Hello guys .This is my first post and I will start it with my experiences n views regarding the Usmle Step 2 CS exam which I passed a month ago.I prepared for around 20-25days with 5-6hrs of preparation daily excluding weekends .The main thing which helped me a lot was live practice with study partners .We were about 5 people who really motivated ,helped each other until the last day of are preparation. Luckily all of us cleared d exam. CS is the most easiest exam to pass if u have good practice. But let me warn u guys ,CS is d only exam where slight negligence /hesitancy /minor mistakes could cost u your entire USMLE dream because its only 1 time attempt that PDs would like us to clear through the exam ( You always have a second chance). All u have to do is do 10cases correctly out of 12 in the exam. Sounds easy while saying but u really should be at your best during entire exam session .
Coming to the books that I used were F.A stp 2 CS and Kaplan cases (5 -10 cases not seen in F.A).We all practiced thoroughly the entire book. Its good to practice them at least twice. We did it 3-4times I guess and in the last 5days we went through Kaplan cases too because there are around 5-6cases which u don’t find in F.A. Just about 10days before my exam I took the nycsprep mock test n it was like a wake up call for all of us. In this practice test we will be given 6 cases n all of us were shocked dealing with them as none of them were from F.A .We then did Kaplan n found all dose in it. To know this I spent 600$ :P.so don’t forget to do Kaplan at least once before giving your exam.
I took my test in Houston. It doesn’t matter where you take the exam because 5 of us went to 3 different centers to give r exam n all of us passed. So it doesn’t matter if you are good at your skills .
In the exam out of 12 I did 11 correctly n 1 CNS case I couldn’t finish in time .Rest all went pretty well .The sp’s were really cool n luckily I didn’t get any weird cases though. But out of 12 around 6 cases I got from GI .May be that day was fr GI 😛
Now what to do n what not :
1) practice practice practice. Let it be through Skype /live practice /your relatives anyone .But practice is the sole key thing that will help you.
2) Do f.a minimum twice n most people neglect the short cases n they directly start long cases. Dont do that,read short cases once. Then go for long cases.
3) Check d CS videos for PE and let me tel you. You don’t need to do entire PE in all cases.It’s just about doing what is pertaining to d concerned case. Generally people waste time unnecessarily in doing all d PE fr all cases.
4) Ask relevant Q’s while taking history. This is very imp especially fr CNS .As you will be in a dilemma of what 2 ask as there are several Qs fr a CNS case. The 1 case which I couldn’t finish was a CNS case. The patient ate away my time in asking too many Q’s while taking history. You can’t deny them u have to ans them if its relevant else u can simply say I will attend all your concerns at d end once I’m done with history taking n physical.
5) Most people think its about excellent history with complete PE that satisfies the sps skipping the summarizing n counselling part. Let me tell u in us people give high priority to summary n counseling .So don’t ever skip summarizing n counseling them. If u don’t summarize the case consider u lost the case.
6)Time management -by 9min u have to start doing PE. By 13 min you should wrap it up n keep d last 2 min for summarizing n counseling patient in each case
7) Practice how to wash your hands with soap /sanitizer /simply put on gloves. I used gloves cause people say my arms feel hot ..so while practicing with your friends spare 30-45sec fr this act .It will help u in d exam.
8)Lastly stay focused ,never get panicked if you couldn’t do well in one / two cases. Remember its the Sp’s whose acting not you.
The ultimate key to success is to get good partners and practice, practice, practice and practice..that is the only thing which saves us on the main day.
Hope this will help u and good luck guys. Let us chase our dreams .Hope all you guys pass CS with high performance .All d best guys 🙂