Almost a third of the medical students have failed the STEP 2 CS exam on their first attempt. Fortunately, by knowing how and why students fail can help you avoid the same mistakes. Reasons most students fail the STEP 2 CS exams:
1) Failed to smile and be well-liked: One of the most important things that you should remember is that these are not real patients. They are SP (standardized patients) or as I would call them "fake patients." That means they cannot judge you on your clinical knowledge, but only on your greetings and performance. That is why most people fail the STEP 2 CS exam because they forget to greet the patient with a smile. Students are too obsessed with impressing a fake patient with their clinical knowledge when in fact they should be concentrating on smiling and being presentable and well-liked. It's also important to show empathy towards your patient. Let them know that you understand their pain. At the end of your interview, your SP will have a checklist in their hands. If they don't like the way you treat them despite your vast clinical knowledge, you will just end up failing for something as simple as not smiling and being well-liked.
2) Being Too Nervous Most students usually get too nervous and forget the important things to ask their SP. Before approaching the step 2 cs exam, it's important to learn how to overcome anxiety. Number one suggestion of test-taking-anxiety is to practice. Fortunately, step 2 cs exam prep such as Target USMLE provides various strategic methods to help students overcome their anxiety. They also provide mock trial examinations to help students practice their clinical skills. After all, practice makes perfect and can also build confidence.
3) Bad Pronunciation IMG students usually have the hardest time passing the STEP 2 CS exam. The step 2 cs exam is geared towards English speaking students. If a student's pronunciation is hard to understand, they can easily fail the exam. It is highly recommended that IMG students take a step 2 cs prep course like Target USMLE, which can help focus on the necessary skills for passing the STEP 2 CS exam as well as the Spoken-English-Proficiency (SEP).
4) Not Understanding Which Portion of the Exam is Worth More The counseling and the patient notes are worth majority of the points. A lot of times, students get so hung up on the physical examination and interviewing questions that they ran out of time and failed to counsel their patient. If you missed over two counseling sessions, that can easily lead to a fail. As for patient notes, there are certain guidelines that students have to follow to pass. Each section on the patient notes are scored differently. It's important to know which sections are worth more. Fortunately, step 2 cs exam prep like Target USMLE can provide guidance and techniques on how to create a passing patient note and which areas to focus on to ensure that you get maximum points.