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Jefferson Medical College Alpha Omega Alpha Guide to USMLE Step II: Clinical Skills

Common Questions

What’s an ok score, a good score, and an excellent score?
The exam is PASS/FAIL.

How important is my score for my residency application?
Since the exam is PASS/FAIL, not very.  Jefferson requires you to pass the test before graduation, so just pass it.

When should I take it?
The OSCE is given during April and May of third year at the Clinical Skills Center.  You’ll be assigned to a day.

Because it’s pass/fail, don’t worry about taking Step 2 CS before finishing your applications for residency programs.  Step 2 CK scheduling strategy is more important (see AOA Guide to Taking Step 2 CK).  That being said, many Jefferson students take Step 2 CS soon after taking the OSCE at the end of third year because the OSCE is you best preparation for Step 2 and much of the exam content is taught during the third year core clerkships.  Dr. Worzala hosts review sessions to go over your OSCE performance—she runs through everything you wrote down and how the standardized patients graded you on your history taking and exam skills.  Jefferson says that it wants you to take it by the end of December.  Schedule some where between those two points based on your rotation schedule, travel schedule, or personal preferences. 

When should I register for Step 2 CS?
Even if you are not going to take the exam until well into fourth year, schedule early.  For emphasis, schedule early!  Step 2 CS is only offered in 5 cities: Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, and LA.  Spots fill.  Don’t get stuck having to travel and pay for travel expenses on top of the $1000 the exam itself costs.  Register several months in advance, as soon as you have a sense of your schedule or preferred test dates!!!!

What happens if I fail the OSCE?
The clinical skills center has you take a remedial physical diagnosis course during one of your elective blocks.  People report that the course is useful in and of itself.

Do you think I’ll fail Step 2?
Apparently, about 1% of Jefferson students fail Step 2 a year.  Dr. Worzala says that these tend to be students going into very specialized and competitive residencies (ortho, path, radiology) who frontload fourth year with electives, but then get to Step 2 without having done anything general in a while.  If you think this applies to you, spend some extra time reviewing a basic history and physical—or wait until after you’ve taken your outpatient sub-I or ER block.

Last updated: January 2007

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