Sponsored Links
Results 1 to 6 of 6
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By dwr866

Thread: Just passed CS Yesterday!! Here's my exam prep and experience

  1. #1
    dwr866 is offline Junior Member 511 points
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    20
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    0
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Just passed CS Yesterday!! Here's my exam prep and experience

    Advertisements



    Hey everyone, I just got my passing score for CS yesterday so I thought I would share my prep and exam experience.

    Prep:
    • To prepare you only need 2 things: First Aid CS (I read it cover to cover about 2-3x) and a dedicated study partner. This can be someone who has either taken and passed the exam before, or someone who will be taking the exam around the same time as you.
    • Make sure that both of you have reviewed the cases in-depth on your own before you practice together. For me, one of my best friends and I prepared together, because our exams were only a few days apart.
    • Our total prep time was about 4-5 weekends for about 10 hrs/day. This was because our rotation schedules didn't really match up so the only times we could meet were on weekends.
    • Because of our scheduling issues, we would study 10 cases/week on our own and run through those 10 cases on the weekends. This is totally doable. 10 cases/week, works out to about 2 cases/day. Along with this, we also studied the mini cases every day. These are EXTREMELY helpful when trying to think of differentials and tests to order.
    • You can find the template for typing patient notes on the USMLE Step 2 CS website. I highly recommend using this because it is the EXACT same one they use on Test Day.
    • After every case we would discuss the mistakes we made both in the Patient Encounter and on the Patient Note, as well as, discuss the rationale behind the differentials and tests ordered.

    Exam Day:
    • First thing's first, regardless of how much you prepare, you WILL be nervous on test day. It's natural. I had persistent tachycardia starting from 6 am that morning lol.
    • I took my test in Philly. I know everyone says that Philly is the hardest, but after comparing my experience with my friends that took it at other sites, I'd have to say that they are all about the same.
    • Do NOT treat this as a cakewalk, despite what people say. I thought it was a very difficult and challenging exam.
    • As far as the patient encounters went, most of them were very pleasant to work with. There were a few that were challenging, but then again, that's all part of the test.
    • The test itself is 8 hours long. They first register you and show you the orientation video before they take you into the testing center. Btw, the orientation video can also be downloaded off the Step 2 CS website. I recommend watching it before taking the exam.
    • Each encounter is 25 minutes. 15 minutes for patients, 10 minutes to type up your note. After the first 5 encounters, you have a lunch break. After the next 4, you have a 15 minute snack break, followed by the last 3 cases.
    • Not gonna lie, a few of the cases were a little unexpected compared to what you read in First Aid or even what you might see in a real life clinic or ER setting. It's nothing that careful and detailed preparation can't cure.

    Tips
    • Read the doorway info carefully, and start thinking of a few differentials to help direct your questioning
    • I'm sure you'll probably read this 1000x on these forums, but be as courteous and professional as possible to the patient. Every little bit helps, believe me!
    • Do not wait until the end to counsel the patient. If a patient tells you they've been smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day for the past 30 years, talk to them about the dangers and health risks. (If they say they've heard it all before, say that you understand but as their doctor, you want to make sure they stay informed, or something to this effect)
    • Some patients will get annoyed or aggravated with you. This is all part of the act. Don't get intimidated. Just express to them how as their doctor, it is your responsibility to ensure they get the best of care.
    • At your closure, be as detailed as possible. Sometimes they won't understand something, but won't say anything. For example, until I asked a patient if they knew what a CT scan was, they didn't know.

    In closing I'd like to say that while I just wrote out this detailed message about my experiences, everyone is different. What worked for me, may not work for you. So if you find that this doesn't work for you, try to figure out what does. If you have anymore questions, don't hesitate to PM me. Best of luck to you all!

    PS. Another resource I thought was really helpful - Google "digital doc MD usmle step 2 cs". The website is a few years old, but still has a lot of great information and mnemonics. Beware though, while it does have this information, it is no substitution for reading the CS book all the way through. It is meant to supplement that.


    houmd likes this.

  2. #2
    houmd's Avatar
    houmd is offline Elite Member 7229 points
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,510
    Downloads
    26
    Uploads
    0
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    wow, congratualtions and excellent post! I will definitely be referring back to this come CS time!

  3. #3
    cbella's Avatar
    cbella is offline Member 516 points
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    leading a nomadic life
    Posts
    200
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    ^^^ great advice!
    Last edited by cbella; 06-21-2012 at 12:40 PM.
    "I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."- Muhammad Ali

  4. #4
    cbella's Avatar
    cbella is offline Member 516 points
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    leading a nomadic life
    Posts
    200
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    (repeat post)
    Last edited by cbella; 06-21-2012 at 12:40 PM. Reason: repeat
    "I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."- Muhammad Ali

  5. #5
    axiomofchoice is offline Senior Member 6116 points
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    705
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I purposely took my test after my family medicine rotation. This pretty much eliminated all the prep work, aside form reading FA CS one afternoon. But if this isn't possible, the advice above is very good!

  6. #6
    nome is offline Member 516 points
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    152
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    OP has great advice for anyone smart enough to start early. For the rest of us who decided to take it at the last minute or procrastinated, here's how to pass in 2 days (15-20hrs total study time):

    1. Remember you're IMG. At AUA, we didn't have great *****. You will need to prepare - you can't walk in cold like an AMG.
    2. Read the 40 cases in FA - the first 10-20 cases, expect to spend 30min per case. The rest of the cases, you can go through in 10min each, because you'll be used to the format & it'll be about hammering out the little details
    3. Practice your note-writing: on the real exam, you'll have 10min to write a note. Get your practice time down to 6min or less because you'll be slower on the exam
    4. Have someone be SP for you
    5. Go through the entire PE atleast once, ideally twice. I was slow on Neuro during practice, practiced it three times, and wasn't able to complete the whole Neuro during the exam.
    6. Keep in mind that SP are always going to be slower than the friend you're practicing with. So try to finish your practice H&P with 5min left because you're going to need those extra 5min during the real encounter

    I didn't have time to read mini-cases at the beginning of FA, but I'm pretty sure it'd be helpful. My total study time for CS was 13-15hrs. I really wished I had studied another 5hrs more because I was edge of my seat, not sure if I'd passed or not. I ended up doing poorly (borderline) on Communication and Interpersonal Skills. I did fine on Integrate Clinical part. Overall, it was a pass but not a great exam.

Similar Threads

  1. passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!exam-experience
    By Anonymous in forum USMLE Step 1 Forum
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-17-2009, 10:03 AM
  2. Passed, exam experience
    By Asclepius1 in forum USMLE Step 3 Exam Experiences
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 03-27-2008, 09:39 PM
  3. passed and exam experience
    By Asclepius1 in forum USMLE Step 2 Exam Experiences
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-03-2005, 12:18 PM
  4. Passed , my exam experience
    By kokushubila in forum USMLE Step 1 Forum
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-25-2004, 05:43 PM
  5. exam experience---- Took step 1 yesterday
    By Anonymous in forum USMLE Step 1 Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 04-25-2004, 04:32 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •