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When is the best time to take CSA?
Preparation courses
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Preparation courses

Should I invest in a preparation course?

The Step2 CS has a pass rate of around 78%. Therefore, a substantial number of candidates fail the test. Failing the CSA causes many problems, not to mention the examination fee of $1200, accommodation and travel costs. In addition, applications for residency are often adversely affected.

However, you should think carefully before investing in preparation courses. If you have a lot of clinical experience and have good communication skills, then you are likely to pass anyway. If on the other hand, you have been away from medicine for a number of years or do not have much experience with American medicine then a review course maybe worth the investment.

There are a number of factors that need important consideration when choosing a course:

1. Are the faculty experienced in American medicine and do they have experience with the Step 2 CS?

2. Will the course content reflect what is required in the Step 2 CS?

3. Since the Step 2 CS is based on your encounter with an SP, will you work with SPs in the course and if
 so how many Sps will you see? would you get any training in pt note writing etc

4. What do previous participants say about the course?

5. Is the location of the course convenient for you?

6. What is the cost? (The cost varies from $495 for the Philadelphia based course, $50 per hour for CSAreview to $1100 for the course).

7. You should not pay too much attention to the pass rate as no course can turn around a really badly prepared candidate in a short period of time.

Finally, no course can substitute for continuous practice and good preparation.

Good luck!