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 passed CS - exam experience  

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I just got confirmation that I passed the CS. I have been a silent observer of this forum, and I thought that it is now my turn to contribute.

-I AM GRATEFUL TO DIGITAL DOC BECAUSE HIS SITE HELPED ME A LOT. After going through his site, it eased my tension a lot, because there was info on everything, including exam centers, etc.


-ABOVE ALL I AM GRATEFUL TO GOD WHO MADE THIS POSSIBLE IN SUCH A SHORT TIME. With a 15 month old in tow, I do not think that it would have been possible without his help. I did have help at home.

I took my CS on November 8th in Los Angeles. The exam was frightening for me as I had not interacted with American patients before, and had not done any clinical stuff for the past 3 years. I had also not taken my step 2 CK. I had taken step 1 but did not have the result at the time I took the CS, and this was a source of added tension, but got the result when I came back from LA, and I had passed.


-Total time of preparation - 15 days.

-Good friend of mine lent me FA, but did not use it because of lack of time. Did go through it rapidly in the first two days, and then switched completely to UW because of lack of time, but FA is a very good book, if I had time, I would have gone through it. Ater reading FA, I was able to recollect UW better, probably the way it was written in FA was good. BUT UW IS THE BEST BECAUSE ALL THE CASES I GOT IN THE EXAM WERE FROM UW.

-Read UW for the first ten days, then started practicing with occasional revisions in between. Did not use dummy or study partner because of lack of time. I practised on my husband for two days, then stopped because he was making fun of me. I practiced most of the cases, around seventy five percent, with an imaginary patient. I practiced some cases 2 times, and others 3 times. If I had time, I would have practiced more, but a lot of my available time was spent trying to read the UW and trying to recollect what to ask.

-Practiced some patient notes 2 or 3 times, some only one time.

-Was travelling on the day before the exam, and reached LA at 9pm. Next time I write an exam I would try to be there one day earlier.

The center

I had read that the LA center was tough, and that people were failing. However, I did not get dates at any other center, the dates I got were in February/March, so I just went for it. This was an added source of tension.

It was close to the Hacienda Hotel, which is where I stayed. It is a nice hotel to stay at, and very convenient. Lots of people taking the CS stay there, so you get a community feeling. Most of the people taking the exam are american grads, and that made me nervous a little bit. No offence, but just that I was nervous.

The exam started out bad for me initially, because I forgot a lot of the things that I was supposed to do because I was so tense. The patients were all good to me though. Proctors were friendly, got the steth from the center. Was trying hard not to forget anything, and finally forgot the steth.

What I did

-Washed my hands for every patient
-Asked permission while untying the gown.
-Asked permission before starting the physical exam.
-Knocked on the door, but my voice was barely audible because of the tension. First two or three patients, they were asking me to repeat because I was barely audible.
-Extended the leg rest during the physical exam for every patient except for the first two.
-Examined only the relevant system. Not because I did not want to or did not have the time, but I just forgot what exactly to do, and did not want to stand there sweating thinking what to do next.
-Tried to be polite.
-Asked PAMHUGSFOSS for every patient, but some patients did forget some components like sexual history,social history, and realised when I wrote the patient note. Did not fabricate it in the note.
-Counselled all patients. However, patients did not look happy after I had counselled them, as if there was more that I should have told them.
-Was able to write the patient note in time.
-Examined heart and lung for every case, whether it was relevant or not.
-Was able to answer most of the challenging questions, they were mostly from UW.
-One patient coughed and I offered her water.

What I forgot/did not do.

-Forgot to wipe the steth with alcohol.

-Other than PAMHUGSFOSS, I did not ask anything. So was out of the room when they were announcing that 5 minutes were left, simply because I could not remember the other relevant questions.

-Did not remember every diagnosis for each patient as given in UW, but told the patient what I remembered. However, when I wrote the patient note, I could remember more differentials. At that time I could remember the questions that I should have asked, but it was too late then.

-Did remember the name of the patients initially and did greet patient by name, however, forgot the name of the first five patients later on during the physical exam. Wrote down the names of last seven patients, so that helped.

-Had many cases which I needed to use the opthalmoscope, but forgot to use it for even one case.
-Used the wrong tuning fork for the hearing case. I only did the relevant exam, ie. did not do other cranial nerves, only tested hearing in that particular case.
-Do not recollect doing CNS exam for even one case.
-Did not have telephone encounter. Had one pediatric case.

This is most of the stuff that I can remember, and if I remember anything else, I will add it later on. I never thought that I would pass, because of the way I performed, it was simply God's grace. If a numbskull like me can pass the exam, I think that anybody can do it.

Good luck everyone.

Edited by ariane on Feb 05, 2007 - 1:48 PM



congrats, that gives hope for all waiting their scores.
thank you.


hey can u pls help me for my CS exam? i applied for it but the date is yet to be confirmed. what is that UW? where can i get it?


thank you yinnaw and blueprints ,hope everybody comes out with flying colours
badipatla it is usmle world you will get in usmle world .com




Congratulations, your post gives me some hope


i just gave the usmle cs
i dint finish one case....i mean i could just finish the exam
it was a c n s case....
i could not counsel at all
the rest of the cases were strictly ok
u think ill pass?


thanks ariane..and gud luck for u...


thank you dr.shailu ,egomez2001 and badipatla
movealong i think you should be fine because they cosider only 10 out of 12 cases


hey congrats i wanted to ask u that without givin step 2 ck i ll b able to pass cs n one more silly ques they tell u the name pf the patient or its written on the door


hey congrats i would like to ask u if u had taken or heard of c3ny i am thinkin of takig that coarse if in case i dont find a study partner cud u please tell me something about it may b if u have heard about it from ure friends as i am in chicago so i would have to travel i just dont wanna do it without any feedback
thanks a lot


hi numita,
don't worry .you can take cs with out taking ck,.in general,the dd's,investigations etc. can be remembered very easily.and ur communication skills and pt.encounter is very important here.
pt. name ,chief complaint and vitals will be written on the door.
i don't have c3ny experiance,but heard that it will be very helpful for img's.


congragulations ariane.

I don't have confidence on my spoken english.what do you advice me?


if you believe that you have a strong accent, and others find it difficult to understand you, then speak slowly, and practice this in your daily life..this will give you some confidence about your spoken english... speaking slow clear english means u will pass this component of the exam. good luck


thanks numitha and mitty,
numitha i vent heard of c3ny,from personal experience i think it is ok to take cs before ck,i didnot have any problem at freind also did the same thing and she also passed.
I think you just have to practise a lot and beleive me it will just automatically come to you ,because you are not engaging in a casual conversation ,all you are asking is pamhugsfoss and something assosciated with it ,which when you practise a lot you will doubt whether you ever had a confidence problem.Maybe you would want to memorise the opening introduction and couselling will be fine it will not be a problem at all.Best of luck


^^Hey Ariane. How was your stay at Hacienda? I have recently read negative reviews from another site. However, this is the hotel closest to the LA center so this is where I booked my stay a few days before the exam.



I stayed at Hacienda hotel and it was a very disgusting experience. The hotel stinks, I found a tangle of long hair in my bed. It is certanly cheap and close to the center though.


^^Oh my, Sorry to hear that. Can you recommend another hotel which is just as close to the test center in LA? Thank you smiling face


I think travelodge is close, search in google earth, it has satellite images and shows you real images of the hotel and CS center. Hope this helps smiling face

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