My CS PREP/Experience. PASSED!

10/11/2014 4:25:57 PM
So i wrote this in a response to someone else, thought of sharing it on a new thread/forum.
Hey! ok so i took about 1-1.5 month-ish prep.
I wouldn't go into this much detail usually but i feel like i can hopefully help someone adapt a schedule.
I used:
First Aid step 2 CS 5th edition! i had 4th edition but i bought 5th because in the new edition they have it updated according to the new format i.e. gives the physical and history finding according to the patient note.

So first i read the beginning of FA, just to better understand the format and the CS since this was my first usmle step to give i wanted to be sure i knew what the exam was.
I revised all the physical examinations according to kaplan core cases and FA CS, but soon realized something i will tell u further on.

After that i had a Skype partner, luckily it was a classmate who was also giving the CS around the same time. its best to have someone who is in the medical field to practice with bc they can discuss the cases with you and go over key points.
With my Skype partner i did all the long cases in FA, so we would alternate cases, and practiced as if it were the real deal, meaning we had a timer, 15 mins, at the 10min mark would alert each other of 5mins remaining and then right after had 10 mins to do PN. ya this method takes longer but it was a great payoff. And at the end we would go back and do the cases again, this time him doing the ones i did and vise versa. we would do about 4-5 cases each daily!
I read some places ppl doing only 3-4, 15min cases then at a later time writing the patient note. I didn't like this bc 1. it wasn't like the real thing, 2. i would forget my patient and the case.
With PE do it on a pillow.
- Prior to starting the long cases i want to tell whoever needs to be organized (like me)
it to MAKE A BLUESHEET! i cannot express how important this is!!! what is a blue sheet? it is basically what you will do with your blue sheet prior to entering the patient room.
I learned how to make a blue sheet by Laura on youtube: title is "blue sheet" something like that.
learn this! write it over and over again, i used this and OMG it helps, bc ur so nervous that sometimes ill forget what to ask, or just go blank. ok after doing the LONG CASES and Mastering the Bluesheet.

I started doing the Mini cases on my own, once i finished the mini cases, i made note cards. THIS HELPED SOOOOO MUCH!!! i did them almost everyday, in the car, watching tv.
So i did them like i would write BLOODY STOOLS on one side and then on the other would right all the possible MAIN causes. and next to the DDs i would write the LABS. and i did this for every major symptom.
- ok then i was still nervous, I knew from the beginning of my studying i wanted to take a practice exam. basically to overcome any anxiety i had, and to also know if everything i learned was enough or not. Also the PE. i wanted hands on experience with PE. being an IMG, our methods were a bit different so ya. I started looking into CS review courses, I did my research and was down to Kaplan or Gold review. I went with Gold in new york in the end (I'm so happy i did) bc, 1.) i could afford it, it was like a $800 special, and it was a group of me and 3 classmates so we got a discount. and 2.) they had a small class size so it was easier to become more hands on, and for the Doctor to tell you what you were doing right and wrong. 3.) kaplan classes are too large for you to get proper care and advice on what to go.


10/11/2014 4:26:27 PM
So for ppl wondering abt Gold, it was 3 days, I took it AUG 8-9-10
1st day was basically CIS, and ICE, all you need to know with practice in counseling and time management.
2nd day was what i needed, mastering Physical examinations! by the end of that 12+ hour day, i mastered PE, and in what cases you do what PE, (FA is WAYYYYY TO MUCH! in the long cases its like do cardio, pulm, HEENT, and.. it just not possible) on this day i was able to know what PE is essential in cases like, fatigue, hypertension etc. how to TIME MANAGE each examination. and i mastered the dreaded NEURO examination. also small details like how to hold the instruments in a way its most efficient and comfortable.
then the 3rd day was the practice exam! i was super nervous... lol i know it wasn't the real deal but still, this is the day that will determine if your ready or not. so we had 12 patients, it was simulated to mimic the real exam, and after each encounter you typed a patient note, then went back in the room with the patient and received feedback from them on what you missed or what you have to work on. so this went on for 12 patients. At the end they tally up the scores the SP gave you and tell you how much longer u need for prep.
after my 3 days there, i made some friends during this course and decided to stay in NY for 3 extra days and practice with them, the gold usmle facility was open for students to use after the course if they felt they needed practice ( i loved inviting the doctors were) so for the next 3 days, for about 5-6 hours we as a group went and practiced PE, some cases, holding the instruments etc.

I got home (which is ATL) on the 14th of AUG. now i forgot to tell u guys i didn't have an exam date, i was on lookout for an exam date, i set up notifications for the last 2 weeks of AUG. everything was booked until January

So when i got home i right away started redoing the long cases from FA with a friend i made at gold on Skype bc her test was on AUG. 19th, so we studied together for 12hours on the 14th, then on the 15th we were doing cases and i got an email saying there was an opening in ATL on AUG 20th. i was so confused if i should book it or not, am i ready or not. So with my friends convincing i hurried up and booked it!
So I went hard studying after that, i memorized the mini cases! this and mnemonics for certain symptoms REALLY HELPED! and did the hard long cases with her.

on test day my exam was 3pm-10pm. so i tried to do minimal studying on the day of, just went over some mnemonics, and then took my exam, which btw went by pretty fast.
and after the test you will feel like omg what just happened, u will feel dumb till ur results come out abt the mistakes u made, but all in all, the key to this test in my opinion is MINI cases, mastering the PE, and mnemonics. i honestly owe gold review for making me confident enough to jump into taking this exam.

So this ended up being longer than i thought. Lol.
Hope this helps someone! good luck to everyone!
iA we all become successful doctors!



1/28/2016 6:17:53 AM
Thank you for such a detailed info Plankton! congrats and good job! I was planning to take CS as the first step, after reading this post - i have some faith that it will go well.

Thanks buddy! Good luck


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