the test center as possible.

As for LA test center, it is the Pacific Corportate Towers in El segundo, LA county. I stayed at the Hacienda hotel and I walked to the test center, its like a 5 minute walk. FA has all the information on the hotels and stuff. So dont even bother searching the internet for it.

Dress professionally. Carry a clean white coat. Be confident and you will be good

I hope this post helps people who are preparing for the test. If you have any questions, lemme know.

Thanks
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The above post was thanked by:
coolfire (06-20-2014), DRNMK (06-19-2014), tareq76 (06-26-2014)




  #2  
Old 06-19-2014
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Hi. I was going to post my exam experience but you said it all haha I took mine in LA too, and the test center, SPs and proctors are really nice. I just wanted to add one thing to what you said. It's true you have to practice typing the patient notes and timed yourself, but guys you should also practice writing the note with pen and paper. practice at least a few times. I say this because the day I took my test, right after the introduction video, they told us that the computers were down and there was a 98% chance that we would have to write all the PN. so everybody started to freak out (including me). you can print the sample PN they have on USMLE.org and practice with that because that is the space you'll have to write the note. Thank God they fixed the problem by the time we got out of the first patient encounter and we were able to type in the computers all the PN. I just recommend you practice writing the PN at least a few times and that way if this happens to you, you won't be freaking out before your first encounter.
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  #3  
Old 06-19-2014
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Congratssss
Can u plz tel me
-how many supporting points did u write for each DD
-how many DDs could u write for each case
-can we carry painkillers and keep them in locker? and can we take'em during the first break????

plz reply
Thanks
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  #4  
Old 06-20-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRNMK View Post
Congratssss
Can u plz tel me
-how many supporting points did u write for each DD
-how many DDs could u write for each case
-can we carry painkillers and keep them in locker? and can we take'em during the first break????

plz reply
Thanks
1) I was able to write 2 or 3 history points in favor of each diagnosis and may be 1 examination point (positive or negative). Most of the times you will not have any examination point in favor of the diagnosis, don't worry about that. Try to mention your pertinent positives and negatives in your physical exam/history section as well e.g negative Kernig's sign for a case of headache.
2) you can only write 3 DDs. Not more than that. But you can write 4-5 diagnostic studies or more.
3) whatever u need during the exam, DONT put it in the locker. You don't have access to your locker during the test. You should keep such things on your table where you are made to sit for the lunch and other breaks. Regarding medicines, I think you should check the usmle website if you are allowed to carry meds.

Hope this helps!
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  #5  
Old 06-20-2014
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Steps History: 1+CK+CS
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emy86 View Post
Hi. I was going to post my exam experience but you said it all haha I took mine in LA too, and the test center, SPs and proctors are really nice. I just wanted to add one thing to what you said. It's true you have to practice typing the patient notes and timed yourself, but guys you should also practice writing the note with pen and paper. practice at least a few times. I say this because the day I took my test, right after the introduction video, they told us that the computers were down and there was a 98% chance that we would have to write all the PN. so everybody started to freak out (including me). you can print the sample PN they have on USMLE.org and practice with that because that is the space you'll have to write the note. Thank God they fixed the problem by the time we got out of the first patient encounter and we were able to type in the computers all the PN. I just recommend you practice writing the PN at least a few times and that way if this happens to you, you won't be freaking out before your first encounter.

Yes. You are very right. In case the computers are down, you will need to write the notes on a paper. So everyone should try practicing with pen and paper too.
Thanks for mentioning this point
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