Mahrukh Ali Khan Seedat’s USMLE Step 2CS Experience
I was extremely scared about appearing in Philadelphia because of the myths. That affected my exam performance but if I can Pass after making the blunders I did, then anybody can. The key is to be confident and keep playing the role of a doctor till the end.
I took 1 and a half month to prepare for this exam and took it when I felt I will be adequately prepared. I did FA cases 2.5 times and Sherazi notes 2-3 times. The thing that immensely helped me in the exam was remembering the pnemonics or being able to remember the DD and ask questions to exclude and include diagnosis.
What went wrong:
I ran out of time for my first PN since I wasn’t used to of typing with windows keyboard.
I did a test but forgot to write it in my note that was pertinent to my diagnosis. I also didn’t do a motor exam which was necessary since I was running out of time.
I forgot to counsel a patient about smoking and drugs
I wrote completely wrong diagnosis in two of my PNs.
One SP wasn’t able to understand me and kept asking me to repeat which made me extremely anxious (I passed SEP towards higher performance so I guess I was speaking too fast or idk).
I forgot to ask two – three important questions in each case that would have helped me in making my differential diagnosis.
I forgot my stethoscope outside the room and that also hampered my performance in one case since I had to stop in the middle of the case and wait for the proctor to bring me a stethoscope.
What I did right:
I always sanitized my hands.
Summarized my history and tried to complete all points in my history concerning the social history.
I always had adequate time for closure and left the room with 1-2 mins left.
I was always polite, used transitioning sentences and said thank you after doing their physical exam. I would also let them know that their lungs were clear, heart sounds were fine and the bowel sounds are normal. Always empathized with them and also joked around with a patient but it was related to the case. One patient was having a hard time opening up and I kept reminding her to trust me and that whatever she will say is going to be kept confidential.
My closure consisted of the main diagnosis and one or two differential diagnosis, one test or two and then counseling of health issues. Keep the closure short and simple which saves you time. Ask the patient if there’s anything they would like to ask or know and they will give you their question. I usually had one question after closure (easy ones) and 3 of the patients didn’t even ask anything and let me leave.
If I can do it with partners on skype and having minimal practice in person except for my MIL who was kind enough to come over and practice with me, then you all can do it too.
I would like to thank my husband for his constant support and my study buddies on Skype and my friends who helped me through this journey. The wait is harder than the exam itself. Feel free to ask any questions.