an advise for USMLE

Discussion in 'USMLE STEP 1' started by woody pecker, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. woody pecker

    woody pecker Guest

    one thing that helped me out a great deal was reading exam and study experiences. i shaped part of my studying based on how people studied and their results. so i figga that i'll share my experience in the hopes that it might help someone else in the future. i remember reading a post once where someone said that people shouldn't share these type of experiences because the people who take the exam in the future are at an unfair advantage. so be it. if people didn't post before me, i wouldn't have gotten such a score, so it's a "you scratch my back and i'll scratch yours" type of thing (something like medicare, before bush reform).

    ok, i'm gonna seperate it into 3 sections: what i did, what i did which i wish i didn't do, and what i didn't do which i wish i did. (say that 3 times fast).

    1) what i did: i used a variety of review books from different publishers, etc. my books included: 1)path BRS 2)physio BRS 3)ridiculously simple micro 4)Lippincott pharm 5)high yield biochem 6)high yield beh sci 7)high yield neuro 8)BRS anatomy (didn't finish it)...i ultimately supplemented all the subjects with Kaplan books and the 30-day video lecture pass from Kaplan.

    my MAIN NUMERO UNO book was First Aid. honestly, First Aid has got a good portion of the exam covered. basically, i used it as a notebook and noted down anything that i came across in any of my other books into First Aid. (duh, i took you should see the size of my writing in FA, i used ultra-sharp pens and mechanical pencils to get it down to size. that took about 4 months averaging 6 hours per day (reading the books took more time that all that writing). then i spent about a month listening to Kaplan lectures, and taking notes too. at this point i was avg about 10-12 hours per day. these were very hard days.

    this next part was probably the most important part. in my opinion, if you're like the rest of us and are not endowed with photographic memory or an einstein brain, you must do this next step. even if you decide not to take Kaplan review lectures or any other type of review. that is....drumroll please...Kaplan QBank. no i do not work for Kaplan. but they know what they're doing. i also bought IV QBank, which i thought was a waste of money. but the original QBank was the closest that i could get to the exam without actually taking it.

    basically, i sat with the Kaplan medical director and he told me how to take those exams. i did a set of 50 in about an hour. then i spent about 2-3 hours reviewing it. review the correct answer, the wrong answers, why i got it right, why i got it wrong, where i'm weak, what i need to study. if it was just a memorization problem, then i would go memorize. if it was a concept problem i would go open Guyton or robbins or Kaplan or any other book to understand the concept. and this Kaplan dude told me not to lie to myself. if i didn't know something, i should admit it, and then take care of it. these last two months were especially difficult. my two year old daughter had just about had it with my 12 hour days, and my wife was starting her 7th month of pregnancy.

    also, what helped was i did questions outside of the QBook and QBank. namely, lange review for micro/immuno, pharm, physio, webpath, blackwell online exam, robbins question book (excellent book, worth its weight in gold).

    towards the end i heard about this man named Goljan. i had about 2-3 weeks left before the exam and i was wondering if i should take the gamble of spending 4-5 days going through his lectures. boy, i am so glad that i chose to listen to him (this after i went through some of the posts on aippg & other forums). this man put almost everything i learned in the past 6 months and blended them in the best way possible. i also went through his 100 page notes, which was more helpful after i listened to his lectures.

    that was pretty much it. i averaged 73 on QBank, took 3 simulated exams from Kaplan: i got two 74s and a 77. on the simulated cd that usmle sent i got 41, 44, and 45 a week before my exam.

    2) what i did which i wish i didn't do: there are two books which i purchased which were a complete waste of time and money. one was ridiculously simple for the USMLE step 1 (not the micro one, that book is amazing) and the other was appleton and lange's questions book. i've already told you about IV QBank, and what i thought of it.

    3) what i didn't do which i wish i did: number one on this list is to listen to Goljan a least another time. after i listened to him once, which took about 5 days, i wanted to listen to him again, but i jus didn't have the time. if i could do it all over again i would listen to him once, then take notes while listening to him again, and then listen to him a third time while reviewing my notes. he's really that good. oh, i also used his question book (the rapid review series for step1), which is very good. another thing i kinda messed up on was that i started to take notes about 2 months into my studying. i had to do a lot of catching up later on.

    i'm really glad about another thing. when i started school i read somewhere that i should study hard here so i don't have to go nuts later. sounds pretty obvious, no? but you wouldn't believe the amount of people who will study for weekly exams just by memorizing previous tests, etc. like someone once said on this forum, there's no way that 7 months or 3 months of studying will substitute for 2 years of medical school. also, no school will teach you everything...especially down here in the carribean. so you need to hit the books and learn all there is to know.

    sorry this post was so long, but it seemed that the detailed posts always helped me the most, so i figured i'd return the favor...pass it forward i think they say.

    final thoughts...this exam is gonna stick to what every 2nd year med student should know. not what some specialist should know, not what some 3rd or 4th year student should know. stick to high yield books. use First Aid (yes, read that part in the begining that talks about how to study). it truly is a "godsend" as someone put it. my firstaid is falling apart. i remember while i was studying i would keep it in a very high place, and take special care of it so that it wouldn't get into the sticky chocolate filled hands of my two year old.

    good luck to anyone who is going to tackle this exam. it's very doable. if my thoughts and experiences helps even one person, then it'll be worth it. once again, thank you all for your support and help. see you in the step 2 forums.

    -win'06 (that's right, windsor university, for you naysayers)
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: an advise

    your information is for which examination?(plab?mccee?usmle?!!)
  3. jahnavi

    jahnavi Guest

    goljan lectures?

    hi, congrats for ur success and thanks for sharing ur experiences.kindly tell how to have an access to goljan lectures about u have mentioned in ur post. Are there audiocassettes available. pls mail me at
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks a ton!!!

    Hey u were right bout ur mail being really long, but trust me i needed to know all of that. thanks so much. i have nt gotten such advise in ages now and really appreciate wat u ve done.
    I plan to start with FA right away and see how it goes. will decide on the date to take up step 1 asap.
    Thankgod for u and ur advice.... regards, a.
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    you yourself is godsend in the process of sharing......

    :) I am still interested to take up the USMLE as I originally planned while I'm still in the Philippines.(my desire for the USMLE had regained strenght again because of you pal/mate.. :lol: I'm already here in UK presently preparing to tackle their version here of the MLE.your list of materials for review doesn't differ much with my list. :D
    I agree 100% with you.

    I'll pray for your further success. :idea: Please keep up your good deeds, regards to your family, they may have been so proud of you.Me too. I'm proud of seeing your message in the forum.

    You did not only make yourself feel good and others as well, you're changing lives here mate...Mabuhay!
    (Is this an early christmas gift from you?)Thanks a lot...
  6. bhavindr

    bhavindr Guest

    books and cds

    I am interested in getting books and CDs
    please help me
  7. aspirant

    aspirant Guest


    thank you so much , no words for what u gave here on aippg . as someone said in above posts , this message is gonna change many lives. thnaks and GOD bless you !
  8. DR GSR

    DR GSR Guest

    THAN FOR THE inf ormation. -really wonderful. as u said it will help a no of people prep for this exam. really very god job. would u plz tell from where i can get the following books/ material?
    1. microbiology made rediculously simple,
    2 . iv q book?- rapid review series for step1 by goljan?
    3 first aid for step 1,
    4 robbins question bank.
    5 how &from where to down load goljan audios?

    thanx in advance. WISH U AL LTHE BEST FOR STEP 2.
  9. Respected all my usmler after all kindly give me advice also i had taken my date march april may so i am hurry may be not sure but due to all of yours guidance and maderators from this forum i will take exam .Be honest still i am in chaos beacuse i had done mbbs in nov 2003 intership feb 2005 ielts but not plab failed fcps part 1 twice but in june 2006 i firmly decided to do usmle my first plan was totake in month of feb but yar i am not feeling well to take this exam because alot of questions and alot of books but i read kaplan and try to do more mcqs so i will focus only kaplan which is not only maybe and Qbank and q book but not usmle world because i want to get everything from these resources but GOD knows better i m average student as people say 8 to 10 hrs study be honest it makes me terrible thats kindly mention me is it possible if i take examinations in may last deadline i will never extend my eligibilty period and will take step 2 in sep or october to get 2008 match or not .all of u agree with this resources with first aid 2006beacuse except q bank and q book and whats about all of yours study well all the best all of you and pray for me
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    hello. thanks for the info u gave us
    i have to just start my preparation. it wud be gr8 if u cud help me out. like i ned to know how much time it wud take for the preparation and how many hours i have to put in
    i just have the kaplan notes and the dvds. what esle shud i go thru except this kaplans
    u were talking about goljans,i have the main book, shud i go theu it or the review is sufficient and what about that audio
    and the question bank. plz tell mein detail about hat
    thanks will wait for ur reply
  11. noynoy

    noynoy Guest

    To take or not to take USMLE

    Hello there people in this forum.I visit your forum frequently and thanks goodness i can't believe there are people like you painstakingly sharing your experiences about international exams (USMLE,PLAB etc...) I'am in my mid-forties married with one child & now residing in the U.S. awaiting to become an immigrant maybe in 2 years time courtesy of my wife who's on H1-B visa working as an icu-nurse here in Philly. I graduated from med school 16 yrs. ago. I underwent residency training in Internal Medicine & been practicing it .Will it be futile if i give USMLE a try? What are my chances being shorlisted in US hospitals if for example i achieve a score in all my USMLE test say 90? Please advice.Many Thanks[/b]
  12. kritim25

    kritim25 Guest

    i need to know if its possible for an indian medical graduate to get a residency in dermatology in US....i need to know it bcoz after putting in all the hard work i would atleast need some hope to get in2 a residency of choice.since i hav heard that people just get pediatrics or internal medicine being an IMG....plz reply....i still haven't commited myself to USMLE...i m trying to weigh my options n choices before dedicating myself to it..

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