What I Did Wrong In My USMLE Step 2 CS Exam

What I Did Wrong In My USMLE Step 2 CS Exam

5 years ago

~2.1 mins read


CS exam experience. Summary at the end.

Took the exam in Chicago in the last week of May. Preparation time about 25 days. About 15 of those you could call dedicated. Both online and live study partners. I started with about 3 cases a day and was doing about 10 cases per day at the end.

Thoroughly did the Sherazi notes and about half of FA cases (BIG MISTAKE. Must do all of FA cases). Practiced a lot. Read the FA short cases once.

Practiced writing patient note a lot.


Didn't have trouble with that, coz my typing speed is pretty good. But if yours is not, YOU WILL STRUGGLE with the patient note. So practice practice practice.

Exam day: I gotta say I was pretty confident going in. I thought I would do good. Wasn't too worried. Was it misplaced confidence? Evidently not, but I sure felt that way for 2 months after the exam.

Mistakes: Didn't do critical counseling in 2 patients. Very important. Got 2 diagnosis completely wrong. One of them was absolutely easy.


I'm sure the other 11 examinees there that day would have gotten that case correct. Said the Cancer word to a patient. One patient I feel was annoyed with me. She did gave me a glare. I wonder if she was instructed to do that (tbf according to her I poked her thyroid real hard, though I know for a fact that I was v gentle, i apologized profusely for that). One older patient was never married and she told me that, but for some unknown reason, I kept calling her Mrs X even though she was single. One older patient I kept calling 'Sir' even though he told me his name and I knew I should say his name but I could not bring myself to say this. I def spoke too fast, I wish I was a bit slower but my performance in SEP section was pretty OK. Didn't write the words "ROS negative except as above in 3 PN".
Didn't do relevant exam portion in 2 cases.

Good stuff: was very courteous, showed lots of empathy.


tried to come off as interesting in their case as possible (just like you would of a real patient). Finished all the cases with 2 to 3 min to spare and used that time for PN. Had a fairly good idea what the diagnosis was in most of the cases, and the 2nd diagnosis as well. wrote 3 diagnosis in just 2 or 3 cases.

Examination: did a short HEENT plus short CVS plus short Respo plus thyroid in all cases. then did the relevant exam if applicable.

did closure in all patients, asked if they had any questions for me.

resutl: barely passed in ICE portion. so this is the minimum u can do and pass. if you go below that then chances are u might not pass.

summary: don't mess up more than 2 diagnosis and be good with interpersonal skills and be clear in your english and have a good typing speed..

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