The Step 2 CS is unlike any exam you've likely experienced in your medical career. For many candidates, part of the difficulty in taking the Step 2 CS is getting over the fact that the patients aren't "real." It is important that you treat the Step 2 CS's standardized patients as if they were real patients; if you don't, your performance will be compromised. The other major challenge is taking the patient's chief complaint and quickly narrowing down the differential so that you can perform a directed history and physical in only 15 minutes.
Maintaining a positive personal manner
Step 2 CS Interpersonal Skills Advice Communication skills are a large part of success on the Step 2 CS. When a doctor relates to a patient in an empathic way, asks questions clearly, listens carefully, and involves the patient by explaining, paraphrasing and summarizing, then the patient responds more readily and fully. The more skilled the doctor's interpersonal style and the clearer his communication, the easier it is to elicit the significant data from the patient.
After you finish an encounter on the Step 2 CS, the Standardized Patient will complete a checklist that rates your skills in interviewing and collecting information, counseling and delivering information, establishing rapport, and maintaining a positive personal manner.