Please click on the questions below in order to view the answers
+Q1: "Which exam prep course format should I choose? Premium Individual or one of the Group options?"
A1: *The Premium Individual course is more suitable for: A) International Medical Graduates. (Including Caribbean medical students) B) First time attempts. C) Those with multiple attempts. D) Those who scored lower than borderline performance on ANY one component of the score report on a previous attempt. E) Those who wish for a mock exam. F) Those who are looking to be challenged by more complex patient encounters. G) Those preferring the ultimate "tailor-made" experience.
*The Group course options are more suitable for: A) Those who are exposed to western culture. (i.e. US examinees) B) Those who have taken other Step 2 CS review courses. C) Those who've had a maximum of ONE previous attempt of the Step 2 CS with borderline performance on just ONE component of the score report. D) Those who form a discounted group for themselves and know their class partners well enough to understand that both individuals have a similar strength/weakness profile.
Ultimately the choice is yours in deciding what fits your needs.
+Q2: "Is there a exam prep course available that is less than 4 days in duration?"
A2: *Sorry, the course curriculum is set to a minimum of 4 days. The program is already in an accelerated form and there is simply not enough time to cover the required curriculum within 1-3 days. It's against our principles to provide you a service half-heartedly. Our reputation rests on following through with our responsibility of making sure that each and every student receives thorough preparation. We aim to send our students out as "exam ready" and nothing less.
+Q3: "Does STEP2IT have any books, videos or provide exam prep over the phone or Skype?"
A3: *Our live prep courses cannot be substituted via phone or Skype. Of course, there are competitor courses that provide these types of services, but it's just not aligned with our philosophy. In our opinion, relying on this form of preparation as a primary form of preparation will lend you a false sense of security. These services may be helpful up to some extent. These services should not be considered the core of your preparation and should be considered a supplemental review after a live course. This is because practicing and performing live is the MOST vital ingredient in your preparation for this exam. Your interpersonal skills, body language, physical examination techniques and countless other measures can ONLY be assessed in the context of a LIVE course. The USMLE Step 2 CS exam is quite different than all other USMLE steps. For that reason, the type of review course you choose should be as well.
In terms of books, videos and other types of USMLE supplements, there are plenty of resources available. Please click here for information about our affiliates in the Clinical Skills Education Network.
Our interview prep options are available via Skype.
+Q4: "Which CSEC testing center is better? Which one is “IMG friendly”?"
A4: *This is easily one of the most common questions we get from our students over the years. Apparently, there are contrasting opinions and advice out there on the subject. Our view on this matter is quite clear. Be sure to read Our Blog regarding this topic to clear up the misunderstanding.
+Q5: "This is not my first attempt for the exam. I don't know where I went wrong. I don't know where to begin. What should I do?"
A5: *You're not alone. Statistics show that around 4500 Step 2 CS examinees do NOT pass this exam every year! That is quite an eye-opening number. Rest assured that you are in the right place. Around 50-60% of our students have had prior attempts. We have plenty of experience in this area. As a matter of fact, you can call us "specialists" in just such situations. And that personalized approach is precisely what STEP2IT offers.
The most common thing we hear from students with prior attempts is: "I don't know where I went wrong. The SPs seemed to like me! I did everything the way I've always done it in the real clinic! I felt good walking out of the exam, I was pretty confident that I'd pass. What more could they want?" Walking in and out of the exam with confidence; then suddenly realizing on results day that the tables have turned will shake up anyone's sense of confidence the next time around. You deserve answers.
If you've recently received your exam results and have been experiencing disappointment, just know that we're here for you. You may have been looking forward to celebrating your victory but instead, you've been hit with a wave of helpless shock and disbelief. Nobody likes the word "failure". What you need to do is eliminate it from our vocabulary now. In time we hope that you'll begin to view this experience as a "temporary setback". Transform this setback into a useful experience that'll help you gain insight into yourself and make you a stronger residency candidate. We aim to promote this program as a safe haven for all USMLE students; a place to share and to be understood by your own colleagues. A place to discuss any real-life issues you're facing that affects your performance potential. Think of us as a "life coach" that relates to your situation. We're here to motivate, encourage you and lend support. Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the harder it gets to get back up. The best time to start is NOW while your mind is still fresh. Strike while the pan is hot. Stay positive, there is hope.
The first thing we'd like to do is analyze your score report. We try to see what we can learn from the last attempt. And that's it. No more ruminating on the past. What's done is done. It's time to move forward.
We aim to pinpoint your weak areas so that you can clearly see for yourself the areas that you need to improve. The reason that you don't know where you went wrong on your previous attempt simply because you didn't understand "right" from "wrong". You weren't picking up on all the little details as much as you had realized. You weren't gleaning the maximum points that were available within the full 25 minutes that are allotted for each case. In our course you'll understand that it's simply not just about the SPs "liking you". That's just one part of the equation. And it's not just about doing what you have done in real-life clinically or what looks good to you in your eyes. There's more to it. Once a student's understanding comes all together we inevitably hear "I wish I took this course the first time around!" We concur!
Unlike other courses, you will be surprised to learn that this course is NOT just about showing you how to walk and how to talk in order to pass this exam. A major focus is also to address is YOUR own personal mental state and attitude towards the exam. Having a healthy attitude and outlook is the only way to perform at your optimum. You always have a choice in how to cope with stressful situations in life. The most common negative coping strategy is suppression. Most people who say they are "over it" really aren't. Only YOU can stop yourself. We always try to promote the most positive mental attitude; it's always the most healthy and effective strategy. We wish to see you as a truly "residency ready" Physician. It starts here.
+Q6: "My English is not good. What should I do?"
A6: *First, define what this statement means to you. Often when a student says, "My English is not good", it may mean that they speak English with an accent. If this is the case, just know that this is completely OK. There is nothing wrong with having an accent! Many Americans speak with varying accents. Just be yourself and speak naturally. Don't try too hard to mask your accent using an awkward Americanized "hybrid accent". Your natural accent is nothing to be embarrassed or insecure about. The truth may be that your accent will never change, no matter how long you'll live in the US, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. An accent lends unique character to your persona and you'll have some pride about where you came from. It isn't to say assimilation isn't important, it is; it's just a fine balance.
We find that the vast majority of IMG students are more concerned about how their English sounds if compared to a "typical" American accent. These students are not actually focusing on what really matters. The real emphasis, from the USMLE 2 CS perspective, is to make sure that you speak CLEARLY, fluently and that you articulate your communication well. During your simulated patient encounters at STEP2IT, you will receive plenty of fine-tuning that will improve your SEP skills.
On the other hand, if your SEP issues are truly more advanced; if there's a struggle for English comprehension, literacy or fluency, this is quite a different issue. This would be beyond the scope of the STEP2IT curriculum and would require much more time and energy than can be covered with such a limited schedule of the course. The realistic expectation is that this kind of changes won't happen overnight. SEP at this level can only improve with exclusive practice over time and a lot of exposure to conversational English.
In such cases, we strongly recommend that you take a separate supplemental course to focus specifically on improving SEP before taking STEP2IT or the USMLE Step 2 CS exam. The great news is that we can refer you to our affiliate, Articulation LLC, who would be more than happy to help you in this area. Please click here to visit our Clinical Skills Education Network page for the link to their web page.
+Q7: "Is reaching the center easy? I'm not familiar with Dallas, TX."
A7: *Many people may feel intimidated by the idea of having to navigate through Dallas. This is understandable because it doesn't seem like such a simple task. We assure you that it isn't all that difficult either. We keep in mind that a majority of our students are IMGs that come from distant countries and cultural backgrounds. The key to navigation is to have a secure travel plan and be presented with clear directions. Our commitment and responsibility toward our students begin right from the first contact. You're not simply given an address and left to figure it out or get lost on your own. We make it a priority to help guide you with a customized, easy to follow, clear travel plan. Our students usually tell us on arrival that the journey ended up easier and more comfortable than they had expected. And that meets our priority for you; to ensure your safety and comfort throughout your stay. Please check our DFW Center Access webpage for more details.
+Q8: "Will I have access to local transportation?"
A8: *Transportation to and from the accommodations of your choice will be provided daily; FREE of charge. (same day as your course dates) Please be aware that this service is limited to locations that are within a 3-mile radius of the center. We can provide transportation to and from the DART Bachman Station as well.
For any other excursions from your hotel, taxi or Uber service is readily available. There is a great selection of local restaurants and many of them will deliver to your hotel room.
If you opt to arrange your own local transportation, or want to use your own vehicle, you are qualified for a "transportation discount". This discount is $10/day and will be deducted from your final course fee payment. (i.e. 4 day course = $40 transportation discount.)
+Q9: "I am from the US and English is my native language. Why would I need a prep course for Step 2 CS?"
A9: *The pass rate for American 4th yr. students and IMGs with US citizenship is falling over recent years. The scoring criteria of this exam varies from one year to the next. The exam needs to constantly evolve in order to challenge new examinees.
Many examinees that are from the US think that this exam is designed purely to challenge and filter out non-US IMGs. There is even a new movement amongst US-grads who think this exam is not necessary for them and want to be exempted from it. What they don't realize is that this exam is VERY necessary, and yes, for them as well! Anyone who doesn't think so truly does not understand what is being tested in the first place! Ask your patients if clinical skills matter.
We make no assumptions, generalizations or reservations on anyone's ability just based on their CV and background. That's because the residency programs don't either. Everyone has to prove himself/herself. What residency programs are looking for are candidates that are the "full package".
We have seen US based students struggle with simulated patient encounters and the CS exam itself. Other times we've seen IMGs, with no prior western exposure, handling it all with ease. It's not about where you're from or how smart you are. It's whether you truly understand what this exam is testing and how prepared you are to handle it all. It's wise to do your due diligence and take the exam seriously. Check this page for more info.
+Q10: "What is the live prep success rate for STEP2IT?"
A10: *STEP2IT is proud to report that our success rate well above 95% (calculated with about a 2-4% margin of error). Our data is limited by the fact that we are not always able to follow up with each and every student after his/her exam. 95 isn't bad, however, we're always striving for 99%.
How can you be sure our rate is accurate? Just ask any of our past students. The thoroughness and rigorous training our students experience are what makes it believable. The numbers that you see our competitors report are questionable because larger class sizes means less attention for each student. They just seem to throw a random number out there in order to stay competitive with everyone else. The obvious truth is that pass rates are "self published". These calculations can be inaccurate or nearly impossible to prove. So "pass rates" are actually of limited value to a prospective student.
You'll encounter other courses that claim they have a 100% success rate. Think about that for a moment; 100% is only possible if a program has not been in operation too long or they aren't telling you the truth. The bottom-line is that it's always up to the student to perform on exam day. The teacher is not the one taking the exam for you! It all comes down to that one day and that one shot. Even with the very best preparation and efforts, unforeseen things can happen on that day.
As you know, we can't give our patients false reassurance or promises. But what we can do is stay positive and hopeful. It's the same with our students. That being said we are very proud of our student's efforts and the very high pass rate.
+Q11: "Does STEP2IT use SP actors?"
A11: *For class sizes of 3 or 4, an SP actor will be used. If class size is just 1 or 2, then your professor will fulfill a dual role.
Contrary to popular belief SP actors are NOT necessarily an advantage for students in a review course. SPs are trained to follow a defined and rigid script for every student. It's the same case every time for every student. It's a "one size fits all" routine that may not actually address the specific areas that you really need to practice. The advantages in utilizing an SP actor actually tilt in favor of the review course, not you. An SP helps alleviate the professor's multi-tasking responsibilities. A standard protocol at most programs is to use an MD just for an introductory lecture and correct patient notes. Then they have the SPs TEACH you during the entire "patient encounters" portion of the course, instead of a Clinical Professor. If you've figured that this is a cheap way to cut corners, you're right. An SP is cheaper to pay than an MD. Sure, an SP can give you some feedback on CIS to some extent. (maybe) But what about the rest? How will they teach you or how will you correct your mistakes? How will they teach you the proper techniques of Physical Exam? A big philosophy we promote at STEP2IT is to integrating all subjects together. We review the HPI of each case which provides a deep analysis of the ICE portion of the case. Throughout the course your memory will be constantly refreshed regarding basic concepts. We'll be bridging and connecting Step 1/Step 2 CK concepts into the discussion. Clinical medicine spans a very wide breadth of knowledge and skills. You don't want to get guidance from someone who responds that they "aren't too sure about that." Having someone fulfill the dual role of both SP as well as a qualified and experienced professor is actually a HUGE advantage to you. If, for example, you wanted to learn how to fly a plane: Wouldn't you rather be taught by a pilot? You wouldn't go to a carpenter of course!
Here's the other thing to realize: On exam day, who is the one scores everything? (except the patient notes) The SP is! Therefore TEACHING you from the FIRST person perspective is the best place to assess your body language, interpersonal skills, physical examination techniques and pay attention to the many details that might go missed if your teacher is standing by on the sidelines. Having no SP means that there is no rigid script. This allows for much more latitude and variability. You will experience changing variables that constantly challenge you at every turn. You can't train an SP actor to have that level of versatility. A "Standardized Patient" is exactly that; standardized. Standardized for the purpose of fairness, therefore each examinee gets an equal opportunity. Instead, what works best while you continue to learn and practice is a true "Simulated Patient"; simulated meaning more REALISTIC. This is what will truly challenge your SKILLS. It's part of what makes us different.
All courses are NOT created equal. The teaching staff of many courses out there are not well qualified with the proper background, experience or credentials to teach medical graduates. At STEP2IT we don't leave any portion of the curriculum to chance. A qualified Clinical Professor with an MD degree guides you throughout 100% of every class session.
Keep in mind that there are also some clinical professors out there that are MDs, but have graduated many years ago. No matter their real world experience, the fact is that they have never actually taken the CS exam themselves! Sure, it's one thing to have a wealth of knowledge but it's quite another to have actual practical experience. Wouldn't you rather be guided by someone who has actually experienced the exam first hand?
+Q12: "I prefer a "one on one" course. How can I ensure that I get to take a lot of the simulated patient encounters myself?"
A12: *Great! That's exactly why we specifically offer the Premium Individual option. Based on popular demand, this is the ULTIMATE form of CS prep that you won't find elsewhere. You'll get 100% attention 100% of the time. You get to take all cases and you'll have unlimited opportunity to ask questions. You also get the freedom to book class on dates that suit your preferences.
Interview prep courses are all one on one.
+Q13: "How many cases will I be able to practice?"
A13: *On average you'll be able to experience 8-25 cases. That's a broad range because there are a number of variables that influence that number. Your Clinical Professor will determine the pace that suits your class session best because every student is different.
Many courses will "promise" or boast about a specific number of cases that can be covered as a way to attract students. Quantity is not necessarily better than quality. What's the use of doing 30 cases if all the cases seem to be the same, or if the cases don't truly challenge you? Why can't we guarantee that you will experience 30 cases? Because the critique, feedback, and discussion of every case are the vital components of what this course is about. Do the math; time-wise it is mathematically impossible to do that many cases in a day unless you were to do mindless rote cases back to back. That's not a review course, what kind of teaching and learning experience would that be?
We don't place a priority of reaching a specific set number of cases in an attempt to simply take as many cases as possible. Rather the emphasis here, as a review course, is to cover as many variable disciplines and subject areas as possible. This is a better teaching strategy that helps to cover all bases and ensures that you are optimally prepared for what the USMLE requires from you. Every student will experience a thorough review and cases that pertain to all major areas and appropriate disciplines: Constitutional Symptoms, Cardiovascular System, Respiratory System, Gastrointestinal System, Hepatobilary System, Genitourinary System, Musculoskeletal System, Neurological System, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and OBG. In larger classes, you won't be actively taking every case yourself, but every student is engaged as an active participant throughout each entire encounter. Each person is always learning, engaged and kept involved in the process.
We always say that "practice" is key in preparing you for this exam. Although that is a priority here, it's not the only priority. TEACHING is also another main priority. If you're looking ONLY to practice cases and nothing else, then this is not the course for you! You can do repetitive practice cases for free with a study partner; you don't need to spend money on a course. You must also realize that you must practice MANY cases after the course and before your exam. THIS study gap is actually the most important phase of preparation for your exam.
If you really want the "ultimate CS review" experience, which includes more practice cases, then the 4-day Live Premium Individual Prep is for you! This allows you to opt for the "Mini-mock exam" on the 4th day, which ties in all the concepts that you learned over the previous 3 days. This will help truly gauge your performance. The progress you've made since the first day of class will be evident. Our hope is that you'll feel transformed walking out.
+Q14: "Are there any discounts available?"
A14: *Of course! How does 35% off sound? Check our Pricing page for information about our using the Group Discount option for substantial savings.
Beyond that, please be aware that our pricing is fixed and non-negotiable out of fairness. We believe that the pricing we have set is the most competitive "value for the dollar" in the industry. Break down the math and it's plainly evident; you can't get this much time and attention in a professional, reputable high-quality program at this price point elsewhere. Click for more info here.
No matter what review course you consider, there are travel and lodging costs to keep in mind. Even when factoring these costs into your budget, you will still find that STEP2IT will be the most cost effective choice and well worth your investment.
+Q15: "What is the ideal time gap that I should allow from taking the exam prep course and my exam date?"
A15: *In our experience, we find that 5-15 days is the optimum review gap for most students. 5-15 days is a broad range, but it's because it all depends on certain factors and circumstances. Everyone is different; therefore some students may need more or less of a gap. We make no assumptions based on your background or experience. It's not possible for us to determine what suits a student's study plan before the course. This advice can only be given after gauging the student's performance during class; the has to prove himself/herself. If you need to make this decision before the course then this will have to be a judgment call on your part.
It should be noted that a prospective student should NOT expect to walk into the exam right after the course. That is an unrealistic expectation of any review course. You will have to PRACTICE after the course and reinforce the concepts that were taught in order to make the methods and strategies effective.
Indeed we've had certain situations in which students have walked straight into the exam the NEXT day after the course. And yes, these students have passed the exam. These were instances where there were extreme circumstances and tight time constraints. Ideally, we advise against going with a high-risk strategy like that whenever possible. You'll require, at the extreme minimum, 3 days time gap for additional review and practice. Taking more time or going with a cautious approach is always better than finding out after your results that you have to repeat the whole process all over again.
If on the other hand, your study gap is more than 3wks, then some of your fresh experience from STEP2IT may begin to fade and evaporate. We advise that you plan your travel itinerary in such a way that it keeps your course date, travel time, study/review gap and exam date all in perspective.
In order to do this it's usually best to "plan backwards". This means to begin working with the dates that are the most inflexible first. Dates such as: ERAS submission dates, NRMP rules, rotation requirements, exam center availability etc. Once you have the long range plan settled, then think about your STEP2IT class dates, flight availability, and accommodations. Since there's more flexibility with this part of the plan it will more easily fit into your timeframe. From what we've observed, students that formulate a smart study plan have always increased the odds of faring well on the exam. Planning carefully always pays off.
The MOST important phase of your exam preparation is actually your "review gap". This is the stage between the last day of the course and your exam date. This is no longer a stage of learning but rather a stage of reinforcement. You're aiming to perfect yourself and this requires repetitive practice over an adequate span of time. Everyone knows that when you take the USMLE Step 1 or 2 CK, that you'd need to spend ample time with QBanks. Sure, it could be possible to pass those exams without QBanks but that would be a huge risk. The risk is high that you'd score low by the borderline or not even pass at all. This is why most people will tell you that QBanks is a "must". And so it's the same with the USMLE Step 2 CS. Not having a review gap for Step 2 CS is analogous to not doing QBanks for USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK; it just isn't wise. So consider an adequate review gap for your exam as a "must".
+Q16: "I'm looking to save as much money as possible. Can I share costs for accommodations with another student?"
A16: *Great idea! Many students have taken advantage of sharing a hotel room with a fellow student; this effectively splits accommodation costs for the both of you. But it all depends on the mutual agreement of other students booked in your class session.
Obviously, this is not a possibility if you are enrolled in an Premium Individual session. This option can only apply to the Standard Group or Special Discount Group options. We can contact students in your class to see if any of them are interested in sharing the room with you. Best of all, by using this idea to their advantage, many students have been lucky to find a new friend and study partner.
Hotel accommodations can be booked either with 1 king size bed or with 2 double/queen sized beds per room at the same cost. Make sure to book a room with 2 double/queen beds.
Hotel accommodations range between $55 - $120/night. The majority of our students stay at the hotels that we recommend. Of course, you are welcome to book any other local hotel of your choice; just make sure to confirm with us before finalizing your booking. There are some hotels that have very low ratings or are considered "unsafe". We'd definitely recommend that you avoid such choices. Please also note that if you're planning to opt for free daily local transportation, our service is limited to within a 5-mile radius of the center.
+Q17: "What should I bring with me to class?"
A17: *Keep it simple! On day 1 you'll need writing materials, such as a pen and notebook, as well as a stethoscope. Snack items and drinks are allowed.
Examination instruments are not necessary. All equipment is available at the center. On days 2-4 a laptop or tablet is required for patient notes.
Formal attire is not required for days 1-3. We want you to be comfortable. However, if you plan on taking the optional mini-mock exam, we ask that you dress the way you would for your real exam (including the whitecoat) on day 4 of class. This will really help put you into that "exam-day mentality".
+Q18: "Do you offer a exam prep course longer than 4 days?"
A18: * Yes, we do. In fact, we've even conducted 7-day courses! This is known as the Live Premium Custom Prep and can be opted for both Premium Individual and Discount Group sessions. Contact Us for a tailor-made quote.
+Q19: "Do all 4 days of class have to be taken consecutively? Can class days be separated to allow for my circumstances or to allow review time between classes?"
A19: *No, not all class days have to be taken consecutively and that means yes, this allows for a gap between class days. This is an advantage of taking either the Premium Individual or Discount Group options. Please note that this is not applicable for those that opt for the Standard Group option.
You can create a study plan that will allow you to do 1-3 days of the course in one visit and then come back later to take the last 1-3 days at a later date. This is a great option for those who are within driving distance of the center and allows you to arrange class dates with the ultimate convenience. If you are babysitting, in rotations, doing observerships, research or working during the weekdays, this will allow you to come on one weekend and come back again for another. We recommend that you not split your class dates further than 2 weeks apart.
The side benefit, of course, is this gives you an extra gap to allow you to review and prepare for the next class. Day 1 of class is a very heavy dose of information overload. If you're one of the lucky ones that are able to arrange class dates in this manner, go for it!
Please be aware; although we do not require full payment of the entire class session on day 1, $700 is still the minimum required payment on day 1 for all students. This is designed as an incentive to ensure our students follow through and finish the course in it's entirety, just as the curriculum has been designed.
+Q20: "What books should I study from for the live prep course?"
A20: *The USMLE Step 2 CS and the COMLEX Level 2 PE are not solely about theory or clinical knowledge. That is subject matter that is thoroughly tested on the other steps. Admittedly being fresh from the other steps is ideal, but it isn't an absolute necessity. Many students are entrenched in the habit of trying to soak as much information as they can from thick review books. That strategy is not necessarily the key to passing the exam. You're probably wasting your time and energy in the wrong place. Study smarter, not harder. You probably know more than you think you do. Medical school has already equipped you with the basic tools.
As with all other exam steps, the theme here is similar. It's NOT about WHAT you know. That's too easy, they already know you're smart. It's all about APPLYING what you know in the real world. That's the true test. Does it all translate to the bedside? Books can't teach you common sense. Only experience can.
It's hard to believe, but all you need is just ONE, thin, easy to read, book. It's a popular book that is considered THE authority on the subject of clinical skills. We can't mention it here, but Contact Us and we'll let you in on it.
Be warned that there are limitations and no book is perfect or complete, to say the least. That's where STEP2IT comes in. Everything else that you'll need to know will be taught here. Much of what you'll actually learn here is not covered in any CS book anywhere.
+Q21: "I'm female and I'm only comfortable with a female SP actress. Can you provide one for me during the course?"
A21: *SPs are selected based on availability without advance notice. We utilize both male and female SPs. There is no guarantee that your specific preference will necessarily be available for the day that you book your course.
We do understand that you may have individual preferences, cultural differences, and religious beliefs. This is a sensitive topic but understand that the blunt truth is that you will NOT have any choice come exam time. If you are uncomfortable talking to or examining a certain type of patient, whether it is based on race, sex, age or sexual orientation, it will become clearly apparent during your encounter and affect your scoring. When YOU are not comfortable, your patient will not be comfortable. There is no way around this fact and it requires acceptance on your part. You should understand that the USMLE exam is designed to specifically test for biases such as these.
Beyond that, understand that in the US, this is considered a form of discrimination. This is not tolerated in any professional setting. EVEN if you manage to pass your 2 CS exam, your next hurdle will be in a Program Director's office at your interview. In order to fulfill your role as an American physician, you are obliged to fulfill certain core expectations and to assimilate with certain aspects of American culture. The reason is because physicians are expected to openly interact with the healthcare team and patients without inhibitions. A Physician is considered a healer with good intentions and the power to impact lives. This is a professional interaction, not a personal relationship. It is necessary to show that you understand this at your exam. This advice is not meant to offend anyone personally. It is just the truth.
Don't get filtered out because of undesirable qualities. Why not take this opportunity NOW to be natural in ALL situations? STEP2IT can lead you on that road.
+Q22: "Do you offer refunds or guarantees?"
A22: *We do not offer refunds for course fees once you have attended a class. Please read our Terms and Regulations regarding refunds of Registration deposits.
We do offer a Guarantee that the other courses don't.
If you're wondering if we offer a 100% guarantee that you'll pass the exam; the answer is - no, we don't. The obvious reason is because we can't. It would be unethical to make such an unrealistic promise. It's actually quite a silly premise if you really think about it. The only way a course could ever guarantee that you would absolutely pass an exam is if your teacher took the exam for you! Obviously, it's ultimately up to YOU in order to perform on your exam day and pass the exam. The role of STEP2IT throughout this process is for guidance, advice, and support. This is also the reason why we don't deserve credit when you receive the "pass" on your score report. It's all YOU! You have to EARN it. And you'll want to! That sense of achievement is invaluable.
Therefore know that if there are other programs out there that offer you "100% guarantees", please pause and think for yourself; is this an expectation that is realistic? Or are these simply just tired old "sales taglines" that have been used in other industries; now being recycled in order to funnel in students based on false promises? It's been a popular notion in the commercial world to offer a customer a 100% guarantee. Consumers tend to almost expect to be covered by it and amazingly don't usually even question it. From it's inception STEP2IT has been built on a strong foundation of ethics and integrity. It means we have to "tell it like it is". It goes without saying that a "100% guarantee" just isn't an applicable concept in the realm of education. Therefore if a course uses such verbiage, it should be a huge red flag to you. They're just trying to "sell to you".
The irony of this is that the actual exam tests YOU for this same concept. The trap of "providing an SP false reassurance" will get you into trouble on the exam. Isn't it funny how the very same people who are supposed to "guide you" might be trying to mislead you in the very same way?
Just for a moment think about a real world situation. Do you think that you'll ever be able to tell a patient that there is a "100% guarantee" that you'll be able to save their life in every circumstance? Of course not, you know that. Because humans are involved, we can't ever be in control of all variables. All one can do is put effort into preparation and minimize risk as much as possible. We should always be cautious with our words. The only promise anyone can make is to put in the very BEST effort. The only hope you can have is that the vast majority of them will make it through. That's the truth.
+Q23: "How do I reschedule or cancel my registration?"
A23: *You must contact us as soon as possible regarding rescheduling or canceling your course date. A minimum of AT LEAST 7 days notice before your class date is required for cancellation. We reserve the right to retain the registration fee and/or travel fee for any cancellations on short notice or "no shows".
For more details regarding our cancellation policy please visit our Terms and Regulations page.
+Q24: "I am an osteopathic student. Can STEP2IT help me prepare for the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE exam?"
A24: *Yes, the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE is very similar to the USMLE Step 2 CS exam with some minor differences. The Biomedical/biomechanical domain is similar to the ICE component. The Humanistic Domain is similar to the CIS component. The main difference with the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE versus the USMLE 2 CS is that there is no SEP component. But there is the addition of the OMT component.
Another curious fact about about the COMLEX 2-PE exam is that the pass rate is significantly LOWER than the pass rate for American 4th yr. students that take the USMLE Step 2CS. It's not clear as to why this disparity exists as the students, and the exam itself, present a pretty close "apples to apples" comparison. However be careful to conclude that the COMLEX 2-PE exam is the "harder" exam to pass. Although this is something you may hear from people who haven't passed the exam, there just isn't enough evidence to justify that claim. As a matter of fact we've surveyed many DO candidates that have taken BOTH exams. All of them have reported that both exams are very similar. Therefore the "key take away" is to be well prepared and take the COMLEX 2-PE exam seriously.
The STEP2IT curriculum is equipped to cover all the aspects of the COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE exam. Please be aware that there is just one limitation in taking STEP2IT in that we cannot provide you guidance for the OMT component. This is because we've been trained and qualified as allopathic physicians. Therefore it would be considered unethical to provide you such guidance without a DO qualification.
In all other aspects, STEP2IT is above and beyond the BEST source of guidance for your COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE exam. The reason is because the focus here is not simply to achieve a "pass" on your score report; but to pass your exam with HIGH performance. For more information please Contact Us.
+Q25: "What happens at lunch break?"
A25: *Some students opt to pack their own lunch. This is fine, but for the majority of students, this is not convenient because they are staying at a hotel. Lunch break is a great opportunity to step out for an hour, explore the local scenery and get some much needed sun and O2. If you have diet restrictions such as vegetarian, halal or kosher foods, we have excellent choices of local eateries to accommodate any of your preferences. Some choices are more healthy and budget conscious than others and we try to avoid typical fast food chains. Let us know what suits you.
+Q26: "How do I pay for the course?"
A26: *Please visit the Registration page and follow the steps. Please also read our Terms and Regulations page for full details. In order to complete registration, we ask that you submit the $200 Registration deposit by clicking on the PayPal link on that web page. That's it, we ask for no other payment up front from our students. Unlike other courses, there's no other financial risk for you. The course fees will be requested when you arrive in person on the actual day of class.
The $200 Registration deposit is NOT an extra fee. The deposit will be automatically refunded upon your first class fee payment. The purpose of the Registration fee is to merely hold your class date on the calendar. In case you choose to cancel your class registration, the Registration Fee is refundable up till 7 days before your scheduled class date.
+Q27: "I haven't heard much about STEP2IT before. How can I be sure that this course is the right choice for me?"
A27: *Back in 2006, when we first started STEP2IT, there were literally just 5 USMLE Step 2 CS review courses out there. Today, with a search on the web, you'll easily find as many as 20 "courses" out there. As we've noted over the years, many of these so-called "programs" just tend to come and go. Some had even changed their names along the way for obvious reasons. The main reason that you see some programs more visibly on the internet than others is purely by design. Some programs tend to concentrate much more of their effort and finances towards on advertising/marketing, instead of working on their actual teaching skills. Don't be caught up in the facade. The hyped up "fame" that you see on the outside deserves a second look. It doesn't take too long to realize that what you see is not always real.
STEP2IT is considered a "low volume" course because we insist on small class sizes by intentional design. Our target audience is those who seek an exclusive and "bespoke" experience. From the outset we decided that the STEP2IT brand would avoid the "large class" format, although we've had the full resources and facilities available for this option at our disposal. We decided against participating with the "assembly line" philosophy. Although there are large profits to be had with a "large class" format, it clearly demonstrates where our true priorities lie. The fact is that competitors rely on a specific "class quota" in order to remain profitable. This set math is the only way they can cover overhead with rent and staff. This type of enterprise must be driven constantly by the greed of high volume and battle for market share.
The USMLE prep market offers you many options out there. We've always aimed to corner the "high-end" of the market. This is a niche reserved for the discerning student who prefers a more custom tailored approach, thorough guidance and personalized contact. We fully accept that this is not the kind of format that's right for everyone out there. We felt as though there would have been no use in copying the same formula the others have followed; it would just crowd the field. We saw the opportunity to carve out our own niche and offer an option that was unique and not found elsewhere. Please see our Comparison page to see how we've set ourselves apart from the rest of the pack.
Please follow due diligence and research all USMLE courses carefully. They are not all created equally! It's prudent to choose a program that is reputable and has been around for a long time. It's important that the teaching staff is experienced, qualified, talented as well as passionate about medicine, people and teaching. This is the kind of guidance that leads by example.
There are a lot of false, fake claims and boasting that you'll come across on the internet about many courses out there. You'll read good and bad "reviews" that come from all kinds of anonymous sources. Unfortunately, cunning thieves don't have to be too sophisticated to be able to mislead people online. You'd be wise to know that most of these reviews are not reliable. Remember that anyone can claim to be anything they want to be on the internet. How do you know who is behind each of those anonymous profile names that you see on discussion forums? You'd think that people who run USMLE courses have better things to do; but greed just makes them do really strange things. Don't doubt that they'll go to great lengths in order to hook you and reel you in.
The only reliable way in order to assess the true reputation of a course is to get in touch with REAL students who have actually taken the course you are researching. It's that simple. They're the best source to give you a real sense about the good (AND even the bad) of the course. This should be the decisive factor for you.
Any quality review course should stand ready to put you in touch with a decent number of past students that you'll be able to call or email for opinions. This speaks better than anything that the program can tell you for itself. That's why around 20% of our new students are sourced from referrals that come from our past students. Friends telling friends truly is the best advertisement of all!
At the end of the day, remember this. Let no program try to "sell" or pressure you. Go with your intuition and make the choice that you feel most comfortable with. Prevent regret before you make your final decision. Remember; you are the captain of your own ship. You always know what's best for you.
+Q28: "I don't see class dates on the calendar that I want. Is there a way to choose class dates that suit my preferences?"
A28: Yes of course! Another way STEP2IT is unique is that we offer options that allow for "open scheduling". You can choose any open date you see on the calendar (please allow 7 days notice) if you opt for the Premium Individual or Discount Group options. If you see a day that is blank, yes, that is an available day for you to book!
+Q29: "What are some reasons why people don't pass this exam on the first attempt?"
A29: We have a great blog article on this subject. Please click here to take a look!
If you don't see your question here, please contact us.