USMLE Step 2 CS experience
Prep time(dedicated): Two weeks
Exam center: Philadelphia
Resources: FA and Sherazi Notes
Test Date: May 14, 2019
I started doing FA about a couple of months before the exam and read the part that explains the exam format. I wanted to practice at that time but was very invested in my rotations and didn’t manage to scrape off any time.
About two and a half weeks before the exam I got free from rotations so started doing Sherazi notes and Firstaid. Did not use all the codes for D/Ds, but some of them were helpful. Would definitely recommend especially to those who haven’t taken their CK yet. Learn D/Ds from Sherazi and then practice that case from Firstaid until you’re done with all the cases.
About 3 days before the exam, went to Philly and tried to practice in Vanessa’s AirBnB. Got too worked up, felt like I hadn’t given enough time to CS. Managed to practice only a couple of cases per day.
The day before the exam: planned on reading the mini cases, only got through half of them. Practiced physical examinations. Stopped studying around 7 pm. Still only managed to get 4 hours of sleep due to anxiety.
Exam day: Went to a place across the exam center to have a good breakfast and calm down. Centre itself was nice, the staff was courteous.
All cases were pretty straight forward, even the confusing ones you could diagnose if you asked all the questions and were nice and empathetic.
Things I did right:
I stayed true to my format; smiled whenever I should have; asked them about their weekend etc; kept physical examination strictly short and concise; took a long time enclosure and gave the SPs a lot of room to talk; I made mistakes like messing up the summarisation part because I wasn’t listening that well due to the anxiety and I dealt with it by apologizing profusely and saying I must have heard the wrong thing etc. So what I’m saying is always try to correct your mistake before you leave the room.
Things I did wrong:
I was very jittery and all my notes would finish at the very last second; I wasn’t able to understand the SP on the telephone and asked them to repeat what they said a couple of times; didn’t inform about DRE in GI case; lots and lots of ICE mistakes. I think the worst one was when I wasn’t listening very well and my summary would be completely opposite to what they had said.
Take home points:
Don’t freak out. Study with a partner and make up a format you like and stick with it.
For all the IMGs:
CENTRE DOES NOT MATTER. For God’s sake give the exam in whatever center is convenient for you. One of my friends studied for one week and took it in Philly and she still passed. So relax and pick whatever is convenient.
I wish you all the best of luck!