Sunday, July 11, 2010

Post Step 2 CS

Well, I hope that I can say that this is post step 2. Unfortunately, scores don't come for about 6 weeks since our 12 patient encounters have to be read and graded by physicians. I'm very hesitant to give any impression of the exam before knowing that I passed, but I'd like to think that I did. And, if I do pass, then I'll be saying that it really wasn't that bad.

For now, I'll attempt to give as much info as I can, without breaking any USMLE rules. I took the test in Philly. If you stay the night, I'd highly recommend the Sheraton, which is about 2 blocks from the test site. The room was surprisingly nice, and very comfortable. I hardly slept, but that was not the hotel's fault. Of course, I was very nervous going into the test site in the morning, but the proctors were all very friendly, and did a great job keeping the mood as light as possible. Standing at the first patient door, waiting for the announcement to enter, I got even more nervous. But, the nervousness subsided fairly quickly. The standardized patients were very good at their job, and until you heard the announcement that 5 minutes remain in the encounter, you could almost forget that the encounter wasn't real.

I usually finished with about a minute to spare, although I did come very close to running out of time on two out of the twelve. The same was true for the patient note...I generally had a minute or so to spare. You have to move relatively quickly, but I didn't feel particularly rushed, or that I didn't have time to think.

Of course, I'm not allowed to give out any specifics about any of the scenarios that I got. However, I will say that if you've read all of First Aid, you should be very comfortable with the exam. It really is an excellent book to prepare, and covers just about everything you'll want/need to know. Everyone told me this, and it's true, so I'll repeat it...First Aid is all you need for the exam. Buy the book and read the whole thing. Practice with other people if you can. Once I know how I did, I'll write some detailed advice.

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