Mohammad A. Aldiabat – USMLE Step 2CS Experience
I received my Score the past Wednesday and “Passed” Alhamdullelah.
– Exam center and date: Chicago, 27 of April.
– Duration of preparation: 7 weeks, during my last 2 months in medical school at which i was doing 2 months Elective course in Michigan. My daily routine was to go to work at 8 and come back at 4, have a nap or lunch and then start practicing during the night and do intensive practicing during weekends. I admit it was a little tough and exhausting 2 months between my electives course and CS study, but as they said “no pain no gain” ?
– Done with Step 1 (February 2017), Step 2 CK (February 2018),
– My preparation started from scratches, after 1 month of receiving my CK score, i was totally lost in the beginning of the preparation but then things became more clear.
– Before doing anything, I started my preparation by watching a video for “Asma shboun” in youtube, me and many other applicants who passed the test own her a lot ?, nearly 1.5 hour video will give you an great orientation for the exam, a wonderful place to start your preparation from.
– Then i moved to the one Book, First Aid for USMLE step 2 CS ??. First i gave a quick read for the chapter “patient encounter”, it will enhance your information and image about the exam more and more (after asmaa video).
– Then a quick read for the Mini-cases chapter, which is designed to teach you the classical presentation of each case, DDx for it and what examination and investigation are important to order.
– Then i moved on what really concern us: Practice Cases. I started doing the practice cases with my college partners (luckily we were 6 partners, grouped in Michigan by chance for our elective course) so our home was some kind of a test center ?. Its very important to start your preparation from scratches with a partner, you will miss up in some cases in the beginning, but believe me with practice and at the second read you will find yourself a different person completely ?
– I began to practice on typing during my second round of the practice cases, if you think that your typing skills are not very good, you should consider to start practicing on typing during your first read.
– I arrived at Chicago in 25th of April with my 3 friends, booked a hotel and started practicing on the cases that we found them difficult during the second read until the exam date 27th.
– I didn’t use neraji notes or any similar notes.
We headed to the exam center, distributed and had the orientation course. Then they lead us to the Exam rooms. You will find yourself tense/nervous in the first station especially if it was an ER case as i had, so don’t panic if you found yourself shuffling and stuttering at that time ?, after that “the panic phase” is over and you will find yourself doing the same routine for the the other 11 station.
Patient notes phase:
I had extra 3-7 minutes in each case (except in the 1st one because it was my first and had many information, one of the cases i had additional 8 minutes because I Stepped out of the patient room very early ? ), didn’t find any difficulty except that my hand writing is very bad so sometimes I wasn’t able to understand what have i wrote on the board as soon as i step out of the patient room to the typing, so keep this point in consideration
I wrote 2 DDx in many of the cases, and typed with capital and small letters (no difference ? )
I didn’t know exactly what to expect, i let it go and put my faith in Allah, although i wasn’t very optimistic since I forgot to ask some questions in some cases and to do some important examination maneuvers for each patient.
Conclusion and tips:
– Asmaa video then FA ?
– In the beginning of preparation especially at the part of patient encounter, you will feel that you are wasting time with no benefits, but believe me it’s not.
– Live Partner, then live partner, then live partner.
– Ask people who had the exam before you to have more experience.
– The exam is very easy if you practice well, 5-6 weeks are enough but if you can practice more and more that will be perfect
– I don’t know anybody who was optimistic after finishing the exam, it’s your right to be confused and nervous for a while.
– Don’t believe the myth that Chicago center is a trap for IMG, it’s a wonderful place to take your exam and if you prepared well you will pass even if you take your exam on the moon.
– Book your exam date and location at least 5 months earlier to your date.
Alhumdellah again and again,
Don’t hesitate to ask any question and Please pray for me in my upcoming quest ?