Secondly, succeeding on the Step 2 CS isn’t just a matter of getting the correct diagnosis, it’s also a matter of showing that you have the ability to connect with a patient and build a relationship. This might seem like a difficult thing to do in a 15 minute encounter, but believe it or not, 15 minutes is plenty of time if you structure your conversation correctly. One of the key things that we teach our workshop students is to “invest in the beginning.” What we mean is if you take the time to invest in listening and connecting with your patient at the beginning of the encounter, you can quickly build a relationship with your patient. This will save you time later because your patient will be more willing to open up to you if you need to ask some rapid-fire questions towards the end. You can read more about this philosophy in our previous post, Do’s for the Step 2 CS Exam
Along these same lines, empathy is a necessary skill to becoming a better doctor, specifically when it comes to mastering the clinical skills portion of the exam. Knowledge is one thing, but listening and communication are what you will need to pass your Step 2 CS Exam with flying colors. It is vital for you to understand how the presenting complaint fits into the patient’s life, and to offer verbal empathy.
Finally, don’t neglect the patient note! Many students take plenty of time to study cases, as well as physical exam techniques, but much of your score on the Step 2 CS depends on your patient note. Click here to practice your note with a built in timer. It is vital to spend time practicing this component of the exam. You can read a detailed breakdown of how to improve your score on the patient note in our previous post, USMLE Step 2 Scoring for the Patient Note.
Interesting Reads and Useful Study Materials
Stay up to date on articles and literature! Here are some of our favorite sources of information about medicine and the Step 2 CS Exam:
Official website of the US Medical Licensing Exam
Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
ECFMG partners with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in administering the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE, a requirement for IMGs and for graduates of U.S. and Canadian medical schools who wish to be licensed in the United States or Canada.
National Board of Medical Examiners
Founded in 1915, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that serves the public through its high- quality assessments of healthcare professionals.
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