Points to identify early on:
- How long will you need to study?
- Is timing for history or exam or documenting an issue?
- Do you consistently miss out on important and pertinent questions?
- Do you know the mnemonics by heart?
- Is your physical exam strong?
- Are you good with computers?
- Are you a good typer on desktop computers and keyboards?
- Are you familiar with documentation software?
(The USMLE CS exam is now 100% fully computerized for the documentation portion and barring a CPU or network failure you CANNOT write the note any longer, you MUST type it!). Note that the computers have and will occasionally again go down in which event the test is continued with use of paper notes until the systems or network is back up, which is usually by the next encounter.
Get AMPLE amount of exposure to electronic medical record systems (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) software during your clinical rotations to get familiar with the information technology. This can make all the difference between a medical student who finishes the notes plus passes the test and a medical student whose computer screen shuts off before one even gets past the physical exam portion.
All MedClerkships clinical rotations provide exposure to EMR/EHR and documentation and formulating assessment and plans with supervision by board certified physicians to guide you on what is lacking, is acceptable or needs help with. Utilize the time during your rotations to effectively learn these systems and SEEK FEEDBACK!
Understand your deficits to improve on them early because being comfortable seeing patients and interacting with the actors will be tough and filled with pressure on the actual test day no matter how prepared you think you are or will be.