No idea how I passed STEP 2 CS; there's hope for all. Here's my story.
I'd like to thank God first and foremost. Alhamdilla I passed. I really really needed this win to keep up my spirits.
This is my first post and I'm happy that it's with a positive connotation.
So here's my CS story and how I passed.
I'm a US med student and I was scheduled to take CS in early November.
In early October my life literally flipped up-side-down. My mom developed a cough and was soon diagnosed with squamous cell lung carcinoma. This alone is devastating. As an only child, without my dad around. It was pretty much my mom and I against this beast. I was horrendously messed up and basically dropped out to take care of my mom. Btw, thank you family and friends for abandoning us.
After rescheduling CS and CK twice, I finally said enough is enough and took a shot in the dark and took CS January, 2016.
I studied 10-12 days. I had first aid CS and a whole bunch of notes from previous posts from this website and others - those helped A LOT.
I didn't finish all of first aid. I didn't read the mini-cases. I didn't practice for hours. All I did was gather a bunch of mnemonics for each system.
MSK, PSY, NEURO, CV, PULM, OB/GYN, PEDS, GU and GI.
I memorized the living hell out of my mnemonics then asked 2 of my remaining friends to help out for a couple day to simulate a SP. I did about 4 cases a day for...maybe 4 or 5 days. But...I didn't practice my note.
I practiced with a timer set at 14 mins - Intro, HX, PE, counseling and closure with 1 min to spare if I needed it.
My note I did on my own. Again, I set a timer for 9 mins and God that wasn't enough. I actually timed myself to see how long it took me to finish it while rushing and it was something like 14mins. I had to get faster, and more accurate. Eventually I got it down to 10-11mins with a lot of abbreviations.
I did a few more notes and finally said, that's enough; either I'll get it or not.
The exam was a 100% hit or miss with me.
The actual exam itself:
I took it in Chicago.
Case 1: The first case of was freaking weird ass PSY and MSK mixed and I didn't finish on time - the guy wouldn't stfu. That means no closure (no dx impression, no counseling, no what to do next). Next case same thing.
Case 2: Got half way through my neuro after CV, PULM and HEENT, then ran out of time. For my note, same thing. I struggled to finish. I did not.
Case 3: Peds MSK but kid was 16 and had permission from mom to be examed alone. I treated it as an adult case. I finished on time with counseling and everything. Note I finished too.
Cases 4-12 were just a blur. They were the typical cases CV, Alzheimers, MI, Cough, painful urination and GI. Case 10 was weird OB/Gyn and GI mixed.
Ok. So, here's the deal guys. I didn't close on about 5 cases: No diagnostic impression, no what studies to order, no counseling. I didn't finish my note on about 5 cases including one note I ran out of time and forgot to put diagnostic studies (I'm retarded I know). after case 6, IN THE MIDDLE OF MY NOTE, I switched from lower case to CAPITALIZED LETTERS. At that point I didn't give a F***.
I either perfectly counseled or kinda/sorta counseled about 7-8 cases and didn't on some. I dropped the draping on the floor for one case and actually cursed (****) in another as I heard the buzzer. I messed up on the differentials on 3 cases and even put metrorrhagia on one (wtf was I thinking?)
Spelling...pshhh, I made so many mistakes haha
I made so many mistakes, I was certain I failed. It was the thing I was most absolutely certain about in my life. I passed and got my results today.
What I did do correctly:
-Had an amazing intro and closure (when I actually did it)
-Very strong HPI, PMH and PE (when I was able to finish it entirely)
-Had lots and lots of empathy
-Kept asking "is there anything else you like to discuss? Am I missing anything? Do you fully understand and are on board with our plan?
-Always sanitized hands and draped.
-Always EVERY CASE did CV, lungs and HEENT.
-Filled out Diagnosis and studies first (for most of them lol see above)
How I think I saved myself:
The note was basically my biggest downfall I felt. So, in the middle of my exam I noticed I was wasting too much time on systems that were not apart of the chief complaint.
Say the case was GI, eventually on my note I didn't even care about the rest. I wrote out Diagnosis and studies first, the HPI with chief complaint system first and then the rest if I had time.
Basically my entire ENTIRE note was abbreviations. I used many that were not listed on the usmle website and just went for it.
Granted I didn't get higher performance in any other than English, but I didn't get anything under boarder line except for 1 start below that shaded region. Overall I did enough to pass.
I wanted to share my experience because if I can pass even going through all my personal stuff outside school by barely studying. Guys anyone, including you, can do it.
Please private message me if you need any further help or want a copy of my notes or the resources I used.
Best of luck to all!
P.S, please pray (or send happy thoughts) for my mothers recovery - that's all I ask for. Thanks guys.