USMLE STEP 2 CS exam is a unique exam that takes you away from your familiar multiple choice question and answer pattern to interaction with standardized patients. USMLE step 2 CS exam is one of the 3 exams that you have to write to become ECFMG certified, the rest being USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK.
Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago Los Angeles. AMGs (American medical graduates) take the USMLE Step 2 CS exam at the end of their 3rd year or 4th year of medical school. International Medical graduates (IMGs) take the exam during their internship or after graduation. Step 2 CS exam is a challenge to IMGs as the step 2 cs exam grades on CIS (communication interpersonal skills), SEP (Spoken English proficiency) and ICE (Integrated clinical encounter) which includes data gathering and patient note. The step 2 cs exam is a little different from how they are trained in their home countries.
The step 2 CS exam itself involves 12 patient encounters, each about 15 minutes inside the clinical exam room with the Standardized patient and 10 minutes of writing patient note. They grade the step 2 cs exam based on average scores of 10 cases and the examinee has to pass all 3 components (CIS, SEP & ICE) to pass the Step 2 CS exam.
Many students have difficulty passing the ICE component (both IMGs and AMGs). We have had such students attend our Target USMLE video tutorials along with the coaching classes with personalized critique and passing it the next time. It is sad to see many well qualified doctors including MD's in internal medicine, Psychiatry, Surgery etc fail this exam because they overlook the nuances that are specific to this exam. Step 2 CS does not necessarily test the medical knowledge but gauges how you interact with the patient, explain the diagnosis and treatment plan and behave professionally and considerate at the same time.
Target's Step by step program makes the entire process of preparing for step 2 CS simple, effective, effortless and organized. Just follow our video tutorials '7 Easy Step 2 CS program' where you get 30 days 24/7 day access along with our handbook 'Target Step 2 CS Handbook' which is available on Amazon Kindle bookstore. You can take an assessment for step 2 cs exam ('Assess my Prep') before you go for the real exam with one of our MD tutors after you prepare from these resources. It is a one hour assessment where you present a step 2 cs exam case and write patient note under supervision of the tutor and finally get critiqued and corrected. If you need extra help you could do the online course (7 hrs of tutoring). Many students take this exam lightly and unfortunately when they fail they regret that they did not give it enough time and understand that there was more to it than what seemed initially. In order to secure your residency seat you are better off with a first attempt pass on all USMLE including step 2 CS exam. So let's take Step 2 CS more seriously and pass it the first time!