USMLE Review Blog Series: Step 2 CS Points – Part I

resident USMLE review series

As you start to prepare for the USMLE Step 2 CS Test day, planning on paper a proper schedule that is focused and concrete based upon your current skillset and need is essential.  Know what your weaknesses are up front to focus on early so you can spend your time perfecting the rough edges as the test day gets closer.

Practice, practice, and practice each case 3x with 2-3 different US citizens who can be the patient “actors” and can duplicate the process identical to what happens on the test day at the centers.  You WILL NEED 1-3+ months of practice depending on your education, background level, and “human touch.”  This is so that you can truly master the art of history taking & thorough physical examination as well as practice documenting notes and interacting comfortably with not only patients but the computer!

  • AMG = If you are an American Medical Graduate, 1 month is plenty.
  • IMG (Non US Citizen) = If you are an International Medical Graduate (Non US Citizen) then 3 months or more would be better suited depending on many factors:
  1. Accents
  2. Cultural barriers
  3. Amount of prior US Clinical Exposure and/or Clinical Rotations
  4. Understanding the healthcare system in the US
  5. Knowing rules on patient management, care, and sensitivity of records
  6. Safe and standard hygienic practices
  • IMG (US Citizen) = If you are an IMG but also a US Citizen (Caribbean students), we recommend 2+ months as the quality of many rotations and training has been diverse and disparate from school to school.

Bonus Tip:

Throughout this blog series, you will see #MKM and this stands for MUST KNOW MNEMONIC!

Let’s kick off with what we think is THE MOST IMPORTANT MNEUMONIC which we will delve into great detail next post and break it down for analysis for systematic memorization.


Focusing in on PAM:


PMH = Past Medical History

PSH = Past Surgical History

Pain à LICQOR FAA (an entirely different #MKM)

A = Allergies?

M = Medications?


Do you have your own mnemonic’s? We would love to incorporate them into our series and credit you for the submission! Please email us at