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What to expect from the Step 2 CS Exam

What to expect from the Step 2 CS Exam

In order to get the best preparation for the exam, it is best to get as much live practice as possible. The full day, live exam resembles the typical work day of a physician in a clinic. You will be judged on your performance examining each Standardized patient (SP) who is an actor chosen to portray a real patient. When interacting with a patient, any number of challenging scenarios could arise in the interaction. This is why the best course of action to prepare is to practice with live SPs such as what we offer during our full live mock exams here at NYCS Prep.

During the examination, examinees are expected to:

  • communicate with the SPs in a professional and empathetic manner,
  • elicit important historic information,
  • perform a physical examination,
  • answer any questions from the SPs,
  • tell them what diagnoses are being considered,
    and inform them of what tests will be ordered to clarify their diagnoses.

After each patient encounter the examinees then record the pertinent history and physical examination findings, list diagnostic impressions, and outline plans for further evaluation, if necessary.

Here is a break-down of what the exam looks like:

Total Examination Length: 8 hours with two breaks (30 minutes; 15 minutes)

Patient Encounters: 11 or 12 (11 are scored)

Length of Each Patient Encounter: 15 minutes

Time Allotted for Writing Each Patient Note: 10 minutes

Step 2 CS is given at one of six test centers in the US, including the following locations: Philadelphia, Houston, LA, Atlanta, Chicago. More information about each test center is available on the CSEC website.

Studying on your own can be tough, particularly on the patient encounter portion of the exam. Students who practice on cases with a partner, or with a live SP like the ones we hire here at NYCS Prep tend to see a tremendous improvement on their pass rate as well as their comfortability while taking the exam. Also, while practicing with a friend may help a great deal, getting simulated evaluation of your verbal and note-taking skills can prove to be invaluable in your preparation for Step 2 CS.

Be mindful of the Step 2 CS Fees as you can save a great deal of money by planning ahead. The exam fee itself is $1480. However if you need to reschedule, the test center may charge you $400 if it is done within two-weeks of your exam date and $615 if it is done 24hrs before the exam date. If you get cold feet and change reschedule the day of, they can charge you $1230.

For more information on getting prepared for your Step 2 CS, please visit our website at We offer comprehensive courses in our state-of-the-art simulated test center that cover Step 2 CS topics in depth including: Evaluation of your overall test preparedness, 12-15 Clinical Cases with Live SPs, Full mock test with 6 cases practiced with live SPs, Patient note review for each mock case and a full performance report.