A clinical skills examination is part of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 2 that tests medical students on their ability to gather information from patients, perform a physical examination and communicate their findings to patients and colleagues. The name of the examination is Step 2 Clinical Skills, or Step 2 CS. The current multiple-choice component of Step 2 is being referred to as Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, or Step 2 CK.

Medical schools vary in the ways they teach clinical skills and the standards they use to evaluate them. The USMLE Step 2 CS exam established a national standard that all students need to meet before they practice medicine. During recent field trials, 20 percent of the fourth-year students who completed a survey said they had been observed interacting with a patient by a faculty member two or fewer times. One in 25 said they had never been observed by a faculty member.

The test protects patient safety by asking physicians-in-training to meet a minimum national standard for clinical and communication skills. A large body of literature has shown that poor communication skills and interpersonal and general clinical skills are related to a higher incidence of malpractice suits, lower treatment compliance by patients and decreased patient satisfaction.

Practice Step 2 CS sessions

When you come to the Clinical Skills Center for a USMLE Step 2 CS practice session, you will want to bring a white coat, a stethoscope and a Med Center badge. You shouldn't need anything else, and you won't be allowed to take notes in the exam rooms.

These practice exams are examples of what you will see in the actual Step 2 CS. You will be provided a clipboard and paper to take notes. You will see three patients and will be in the room for fifteen minutes with each. After each patient, you will have 10 minutes to complete your write-up on them.

You are welcome to take a practice exam as many times as you'd like. After two practice sessions, it is likely that you will see the same cases. If you are participating in a second session, please let the staff know you've taken part in a previous practice session so that they can try to make sure you don't see the same patient or case.

After your practice session, you will be given a username and password (or use the one you've been using) to the Clinical Skills Center website, where you will be able to see the standardized patients' checklists and your own write-ups, as well as your videos.

Click here for access to videos and checklists on the Clinical Skills Center website.

Frequently Asked Questions about USMLE Step 2 CS

Frequently Asked Questions about USMLE Step 2 CS

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