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Getting ready for USMLE Step 2 CS?- 3 Truths you must know before getting started

by admin target 07 Jan 2019


1. “STEP 2 CS IS AN EASY EXAM” - That’s what most students will tell you. Some even call it an English testing exam. Yes! Step 2 CS is an easy exam – it is easy to PASS (if you know the nuances and strategies to ace it) BUT it is easy to FAIL as well. According to the ECFMG fact cards the current pass rates for AMGs and IMGs has been dropping for the past few years. Most student fail the ICE component. So KNOW what the examiners want and WHO grades you (the SP or the MD) before you sit down with your CS study materials.

2. KNOW HOW TO DO ONE CASE RIGHT BEFORE YOU PRACTICE MULTIPLE CASES - Many students just browse through First Aid and think they are ready for practice with their colleague or random study partner. Remember your colleagues are not the best people to tell you if you are doing it right or wrong because they are also in the same boat as you! Secondly student think they can attend a group class and come out ready for CS. Group coaching classes can download CS information in 3 or 4 days but you need to digest, process the information, practice and get a handle on it on your own. Remember on the exam day its just You in front of that SP. That level of prep and practice to be 100% confident takes time (2-4 weeks). Get a personal coach to assess your strengths and weaknessness at different points of your CS Prep journey. That way you get better and better with experienced tutors as they fine tune your mistakes and more importantly teach you how to think through the case. Remember they know which of their students passed prior as they have personally handled hundreds of students one by one. Step 2 CS is NOT just about asking a bunch of questions but knowing WHY you are asking those questions. More importantly as you get the answers from the patient you are processing that information as you get ready to ask the next question. That can be a challenge for many students from my experience. Focused history is what is needed to pass the exam.

3.KNOWING WHEN DO YOU TAKE A MOCK EXAM?- CS prep is a journey with many milestones along the way. First you get a grasp on what is this CS all about, what materials to use and find out how long it takes approximately to prepare. Second, once you find ONE right resource material (one that appeals to you personally), go through it and make sure you can present ONE case correctly – i.e a clinical encounter and patient note that will get you an ICE, SEP and CIS pass even if it is not within the time limit. Third, Practice different cases till you get a handle on the time factor and are able to present within 15 minutes and type Patient note within 10 minutes. Fourth, you are now ready for the MOCK exam (Online or Live) to try out if you can handle multiple cases in a row under time constraints and change gears quickly from one case to another.

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