Finally, I'm glad to share that I've passed my USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS), and met the requirements to be ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates)-certified. Many people/ readers have asked me before why I did not complete this earlier. If you do remember, I sat for my first Step almost 6 years ago, during my 4th year in med school. I then took the Step 2 CK in '06 just before starting housemanship. My very initial plan is to go for US Residency upon completing my internship in M'sia.
The plan was kind of deferred as I then decided to complete my compulsory service first, and in the meantime to study for MRCP (UK). I consider myself lucky that I passed my Part I & IIa smoothly, and I think I have to partly attribute this to my previous preparation for USMLE. To me, it is a very well-designed exam and I learned so much by just preparing for it.
Upon completing MRCP, after much consideration I've decided to pursue further training in Nephrology and came to where I am now. Knowing that if I do not sit for the USMLE 3rd part within 7 years (which is 2012 - this year!), my previous efforts will be wasted and this will remain an incomplete dream. But the timing of exam, mid May, is challenging as it means that I would only have about 6 weeks to prepare, after my SCE Nephro exam in March. Frankly, I did encounter difficulty as it was quite a painful process to revise from the very beginning. But of course, PACES experience did help substantially, but my memory of orthopedic examination was kind of vague already. ;)
Step 2 CS consists of 12 clinical encounters, each with 15 minutes for seeing the patients, and 10 minutes for patient's note writing. The whole session lasts approximately EIGHT hours (enough time to cause brain injury). It tests the candidate on 3 major components: Integrated Clinical Encounter (ICE), Communication and Interpersonal Skills (CIS), and Spoken English Proficiency (SEP). It is necessary to pass all components in order to obtain an overall pass. I took the exam in Los Angeles, and continued my trip travelling around Western US.
Now I'm glad that it's over - a huge relief indeed. An exam spanning over almost 7 years - it's done! Time for just another celebration! ;)