12 Study Tips to Help You Pass the USMLE Step 2 CS Exam

The USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) exam is a critical stepping stone in your medical career, since it affects your ability to get a license. While the exam is graded pass/fail and you can take it more than once, it’s frustrating to prepare for it again and again. With the right study and practice tips, you won’t need to! Tips to Clear Step 2 CS Exam Here are some of the most effective tips to help you clear the Step 2 CS exam: Primary Resource – Even though you will find plenty of resources both online and offline, “First Aid for USMLE Step 2 CS” covers detailed cases for all the main diseases in America. It’s really the only book you need. Mini Cases – To improve your differential diagnoses, read mini cases and reread them a couple days before your USMLE exam. This will help you ask the right questions if your patient doesn’t have what you initially thought they did. Timed Practice – Simulate the conditions of the actual Step 2 CS exam by using a timer while practicing. During the real exam, this keeps you from getting too nervous and forgetting about time because you’re stressed. Live “Patient” – Working with one or more partners or standardized patients is the most important of practice tips to clear Step 2 CS exams. This lets you interact...

Let Me Tell You About My First Time In Surgery As A Woman

“Flowers are ok but she’d rather you pin her against the wall in the dark and personally deliver a bouquet of chills and shivers.” – Jmstorm Surgery? Please…who would want to put oneself through that misery!? And especially not me with my bubbly personality (and lack of modesty of course). I was bound to turn a blind eye to surgery real soon. In reality, I was not mentally prepared to start surgery as my first rotation, let alone a 7-hour long resection rectopexy on my very first day. The thought of being in the OR scared me, being this five-foot, petite female in between those towering men who were known to take command of the room. However, as I was scrubbing in before the procedure, I peaked through a small window and saw an animated, petite female standing on a two-foot tall step stool, eloquently instructing the nurses, technicians, and residents. As I entered the OR, my fears were soon replaced with awe as I found out that she was the head surgeon. In all honestly, I was floored by the confidence in her skills, the assertiveness of her polite tone, and the way she held the fort throughout the entire surgery. My impression was that surgery has been and likely still is a male-dominated field. Thus, I expected female surgeons as role models to be a rare sight....

How To Remind Yourself Why You’re In Medical School Studying

In the middle of a semester where the days are filled with endless studying, lab work, real work, homework, club responsibilities, and an attempt at a social life, it is very important to remember why you are doing it all. For me, I anticipated this semester to be one of the most challenging – full of three upper-level science classes and an English class, a TA for organic chemistry, two jobs, two leadership positions in clubs, in addition to a slurry of other unnamed obligations that I am thankful I get to do. I admit, though, that my mindset the entire semester has been to just get through it, while maintaining my GPA, friendships and social life, and my mental health. In the midst of studying late nights for physics exams or waking up early to review biochemistry notes, I became unaware of the wave that is carrying me through the semester. I think this is a popular defense mechanism; it is essentially focusing on surviving instead of thriving. However, as I am carried along the wave characterized by work, school, and sleep, I easily lose sight of why any of it matters. I live in the mindset of “just get it done”. If you’re in this type of semester or phase of life, I urge you to find yourself something that will daily, weekly, or monthly remind you...

Why Should I Be A Vegetarian?

Being a vegetarian means ruling out consuming any kind of animal flesh that includes meat, poultry, and seafood. However, it considers milk and dairy foodstuffs, eggs, honey, and any products produced by animals as long as they are not killed. Nearly half a billion people worldwide can be called a vegetarian. India comprises the largest group, 31% of its population is vegetarian due to religious beliefs regulating a cruelty-free intake. Previously, research into veganism focused on the lack of potential nutritional benefits. The landscape changed and swung in favor of vegetarians with gains from meat-free or plant-based eating individuals. This is the most important decision that a person can do to improve their health, save animals, and protect the environment. How can vegetarianism help? Heart disease happens when the supply of blood to the heart is restricted or cut off. This results from amassing of plaques in the coronary arteries due to intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol from meat. Vegetarians eat more plant nutrients and are less prone to this kind of condition. Studies on diet and stroke show that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of stroke. Red and processed meat are associated with a risk of cancer.Vegetarians shun this food and have a lower rate of cancer than the omnivore population. Vegetarians have low body mass index (BMI) due to a diet...

The 8 Types of Medical School Professors

Going to medical school soon? Here’s a comic from Dr. Fizzy that will tell you just what type of medical school professors you will encounter, one way or another. They are all unavoidable and annoying, but at least they will help you get your medical degree, right? These are the types of medical school professors you will run across in medical school. The Enthusiast: will do your dissection for you but anatomy is not fun! Maybe he should drop the act… The Drone: he’ll allow you to catch up on sleep during class, but you’ll start to miss Powerpoint, even if he reads off it. The Party Animal: you will finally learn the effects of beer on kidney sections, but he will encourage you to drink beer under the table. Talk about peer pressure and second-hand drinking! The Comedian: she’s occasionally funny, but may cry if a pity laugh isn’t given. Might be insecure. The Sexist: great if you’re a female, but you may not be a female. Great if you’re a man, but may not be if you’re a woman. The Dummy: he’s easy at writing exams, but his board exam will be written by someone with actual medical knowledge. The Omniscient: kind of cool how he knows so much; however, the glass will shatter once you see the final exam. The Unmemorable: not memorably horrible and will make up most of...

How To Get To Your Residency Interviews

This post is all about getting ready for residency interviews. I essentially just began interviewing, so much of the information in my next two posts will be based on advice from countless friends, blogs, and attendings, in addition to my personal experience. I’ll follow these up with a post at the end of interview season to add anything I wish I had known beforehand. The very first step in preparing for interviews is setting up your 4th year schedule. This is based completely on personal preference and the requirements of your specialty. I took Step 2 in late June because about 30% of General Surgery programs require a Step 2 score for an interview. I chose an easy rotation in October, so that I could check my email constantly, and I am taking November and December off for interviews. Like I said, this is personal preference. Air travel stresses me out, so trying to arrange flights around an active rotation would drive me insane. I’d rather just have a rotation in April while the rest of my friends are on a beach somewhere. But the beach might be really important to you, so you’ll figure out how to make it work. As for the items below, you should start this process in September, before you actually get invited to any interviews (or even earlier if you have busy rotations in...

What to Do Over the Long Thanksgiving Weekend

The Thanksgiving break is in the air and there’s so much that you’re thankful for, like, perhaps, the break from a stressful semester? Being a medical student is not easy, you’re either constantly working or studying; there are simply no breaks. That means when Thanksgiving comes around, you’re in desperate need to lounging out, stuffing yourself like the turkey on your plate and simply having a good time with the family. Sounds easy? For most students, it’s really not. You’re so accustomed to constantly being busy that staying free simply doesn’t feel right. Thankful for Thanksgiving “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But all play and no work makes him something worse”- Samuel Smiles The key is to balance it out but don’t worry, the struggle may be real but it’s not the end of the world. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your long weekend: 1.    Take a break Of course your friends are family are excited to have a doctor in the house but you need to give yourself priority first. That means avoid anything medical related, give your mind a break and just lounge out. Don’t: Psychoanalyze Prescribe drugs Diagnose health problems Instead you should read a novel or two, watch movies and put a halt to your medical knowledge for just a short while because you...