Nardine Yohanna USMLE Step 2 CS Experience


Hey guys
So I studied for my CS exam for ONLY 14 DAYS in November and passed.
I wanted to share my experience with you for 2 reasons:
1. All those who will be passing through my same experience and need the boost of confidence. When I was in the situation I tried to look for past similar experiences and the least I found was 1 month of studying and that was devastating.
2. I’m studying for step 1 and cannot seem to retain any info in so I need lots of prayers. PLEASE!

I honestly don’t know how I did it, it was all God but I’ll tell you what happened exactly.

So I’ve been studying for step 1 but it took much longer than I expected it and my CS eligibility period was about to end. That was end of October and there were no dates opened so I signed up for the email service if a date gets free, I’d take it. October 29th a date got canceled on November 29th and that’s what I took. Long story short, at that time I was moving but I had a few complications and needed to move twice. So I only had 30 days to study out of which 15 I was so busy with moving that I couldn’t study anything. I was lost as to where to start so when I put in any time for the exam, I watched a few youtube vidoes explaning what the exam is really about and read the introductory part of First Aid. On the 15th of November I traveled to Houston and planned to stay at Parkinn where all the action took place. I only had 14 days left and when I arrived everyone was already doing so well that I got very overwhelmed comparing myself with them and I freaked out because I had very little time to retain all this info in such a short time. I stayed for 2 days in my room trying to study on my own (BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER!) I ended up wasting time wallowing in self-pity and not studying much. So on the 3rd day I got out there again and listened to people and how they practiced with each other for another 2 days to get the hang of things. The following days until the exam I would practice practice practice as much as I could. I got very lucky that I met extremely helpful people who helped me a lot. I typed as many patient notes as I could and sent them to my friends who had already taken the exam to proofread them and give me comments (BEST thing ever!)

The day before the exam I felt like IM NOT READY AT ALL. I had no choice though so I kept on reminding myself that I’m already a doctor and it will be just like seeing real patients in the clinic and it’s all just an act. THIS HELPED ME A LOT!

The day of the exam itself, I woke up early, had a nice breakfast while I went over the mnemonics that I couldn’t even seem to remember but I calmed myself down and kept on reminding myself that I’m a doctor and this should be a piece of cake. The exam flies by very fast but by the last 3 cases I was EXHAUSTED that I was worried to get an ER case because I really needed to sit down. While writing the patient notes, I would remember all the stuff I forgot to ask and all the physical exam parts that I forgot to perform but as soon as I would finish a case, I would completely forget about it so I can focus on the next.

I made so many mistakes I actually thought I will fail.
The time ended on me in TWO cases while I haven’t started the closure.
In one case I totally forgot to ask family history.
In a couple of cases, I REALLY needed to counsel against some things and forgot.
I forgot lots and lots of case-pertinent questions in taking my history.

I had PTSD after my exam remembering all these things and actually thought I’d fail especially that I did not even prepare for the exam enough.

BUT guess what! I passed! and with HIGH PERFORMANCE.
So apparently we have no idea what exactly they are looking for in this exam. We practice seeking perfection in everything but that is probably not what they’re looking for. Apparently what I did was enough and good.
ALL thanks seriously go to God because I definitely wasn’t prepared enough. My prayers and my parents’ prayers had a huge effect.

Having said all that I just have to clarify that generally my SEP is good and I’m a social person so my communication and interpersonal skills in general are okay too and I didn’t need to work on those 2 parts much (although my CIS was a bit deficient due to the 2 cases I didn’t have time to close and counsel for)

UPDATE: everyone sent me asking for the sources to use.
I personally used:
– First Aid long and short cases (I went over first aid even alone. The book’s standard is very high that it was impossible to ask everything in their checkpoints but that helped me a lot to remember more than I would have if I hadn’t used it)
– Khalil mnemonics booklet (awesome awesome mneumonics)
– I tried learning some from Sherazi but those I eneded up forgetting the day of the exam because they were hard and I had very little time to get used to them.

Good luck to you all and RELAX it will all be fine.

October 12, 2019
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