June 8, 2017
The USMLE Step 2CS is a full day assessment exam of clinical skills and interpersonal communication with patients. The USMLE exam uses standardized patients who are people trained to portray real patients with a clinical problem. The examination assesses your ability in gathering relevant information from the patient, performing physical examination, and communicating your findings to the patient and faculty.
The Step 2 CS exam will include 12 standardized patient encounters and will last for approximately 8 hours with 50 minutes of break time. The examination has undergone many recent changes right from patient encounters to the patient note.
Each patient encounter will last for 25 minutes and as per the latest update on the USMLE Step 2 CS exam, for students taking the exam on or before July 16th 2017, the patient note will automatically get submitted after 25 minutes and they no longer have to use the ‘submit’ button on the patient note.
As per the latest change, beginning May 21st 2017, the Step 2 CS examinees may see a maximum of one case in the exam wherein they have to assist the patient in making a decision with a disease or problem management. This encounter will not include physical examination and the data interpretation section of the patient note does not have to be completed.
The Step 2 CS exam dates get filled very quickly and as per ECFMG data, there are no exam appointments available till September 2017. So, it is very important to plan your USMLE Step 2 CS examination well ahead to ensure you are in time for the ERAS application. While nearly all US medical graduates pass the step 2CS on the first attempt, only 82% of IMGs pass in the first attempt as per the performance report available on the official website.
One of the many reasons for the same is a lot of international medical graduates and students depend largely on clinical electives and rotations to prepare for this USMLE exam. The Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE) sub component is the area where IMGs do not fare very well compared the other 2 sub components, wherein only 83% of the first-time takers are successful as per the performance report available on the official website. Thus, it becomes very vital for students, especially IMGs to undergo rigorous training with the best prep material written by faculty who have many years of experience in the field of preparing students for the 2CS exam.
Dr Charles Faselis is one such renowned faculty who has several years of experience in preparing students for the USMLE and has several teaching awards including the Osler and Golden Apple award to his credit. He is currently the Chief Staff at Washington DC Veteran Affairs Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine. He is the new director of Clinical Skills and Training at Becker and has been instrumental in the Step 2CS enhancement.