My Step 2 CS advice

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Light Yagami

Full Member
7+ Year Member
May 31, 2014
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Not that I rocked it or am some guru on it, but here's what I thought was most useful:

1. I studied 2 weeks intensely with a study partner going over the first aid cases. About 5-6 hours a day. We had a timer going on the laptop which said out loud the exact phrases (check on youtube), wrote our notes on the CS template. 2 weeks of prep is plenty of time.

2. During the actual exam, I would spend a minute formulating differentials in my mind and also writing down my mnemonics on my sheet before I even entered the room. This 1 minute was key. Calmed me down and gave me a roadmap on how to proceed before I entered the room.

3. First Aid is behind the times when it comes to the physical exam. NBME doesn't expect a "shotgun" approach anymore. You don't have to do the heart and lungs if it isn't pertinent to the case. For the majority of my cases I only examined one organ system. I made sure to spend a lot of time on closing and advising the patient. Talked in terms of "we" and "us" with the SP made it seem we were a team working together to solve the SP's health conditions. Always smile and act friendly. Half the game is being a good actor! Also, make sure you talk slow. A lot of people talk fast when nervous.

4. When it came time to write the note, I always started from the bottom up. That is, I wrote my differentials and lab orders first. I always had 3 differentials with lots of supporting evidence. This means I had to rush through the H&P portion. They say the bulk of your points for passing CS is in the note and in particular the differentials. I used a lot of abbreviations for the H&P. Don't ever lie and say you did something if you did not.

5. I made a lot of mistakes and was freaking out while waiting for my results: didn't wash my hands twice, balloted the kidneys with the SP's gown on, completely flubbed the name of a differential towards the end when my mind was fried. Trust in the percentages: 97% pass this thing.

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