super high

21 Jan

In case you’re wondering how I’m feeling after taking (hopefully, pending a passing score) my last exam of medical school, this picture sums it up:


If only we all wore our enthusiasm so overtly!

It was a long-ish day.  12 standardized patient encounters in rapid fire.  We had 15 minutes to conduct a focused history and physical exam on each patient, then 10 minutes to write the note, including a brief differential and plan.  I actually kind of enjoyed the note-writing part.  Since the time and character limit forced brevity, it was fun to bang out quick, hopefully appropriate differentials without worrying a ton about the quality of writing, as long as the point was conveyed.

And, of course, since many of the encounters were adult patients, it only reinforced my love of pediatrics.



6 Responses to “super high”

  1. Dozer January 25, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    Hi! I have read your blog off and on for a couple of years, and it has provided so much useful advice and encouragement! Now I am expecting my first baby- I’m a current MS3 due at the end of 3rd year, and am lucky enough to go to a school with very, very flexible 4th year scheduling. I’m trying to figure out plans for the step 2 exams, and was wondering, did you have to bring a pump to CS/are you still breast feeding? How did that work out logistically, and would you recommend the timing (vs say trying to take CS around 35 weeks pregnant, my other option). Thanks! -Dozer

    • annaojesus January 28, 2015 at 12:05 am #

      Hi Dozer!

      Thanks so much for the kind words! And congratulations on your upcoming kid!

      Hmmm…interesting questions. Bottom line, I don’t think it would be terrible either way. Here are the two scenarios…

      I was actually around 34-35 weeks pregnant when I took my school’s version of CS (we have to do a practice run, and we have to pass to graduate–it’s the exact same format and length). I felt fine doing that, but I didn’t have an uncomfortable pregnancy. If you think you might be interested, I would say schedule it, and you can always reschedule it if you’re not feeling up to it. There’s a rescheduling fee, but I don’t think it’s exorbitant.

      If you were to wait until after you delivered, how many weeks/months would your child be? Based on my experience (I waited too long to take CS and it was a little problematic for some programs), I think it’s ideal to take it by October of your fourth year. If you had a small one at home, I think CS is easier than the other step exams in terms of figuring out pumping accommodations. At least at my center (Philadelphia), it was clear that they had had several nursing mothers come through that center, and it wasn’t a problem. You’re given two breaks during the day, one for 30 minutes and one for 15. They’re not long, but doable, I think, especially if you come early to the testing center and pump immediately beforehand. I was able to comfortably pump, but my youngest is 8 months old now, so I’m able to go longer than I could at, for example, 2 months postpartum. But even at 2 months, I do think you could make it work without causing yourself too much stress. The environment in general, in my experience, is more low-key than the other steps.

      If you decide to wait until after you deliver and you choose to breastfeed, I recommend these cleaning wipes (, as they helped me clean up much faster!

      I also appreciated this ice pack to keep the milk cool (

      Let me know if there is any other way I might help! And good luck!!


      • Dozer January 28, 2015 at 12:57 am #

        Wow that is very useful info, thanks for the reply! My little girl would be about 5 1/2 months by the time I took CS if I waited until the last possible date my school allows to schedule it (end of October). So, I’m hoping pumping would be going pretty smoothly by then. I do think it would be lovely to get the test out of the way though, and so far I am feeling pretty good at 26 weeks. I think that’s a great idea to schedule it for week 35 with the backup plan of rescheduling if I just don’t feel up to it. Thanks again and congrats on finishing your last exam of med school!

  2. Felice February 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    I can’t say that I’ve been through medical school like you have but I imagine it feels like a huge burden is lifted after you pass your last test. Was it an extra challenge to be raising a little girl at the same time? I imagine your husband was a big help in the whole process. I enjoy reading your blog and hearing about your experiences. Thanks for sharing!

    • annaojesus February 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      Thank you so much for the kind note!!


  1. hodgepodge | anna in med school - January 29, 2015

    […] are over.  CS is *hopefully* behind me.  And now I’m chipping away at papers left to be completed, but also soaking in my time with […]

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