Pranav Merchant’s USMLE Step 2CS Experience
I just cleared my Step 2 CS and would like to share my brief experience with this group. Help from total strangers is what makes USMLE possible for many of us without any direct source of information.
My background: I gave CS during my internship year after doing 4 months of electives in the US.
Study material and time : First Aid + practice with IMGs for 4-5 weeks
These are some tips that I feel are important for all to know
1. The test is manageable but only after adequate practice. The cases themselves are mostly covered by FA.
2. Practice with real study partners under a timed environment is the key. I did not practice over skype but I don’t think it would be as effective. Practice all the cases in FA and type notes regularly to improve your speed. I did not have any time issues during the real test as did all of the people I practiced with. My observation is that during the real test with all the adrenaline rush, one tends to ask questions much faster than in practice. So don’t worry about the timing of the patient encounter too much. Typing notes was a bit tricky as they had keyboards with flat keys and not the raised old fashioned ones that I was used to typing on, but after a few cases it was manageable.
3. I wrote mnemonics before going in the rooms and that helped me a lot. Don’t worry if you take even a full minute outside the room, I think it totally worth it.
4. Don’t worry about the centers too much. The exam is standardized and fair. The key is to find people to practice with. I stayed with my cousin in Chicago and practiced with many cool IMGs at the Kaplan center. The staff was really sweet for allowing us to use their premises for free. A big thanks to them.
5. The test is long but it does not seem that way on test day. The staff at the center is very helpful. Just follow all the instructions they give you.
6. The SPs are very professional and do their job well. I never felt like they weren’t real patients.
7. USCE helped me a lot in terms of gaining confidence in communicating with American patients, but a lot of people are not able to get USCEs and they still manage to pass.
8. Don’t waste money on courses and mock tests, they are not necessary.
I hope this helps some of you. I request everyone to help each other during this difficult journey, it never hurts to help! Good Luck!