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 I passed. My experience  

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sticking out tongue After a tense wait, I finally could try the Oasis trick and got the red screen. I passed the Step 2 CS.

Now, from being a patient observer of this forum and just hoping for this day, I feel compelled to share my experience, especially to help those people who know they have the ability to face big challenges, but think this, the Step 2 CS, is a unique one.

I must begin saying that this was my second attempt. My first one was on December 2006 and it was precisely when I made my first mistake: UNDERSTIMATE THE EXAM. I thought that it was going to be enough to be familiar with a standard history and physical exam like those we are used to in my country and that the usmle guys only were going to check if your knowledge of differential diagnoses and their work-ups was ok, so I didn’t use any aid. Yes, no books, no forums… no pass. I know, I know, but this is not time to get mad at me.

I felt really frustrated when I receive the results of my first exam… in the match season, and with my reported scores I had to say: whatever I did, I did it awful. So, what did I have to do?


When I received the FAIL report, it was impossible to continue participating in the match, however, due to my visa status I had to return to my country in 1 ½ month and I got convinced that I had to take a new exam before this trip, or nothing. I hardly slept for a week until I got a spot, on April the 3rd.

I wanted to get a concise, high-yield material. So I bought First Aid. It was then when I realized the truth. “That was the trick!” And my first advice: THE EXAM IS A RITUAL. YOU DON’T NEED ANOTHER THING BUT FOLLOWING A RITUAL.
First Aid was more than enough.

Here it is the formula (just a logic exercise):

1.There are 10 to 12 patients, each one representing a different case, each one with a different complaint, a different challenging question, a different “personality” and so on.
2.Everybody (now including me) says that the most important thing inside the room is to be kind to the patient and that they don’t judge your technical knowledge.
3.So, what I did was to make a concise list of my First Aid’s (and then Digidoc’s) favorite questions, answers and advices, fully convinced that I was going to use them for EVERY ONE OF THE PATIENTS, and memorized them. Then, I made short lists of 5-6 questions that I considered useful for each one of the different cases of FA and memorized them.

The total time of my preparation was 1 ½ month. I didn’t have a study partner, but I imagined that I did, and practiced all the questions depending on the case, once and again, until each case became, yes, A RITUAL. As FA describes, the physical exam is shorter than the history and it is true that you have to perform only the most relevant steps.


I took my exam in Philadelphia center. Nice place, nice proctors. It is true that you feel better with a tie (the first time I didn’t wear one).

My first case was a not so usual case, I ran out of time and I really got worried about the efficacy of my technique. My second case was the rude patient, totally angry and giving extremely short answers, but I did the same. Thereafter, everything was automatic. Exactly the same greeting, draping, opening and initial questions. Kindness and respect. Then, in the most appropriate moment, my list of special questions for each particular case. A directed physical exam. 2 or 3 memorized counsellings were enough for all the patients. I typed the PN in all the cases (I like to write, erase and rewrite). A rational order of differential diagnoses and a natural sequence for the work-up. The time was roughly the just. If I had to cut something it was the physical. I had done it.

I want to thank all the people who offer their time to give useful advices and welcome all your questions. I am very excited and I want to share this feeling with everyone.

Edited by Idealistic on Jul 05, 2007 - 7:46 PM


Idealistic, Big Congratulations!!! Time to party! Hard work is paid off at the end. Good luck with the incomimg Match.

By the way, is it your dog?


I call this story a "...follow a yellow brick road..."
Nicely done... Period... Just one question: did you use UW?


Congrats and thanks for sharing!smiling face


My most sinceres congratulations. You learned from your mistake and you did not give up, so consider that first failed cs a life lesson that you had to learn.

Thanks for sharing your experience, and best of luck in the match.




Very good experience !



Does the red screen appear inmediatly When you do the oasis trick?


Hi everybody, thanks for your comments. I will try to answer all your questions.
No, I didn't use UW, but I know that the graphic material in it is good, but FA is more methodical.
No, it isn't my dog.
I don't understand jeje's question. confused

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