Essam Saad USMLE Step 2CS Experience
I don’t usually write my experience but I remember how I used to go through this form many times just to read the experience of other people who passed the exam as I was stressed out about it, I did my exam in 16th of July in Houston center.
Total time of preparation was: 1.5 months (2 week before the exam I was doing my hands on elective and one week before that I was preparing for my travel to the U.S, so I didn’t have much of a dedicated time for the preparation)
Materials used: First aid and sherazi’s note
1) For the ICE part:
I went through the First Aid and Sherazi’s note at the same time and I had a notebook where I wrote my own questions that has a combination of both the first aid and sherazi’s notes questions. First I memorized the main points I should ask about in every case plus the mnemonics written in sherazi’s notes, and I read the discussion at the end.
The second run I went through my notebook and I started reading what should be done in the physical examination, plus I was going through how the notes should be written and started exercising on this website https://www.usmle.org/practice-materials/step-2-cs/patient-note-practice2.html till i was confident that I can write everything down in less than 10 mins.
The third time I practiced the history with my friend over skype, where I would time the encounter with the discussion for 15 mins, at the same time I was training myself on writing down the history on a clipboard while taking the history from my friend, I practiced 10 cases/day and at the end of the day I would write on the website the notes that I gathered during my practice.
For the physical examination I just watched the UWorld step 2 CS physical exam.
2) For the CIS part:
I used the Neeraj notes to just learn those 23 points:
1. Did examinee knock on the door before entering the room?
2. Did examinee appear professionally dressed and presentable?
3. Did examinee introduce him/herself?
4. Did examinee maintain comfortable eye contact?
5. Did examinee use patient last name to address her/him?
6. Did examinee have focused attention on patient?
7. Did he/she express empathy?
8. Did he/she convey nonjudgmental attitude?
9. Did he use appropriate draping techniques?
10. Did he/she use few open ended questions?
11. Did he/she use non leading questions?
12. Did he/she ask multiple questions at a time?
13. Did he/she question without interrupting the patient?
14. Did he/she perform paraphrasing?
15. Did he/she use layman language?
16. Did he/she use transitional phrases?
17. Did he/she give explanation during physical?
18. Did he/she provide appropriate reassurance?
19. Did he/she summarize significant history?
20. Did he/she convey his diagnostic impression in layman terms?
21. Did he/she discuss diagnostic test?
22. Did he/she ask if patient had any questions or concerns?
23. Did he/she offer patient education/suggestions?
I read them over and over, I even read them the morning before my exam just so I wont forget any point and that would be more than enough.
3) For the SEP:
I didn’t have a problem with that because in my medical school we learn the history and discussion in English so It wasn’t an issue.
I arrived to the Park Inn hotel 3 days before the exam so I can settle and revise for my exam, I met some of the students over there but they stressed the life out of me so decided to sit in the hotel room to study alone, I didn’t have the chance to do a live practice so I was more stressed.
Plus there was an Indian doctor who would gather the students and teach them some tips for the CS exam, I attended once with him he was teaching us about how to write notes he was really good but at the end of the day I went to him and asked him for an advice on time management, he asked me what I was doing the past 1 month I told him I was preparing for my exam and doing my elective at the same time, he said “I am very worried about you not being ready for the exam and I highly recommend you to take an assessment with me which costs 500 dollars for just 4 hours” his comment stressed me out even more but I knew he was doing that on purpose for the sake of the money, so I just ignored him and yet I passed with a high average.
The exam went smoothly, yes it was an endless exam but not an annoying one, I messed up in some encounters like I forgot to read the name of the patient so I had to ask her what was her last name again, in another encounter the patient was soo fast that I was repeating most of his answers and all were incorrect, in one encounter I messed up the discussion by telling the patient he has something really serious then telling him not to worry, I forgot to pull the leg support in 2 of the encounters. Most of my physical exams were really brief took less than 2 mins. But I never ran out of time in any encounter and even if I messed up I continue the encounter without showing the SP that I’m stressed or that I messed up. For the notes I wrote down 2 DD for most of my cases with 2-3 supporting points.
Be confident, be super nice and stay focused that’s what you truly need to pass this exam.