My step1 experience!!

Discussion in 'USMLE STEP 1' started by Rabia, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. quato.

    quato. Guest

    I was taking the step 1 on Sep 17th, but I have not received the score.

    I see many people receive their scores on the third or fourth week, why my score is delayed?

    After the test, i was given a printout. It is said the result would be mailed within six weeks.
    if i don't receive the score next wednesday, shall i call them for the result? thanks for help
  2. vikra.

    vikra. Guest

    hi everybody,igot my step1 results 225/94.one week before the exam i wrote nbme form 3.i got 440(equivalent of 204/83).i was panic stricken that time.But my parents,sister supported me well &encouraged me to write the exam 1week after.My friend kasayya also suggested the same.i was motivated from the threads in this forum that some of them got good scores after getting low nbme scores.i decided to change my reading pattern,thinking&analysis pattern.during this week i read only kaplan books in a different way than i used to earlier.............I dont consider this as success but this has changed my thinking,hasty nature.Finally thanks to the allmighty for i could have done nothing
  3. colmbianMD.

    colmbianMD. Guest

    I have not been very active in this forum (as a matter of fact this is the first time I post something.) However, reading about the great results of so many people, encouraged me to go for the 99 and I did it. So thanks, first to God and second to all the people that shared advise and results here.

    Now let's go to my recommendations. I would recommend Kaplan material, First Aid, NMS Review Q book and Goljan. I did not do USMLE world which might seem like heresy to some. I studied for about seven effective months 3 to 4 days per week from 4 to 12 hours but I would say the mode was 5 or 6 hours per day, with a lot of randomness in the way I distributed my time. So I would say I invested about 700 hours in this exam.

    As I said, I used the NMS Review for USMLE Step 1 I think it was the Seventh Ed. It was very tough and sometimes discouraging. However it was a good training for tough questions. The funny part is that this was the first Q book I used and I was quite frightened about my possible outcome because of my results in the questionnaires. I also started a little late to do questions, only 1 1/2 months before taking the exam. I would recommend doing questions but also try to come with your own questions, this gets you into the logic of the test makers. Always ask, HOW CAN THIS FACT BE TESTED?

    For those still thinking about when to start doing questions I would say "how can I show you your ignorance if you only show me your knowledge" (I am quoting, but I do not remember whom, all I know is that it was also a quote in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.) So go ahead and face your ignorance, you are not going to know everything, but questions will give you drive and focus to learn.

    As far as the exam is concerned, I noticed a lot of ambiguity in the exam. In some questions it was just little details that made the difference. In those questions, Goljan lectures were extremely useful. I used those lectures mostly while I was in the gym or driving to my job, but I made sure I heard them to the detail level. However do not focus on memorizing ONLY, think!

    I used a lot of visualization during my study time, thinking in short movies, seeing the patient in front of me, and feeling the responsibility to know and understand his biology and psychology. So try visualizing. In this respect the underground clinical vignettes were of most assistance, although I only read the biochemistry book it helped me personalize enzymes, substrates and pathways.

    Now some random experiences. I used brown noise from simplynoise.com to help me concentrate during study time, as I found that music is inferior to white noise to study but I have to apologize for the lack of references in this respect (I also have to say that silence is even more effective that noise, and that I chose brown noise because it has more lower tones than white and it was less disturbing. Also if you decide to study with music try something with no lyrics as this will take your concentration somewhere away from Step 1; you can try pandora.com for some JS Bach music or accuradio.com with their classical channels.)

    I took breaks at least every 45 minutes; when a subject was problematic I took a 2 minute break every subchapter, and did some exercise, like push-ups as it seems that NE helps fixating new knowledge, again sorry but I do not remember the references. I also tried to review quickly key terms daily, as I was very aware of the forgetting curve which seemed to apply to my memorization processes ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgetting_curve .)

    Also I was very optimistic, although pushy with myself about the exam, I am sure people with the right focus can do it, as long as they are willing to do some sacrifice, but NO PILLS (you made it to med school and for some, probably most, through med school, your brain is more than able to do its job without all that poison) and a lot of sleep (I never slept less than 7 hours, and no more than a cup of coffee, do not study with a cup of coffee on your hands as you will miss it during exam time, and that was a big sacrifice to me I am Colombian!.) Also do some exercise, I decided to subscribe to a gym and used to exercise at least 1 hour, 3 to 4 times per week.

    As you can see nothing unusual, but I think God is in the details, so I tried to share my details.

    Summarizing,

    Material:
    Kaplan 2004 material + Kaplan Pharmacology Flashcards
    Goljan pathology
    First Aid 2008
    NMS review for USMLE Step 1
    Some Underground Clinical Vignettes

    Time:
    700 hours total
    7 months
    3 to 4 days per week usually
    5 to 6 hours per day usually

    Other "resources:"
    Brown noise
    Sleep 7 hours at least per day
    Good food
    Exercise
    Awareness of forgetting curve and learning style
    Morning Colombian coffee (and sometimes also in the afternoon but never while studying)
  4. Qualis.

    Qualis. Guest

    Dear friends,

    I am a FMG from France (Indian origin) who has a post graduate degree in Cardiology since 2004.
    I passed Step 1 (80) on second attempt and Step 2 CS (pass) on second attempt. I am preparing for Step 2 CK and is going to appear for the test very soon. According to all the experienced and seniors :

    1) by which date (latest) ,is it better to take the test so that i will have a chance to match 2009? Can I take it by mid january?

    2) Do you think , I should submit my application now (without S2CK results)?
    Is it toolate to submit application?

    3)As per my status will I get some interviews?

    4)Will I get a residency provided that I am little bit old and had steps in 2 attempts with low score on step 1?
  5. Drake.

    Drake. Guest

    It may sound outrageous, and maybe even offensive (at least the usmle will pretend to be offended). But the clinical skills component of this test is the most racist, prejudist gender bias examination in the world!!! only a few countries in the planet will charge you 1200 dollars (that may come easy to u.s. graduates, but may represent an enourmous sacrifice to an FMG) so you can take a 50, 000 mile flight and try to grade you on something as subjective and personal like your clinical skills. i mean, most of us FMGs are already experienced physicians that get the job done sometimes under the scarcest conditions, but god rid you of having an SP or a grading physician that thought you were "too mexican" or too much of an "asian" to get into a residency program, or maybe he/she didn´t like your accent even though you can express yourself fluently. it could be one of a 1000 things that they can get away with, especially since you as a non-citizen cannot argue or take reasonable legal action...while hundreds of thousands of dollars fall directly into the pockets of everyone involved. I apologize if it sounds rude or offensive, but it´s a truth that is shared by most of the FMG that failed the test.
    I mean, how is an SP's ethics tested?. Are they really going to grade you fairly and impartially?. If so, how do you know that? All you got is the word from the good people at the USMLE. Welcome to another of america´s filters for us big bad and different foreigners.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    im confuse which goljan book i should use ? is it (rapid review of pathology) or ( goljan note) ? since i have both book in my computer , but , i dont know which one is the right book?...
    i hope that u could confirm me by addin the cover of the book?
    thanks alot.......
  7. durma.

    durma. Guest

    I took my exam in Kingston on 25th of October (a deceiving personal experience).
    Some of the stations that I remember about:

    - 10 min station: counsel a mother on his son's peanuts allergy. 6 year old son, one younger sister, no history of atopy in family.
    - management for an acute miocardial infarction with two ECGs to interpret and act on them
    - old lady; breast cancer 4 years ago with radioTX (I don't remember if she had a chimio as well) comes with rest dyspnea - do a physical exam in 9 min than answer to a question
    - counsel a man about his mother's Alzheimer; she is in a retirement house and she had an episode of hypoglycemia the previous night; this morning he finds her more confused then usual. Explain to him in 10 min WHY?
    - an old woman stopped taking her coumadin. Counsel her in 10 min.
    - a woman in her 40ies - major depression. History in 10 min; than 1 min to talk to the examiner.
    - a young man on Percodine (I don't exactly remember the name of the drug); he wants to refill his prescription; quite agitated - very well played part by the young actor.
    - an old man with back pain with radiates in both legs but only to the knee level - both anteriorly and posteriorly. History and pysical in 9 min
    than answer in 1 min to a question.
    There were 2 more 10 minutes stations but I don't remember them.

    Then 6 station of 5 minutes:
    - young alcoolic woman with acute abdominal pain; phisical exam and answer some questions; She also played very well, you couldn't even touch her abdomen.
    - woman with carpal tunel syndrome; 5 min physical exam.
    - 7 months old baby with 1 month diarrhea; counsel the mother in 5 min
    - mother with temperature after giving birth a week ago; talk to her in 5 min
    - a woman in her late 30ies, with kind of vague complaints; talk to her for 5 min. I still don't know what she had.
    - another station I don't remember.
    Then after each 5 min station you had another 5 min station conected to the precedent one with subjects related to what you've did. For example: the baby with diarrhea - you were supposed to plot the baby's weight and height on the charts.

    If anyone remembers more, please do post it here.
    And if in other centers you had different stations please write about them.
  8. amedoxy.

    amedoxy. Guest

    Hi every one,

    Many of you out there ( including me ) have repeatedly asked this same old question, How is my score in NBME, UW, QBank..etc will predict my performance in the real Step1 exam?! well no one know for sure it's all about probabilities and predictions, BUT I recently discovered this cool score estemator website that can offer (FOR FREE ) some answers for this very question, they claim that their score calculater is best availble on the web and it's most colse to the real thing. here is the link :



    website quote :
    '' The data used to create the calculators is obtained from the public domain and from our own pool of students who have completed the entire USMLE Review course. The sample size is approximately 4,000 and consists of US Medical Graduates and Foreign Medical Graduates. The score estimate provided above is based on a complex multivariate weighted regression analysis and estimated continuous probability distribution.

    With the calculator, you are able to enter one or more test scores to estimate your performance on the USMLE. If you have taken the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Self-Assessment (CBSSA), choose either your most recent score or the average of your most recent scores if the exams are within the same timeframe. Enter only your raw score (out of 800), not the converted score (out of 300). Other testing services offer a 3 digit score or an overall percentage of correct answers. Enter your average percent based off a large (over 250 questions) pool of timed, single-use questions with no repeats.''

    I still didn't take the exam yet so I can't really judge it from my experience so I encourage every one to try it , IT's FREE and tell me what they think about it , sp. those how had already took the real exam

    Best of luck!
  9. maldovamd.

    maldovamd. Guest

    I have been a silent observer for a long time. Thanks to everyone who has spent time in contributing to this form and making it a wonderful experience. I got my score last wednesday

    Exam day was ok, they let me start 20 minutes early and the prometric in nyc would not let me eat in the center, so i had to run downstairs outside to eat. people were staring at me, with a big beard, red bull and a huge sandwich, lol. make sure you have a game plan for breaks, it is imparitive that you schedule proper break time and sleep well too, it's not as bad as you think.

    I did kaplan q bank 64%, UW63%, no NMBE and thelive lectures at NJMI, newark, nj in May+ FA. The advisor at the Newark center told me not to use FA as a primary source of study, so i didn't take any shortcuts and read all the books again. The center is a great place to study and the live lectures are a must. There's not nearly the concise amount of information in the videos as there are in the live lectures. I did do the new kaplan videos at the center too.

    All together, I prepared for about 6 months, with videos after the live lectures for important topics. One person told me once that it is a reflection of how you did in school, so be minful of this before you begin your preperation.
  10. simon73.

    simon73. Guest

    I am immensely thankful for all those posted their experiences in the forum, which has motivated me and I am sure many others in similar situation as myself in this journey. I am thankful to God for my scores. I was a little disappointed as I expected a little more than what I got but as someone said, 'Man proposes, God decides (not disposes)', I trust in God for my destiny and I am sure he has a purpose for everthing happening.

    My History: 10 year old graduate, full-time job, family with two precious kids, living 140 miles from wife and kids in a different city except for visiting during weekends, aimed to do the step 1 in August with high scores but finally ended up taking the exam on October 20th.

    My roller-coaster ride on the week of exam: First with my prep, fell sick with the bad stomach bug for a few days, then had one good USMLE CD score (120/150) and one worse score NBME 6 (410!), Second - had a couple of set backs at work which was pretty upsetting and demoralizing, Third - missed my kids too much and felt I am watching them grow through television and not being able to be part of their life. In short, I felt I was going to crash. So much said about last week of prep, I am thankful to God for giving me hope and staying with me through the course.

    My exam experience: found the exam reasonable overall. Like stated by several, with regard to the degree of severity, it was between UW and NBME. Not as hard as UW and not as easy as NBME. There were barely any one step questions. Mostly 2 or 3 step questions. I arrived at the exam center at 7am and they let me start at 7.15am, which was very good. I had all the energy to have lunch only after 5th block. I took around 5 minute break after each block. The first 4 blocks were reasonable. Blocks 5, 6 and 7 were tough, particularly block 5 and 7. I had approximately 15 questions marked in each block to be reviewed after i finished answering all the questions. I didnt have many questions that requires using formulas for calculations. A lot of questions from Genetics and Pharmacology in my exam, but all the subject areas were covered. I felt reasonably good after my exam. I had hoped for a score in late 80s at least, but I am thankful to God for my score and am glad that it is over.

    My NBME scores:

    2 - 340 (early July)

    5 - 380 (Mid-August)

    3 - 390 (Mid-August)

    1 - 450 (End of August)

    4 - 410 (End of September)

    6 - 410 (Mid-October)

    I hope someone will find my experience applicable and useful to them. As someone said, 'Life is a marathon, Not a sprint'. We have to keep going friends. Now, off to Step 2 prep.

    Best wishes to everyone.
  11. inshal.

    inshal. Guest

    just got back...
    hopefully when i get my results i'll post a detailed experience, but for the time being...
    studied kaplans except BRS for patho and physio + 1st AID
    didn't do audios and videos
    UW Qbank: 1st time unused = 85% (that was with a bit of cheating, 83% without cheating)
    Kaplan Qbank: 88% (85% without cheating)
    No NBMEs

    now for the exam...
    just remember that this is my own personal experience, and it's only meant to be a guideline

    1. exam is doable
    2. definately easier than UW and Kaplan Qbanks
    3. i only did NBME q's posted on forums (and these are most likely the more difficult q's) and i really believe that the exam was the same and even slightly easier than NBME's
    4. q's evenly distributed, i can't say that they concentrated on a certain topic
    5. they don't concentrate on the details, no strange syndromes, no uncommon facts.... they generally asked about the basics only... but still they can bring very difficult questions on very basic principles
    6. the so-called experimental q's: out of the 336 q, i think there were only 2 q's that i thought to myself: what the hell (eg 1 q expected u to know how much kilocalaries is released from 1 phosphate of ATP!!!!) but other than those 2 q's the rest were doable... sometimes the q asked about something that i've never heard of in my life, but by reading the q carefully it turns out they were just asking a basic concept... so don't get put off by any question cuz usually no matter how complicated it looks like at 1st, they are actually just testing a common principle
    7. 45% direct, just recalling - easy.... 45% require thinking, connecting - medium/difficult, 10% v. difficult - had to use a combo of logic, general knowledge, educated guess
    8. pic's: i managed to finish the 1300 pics from goljan slides in 1 and a half day, and they were very useful, but to be honest, if u know ure theory well and u've got just the basic knowledge of anatomy, histo, CT's and MRI's, u'll find them easy... i had about 5 histo slides, 5 gross anatomy and 5 CT/MRI's
    9. ethics: had about 10 q's, 7 could be answered using common sense and logic, the remaining 3, no matter how hard i thought, i couldn't decide on the correct answer!!!
    10. biostats: 10 q's, all testing basic principles (there was no "number needed to treat", "number needed to harm" and all those other difficult concepts that were on the UW q's)
    11. 85% of the questions could be answered only from 1st AID... but that doesn't mean if u only study 1st AID u'll be able to answer 85% correct... i can guarentee u that there are people who have memorized 1st AID, and end up failing... it's all about the way u understand the info., the way u can connect info etc
    12. without reading the theory u don't stand a chance, but, i think the most imp factor that determines u're performance in this exam is u're general medical knowledge, having clear concepts, and just being logical
    13. they did put a few "tricks", where they try to lead u to the wrong answer, and it actually worked a few times, but when i would read the question
    14. finally, it took me 3hrs in bed to get to sleep, so i only slept 4 hrs, but still the stress of the exam is enough to get u through and make u concentrate fully... so no need for sleeping tablets, beta blockers etc

    and again, this was only my opinion on the exam

    now i've entered the most difficult part of the USMLE... the long 3 week wait!!! i pray to Allah that my dreams will be fulfilled
  12. sam.

    sam. Guest

    Hi all,


    First of all by God's garce I was able to take the exam today. I thank God, my family, and all of you who contribute to this forum.

    I have mixed feelings about the exam. I have taken the exam before, and I felt that this time, it was sort of easier. But, I cannot advice anybody, since I do not have the score.
    But I can say, that the most information that you recall is the one that "the last weeks"...at least it was for me.

    Most of the concepts tested are in first aid.

    Subject wise, it was evenly distributed.

    Anatomy, know your brachial plexus, midbrain cross sections, some embryo.

    Behavioral, neurotrasmitters, doctor patient relationships

    physiology, beta and alpha receptors, pretement with them produces what effects on HR etc.

    biochem, inborn errors of metabolism, lysosomal storage disorders etc

    pathology, intermixed iwth all the other topics

    pharma...mech of action, and mechanism of resistance

    micro, first aid topics covered.

    Again, if you have read the concepts from Kaplan, and have read first aid thoroughly one or two times, I would recommend the the last week, divide the time per subject and scan first aid quickly.

    I do not know how I did. I leave it in God's hands.

    Again, my appreciation for all the people who have contributes to this forum, in any way. Thanks a lot and best wishes.
  13. sarendipty.

    sarendipty. Guest

    I am 6 yrs post graduation and my prep time was 2 months.......If I can do it, anybody can!
    Used USMLEworld once, didnt get time to do incorrect /marked ones.Read kaplan material once and did kaplan q bank and first aid q bank. My scores in all of these were around 70-75%.
    FA book is good for last minute revision, but one cannot depend on it totally.The fact that I am a critical care fellow helped a lot with physiology and pharmacology, I still had trouble with molecular biology and biochemistry!......and statistics....and genetics...
    I found it very hard to keep myself awake towards the end of the exam inspite of a good nights sleep and strong coffee......that was the most difficult thing for me.
    Well, hope this helps anyone.......this exam is not difficult at all as long as u keep urself motivated!
    Cheers!
  14. pupil.

    pupil. Guest

    I gave the test on Thursday, and this is my test's experience:

    Arrived to Barcelona on Wednesday's noon, went to the hotel and took a shower. Immediatly after I went to visit my test site. It was a 15 minute walk from the hotel. A kind young girl was the test administrator, and she showed me the place so I could sense temperature, enviroment etc. Then I went to a grocery shop to get some donuts, chips, juices and sandwiches for lunch. I also bought a Redbull and a bottle of water. Went back to hotel, ordered a pizza, took a warm bath and slept like an angel: I took half Zolpidem at 10 to achieve sleep and had marvelous dreams; didn't experiment any morning clumsiness. I felt really good, and wasn't trying to enter in panic: I was going to do my best, give it all in the test.

    Woke up early in the morning at 7 (test was at 9) to mentalize and focus: listening music and praying. Motivation also came from friends and family calls wishing me the best. I had a light breakfast consisting in cofee, croissant and a yogurt.

    When arriving to test center and asking about other test takers, the test ad just told me: "One or two of you come monthy to do this lame test, really, when I saw that you where comming in the schedule, I had to pick some lunch for myself to stay here" All the other people where going to do TOEFLs, GMAT's, GRE's and etc... so I was a kinda of Step1 strange warrior.

    TEST:

    Block1: easy cheesy, finished it in 40 minutes.

    Block2: couldn't believe how easy it was going, finished in 45 min and started to accumulate extra break time, so I took 20 min rest and some donnuts with juice.

    Block3: now that was about it... 8 WT*? questiones here. Hard. Took 15 min break to re-focus.

    Block4: easy like ini mini myni moe. 45 minutes. Started block 5 immediatly thereafter.

    Block5: 10 WT*?'s questions, hit me hard, right there where you know it hurts like hell. Consumed the entire hour for block and a break of 40 min. Ate my sandwiches, went to the bathroom, listened to music, took a walk around the neighborhood. Before entering again had a few sips of magic Redbull.

    Block6: After Redbull's I turned into a Moto. Block 6 was finished in 40 minutes. I still had an hour of break or so so I just went out to have a walk again, and to meditate: I was doing it actually really good. I started to concern wether I was taking lil time to answer, but stayed away from those thoughts: most of my best performance test where when I was quicly certain and never changed any answer neither marked any question nor went back to recheck. Keeping it simple was my clue.

    Block7: grand finale, grand block... easy and happy about it.

    Did survey and went directly to a bar to have my first beer in almost 4 months.

    ABOUT THE TEST IN GENERAL:

    Evenly tested, everything.
    Around 150 questions easy, and 150 UW's level. The rest 36 where harder and I hope I managed to get some right: of these 36 there where around 18 WT*?'s that I just told myself, no way, leave it to chance.
    Probably 20 or more questions with NBME's 5 and 6 photos or ct's etc. But different stems and distractors.
    Most of them where 3 liners, few were lenghty paragraphs,
    If I'd read FA one more time, I'd had been able to be much more certain in aprox. 30 questions. Dumb of me.
    Expect it harder, since I found it easier than my 640/247 NBME5 two days before.

    So that is it, any questions are welcome, and I'll keep you in touch when the grade arrives. I pray to God it's what I expect.
  15. cafer.

    cafer. Guest

    I am so glad to revew this forum, I am an active member of usmleforum, but I was sorprise how everybody get 99 in the exams, I've found this forum more relaible, and the experiences shared by members are more specifics..thanks for that.
    Anyway my experience so far:
    1. preparation time 9 months
    2. material used by everybody mainly kaplan and goljan
    3. UWSA # 1 one month back was 430
    4. NBME form # 3 420 twnty days ago
    5. I am stick to FA, UW personal notes, Goljan path
    6. Exam day is December 31/2008 can't put it off anymore since I am appling to residency this year and step 1 is my last test.

    I' aprecciate every suggestion ..
  16. Meghna.

    Meghna. Guest

    Hi guys, all the best to those still preparing for this exam, it's NOT easy!

    A bit about myself: I'm an Australian medical student in my 5th year (out of 6). I have no plan to match a program in US, just wanna go and do my fellowship over there and come back. I guess that's the excuse for me not to study hard for this (which I should have). My medical school taught me almost zero basic science knowledge (we had 5 lec in 5 years about pharm!)

    I started my prep earlier this year and a few of my friends dropped out of the study group, I ended up being the only one doing (did) USMLE in the medical school. It was very difficult to study by myself as I get slack off really easily. I started in Feb and did some serious study for 2 months, then i start doing 50 questions a day for another 3 months (very little study, only questions). anyway, 3 months ago i got 209/470 on my NBME5 my accumulated UW was 61% at that time. Seriously, I wish i did more study for this exam. I used Goljan lec recording which everyone has, with Kaplan (finished half) and FA (finished god knows how many times) and BRS path and HY anat/embryo and some pretest questions. I did a little bit of Qbank questions on computer which wasn't very hard. I found Qbook from Kaplan and FA were not hard either. The actual exam was a lot harder. The last 3 months, I had to prepare for my uni exam and USMLE. I had 510/212 on NBME1 1 week before the exam. Believe or not I actually failed one station in my uni exam (Basic Science!) and had to do an immediate resit which has never happened to me. I got really frustrated after the uni score and couldn't sleep for 3 days (USMLE is one week later). As u can see I wasn't in my best shape this week.

    Anyway, I wasn't very stressed about the exam this morning since i only wanted to pass. Then I got completely knocked out from first block. There were so many questions I couldn't answer. Many questions were even 4 step thinking and most of them were 3 steps, hardly any 1 step or 2 steps. I found the exam only SLIGHTLY easier than UW which I didn't anticipate. after a few ours my eyes got really tired and I had to try my best to work out those physiology increase/decrease types of questions which was painful. The detail of micro/molecular biology was insane. I know my FA back to front but honestly, it wouldn't have made much difference for me even if I could cheat with FA. The questions were just not from that book! at least for 2 blocks, i didn't even bother marking questions down because there would have been too many to review. The questions were dreadfully lengthy and comes with charts/diagrams. I normally finish my NBME with 10 minutes or even 12 minutes left per block, in the actual exam I could only get 2-4 minutes to review questions. I know most people think they failed after the exam and thats EXACTLY how I feel now. I marked so many questions i may as well just bring a paint brush. Kudos to anyone dare to do this exam and prepare for it. Do your UW, forget about NBME unless u purely want some confidence for urself. Good luck guys! This exam has been disastrous for me and i hope u can have better luck!
  17. alice.

    alice. Guest

    Hello everybody ! I just got my score it is not good at all but at least it is over ...I got 202/83 poor poor performance anyway I took my exam on August the 7th and I just got my results with hugeeee delay as you can see:p my exam exp: first of all I am still a student and I want this and an another year to graduate ....so I had basic sciences fresh in my mind -sort of I studied for about 3 months these books: BRS physio, Goljan Patho (RR with his notes in the final review), Bioch and Biology kaplan, Embryo FA, Anatomy HY, Pharm Road map to usmle, Behavioral HY I had a subscription to UW for three months but I did most of it during the last month . UW is the single most important thing if you wanna integrate all the material you have studied. But I would strongly recommend you to start it only after you have studied at least one time the material you have. Anyway my prep was quite a mess and the score was below my expectations but at least I passed- which I don't believe is necessary good because 83 is such a disaster ! Anyway this site is a huge help and I felt I should write down my exp even though it is not great at all.
  18. kein.

    kein. Guest

    I just got the news yesterday, I failed in step 1. scored 180 and....
    I dunno what to blame, who to blame but me. I took around 8 months, got 420+ in NBME's and thought was ready but went cold in the exam. I think its all over for me now. Even if i do good again in the exam n step 2, i think a failed attempt would make it not worth to match.
    I am all out and broken and dont know what to do..
  19. marry.

    marry. Guest

    I took my exam today....feel kind of sad, don't know if passed or failed...interesting how others feel...
    I prepared for about 1,5 year, but intense only for last 3 months.
    Had 510 and 540 on nbme 6 and 5.
    I think i did a lot of stupid mistakes, that i already discovered, it makes me sad
    Had a lot of pretty simple questions, some where was not sure and some didn'd have any idea...
    It was hard to manage time, in some block had just enough time to put 3 last answers without much thinking.
    I thought i learned biochem pretty well, but in a lot of questions couldn't remember any enzimes or whatever they asked.
    Some that I can remember: about a boy with some rash over dorsum of the hand's and between fingers i think...asked about treatment...
    -about producing monoclonal antibody and used something to cut it, there was a scematics to chose where to cut...a lot of answers and i didn't know it at all
    -mutation in some rna dep rna polimeras that when was normal was in nusleus and cytoplasm but after only in cyto...what mutation...
    And a lot more like that what i didn't know at all...
  20. jain.

    jain. Guest

    Hello! Finally I’ve made some time apart to write about my prep. I’m Juan, alias pmapunk for a lot of you, nice to meet you if it’s the first time you hear about me!!

    Goal: 250++ score on Step 1

    My score: 252/99 yuppiiiii!!!!!!

    Test taken: 27th of November.

    Score reported: 17th of December. I've attached my score report!

    Other relevant scores: NBME3: 530/226, NBME6: 640/247, NBME5: 640/247, Kaplan Qbook 75%, UW 75%.

    Actual situation: IMS from Spain, 5th year of med school, U.S. citizen. Didn’t want to study 8 freaking years to reach MD when I could do in 6 all around the world. Part time job to help paying studies. Very busy.

    Time of preparation was 4 months: ½ July, August, ½ September, October, November of 2008. Approximately 10 to 12 hours per day, very enthusiastic! 8:00-13:00 and 15:00-21:00 study blocks. 1.5 hour study + 10 min break. Always slept at least 7½ hours, jogged twice a week and ate properly. Mandatory rest on Sundays of each two or three weeks. Multivitamin supplements were taken daily. I work from 13:00 to 15:00 so my days were endless!! Had to sacrifice going to classes on October and November. It’s all about discipline and sacrifice!!! If you really want this, anything is possible!

    Study methods: ACTIVE JUAN!! paraphrasing and writing things down. Drawing slides, images and mechanisms. Own made flash cards for Pharm and other tricky clinical vignettes. Reading FA pages once and again (some of these pages took me sometimes 2 hours!) while consulting KLN if I had not clear concepts. Cases and Q&A where great for self-examination.

    Original plan: to schedule test on May 2008. Impossible cuz med school and tests, started more or less to study in February, but found it very time consuming and stressing. Then I wanted to give it on September after summer vacations, working full for Step 1, but time ate me up so I finally scheduled when I got the 530/226 in NBME3 for Sept-Oct-Nov period.

    Material:
    1. FA 2008: core study guide. Pages have notes everywhere from Cases, KLN and UW... Post-its with Kaplan Qbook and Q&A important questions... well, all was in my FA! Gold standard!
    2. KLN (always when doubts and weak areas!) never totally read.
    3. FA Q&A
    4. FA Cases
    5. Kaplan Qbook
    6. WebPath
    7. UW

    Schedule (this is what I planned, then things haven’t gone exactly as this!):

    1. 70 days 1st read of FA, Q&A, Cases, WebPath. Kaplan Qbook.
    a. Block 1: 42 days of FA oriented organ systems + Embrio, Patho and Pharm chapters. Q&A, Cases and WebPath were done systematically each time I finished each FA chapter. When doubts, KLNs were there. 2 days embrio, 4 Patho, 4 pharm and 3 days per each organ system (excepth Neuro-Psych that was 6 days). Last two days (41 and 42nd) were for Kaplan Qbook Anat-Physio-Patho-Pharm blocks.
    b. Block 2: 14 days for Micro and Immuno. FA, Q&A, Cases, KLN and Qbook were killed here.
    c. Block 3: 9 days for Biochem and Genetics. Same, FA, Q&A, Cases, KLN and Qbook were done here.
    d. Block 4: 4 days for Behavioral. Same, FA, Q&A, Cases, KLN (done completely!) and Qbook finished.
    e. Block 5: FA Rapid Review, Images, Clinical Vignettes and Full lenght 350Q’s FA Q&A examination. Got 80%.


    2. NBME3 done: scored 530/226 – 94. Good path, scheduled for Sept-October-Nov eligibility period. Rested one day.


    3. 2nd read, 25 days: FA + UW solely. Tried to read FA twice, but managed only to do it once more with UW. Added notes of UW to FA. UW was done half subject wise, half random, 48/timed/unused mode. Finished with 75% overall.


    4. NBME6 given: 640/247 – 99. YIHAAA!!! just a bit more for the 250++.

    5. Final review 20 days: FA 3rd and last read.


    6. NBME5 2 days before test: 640/247 – 99 SAME AS NBME6!! was depressed cuz I couldn’t improve my score on these days... but NBME5 underestimates I think.

    BIGGEST MISTAKES:
    1. STARTING UW TOO LATE. It’s an excellent learning tool and I should have done it more calmly.
    2. Not being able to read FA a 4th or 5th time.
    3. Focused too much in my weak and neglected some of my strong areas.
    4. Didn’t practice the offline NBMEs of the online ones I did. Wrote down my answers and didn’t went through them to find out what I got wrong.
    5. Didn’t do the USLME cd.

    My single best piece of advice: Don't use 2 or 3 more review books because is time consuming and you dont familiarize with all of them. Stick to one core source of study and become familiar with it. Try reading it as much times you can and focus to add notes to it when things aren't clear or covered on it. FA or MedEssentials are outstanding books. BE A VILE AND FULMINANT ENEMY OF PASSIVE READING, which is ROAD TO PERDITION... being active is the way. Master the art of CRACKING multiple choice questions: try thinking on the answer before you see the distractors. Qbanks, a must. UW for learning, Kaplan for assessing.
  21. porus.

    porus. Guest

    it was a depressing exam.

    start of review: Sept 2008
    date of exam: Dec 17, 2008

    Review Materials:
    First Aid 2008
    Kaplan lecture notes
    UW

    Content of exam:
    Only few questions from pharma, physio and micro. and the questions from those were pretty much basic stuff. those were the easy questions
    Biochem was so-so. the review materials above, i believe, were sufficient (memorize first aid for this). but the questions really need to be analyzed.
    Few questions from anatomy. but lots of spinal cord and brain sections. some CT scans. I strongly advise brushing up on your neuroana.
    Lots of patho but the questions were fair enough. it overlaps with all the subjects, so you really must know your pathology. i suggest going over BRS patho
    But the devastating part was cell/molecular bio, immunology and ethics. around 50-70% were on those topics. of course the topics overlaps with micro and bichem, but in general, they were on the molecular level.

    In Retrospect:
    A few weeks before the exam, i should've focused more on my weaknesses. i should've read more on neuroana and immunology.
    the ethics questions were very ambiguous. of course i know that the rule of thumb is - do what is best for the patient. but the questions are very, very tricky. first aid and kaplan were not very helpful on those aspects.
    you guys wont believe the questions they posed on immuno and cell/molecular bio. i dont think even our immuno profs would be able to answer those questions! so know your immunology very, very well.
    i strongly urge future takers to focus on immuno and cell/moleculsr bio. the rest of the stuff were pretty much basic. first aid and UW would do nicely on those.

    let me know if you still need more tips/advice. i got good info from this site and i want to pay it forward.
  22. tcma.

    tcma. Guest

    Got my results back on christmas eve, it could have made my christmas either the worst or best of my life, thankfully the second option took place.
    I am an italian IMG on his year 5 out of 6 of medical school. My AIM for step 1 was to get a good score in order to get confidence for the next steps and don't preclude myself any possibility in terms of residency acceptance. I was aiming for score higher than 240, but since I got a 99, I feel like I can't be disappointed at all.
    It took me around five weeks,though probably the hardest part was to get registered to ECFMG and get the scheduling permit, since the registrar at my medical school is composed of dumba%(£=".
    But in order for you to follow my advice I should tell you that those 5 weeks where hell. no friends, classes, parties or sex for 5 weeks, and an average of 12 to 14 hours a day of studying.
    I started reviewing all of the subjects (which more or less were all covered during my med school) once (see sources below) (took me around 18 days, while making high yeld notes). then I reviewed everything a second time with focus on subjects I was feeling weak(10 days). and the last 7 days I reviewed everything again. using a blackboard to memorize the tough things like biochem reactions, and writing them over and over again till they were stuck in my mind.

    All of my study time(until the very end) was divided into 50% studying and 50 % taking random 48 blocks quizzes from kaplan and UW, with review of them and making notes on FA. I finished and reviewed all the questions, and took twice the most difficult ones.

    Sources:
    UW: a MUST, great questions, and great explanations, the layout is almost identical to the one of the real test, which helps lower your stress. lot of questions similar to real test. at the and I was scoring above 65-70%
    Sample test 1 (4 wk before) 206
    Sample test 2 (3 days before) 258

    Kaplan:I hated it, I think a lot of their questions are difficult just because they are misleading. the explanations are fine. But anyway you should take it cause is good for some topics. I was scoring above 65% at the end. diagnostic (3 days before: 70%

    Webpath and online microbiology: Extremely helpful. nice tests also, give you a different perspective and different layout of tests compared to kaplan/UW

    FA: you all know about how vital this book is

    Books that were of great help to focus on subjects were RR biochem and high yeld neuroanatomy and behavioral sciences (though maybe for this last subject I would suggest something more comprehensive for an IMG, even though the book plus a good review on the clinical vignettes of UW/kaplan proved out to be good for me, but I have to say that I had 2 months of clinical experience of internal medicine in the states, which helped me understand the different patient-doctor kind of relationship they have in the US compared to italy)

    Things that could have improved my outcome:
    -Taking practice tests subjectswise at the beginning and random only at the end,
    it would have probably helped me out to stick more things in my head as soon as I studied them for the first time.
    -I found out about NBME tests only 2 wk before the test, and since there's no review of them I decided not to take them. If you MUST score high, plan in advance and take a couple of them to assess how you're doing
    -Goljan lectures: I read about people that were extremely happy with them. I downloaded them and listened to a couple. It's a good review plus he his a funny and very smart guy, and puts concepts in a way you won't forget them.
    Good if you're burning out or need to do other things(you can just stick them in your Ipod and listen to them whenever you want). he also gives you the STATS about diseases etc. (extremely helpful when you are dealing with answers that might be both right, and you gotta answer only based on which is the most probable one)
    BUT I HAD NO TIME

    Some advices:
    -Don't panic: no1 source of panic during preparation are forums. take their advice but always remember that we all had different preparations, and we deal with stress in different ways. This is especially true for IMG that have a very different preparation compared to american students. But after all it's SCIENCE AND IT'S UNIVERSAL, the only thing you need to do is apply what you know already to a different testing method and to penetrate the mind of those who formulate the questions and after you read one you should always ask yourself: What is this guy really trying to assess about my knowledge?
    -take stats and predictions with reasonable doubt: it was tough reading forums about IMG taking 6 months to give the exam, since I was aiming for a good result but at the same time I had no time. It was tougher to score around 50th percentile 3 weeks before the exam and get a kaplan prediction of 219. but after that my results started to climb, since what I was studying was starting to kick in. But especially for IMG you might be lead to think that american students are like martians with fancy methods to learn stuff that makes their knowledge unreachable to you (don't get me wrong I love the states and I think they practice the best medicine in the world, which is why I wanna go there), well this is wrong, if you are a good medical student back at home you will probaly be a good student in the states also.
    BE CONFIDENT!!
  23. hippo.

    hippo. Guest

    What is the time frame for reporting of step 1 results? I have heard if you take exam on Monday or Tuesday then results are in 3 weeks later on Thursday or Friday otherwise your results are post 4 weeks later. That was 2 years ago, what is procedure now?

    When you take exam, does all the questions are already been downloaded in computer on the day of exam or exam is kind of adaptive where exam questions/sections are constantly being updated along the day depending upon your performance?

    Recently I read that USMLE has new software, what is the difference?
  24. dipen.

    dipen. Guest

    I am 6 yrs post graduation and my prep time was 2 months.......If I can do it, anybody can!
    Used USMLEworld once, didnt get time to do incorrect /marked ones.Read kaplan material once and did kaplan q bank and first aid q bank. My scores in all of these were around 70-75%.
    FA book is good for last minute revision, but one cannot depend on it totally.The fact that I am a critical care fellow helped a lot with physiology and pharmacology, I still had trouble with molecular biology and biochemistry!......and statistics....and genetics...
    I found it very hard to keep myself awake towards the end of the exam inspite of a good nights sleep and strong coffee......that was the most difficult thing for me.
    Well, hope this helps anyone.......this exam is not difficult at all as long as u keep urself motivated!
  25. yerusem.

    yerusem. Guest

    Finally i got my results yesterday and now it's time to share my experience:

    Materials:
    I studied for about 10 months full time (long one, i know); i used kaplan for every subject,
    except for pathology (goljan stuff) and micro (MMRS). For practice questions, i used uw online and the downloaded version of kaplan qbank (the latter not very helpful). I also used both Kaplan Medessentials and First Aid.

    Scores:
    UW: First time unused: 47%, after repeating the wrong ones, ended up with 64%.
    NBME 1-4: Did them offline at the middle of my prep. as practice.
    UWSA-1: 420/201- In July.
    UWSA-2: 520/224. August, after this one, i thougth i was ready but...
    NBME 5 online (October): 390/190, this borderline score really freaked me out, since i was aiming for >90. After this, i knew i had to push harder if i wanted to make it....
    NBME 6 online (One month before the real one): 420/198.Getting this score was kind of frustrating after one month of intense study, but i decided to make the final effort in the
    last month and finally fight the monster.

    In the last month: i just kept reviewing first aid and medessentials, my notes from
    uw, and some importants topics from uw. (the downloaded one).

    Lasts 2 weeks, it was just for all 6 NBME's, my notes and slides.

    The day before: i tried not to study, but i couldn't, so i gave a quick glance
    at my notes and first aid. I also went to the gym and to relax myself. (it's very
    important to excercise ur body during the whole preparation, not just the day before)

    Exam day:
    Drove to the prometric center confident and with a positive actitude, listening my
    favorite music and asking God to stay with me during the day.
    I'd say all subjects were evenly tested, but more emphasized in pathophysiology. I felt
    my exam was harder than all qbanks i had done. Came out of the prometric center
    thinking that i failed for sure, but God heard my prayers and blessed me with an 222/92.

    So, just keep studying hard, have faith in your God and yourself and the success will
    be yours. I hope to meet you all again in the step 2 forums.
  26. evergreen.

    evergreen. Guest

    Hi guys,

    I have been a silent reader till now, thanks to dr_puma, I'll open up a little bit.

    I took step 1 in 2007, while I was in my 5th year in med school. I was a little straining for cash then, being a student in Istanbul and all, so I can offer my 5pence about managing a budget friendly 99.

    I did not get online qbanks, practice exams and stuff. I tried to fish second hand high rated review books and ended up using;

    BRS for path, physio, behavioral sciences
    MRS
    katzung illustrated for pharma
    neuroanatomy made ridiculosly simple
    lipincott biochem
    of course FA, 2005
    I should have read high yield molecular biology, lots of weird qs on that matter, maybe experimental, but you never know, there were questions that I wouldn't have answered, if I hadn't followed immunology phd classes

    By the time you mumble yourself things like "hımm this pathway is also related to...
    the mechanism for ACEI is associated with..." while reading FA, you are almost there, integrating the diciplines in your head is good. You should be contemplating biochem while reading pharma, embryology while anatomy and stuff..

    FA O&A for step 1, webpath, Kaplan qbook and all q s in high rated books are nice.

    And know your internet for godssake

    Now that I am graduated (3 months ago), I am serving as a primary care physician as goverment service and cramming for pending CK. Airhead goal is general surgery categorical in a university program, realistic goal is a reasonably prestigious preliminary surgery, 2010 match.
  27. madan.

    madan. Guest

    i have been a silent observer of all the topics..i got my score on 14th of january!! i gave my exam on 18th november !! the result got delayed because of verification...96/231 i think waz fine...i had started studying on 18th of april ..i gave nbme 6 on 21st october and got 216 which really scared me and i started studying like crazy i could not have postponed the exam beyond 18 november...on 11th november i gave nbme 3 offline in which i got 168 questions correct out of 200...which i later got to know waz around 230 ...so i guess after so much speculation my exact score!! i did kaplan qbook and qbank in the last 25 days!! i

    step 1 score 96/231
    uworld-64 percent(68 percentile)
    nbme 6 (25 days before) 215
    nbme 3 (1 week before) 230

    now starting to prepare for step 2 which i plan to give before may
  28. jurt.cocaine

    jurt.cocaine Guest

    someone tell me how bad this score is?

    Can anyone help me figure out what this score means?
    I gave the test on 12/21/08 and am an Indian 3rd year MBBS student from pretty unknown college.. and will probably be applying with these scores 2-3 yrs later(if that makes any difference)
    i'll be giving my 2nd step right after my final year..

    score- 211/87

    so could any of you who have experience with the application procedures tell me how bad is this score??
    and is it so bad that i shouldn't even consider giving step2 or if i kick-ass on it(95+) i still have some chance of landing medicine/ paeds is decent to good hospital??

    Thanks
  29. redwine.

    redwine. Guest

    It seems like there is a believe on this forum that one examinee can get either easy, moderate or difficult version of the test (just to simplify). If this is true, two days ago I happened to have an easy version of the exam... And as somebody can say that I was lucky (or they were unlucky) I still believe that the boards scoring is very righteous and on easier version you just need to answer more question correct to get the same score as on the difficult one. Did anybody ever check if getting more difficult version of the test corresponds to lower score and vice versa? What are your thoughts on that?
  30. poll.

    poll. Guest

    Received my score on 1/21/2009.

    Initial goal: 250+
    Total prep time: 1000 hours.

    IMG at an Australian medical school (UQ); MCAT=38
    NBME 1: 258 (9 months out)
    NBME 2: 261 (2 months out)
    NBME 6: 262 (25 days out)
    UW 1: 265+ (15 days out)
    NBME 3: 265+ (8 days out)
    NBME 4: 265+ (6 days out)
    UW 2: 265+ (4 days out)
    NBME 5: 265+ (2 days out)
    USMLE CD: 96% (1 day out)

    I did over 10000 USMLE-style practice exam questions in the following order:
    USMLERx: 94%
    Kaplan Qbank: 91%
    First Aid Q&A step 1: 93%
    UW: 88% (Random, unused, first time through)
    Plus NBME + UW exams + USMLE CD + RR Goljan...

    Prep material:
    FA of course!! I read it cover-to-cover 3 times. However, I tend to cross-reference it when I read other books and I frequently consulted it during second year during PBL. I also annotated notes in FA when I did UW, so I was very familar with the content of this book. For every diagram/table/metabolic pathway in FA, I made sure that they were familiar to the point that I was able to to reproduce them from memory.
    Anatomy: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep, USMLE Road Map Anatomy, HY Neuroanatomy.
    Behavioural science: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep.
    Biochemistry: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep.
    Cell biology: HY Cell and molecular biology.
    Microbiology: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep, Micro Made Ridiculously Simple, MicroCards.
    Immunology: Kaplan notes & FA.
    Pharmacology: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep, HY Pharm, Pharmacology Flash Cards (Brenner).
    Physiology: Kaplan notes, BRS Physiology.
    Pathology: BRS Pathology, Goljan audio, Goljan notes.

    Preparation timeline:
    Probably quite atypical compared to most US medical students. I initially intended to sit the exam at the beginning of third year, so I spent a month studying after second year was over. At the end of the month, I didn't feel quite ready and decided to postpone my exam till the end of third year, thinking that I would have plenty of time to study during the clinical rotations. Wrong. I only had some time during my rural rotation and psychiatry rotation to study for USMLE, but could only manage to do 1-2hr/day on weekdays and up to 8hr/day on weekends. At the end of third year, I spent a month studying hardcore again, and finally took the exam on the 26th of December. The Australian school year runs from January to November, by the way.

    During second year - Read BRS Pathology and pretty much memorized the book. I love pathology so it wasn't really a daunting task for me. I also started listening to Goljan audios in first year and I was really glad that I started early. I finished Goljan audios at least three times, but I always felt that I learned something new each time.

    December 2007 - Finished reading Kaplan notes (all subjects except Path) and Goljan notes for Path. 8-10hr/day. (300hr)

    Jan - Nov 2008 - On and off. I did NBME1 in March and got 258(720) and was pretty happy that reading Kaplan notes paid off. However, I had only about 4 months during this time (rural and psych) where I could fit USMLE studying into my schedule, but could only manage to study about 25 hours a week. During this time, I read the supplementary material (HY, Road Map, flash cards), listened to Kaplan webprep while commuting, and did the majority of the practice questions. (400hr)

    December 2008 - Did most of the NBMEs and UW assessment exams in this month. Completed UW question bank for the second time. Spent the last week just memorizing FA and doing practice questions. 8-10hr/day. (300hr)

    Exam on 2008/12/26:

    I started the exam at 8:30 and finished at 4:00 with 20 minutes of break time to spare. On average, I spent 45 minutes in each block and took a 20-minute break after each block (except the first block). During each break, I would drink 300mL of oolong tea or green tea to keep me awake, eat half a sandwich, go to the washroom, and wash my face so I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the next block. I thought the strategy worked quite well for me.

    I thought the exam was quite a bit harder than NBME but easier than UW. It was probably comparable to UW self-assessment exams in terms of difficulty. I marked 6-7 questions each block. I thought 85% of the questions was straight-forward, 10% was tricky, and 5% was difficult.

    Pathology: Not surprisingly the bulk of the exam. Around 70% of the questions were patholgy questions or required pathology integration. I thought UW covered these sorts of questions really well, so there weren't really any surprises for me. I only had around 5 questions that came with pictures of gross pathology specimens.

    Anatomy/neuroanatomy: 15 questions. Most of them involved intepretation of X-rays/CT/MRIs, nothing too obscure. I even had brain CT and angiograms for structure identification. Make sure you know the brain stem and cranial nerves well.

    Behavioral science: 20 questions. Half were biostatistics, and the other half were the typical "what would be the best action/response in this scenario" type of questions. I thought just reading FA or Kaplan notes was not really sufficient to answer these sorts of questions. I had almost no questions that came out of the psychiatry section in FA, except a few psychotropic medications and a question on defense mechanisms.

    Biochemistry/Cell bio/Molecular bio: Geez, I noticed the trend of increasing proportions of cell biology questions in the NBME, but I never expected this many on my exam. I probably had 50 questions that fell into this category (Biochem/Cell bio). I was glad that I flipped through HY Cell and Molecular biology just a few days before the exam, because it probably helped me answer 5 questions correctly. The different kinds of receptors and intracellular signalling pathways are extremely high-yield. For metabolism, know the key regulatory enzymes and global control of metabolic processes (i.e. insulin vs glucagon's effects).

    Pharmacology: Around 25 questions. Piece of cake compared to UW. I thought FA covers pharmacology in sufficient details. As usual, emphasis was placed on autonomic pharmacology and cardiovascular medications. I had quite a few questions on pharmacodynamics too.

    Microbiology: 30 questions. Make sure you know the various bacterial exotoxins and their mechanisms of action. Quite a few questions involved TB and HIV. Even West Nile virus appeared on my exam.

    Physiology: 30 questions. Most involved the up/down arrows and graph interpretation. Endocrine questions are high-yield too.

    I walked out of the testing centre feeling quite confident I did pretty well. I was certain I broke 260, but wasn't too sure if I was able to get 270+. Got the score last Wedneday, 276/99! I didn't even know it was possible! Needless to say, I was ecstatic!!

    ============================


    I've compiled a Q&A from the emails and PMs I've received since last Wednesday. I'd like to thank those who emailed or PMed me and also their permission to post their questions up. I hope this answers more questions regarding my exam preparation.


    Learning Resources:

    Q: What edition of Kaplan notes did you use, and did you use the accompanying videos?
    A: I used Kaplan notes 2004 edition. I was running out of time toward the end of my preparation so I didn't use the videos.

    Q: Did the Kaplan webprep audios make a big difference where the lecture notes are concerned?
    A: I wouldn't say the webprep audios were essential, but they certainly helped solidify many important concepts, especially for biochem and pharm. If time is a factor for your preparation, I would suggest doing the webprep audios only after you finish reading the lecture notes.

    Q: First Aid – how much does it cover?
    A: FA covered about 80% of the material on my exam, so I would definitely recommend using it as the primary resource the week before the exam. I went over the rapid review section at the end of FA the night before the exam date, and I found it quite helpful as a last-minute review.

    Q: Do you think the lecture notes for biochem are okay to use without the videos?
    A: I think the lecture notes for biochem are adequate to be used on its own; I didn't use Kaplan videos so couldn't comment on them. However, I would highly recommend listening to webprep for biochem. Dr. Raymon is just simply amazing; he does an excellent job integrating pathology, pharm, and biochem. However, it is still of utmost importance to memorize all the tables/diagrams/metabolic pathways in the biochem section of FA. I think it really ties the information together nicely toward the end of the preparation.

    Q: For Pharmacology, do you think studying FA is enough?
    A: I think FA is enough for Pharm, provided that you know the mechanisms of the drugs well. I found it quite difficult to memorize the list of clinical uses and side effects without having a solid understanding of the mechanisms, so I chose to do Kaplan notes before tackling FA, and it certainly made those things easier to memorize.

    Q: Did you like the Pharmacology flash cards you used or were they too detailed?
    A: I liked the flash cards, they are handy to carry around if you want to study them on the bus or during a boring lecture. It can also be conveniently used to quiz yourself, with the drug's generic name and trade name on one side, and the list of drug class, mechanism, clinical uses, side effects, route of metabolism on the other side. I don't think they are overly detailed.

    Q: Despite reading Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple over again, I am still missing tons of micro questions. I dont feel like there is anyway to "master" these questions cause they often test trivia that while I know I read, I just cant recall on the spot. Although, I do think my main problem here is focusing too much on MRS and not on FA.
    A: I agree with you that using FA to supplement MRS would be very helpful. It's a good idea to start with MRS in the beginning of your preparation, but toward the end, the tables in MRS and the charts in FA are the way to go. A heavy amount of rote memorization is required to master Microbiology, that's for sure. I would encourage you to focus on the classifications and lab algorithms first before you start memorizing the rest of the minutiae. (Remember: Big pictures first!) The gram positive and negative lab algorithms in FA are gold. Pay close attention to the bacterial exotoxins as well, because they frequently appear on the exam. Make sure you know these like the back of your hand. For virology, use the mnemoics in Kaplan notes to remember the DNA, +RNA, and -RNA viruses.

    Q: You mentioned that kaplan and FA were not enough for behavioural and biostat questions. Any suggestion what shall I go for to cover that?
    A: A lot of my friends liked HY behavioural and biostats a lot, but I have only read the first few chapters of HY BS so I can't really comment on them. I didn't like Kaplan and FA because they focused too much on the psychiatric disorders, and not so much on the "best response/action" scenario type of questions. The practice questions from UW and NBME are very good though, and I would recommend doing as many questions like those as you can, so you're familiar with the concepts. Sorry to confuse you, but for biostats, I think FA is quite sufficient, but make sure you are comfortable doing those calculations and drawing those 2x2 tables. Doing lots of biostats questions will definitely help solidify the concepts.

    Q: How much do you get through a day and how do you retain that information? One of my problems is that I get through maybe 30 pages of Kaplan Biochem notes a day, and at the end of the day, while I retain the information, I find that I really didnt learn that much. Furthermore more, I tend to forget things as I go. When I do questions later on on the same subject, I forgot much of what I learned maybe 2 weeks ago.
    A: Don't worry too much about having to retain everything in Kaplan notes, it's impossible and often unnecessary to try to remember some of the details. I think the primary purpose of reading Kaplan notes is to help you understand FA later on so you can memorize the facts in FA with better ease. What types of questions are you getting wrong, are they questions that require straight fact-recall or ones that require you to apply a concept? If it's the former, I wouldn't worry too much about Kaplan notes and would probably spend more time studying FA instead; for the latter, you do have to make sure you comprehend the info in Kaplan notes before moving on to FA.
    Another thing I found helpful was to read the corresponding section in FA after finishing a subject in Kaplan notes. It helps solidify information right away.

    Q: How many pages of FA and kaplan notes can you get through in a day?
    A: I set goals to get through 100 to 120 pages of Kaplan notes every day, at the speed of 12-15 pages per hour. It depends on the subject too; anatomy and biochem were slower, whereas physiology and pharm were faster because I had done BRS physiology and Pharmacology flash cards already. I could read around 60 - 80 pages of FA in a day toward the end of the preparation, but when I first started, it was painfully slow. I could remember spending an entire day just studying the embryology section, which was only a few pages long but very memory-intensive. But once you start remembering the mnemonics and are familiar with the content, the speed goes up quite quickly.


    Question banks:

    Q: Did you do questions after each subject during your initial read, or did you skip questions altogether until after you completed your first read?
    A: Thanks for raising this point as I probably didn't make it very clear in my post. I started doing questions after reading all of Kaplan notes, BRS path and phys, Goljan notes, and most HY books that I mentioned. The only book that I was still reading after I started doing questions was FA.

    Q: When you say you did 10000 questions, do you include the book questions or any other questions?
    A: I only counted the questions in USMLE format.
    UW (2000) + Kaplan practice tests (2000) + Kaplan Q-bank (2000) + FA Q&A (1000) + USMLERx (did ~2000) + NBME 1-6 (1200) + UW self-assessment 1&2 (400) + Goljan RR Path questions (100) = 10700
    I didn't count BRS questions or questions in Kaplan notes because they were not always in board format.

    Q: Did you do robbins review of path? Was USMLERX useful?
    A: I didn't do Robbins, and I wouldn't recommend it either. USMLERx was okay in terms of helping me memorize some details that I wouldn't have paid attention to in FA, because this Q-bank is basically based on the material in FA.

    Q: Would you say that a particular question bank or all the 3 question banks that you did do cover all the usmle questions (=subject matter) that you were asked?
    A: I would say UW was the most high-yield of them all. USMLERx and Kaplan Q-bank have been known to test minutiae that are not necessarily high-yield info. These 3 question banks combined definitely covered more than any one of them alone. As I mentioned in my post, only 5% of questions on my exam were things I had never encountered before, so doing tons of questions was certainly helpful for me.

    Q: I am dedicating a solid 8 hours everyday to question banks (I time myself), but my scores are not improving. What can I do?
    A: I would recommend going over the explanations in more detail, making sure you really understand what the question is asking. Don't skip the explanation for questions you answered correctly; you can learn a lot by reading about why the other choices are wrong. It can take a very long time when you first start doing it this way, but after a while, if you learn from your mistakes, you will not get the same type of question wrong again. When I first started doing questions, it often took me 40 minutes to do 50 questions, but an hour to read the explanations and annotate notes into FA. However, I learned a lot from the explanations in UW, probably just as much as the questions themselves. It's easy to feel frustrated when you first start, but with time, I'm sure your accuracy rate will improve. Good luck.

    Q: I am quite frustrated with questions that test minutia details, e.g. "Which of the following can be found in bacterial endospores?" (Answer is dipicolinic acid) I had never seen anything like that and I had to flip through pubmed to get the answer. Are these questions worth remembering?
    A: I'm not trying to discourage you here; although dipicolinic acid is probably a trivia type question, it was actually mentioned twice in FA, so I'd actually still remember it. Sometimes the strategy is to eliminate the other answer choices if you couldn't recognize the right answer. For example, if other choices are peptidoglycan and mycolic acid, you know they just can't be right.

    Q: What did you annotate into first aid? Only qbank questions? I find some of the Micro Qbank questions extremely tedious and testing pHD like material. How can I tell if its important? Or is it all completely important?
    A: I only annotate information that I consider "high-yield". As you do more questions, you'll soon know what types of questions tend to show up over and over again; these are the ones that are high-yield.
    Take Micro for example, they often give you a clinical presentation of an infectious disease, then ask you for the most appropriate antibiotics. These require a two-step process (Presentation - Bug - Antibiotics), and are guaranteed to be on exam. If they want to be mean, they can ask you about the side effect of the most common antibiotics used. These questions require a three-step process (Presentation - Bug - Antibiotics - Side effects), and are less common than the type of questions above. Things that aid in the laboratory diagnosis or things that have to do with treatment (for example, HIV gene products and antiviral drugs that target these products) are also extremely high-yield. Ignore the weird trivia type of questions that have no clinical correlation.
    I agree that Micro Qbank questions can sometimes be a bit annoying, but that doesn't mean the real exam is like that. I found that FA covers > 90% of the Micro questions on my exam, so make sure you know FA well and don't get too discouraged by the low-yield questions.

    Q: About doing usmleworld 2X: did you find that helpful even though you already did the same questions once?
    A: I did UW again one month apart. I don't think there's much benefit doing it again right after you finish it first time through, but a month gives you enough time to test if you really understand the materials tested, and not because you memorized the questions and answers. For me, the second time helped me increase my speed as I was more comfortable dealing with long question stems (but that could be an effect of having seen the questions before as well).

    Q: When should I do UW again?
    A: I would recommend doing UW again as close to the exam date as possible, while still giving yourself enough time to go over FA again and do the rest of the NBME forms. I went through UW the second time 3 weeks before my exam; I did 350 questions every day to simulate the exam length and build up my stamina. When I finished, I still had 2 weeks left to review the material that I mentioned above.

    Q: When did you really start feeling comfortable with the material?
    A: I probably started feeling comfortable with the material after I finished Kaplan notes and had done 2000+ questions. By that time, I knew my strengths and weaknesses and knew what to focus on in order to get the most out of the review process. For example, after doing some questions, I realized I had a lot of trouble with neuroanatomy, and so did HY neuroanatomy for 2 weeks, which seemed to effectively remedy the problem. Besides, as you do more questions, you soon realize the amount of information that FA actually covers. The questions also help you remember the material in FA more easily.

    Q: Any advice on test-taking strategies?
    A: One thing I found really useful from doing tons of questions is that on the real exam, I could often read the question stem and predict what type of question they were going to throw at me. I would also recommend coming up with your own answer in your head before you look at the answer choices; reading the other answer choices (distractors) before committing to a response can be confusing, especially when you're not very certain of your answer to start with. Of course, if you really have no idea what the question is getting at, reading the options first while using the process of elimination is often helpful.
  31. feyaz.

    feyaz. Guest

    12 things...Ferritin's follies!

    )Get the sleep cycle right..........its not one of those school/college exams that lasts sfor 3 hours ...........if you study well in the night its time to change it...........and try and it asap ......this was by far my biggest mistakes

    2)if you cant sleep a week before the exam take a sleeping pill......this is controversial i kept thinking the problem will resolve on its own

    but i didnt sleep for 8 days straight..........i must have gotten less than 8 hours of sleep in the last 8 days ( 8 hours in all) my innumerable attempts to lie down with my eyes closed didnt work..........doesnt take .....doesnt take rocket science to know that if u go for a not so easy 8 hour exam its not the highest efficiency

    3)Dont do the offline NBMEs at least try and do 2 or 3 NBMEs online and be done with them 2 weeks before the exam..........online NBME tells you where you are.......use the offline ones as a discussion tool

    4) Do UWSA they have some great explainations and some of their questions are just NBME questions worded differently
    5)Dont use FA as a last week tool try and read FA along with kaplan and UW asap

    6)Dont keep an exam date in your head set a NBME date in your head andstick to it , the usmle doesnt care if you got a 700 or a 200 on your NBME ( do it on that day )

    7) Dont try and memorize conceptual stuff............but then dont try and overanalyze as well........

    8) Dont leave any concession for families and friends put your phone on silent .....and tell your folks no matter how important it is .......not to disturb you ....(this one might be hard for the married women but then there are alot of married women advices on the forum...........i am not qualified to comment on that ....as i aint married and not a woman!)...and 2 negatives dont make a positive here

    9)dont do the low yeild stuff just cause someone said i had at least 30 questions from lower limb in the exam................coz you know what ..............medicine is vast and your exam will have a few questions extra from some subject......but the expected topics have to be on the exam alot alot more than the unexpected

    10)reach your prometric centre one hour before the test .......because the guys at my centre are pesky

    11) you are ALLOWED to consult books between blocks......i didnt carry books cause i was told on the phone by prometric that we are not....and then once that guy is verbally giving me the instructions he says you may consult books between the blocks( i thought sure ........since i am not carrying any).........
    Although i am not sure if we were allowed..... i would have carried them!

    12)NBMEs and UWSA are decent gauges use your NBME /UWSAs (especially NBMEs)scores as a tool to measure your readiness for the exam .......qand try not to postpone it much( i extended it my elig period and gave it towards the end of my EXTENDED eligibility period).....so the NBME rule helps
  32. melinga.

    melinga. Guest

    graduated in 2006 from egypt work 5 days 8 h /day
    prep time 8 mo
    materials : all from kaplan notes except for pathology used goljan audio¬es 2nd edition , i used 1st aid while doing uw , i do the notes and 1st aid only one time
    textbooks :sometimes i read some topics from katzung , guyton, robbins
    kaplan q book 50% completed , avrg 75%
    uw 96 % completed , cumulative 67% , 60 days
    nbme 2 235 / 580 , 3wk before
  33. jeques.

    jeques. Guest

    Received my score on 1/21/2009.

    Initial goal: 250+
    Total prep time: 1000 hours.

    IMG at an Australian medical school (UQ); MCAT=38
    NBME 1: 258 (9 months out)
    NBME 2: 261 (2 months out)
    NBME 6: 262 (25 days out)
    UW 1: 265+ (15 days out)
    NBME 3: 265+ (8 days out)
    NBME 4: 265+ (6 days out)
    UW 2: 265+ (4 days out)
    NBME 5: 265+ (2 days out)
    USMLE CD: 96% (1 day out)

    I did over 10000 USMLE-style practice exam questions in the following order:
    USMLERx: 94%
    Kaplan Qbank: 91%
    First Aid Q&A step 1: 93%
    UW: 88% (Random, unused, first time through)
    Plus NBME + UW exams + USMLE CD + RR Goljan...

    Prep material:
    FA of course!! I read it cover-to-cover 3 times. However, I tend to cross-reference it when I read other books and I frequently consulted it during second year during PBL. I also annotated notes in FA when I did UW, so I was very familar with the content of this book. For every diagram/table/metabolic pathway in FA, I made sure that they were familiar to the point that I was able to to reproduce them from memory.
    Anatomy: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep, USMLE Road Map Anatomy, HY Neuroanatomy.
    Behavioural science: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep.
    Biochemistry: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep.
    Cell biology: HY Cell and molecular biology.
    Microbiology: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep, Micro Made Ridiculously Simple, MicroCards.
    Immunology: Kaplan notes & FA.
    Pharmacology: Kaplan notes & Kaplan webprep, HY Pharm, Pharmacology Flash Cards (Brenner).
    Physiology: Kaplan notes, BRS Physiology.
    Pathology: BRS Pathology, Goljan audio, Goljan notes.

    Preparation timeline:
    Probably quite atypical compared to most US medical students. I initially intended to sit the exam at the beginning of third year, so I spent a month studying after second year was over. At the end of the month, I didn't feel quite ready and decided to postpone my exam till the end of third year, thinking that I would have plenty of time to study during the clinical rotations. Wrong. I only had some time during my rural rotation and psychiatry rotation to study for USMLE, but could only manage to do 1-2hr/day on weekdays and up to 8hr/day on weekends. At the end of third year, I spent a month studying hardcore again, and finally took the exam on the 26th of December. The Australian school year runs from January to November, by the way.

    During second year - Read BRS Pathology and pretty much memorized the book. I love pathology so it wasn't really a daunting task for me. I also started listening to Goljan audios in first year and I was really glad that I started early. I finished Goljan audios at least three times, but I always felt that I learned something new each time.

    December 2007 - Finished reading Kaplan notes (all subjects except Path) and Goljan notes for Path. 8-10hr/day. (300hr)

    Jan - Nov 2008 - On and off. I did NBME1 in March and got 258(720) and was pretty happy that reading Kaplan notes paid off. However, I had only about 4 months during this time (rural and psych) where I could fit USMLE studying into my schedule, but could only manage to study about 25 hours a week. During this time, I read the supplementary material (HY, Road Map, flash cards), listened to Kaplan webprep while commuting, and did the majority of the practice questions. (400hr)

    December 2008 - Did most of the NBMEs and UW assessment exams in this month. Completed UW question bank for the second time. Spent the last week just memorizing FA and doing practice questions. 8-10hr/day. (300hr)

    Exam on 2008/12/26:

    I started the exam at 8:30 and finished at 4:00 with 20 minutes of break time to spare. On average, I spent 45 minutes in each block and took a 20-minute break after each block (except the first block). During each break, I would drink 300mL of oolong tea or green tea to keep me awake, eat half a sandwich, go to the washroom, and wash my face so I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the next block. I thought the strategy worked quite well for me.

    I thought the exam was quite a bit harder than NBME but easier than UW. It was probably comparable to UW self-assessment exams in terms of difficulty. I marked 6-7 questions each block. I thought 85% of the questions was straight-forward, 10% was tricky, and 5% was difficult.

    Pathology: Not surprisingly the bulk of the exam. Around 70% of the questions were patholgy questions or required pathology integration. I thought UW covered these sorts of questions really well, so there weren't really any surprises for me. I only had around 5 questions that came with pictures of gross pathology specimens.

    Anatomy/neuroanatomy: 15 questions. Most of them involved intepretation of X-rays/CT/MRIs, nothing too obscure. I even had brain CT and angiograms for structure identification. Make sure you know the brain stem and cranial nerves well.

    Behavioral science: 20 questions. Half were biostatistics, and the other half were the typical "what would be the best action/response in this scenario" type of questions. I thought just reading FA or Kaplan notes was not really sufficient to answer these sorts of questions. I had almost no questions that came out of the psychiatry section in FA, except a few psychotropic medications and a question on defense mechanisms.

    Biochemistry/Cell bio/Molecular bio: Geez, I noticed the trend of increasing proportions of cell biology questions in the NBME, but I never expected this many on my exam. I probably had 50 questions that fell into this category (Biochem/Cell bio). I was glad that I flipped through HY Cell and Molecular biology just a few days before the exam, because it probably helped me answer 5 questions correctly. The different kinds of receptors and intracellular signalling pathways are extremely high-yield. For metabolism, know the key regulatory enzymes and global control of metabolic processes (i.e. insulin vs glucagon's effects).

    Pharmacology: Around 25 questions. Piece of cake compared to UW. I thought FA covers pharmacology in sufficient details. As usual, emphasis was placed on autonomic pharmacology and cardiovascular medications. I had quite a few questions on pharmacodynamics too.

    Microbiology: 30 questions. Make sure you know the various bacterial exotoxins and their mechanisms of action. Quite a few questions involved TB and HIV. Even West Nile virus appeared on my exam.

    Physiology: 30 questions. Most involved the up/down arrows and graph interpretation. Endocrine questions are high-yield too.

    I walked out of the testing centre feeling quite confident I did pretty well. I was certain I broke 260, but wasn't too sure if I was able to get 270+. Got the score last Wedneday, 276/99! I didn't even know it was possible! Needless to say, I was ecstatic!!

    ============================


    I've compiled a Q&A from the emails and PMs I've received since last Wednesday. I'd like to thank those who emailed or PMed me and also their permission to post their questions up. I hope this answers more questions regarding my exam preparation.


    Learning Resources:

    Q: What edition of Kaplan notes did you use, and did you use the accompanying videos?
    A: I used Kaplan notes 2004 edition. I was running out of time toward the end of my preparation so I didn't use the videos.

    Q: Did the Kaplan webprep audios make a big difference where the lecture notes are concerned?
    A: I wouldn't say the webprep audios were essential, but they certainly helped solidify many important concepts, especially for biochem and pharm. If time is a factor for your preparation, I would suggest doing the webprep audios only after you finish reading the lecture notes.

    Q: First Aid – how much does it cover?
    A: FA covered about 80% of the material on my exam, so I would definitely recommend using it as the primary resource the week before the exam. I went over the rapid review section at the end of FA the night before the exam date, and I found it quite helpful as a last-minute review.

    Q: Do you think the lecture notes for biochem are okay to use without the videos?
    A: I think the lecture notes for biochem are adequate to be used on its own; I didn't use Kaplan videos so couldn't comment on them. However, I would highly recommend listening to webprep for biochem. Dr. Raymon is just simply amazing; he does an excellent job integrating pathology, pharm, and biochem. However, it is still of utmost importance to memorize all the tables/diagrams/metabolic pathways in the biochem section of FA. I think it really ties the information together nicely toward the end of the preparation.

    Q: For Pharmacology, do you think studying FA is enough?
    A: I think FA is enough for Pharm, provided that you know the mechanisms of the drugs well. I found it quite difficult to memorize the list of clinical uses and side effects without having a solid understanding of the mechanisms, so I chose to do Kaplan notes before tackling FA, and it certainly made those things easier to memorize.

    Q: Did you like the Pharmacology flash cards you used or were they too detailed?
    A: I liked the flash cards, they are handy to carry around if you want to study them on the bus or during a boring lecture. It can also be conveniently used to quiz yourself, with the drug's generic name and trade name on one side, and the list of drug class, mechanism, clinical uses, side effects, route of metabolism on the other side. I don't think they are overly detailed.

    Q: Despite reading Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple over again, I am still missing tons of micro questions. I dont feel like there is anyway to "master" these questions cause they often test trivia that while I know I read, I just cant recall on the spot. Although, I do think my main problem here is focusing too much on MRS and not on FA.
    A: I agree with you that using FA to supplement MRS would be very helpful. It's a good idea to start with MRS in the beginning of your preparation, but toward the end, the tables in MRS and the charts in FA are the way to go. A heavy amount of rote memorization is required to master Microbiology, that's for sure. I would encourage you to focus on the classifications and lab algorithms first before you start memorizing the rest of the minutiae. (Remember: Big pictures first!) The gram positive and negative lab algorithms in FA are gold. Pay close attention to the bacterial exotoxins as well, because they frequently appear on the exam. Make sure you know these like the back of your hand. For virology, use the mnemoics in Kaplan notes to remember the DNA, +RNA, and -RNA viruses.

    Q: You mentioned that kaplan and FA were not enough for behavioural and biostat questions. Any suggestion what shall I go for to cover that?
    A: A lot of my friends liked HY behavioural and biostats a lot, but I have only read the first few chapters of HY BS so I can't really comment on them. I didn't like Kaplan and FA because they focused too much on the psychiatric disorders, and not so much on the "best response/action" scenario type of questions. The practice questions from UW and NBME are very good though, and I would recommend doing as many questions like those as you can, so you're familiar with the concepts. Sorry to confuse you, but for biostats, I think FA is quite sufficient, but make sure you are comfortable doing those calculations and drawing those 2x2 tables. Doing lots of biostats questions will definitely help solidify the concepts.

    Q: How much do you get through a day and how do you retain that information? One of my problems is that I get through maybe 30 pages of Kaplan Biochem notes a day, and at the end of the day, while I retain the information, I find that I really didnt learn that much. Furthermore more, I tend to forget things as I go. When I do questions later on on the same subject, I forgot much of what I learned maybe 2 weeks ago.
    A: Don't worry too much about having to retain everything in Kaplan notes, it's impossible and often unnecessary to try to remember some of the details. I think the primary purpose of reading Kaplan notes is to help you understand FA later on so you can memorize the facts in FA with better ease. What types of questions are you getting wrong, are they questions that require straight fact-recall or ones that require you to apply a concept? If it's the former, I wouldn't worry too much about Kaplan notes and would probably spend more time studying FA instead; for the latter, you do have to make sure you comprehend the info in Kaplan notes before moving on to FA.
    Another thing I found helpful was to read the corresponding section in FA after finishing a subject in Kaplan notes. It helps solidify information right away.

    Q: How many pages of FA and kaplan notes can you get through in a day?
    A: I set goals to get through 100 to 120 pages of Kaplan notes every day, at the speed of 12-15 pages per hour. It depends on the subject too; anatomy and biochem were slower, whereas physiology and pharm were faster because I had done BRS physiology and Pharmacology flash cards already. I could read around 60 - 80 pages of FA in a day toward the end of the preparation, but when I first started, it was painfully slow. I could remember spending an entire day just studying the embryology section, which was only a few pages long but very memory-intensive. But once you start remembering the mnemonics and are familiar with the content, the speed goes up quite quickly.


    Question banks:

    Q: Did you do questions after each subject during your initial read, or did you skip questions altogether until after you completed your first read?
    A: Thanks for raising this point as I probably didn't make it very clear in my post. I started doing questions after reading all of Kaplan notes, BRS path and phys, Goljan notes, and most HY books that I mentioned. The only book that I was still reading after I started doing questions was FA.

    Q: When you say you did 10000 questions, do you include the book questions or any other questions?
    A: I only counted the questions in USMLE format.
    UW (2000) + Kaplan practice tests (2000) + Kaplan Q-bank (2000) + FA Q&A (1000) + USMLERx (did ~2000) + NBME 1-6 (1200) + UW self-assessment 1&2 (400) + Goljan RR Path questions (100) = 10700
    I didn't count BRS questions or questions in Kaplan notes because they were not always in board format.

    Q: Did you do robbins review of path? Was USMLERX useful?
    A: I didn't do Robbins, and I wouldn't recommend it either. USMLERx was okay in terms of helping me memorize some details that I wouldn't have paid attention to in FA, because this Q-bank is basically based on the material in FA.

    Q: Would you say that a particular question bank or all the 3 question banks that you did do cover all the usmle questions (=subject matter) that you were asked?
    A: I would say UW was the most high-yield of them all. USMLERx and Kaplan Q-bank have been known to test minutiae that are not necessarily high-yield info. These 3 question banks combined definitely covered more than any one of them alone. As I mentioned in my post, only 5% of questions on my exam were things I had never encountered before, so doing tons of questions was certainly helpful for me.

    Q: I am dedicating a solid 8 hours everyday to question banks (I time myself), but my scores are not improving. What can I do?
    A: I would recommend going over the explanations in more detail, making sure you really understand what the question is asking. Don't skip the explanation for questions you answered correctly; you can learn a lot by reading about why the other choices are wrong. It can take a very long time when you first start doing it this way, but after a while, if you learn from your mistakes, you will not get the same type of question wrong again. When I first started doing questions, it often took me 40 minutes to do 50 questions, but an hour to read the explanations and annotate notes into FA. However, I learned a lot from the explanations in UW, probably just as much as the questions themselves. It's easy to feel frustrated when you first start, but with time, I'm sure your accuracy rate will improve. Good luck.

    Q: I am quite frustrated with questions that test minutia details, e.g. "Which of the following can be found in bacterial endospores?" (Answer is dipicolinic acid) I had never seen anything like that and I had to flip through pubmed to get the answer. Are these questions worth remembering?
    A: I'm not trying to discourage you here; although dipicolinic acid is probably a trivia type question, it was actually mentioned twice in FA, so I'd actually still remember it. Sometimes the strategy is to eliminate the other answer choices if you couldn't recognize the right answer. For example, if other choices are peptidoglycan and mycolic acid, you know they just can't be right.

    Q: What did you annotate into first aid? Only qbank questions? I find some of the Micro Qbank questions extremely tedious and testing pHD like material. How can I tell if its important? Or is it all completely important?
    A: I only annotate information that I consider "high-yield". As you do more questions, you'll soon know what types of questions tend to show up over and over again; these are the ones that are high-yield.
    Take Micro for example, they often give you a clinical presentation of an infectious disease, then ask you for the most appropriate antibiotics. These require a two-step process (Presentation - Bug - Antibiotics), and are guaranteed to be on exam. If they want to be mean, they can ask you about the side effect of the most common antibiotics used. These questions require a three-step process (Presentation - Bug - Antibiotics - Side effects), and are less common than the type of questions above. Things that aid in the laboratory diagnosis or things that have to do with treatment (for example, HIV gene products and antiviral drugs that target these products) are also extremely high-yield. Ignore the weird trivia type of questions that have no clinical correlation.
    I agree that Micro Qbank questions can sometimes be a bit annoying, but that doesn't mean the real exam is like that. I found that FA covers > 90% of the Micro questions on my exam, so make sure you know FA well and don't get too discouraged by the low-yield questions.

    Q: About doing usmleworld 2X: did you find that helpful even though you already did the same questions once?
    A: I did UW again one month apart. I don't think there's much benefit doing it again right after you finish it first time through, but a month gives you enough time to test if you really understand the materials tested, and not because you memorized the questions and answers. For me, the second time helped me increase my speed as I was more comfortable dealing with long question stems (but that could be an effect of having seen the questions before as well).

    Q: When should I do UW again?
    A: I would recommend doing UW again as close to the exam date as possible, while still giving yourself enough time to go over FA again and do the rest of the NBME forms. I went through UW the second time 3 weeks before my exam; I did 350 questions every day to simulate the exam length and build up my stamina. When I finished, I still had 2 weeks left to review the material that I mentioned above.

    Q: When did you really start feeling comfortable with the material?
    A: I probably started feeling comfortable with the material after I finished Kaplan notes and had done 2000+ questions. By that time, I knew my strengths and weaknesses and knew what to focus on in order to get the most out of the review process. For example, after doing some questions, I realized I had a lot of trouble with neuroanatomy, and so did HY neuroanatomy for 2 weeks, which seemed to effectively remedy the problem. Besides, as you do more questions, you soon realize the amount of information that FA actually covers. The questions also help you remember the material in FA more easily.

    Q: Any advice on test-taking strategies?
    A: One thing I found really useful from doing tons of questions is that on the real exam, I could often read the question stem and predict what type of question they were going to throw at me. I would also recommend coming up with your own answer in your head before you look at the answer choices; reading the other answer choices (distractors) before committing to a response can be confusing, especially when you're not very certain of your answer to start with. Of course, if you really have no idea what the question is getting at, reading the options first while using the process of elimination is often helpful.
  34. Guest

    Guest Guest

    why isnt anyone posting experience anymore where did everyone go
  35. Guest

    Guest Guest

    advice

    Hi really i feel that I'm with my family
    I have a question is it enough to study only first aid without kaplan but answering 20,000 questions ?
    plz i'm in a hurry
  36. Guest

    Guest Guest

    hi everyone

    i ve graduated in 2002 then did pg medicine 2006

    currently 30 yrs of age do i ve a chance for getting residency in us

    some one told me that since 7 yrs ve passed after my grad i wont be able to find a match

    plss help
  37. anubhav.

    anubhav. Guest

    Here is something for you all. This is a passage from Deuteronomy 20:1-4. I hope this will give u strenght as it did for me. Three days prior to the exam, I got soo nervous that I lost hope. My cortisol level was sky high, and it blocked all my memory. eeerrrr! I felt like everything i've ever learn'd was gone and that freak'd me out! Anyways, thru this passage.. i was able to find hope and faith in the one true GOD that no matter how hard this battle may seem, God will help you no matter what.

    “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 2 And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people 3 and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, 4 for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

    Here's my experience of the USMLE Step 1:
    As you all know, my exam was this morning. I had the hardest time ever. I couldnt fall asleep this morning!!!! I toss and turned all nite until 5:30 am this morning.
    I got to the testing center this morning at 7 am. My test didnt start until 9. So I wonder around, look at notes, for about 1.30 min.

    So as the time roll'd by.. i closed my eyes one more time, and ask GOD to clear my mind from all stress so that I can remember and recall all that i've learn'd. The exam was fair. To me it was equally as hard as USMLE WORLD Assessment test II. There were some questions that I had no clue what so ever. For those questons, i tried my best and then, click and move!. Im sure you all will see those kind of questions as well. I had about 20 behavioral, alot of patho, pharm, a ton of molecular bio, and alot .. and I mean alot of CTs and MRI pix. Had 3 heart sounds which i have no clue. It was harder than the heart sounds online. So guys, practice the heart sound, cause u might get some.

    I did two blocks straight, than a 7 min break. Went for another 2 more blocks than did a 30 min break (lunch). The rest of the blocks.. i took a break in between every block. So...guys..

    Please pray for me.. I gave it my all, and the best I knew how! and I dont regret a thing.. I'm just praying and hoping for the best!
  38. sanghi.

    sanghi. Guest

    Dear U-S-M-L-E-Ier's
    Today I finished my step one exam after 4-4.5 months of preparing, actually I want thank everyone in this great forum, for every note, and info, and picture, It was really great to be with you guys, I know I didn't have the time to leave an impression and I wish I could have but I had to work 2 jobs, and do some volunteering and also preparing for my wedding, so forgive me for not being " an active " member here.


    First of all, guys and especially for those who didn't do the exam, USMLE STEP ONE SHOULD BE DONE BEFORE STEP 2.
    I did step 2 ck first, and believe me I wasted a ton of direct easy questions, some renal physiology, drugs S/E, blablabla… in spite of a high UW score in Ck


    Now about step 1,
    You can read whatever you want, but wt can u remember if you read Snell anatomy or Murray Biochem! Nothing
    First Aid + USMLE WORLD is your way to MASTER the exam,


    My preparation
    1. Pathology – BRS & Goljan notes " 100 pages & 36 Pages " – 3 times
    2. Physiology –BRS 2 times
    3. Behavioral- BRS " MUST" 1 time
    4. Biostatistics- HY " MUST" 1 time/not finished
    5. Pharma – Kaplan 2 times
    6. Biochem – Kaplan 2 times
    7. Micro – Micro cards – lippincot
    8. Anatomy – I Couldn't read HY was very long and I didn't have time ( 25%)
    9. Neuro-anatomy – HY, Very good book, read it 2 times – u should read it al least 3-4 times.
    10. First Aid- 3 times, Didn't take notes in the book. No time.
    My Exam
    1. Around 15 embryo question, 5 was very vague/ 10 was doable…
    2. Anatomy and NA about 30, was direct, got few CT's, CT angio, MRI , XRAY's, localization and 2 eye questions.
    3. Amazingly and in a very stupid way, I got the same audio question, with 100% same question!!! I didn't know they could repeat some questions in the same exam in another block.
    4. Micro, I can say that 30% of my exam was micro, and honestly I didn't read MRS, only the cards " which had more info btw.
    5. Biochem, doable just read FA well after Kaplan, and do UW, to cover the concepts.
    6. Receptor type and pathologies was very High yield, more than 20-30 questions.
    7. Pharma- graphs, S/E, Drug of choice….. Autonomic HY also

    80% of the exam was FA.. and if you wanna master those, you have to do UW very good..

    My Exams
    UW- cumulative 69% - 99% done / twice
    Kaplan Bank 62-65% ( 50% done)/ once
    NBME form 2 offline 150
    NBME form 3 Offline 148


    - Some questions were "COPY PAST" from some were, I Swear that in a question, I didn't have to read beyond the 3d word, and the answers were in the same order as i read them before.


    - My preparation time was 4-4.5 months, and I didn't study for the exam in the way am supposed to, because of my wedding.
    - In the exam I was sure of 32-35/48 question in avg in each block.
    I don't expect a 99, may be around 88-94. The exam is doable, give it time, pure study, and solve as much questions as u can. Study exam wise, not material wise.

    Best Regads
  39. rimmy.

    rimmy. Guest

    I finally got my score this morning and I couldn't be happier with it! It is 244/99!!!

    I was worried after the test because I could remember 10 or more questions and when I came home and checked them they were all wrong! I was also worried because I had a fire alarm in the middle of the test and we got evacuated, I lost a little time there... you can read about it on my exam experience post...

    I took Step 2 first, which worked out really well for me and I recommend it, although this seems to be a controversial topic. I prefer taking step 2 first because it is a bit easier, it trains you in intense studying skills and test taking skills, before the big beast Step 1, and the knowledge you learn for Step 2 you can carry over to Step 1... which I think happened with me as I got a higher score on Step 1 than Step 2 to my surprise! (Step 2= 242).

    I studied for 4 months, while working full time which was hard. I came home at around 5pm and studied until 2am with a small break for dinner, every day.

    I did not use the Kaplan Notes. I decided not to because I used them for Step 2 and I didn't love them. Instead I used the following books:

    -First Aid 2009
    -Pathology: Goljan Rapid Review
    -Physiology: BRS
    -Biochemistry: Rapid Review (also by Goljan)
    -Gross Anatomy: High Yield
    -Behavioral Science: High Yield
    -Immuno: Levinson (only the immuno chapters)
    -Microbiology: Made Ridiculously Simple

    I did all of Kaplan Qbank first, before reading any of these books and got 61%. That was good to start, but I didn't love it either, Usmle World is much better.

    While reading the books I did UW and got 67% cumulative. (Started in the lower 60's and 50's).

    As for NBME's I took:
    NBME form 4: ~234/98 (1 month before) (before Goljan)
    NBME form 2: ~249/99 (10 days before) (after Goljan)
    UWSA form 1:~245/99 (10 days before)
    UWSA form 2:~261/99 (5 days before)
    NBME form 3: ~244/99 (2 days before)

    I'm so happy I'm done with these tests!! I will probably take step 3 at some point this year, but first I will take a break and enjoy the summer. And then let's see how Match 2010 goes!!!
  40. dinkar.

    dinkar. Guest

    Hello friends , took my step 1 yesterday, never an active member in this forum but never missed a experience post by friends.

    Study time: 0 to 3 hrs -6 mths, i was in job , managed to go through kaplan 2 times but very superficially
    10 to 14 hrs- 4 mths, extensive study,did 2-4reads of kaplan and 2
    reads of FA and UW.

    Books studied: All kaplan except pathology - goljan rapid review
    anatomy - high yield neuro,embryo,histo,gross
    no dvd watchin,listened 25%of goljan,found them to be too slow
    In total,did 3 reads of anat,4 of physio, 5 of rest, 6 of pharma

    didnt do nbme
    kaplan simulation test before 1 mths of exam: 79%

    suffered severe flu for 1 wks before and during exam,so couldnt do final touch i had planned,but that helped my final days to be cool as i was resting most of the time and let least of anxiety to creep in.

    exam day:
    i was the only one in the centre taking exam. Strange feeling at the start disappeared doing few q s. Felt alike kaplan simulation test. 5-6 two liners,30 average 4-6 lines,10-15 very long with long options, time management no problem,used to finish a block when 5-10 min remainning.
    Took 2 initial blocks in row, then 5 min break after each.
    Questions were easier than i had expected.20 easy,15 kind of u know them but some how hard n take time to be solved,10 hard ones,5 u hav barely heard about.
    anat- relatively easy,most gross
    biochem and micro-commonly asked facts
    physio-lot of graphs which were never seen,difficult to interpret
    pharma-many from kinetics,dynamics others average
    behav- difficult ethics n docpt relationships
    stat- could be done without calculation,only 1 reqd calculation.
    patho- moderately hard including commonly tested diseases to some rare ones.

    Feeling Relieved....waiting scores eagerly.
    Few Suggestions-

    -never take exam in hurry or when u feel u havnot prepared enough, many say donot extend dates,but i strong think u always do it better if u study it for long,provided u study.A minimum of 6 mths study is needed.
    -study in groups,u ll know where you stand,how much preparation is enough, during exam many times i recalled my friends voices tellin me the same thing i was facing in exam.
    -always notice sex and age of patient in the vignette,they provide clue which you sometimes dont get from any other description.
    -Note if it asks' which is true ' or which is not true'
    -Never give up a seemingly hard question, sometimes u think n think and somehow answer conjures,do it if u hav ample time left.
    -Pray if u r in any faith, it helps lot, it helped me.

    I will tell u scores once i get them.

    Good luck to all preparing.
  41. bhelari.

    bhelari. Guest

    I just completed my Step 1 exam on August 17 2009. I will start by introducing myself a bit. If you want to read the exam perpetration and studying part, skip the background section

    The Background:

    I am an IMG, and I graduated back in 2006. In our country, we are also forced to do one year after graduation of internship to become fully licensed to practice medicine. So in reality it feels more like a 2007 graduation.

    Anyhow, my story with Step 1 starts more than 3 years ago, right around the time I was about to graduate. Our med school is heavily geared towards exporting students as residents to the United States, we have many many generations of graduates that have completed their residencies in the US and some even came back as Attendings at med school here. So, needless to say, we have plenty of experience from upperclassmen over preparation for Step 1. More importantly, more than 80% of all our graduates that attempt to match in the US, get straight 99s on their first and second steps. I call it USMLE fever.

    I started gathering sources around 2006, reading about step 1, asking for advice here and there, and preparing myself. I registered for the CS before I graduated because I hoped I'd do it along with my elective which I completed in Canada and the US for 3 months. Sadly that didn't work out due to some delays in the US visa, so I settled for an elective in Canada only.

    Anyhow, thanks to the year long eligibility period, I managed to reschedule right after my graduation date by about a month. Clinical knowledge was fresh, my English language is very strong, and I had trained for the CS with a couple of friends over a weekend or two. I passed in one attempt. Nothing to brag about, but it is important for an IMG to do so.

    Anyhow, I registered for Step 1 right after that, sadly some social issues came in the way, and I had a tough time during the internship that I didn't have any of the "solid 4 month" preparation time we IMGs need for Step 1. So there goes the first time I payed for step 1. I didn't go to prometric or attempt the exam, I just let my eligibility expire.

    A second attempt at getting the damn thing done was sometime during mid 2008, I was working as a transitional internal medicine resident at a cancer center, and I also failed to get the time to do the exam, and I had even more social issues, in addition to inability to concentrate on the material, so I again let this one expire.

    Finally at last, I decided to "take a break" from the transitional residency I am doing because I felt it was going nowhere, and decided to focus entirely on matching and starting over in the US.

    Step 1 preparation:

    I started studying around april of this year. My sources were:

    First Aid 2008
    BRS pathology (No goljan, never touched it, never checked any lectures It's popular on different USMLE forums such as SDN and prep4usmle it seems. Let's hope my score lends to the idea that you could survive step 1 without Goljan )

    Kaplan Lecture notes Biochemistry: I loved it. I'm very good at Biochem. If you pick two random organic molecules, I probably will find a pathway to convert one into the other

    High Yield: Immunology
    High Yield: Embryology
    High Yield: Gross Anatomy
    High Yield: Neuroanatomy (Excellent)

    BRS Behavioral: I think I failed the Behavioral part of the exam... My greatest weak point.
    BRS physiology

    Kaplan Lecture notes Pharamacology: I hate this subject. I just hate to memorize a tedious number of names. and associate them with some random piece of information. I got cardiovascular and autonomic pharmacology well, but I hated antibiotics. The book though is good, with First Aid that's all you need.

    Microbiology made ridiculously simple. For a text book, it sure is. For Step 1, it is anything but simple. My advice is to read it, but consolidate the info in your First Aid and add any high yield tidbits to the first aid. Just don't dwell on the details, and try to keep mental images of the pictures in it. They could actually help memorize some of the tougher parts of the subject.

    So I started four months out, sort of studying in a haphazard manner. I finished the Biochemistry first, then Microbiology. Both took a whopping 2 months of my time. I started to focus more and moved to physiology and pathology. I changed my strategy though. Instead of studying the entire subject, I used a system-based method. I would read cardiovascular physiology from BRS phys, then cardiovascular pathology from BRS path, then Kaplan pharma, then finally consolidate all that with corresponding First Aid Chapter.

    Finally, two weeks out, I finished my system-based review, and I already read through First Aid once. I focused entirely on First Aid, trying to memorize as many concepts as possible.

    As to the question banks, I used USMLE world, despite friends recommending Kaplan for Step 1, but agreeing on USMLE world for step II.

    I decided to go with USMLE world. The entire time I used USMLE world, I used it with 48 question random blocks including all material, unused and timed, from the beginning of my study till the last days before the test. I rationed USMLE world a bit so as to be able to gauge my progress with first time unused questions from the beginning to end, and not run out of questions. The first 6 blocks I did before I started any studying and in the early first few days, I scored 60%-66%, averaging around 64%. I attribute the relatively good starting scores to the fact that I am a good guesser in MCQ questions even when I have a vague clue about the question, in addition to the fact that I studied really hard during med school. I graduated with honors top 10% of my class. So those people that are saying the best way to prepare for step 1 is to study well during your basic years, that is partly true.

    Anyhow, sometime 2 months out, I suddenly started to see a surge in USMLE world, up till that point I was scoring tops 66%, lots of 64%, but only once I dipped below 60% to 58%. 2 months out, I made my first break through the 70% barrier, and soon after that I started getting scores all over the place, from a low 62 to a high 79%. The cumulative average crept up slowly, but surely to around 67%.

    Finally 2 weeks out, I broke the 80% barrier, all the time still using random 48 unused timed question blocks. The last 8 blocks had an average of 76% and my cumulative average was after I finished USMLE world 69% with a first run, taking into consideration almost half of that was weighted two months out.

    My anxiety flew sky high during the night before the exam. I did not sleep one second for my exam. Thank God for adrenaline though, because while doing the exam, I didn't feel like a person who was awake for the last 24 hours. My number one advice:

    STOP READING SDN or other online forums AT LEAST 4 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR TEST DATE

    Best thing to do is just read SDN / prep4usmle experiences before you start studying, get a feel for the material you need to cover and the Qbanks you need to use, and stop reading it afterward. Seriously, SDN can be such a bummer when you are so mentally fragile days to weeks out. Seeing all those people with 80%+ or 90%+ cumulative on USMLE world and all that, not to mention some of the more stupid experiences that come over claiming their exam IS ALL subject X, or Subject Y.

    "omg it was all anatomy!" "Omg I got 200 histo questions" etc. Just forget it, and don't let the experiences here affect your study, or what you focus on. Anatomy is still low yield, and Histo is even lower.

    The Exam:

    I am very poor at remembering the questions I took, not that I am going to reiterate them since that is illegal, but I am not good at categorizing stuff.

    I noticed the exam was fair, it was balanced. If I am to fail this exam (hopefully not) the problem would clearly be me. I accept whatever score I get, because I am convinced I couldn't have performed any better.

    I noticed they had a fetish with ADH. I think I got 5-6 questions about that. They also had many questions about TNF. The murmurs I think were fair, and most of the questions that were accompanied with pictures were answerable without the picture, save for the ones that asks you to identify something on the picture.

    USMLE world reigns supreme. I think I got 3-4 questions that were almost EXACTLY like what I got on the real test from USMLE world. The format is most definitely similar. One thing that USMLE world lacked though, it was stupid questions.

    Seriously, sometimes you would get a rather beefy stem, only to be asked a silly question and have a direct answer. I used to scratch my head wondering whether or not I was missing something.

    In general USMLE world questions were tremendously helpful, and the explanations were even more so.

    Finally, I do think that the real thing is easier than USMLE world to some extent. The questions themselves were not necessarily easier, it was the mix. The real thing has a higher ratio of simple straightforward questions than USMLE world. I definitely marked a smaller number of questions on the real thing than on USMLE world.

    As to the time, I discovered that I barely had time to revise on the real thing. I always finished 3 -4 minutes before the end of the block time, but that time rarely was enough to revise more than 1 - 2 questions seriously. The entire day flew by real fast. It's odd to say this, but I actually enjoyed doing the exam. They didn't allow me to bring in an analog watch though. I made sure I took a break and *ahem* emptied my bladder between every two blocks. I was already tired when I started the exam due to me not being able to sleep the night before, it was imperative that I am relaxed through each block. I took on average 5-10 minute breaks, then managing to squeeze in one 20 minute break before block 5. Of course I skipped the tutorial, but not directly. I just jumped to the audio testing part of the tutorial to make sure my headphones work well and the videos work well. I don't want any surprises during the blocks. I didn't get any videos on the real thing, but I got two cardiac murmurs.

    I'll update when I get the scores, hopefully proving that you don't need Goljan to pass step 1, or even better, to get a competitive score. Of course to each his own preferences. I'll be sad if I get anything below 90. I'll be content with anything above 90. I'm aiming for something above 95. I am hoping to get a 99. A 250+ score I think is very far fetched. But honestly I could not really gauge how well I did on the test, thus I have a wide range of expectations. Some might say that in 4 months you should ace the test, and I agree. But the study schedule for IMGs that have last visited their Basic knowledge books 5-6 years ago needs to be 4 months on average.
  42. aadesh.

    aadesh. Guest

    I've been a silent reader on the p4u site for a while now...and I promised myself that when I received my results, I would post my experience. So here I am!! I hope what you get out of this post is a lot of motivation, b/c I can assure you that I had never even dreamed of reaching the score I did! I was an average student in uni -- not the smartest student by far. I truly believe that this exam is about the WAY you study, and the effort you put in. The rest...leave it god.

    My preparation: (prep time - June - Jan) -- with a few weeks off b/c of a family wedding in september

    I took the Kaplan course -- and I think this course is VERY USEFUL (esp if you feel that your university lacked the basic science knowledge that you need for this exam). Dr. Barone & Dr. Turco were by far the most AMAZING and truly talented teachers I've ever met. They have so much heart, and this translates into their teaching methods. If you cant take the course -- then a run through of the videos is a must...b/c it geared me on HOW to study for the exam..and WHAT to concentrate on. This exam is VERY do-able if you have a gameplan in mind. After the kaplan course, I read through the books quickly one more time, while annotating into my first aid. I'm sure you've read this a million times before -- BUT FIRST AID FIRST AID FIRST AID!!!!!!!! IT'S SOOOOOO IMPORTANT!!! Taking good notes from goljan audio // kaplan book are ESSENTIAL to having a complete FA book. I even had my first aid unbinded so I could punch holes into it and stick it into a binder. This gave me the flexibility of photocopying important kaplan pages and inserting it into my FA binder. (Ex: photocopy the AA disorder page in the biochem book; cranial nerve dysfunctions in anatomy; etc etc)

    After the course was over, and after I did my 2nd read through of the kaplan books -- I decided to work on the goljan audio. I don't have much stamina, i know many of you can study for 12 hrs a day ...I'm NOT that person. It took me over a week to get through the goljan audio. Again, I annotated his notes into my first aid. I didn't read the goljan rapid review book -- except for the first 4 chapters and the neuro chapter (it goes by very quickly, and I thought it was rather useful)

    Also, when you study -- be an ACTIVE studier. If you don't understand something, GOOGLE IT! Make use of googleimages -- the internet is a GREAT source of information. I started with kaplan qbank, and this helped to solidify the information that I was learning. I finished about 87% of it, and then switched to Uworld from mid-nov to mid - january (thats when my exam was)

    Last, and CERTAINLY not least -- USMLEWORLD is heaven-sent!!!!!! Make sure you finish it, and make sure you understand it!! I've always been a fast test-taker, I used to finish 1 block in about 35 minutes...and I would spend about an hour and a half reviewing the information. I like to take notes when I study -- it helped me out. If that works for you, go for it. Just please, do yourself a favor, and do not undermine the importance of UWORLD! A lot of CONCEPTS that are tested on Uworld are tested on the actual exam.

    Sometimes, i felt that taking out 5-7 days to do nothing but first aid, cover to cover was really helpful. I did this about 4 times (usually before taking an NBME)

    The test:
    I felt that my test was very evenly spread -- except I had absolutely no embryo (which I'm sad about, b/c I spent good time reviewing it). I had quite a lot of microbiology -- about 25-35 questions. Pharm was heavily tested also -- and I think these two subjects if studied well are "easy" grabber points. Anatomy -- I could've read the moore anatomy and still would've gotten these questions wrong. Some are just such obscure questions that honestly, i just clicked my favorite letter and moved on. Do a mental flush, and don't dwell on the previous question. There was a bit of neuroanatomy -- and this being my weakest subject, I was pretty scared entering. HOWEVER, it's doable. When you study neuroanatomy, look up MRIs/CT scans/Spinal cord sections for clinically relevant diseases (Ex: huntingtons, parkinsons, kluver-bucy, memory loss ... in other words, KNOW where to point out the caudate nucleus, substantia nigra, amygdala, hippocampus). I actually made this my wallpaper for an entire month:

    I told my friend about this idea, and she took it a step further and would change her wallpaper every other day to something new. I thought that was pretty clever too.

    Umm.. as for physio -- a lot of it is mixed up with pathology. There are VERY FEW straight physio questions ( i had maybe 3-5???) .

    Behavioral science -- very straightfoward. pretend you're mother theresa to answer these questions. Dr. Daughtery's videos are EXACTLY like the course ... sooo make sure to watch that. Math is another weakness of mine, and I was frazzled on a lot of the biostats questions (about 7 total) I had like 3 p-value questions and it made me want to pull my hair out LOL !

    remember -- there will be a lot of easy point questions, and then there will be tough questions where you think to yourself what language is this!?!? (actually, i even found a blatant grammatical error in one of my questions..which was pretty shocking..it must've been experimental). Anyway, at those hard questions -- JUST CLICK SOMETHING AND MOVE ON! IT's okay...there are over 300 more questions for you to tackle and get right!

    My NBME/UWorld scores:
    taken:
    oct 09 - nbme 2: 490 (216/89)
    nov 09 -nbme 6: 420 (198/82) <<--- CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!? I cried the entire evening b/c I didn't know what I was doing wrong. I went down so much after studying for a solid month, lol ...so the day after, I couldn't study and i decided to take nbme5 -- and I received a 210
    Dec 09 - nbme 3: 530 (224/94) ; Uworld assessment 2: 224

    I took time off for xmas , and new years. I think it's important to take breaks. I would study all day, and then I made sure to talk with friends at night, watch a few tv shows...b/c otherwise -- your brain gets SO FRIED. Also, I had a friend who already took the USMLE ... so it's nice to have some encouraging words from soemone who's already been through it. I remember when I first started studying, I thought that I would never be able to get through this....but it's a completely natural feeling. Once more information settles in, your confidence will build -- and hopefully , that confidence will lead you to your dream score!

    OH YES, i forgot one more thing -- I wanted to say that my last two weeks before the exam... I was in a 'screw this' state of mind. I was physically/emotionally fed up with studying . I just read through first aid twice in the lats 2 weeks (and at that point I felt like i've read it so many times before that I was just idly flipping through it). I also did my incorrect questions on Uworld b/c it was a nice change of pace from strictly reading material. Do NOT learn new material your last month, just revise ! And, this is a given -- but please -- have a friend take you to the mall or the movies or ANYWHERE the day before your exam. JUST GET AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS. There's nothing you can do for yourself the day before except calm your nerves.



    Best advice I've heard? If you cant answer a question your first go ... pick something, mark it ... and then later come back to it after you've finished your block. This way -- you've done other questions, and now that you've re-visited this question, you're bound to approach the question in a different manner than when you first did. I mustve marked at least 10-15 questions per block, so I was certain I didn't score in the 90s! But remember, just b/c you marked it doesnt mean you got it wrong!

    i'm sorry for the lengthy post, but I really want to wish EVERYONE ALL THE BEST IN PREPARING FOR THIS EXAM... trust me, if I can do it...anyone can

    if you have any questions...id be moore than happy to answer them! this forum has a special place in my heart
  43. rahee.

    rahee. Guest

    Hi.

    It is with thanks to God & with a grateful heart to everyone on this forum I am writing this.

    Appeared for my exam on October 7th & received my score today- 93/224

    Preparation time- 8 months

    Resources- Kaplan theory notes for all subjects
    Goljan- lectures & theory
    FA 2008 edition
    USMLE WORLD- 2 months- 69% first time- subject wise/timed
    74% in my revision- random/timed
    USMLE RX- 1 month- 76% ( 72 % complete)
    NBME 5 - 610/247- 4 weeks before the exam
    NBME 6 - 510/225- 3 weeks before the exam ( prediction was almost right)
    UWSA 1 - 238
    UWSA 2 - 236
    Webpath
    Wiki test prep
    Some 2002 edition pre-test stuff.


    About me-

    I am an IMG, 2007 grad
    Have given my exam twice before- once in 2007, score was 180/73
    Next in 2008, score was 183/74

    I had always been a good student all my life, NEVER failed an exam, only to see back to back failures in step 1. I used the same resources what everyone did, studied the same amount & the same dedication as everyone, yet didn’t make it.

    I had my share of disappointments, depressed thoughts, weariness & sleepless nights.

    Yet, I planned to FIGHT BACK.

    After my second failure is when I realized there was a forum (was oblivious to the internet & forums, I am not net savvy) & got to know there were such helpful people in here.
    As for my fight back plan, the first thing I did was to register myself on this forum, ask for guidance & support & trust me, I found immense help in here.

    This is exclusively meant for the ones who have not been successful with the steps of USMLE, who are on the verge of giving up, who want to see some ray of hope & find success…….. for you people, I am saying- THIS EXAM IS DOABLE.
    Do not give up- perseverance & dedication will reap good fruits… Trust me.. YOU CAN & YOU WILL.

    In my 8 months prep, I revised Kaplan theory – yet again & cover to cover. The agony was too much, studying the same stuff, wondering what went wrong & why…

    FA people, is one amazing book- read, understand & re-read- you will get in the 90’s.

    Did USMLE WORLD- with utmost dedication. Its quite challenging you know, I believe the people who set questions on UW have an amazing mindset & thought frame. Almost don’t leave any stone unturned to make one scratch his brains & at times get bewildered on the questions- but all in all- one great resource.
    I myself have lost count of how many times I read the questions I got wrong in UW & the marked questions. UW helped me a lot, the exam is UW style, I could say a little easier than UW.
    UW sample assessments are real good. Almost NBME style- they have both tough & easy questions, but thanks to the explanations they provide.

    Also did RX- just to get a hang of doing more questions. RX is also a fairly good source, easier than UW. Do not underestimate the questions in RX- some are just too good.

    Solved wiki test prep questions earlier in my study.

    Web path guys is amazing, I did each & every slide, every question & loved it. Made a word document copying the most important CT/MRI’s & slides. If at all I got higher performance in my CNS its all thanks to web path- I got bundle of ct/mri questions.

    NBME’s are the best predictors for the real exam, so don’t miss out on those.

    As for the exam proper, Pathology & pathophysiology covered most of it- about 85 & 60 questions respectively.
    Micro & pharmac I must’ve got about 40 questions each
    Anatomy & embryology I got around 50 questions in total- yep- 50- whole lot ain’t it?
    Ethics was tested heavily- I was very confused with ethics- about 15 questions may be.
    Had some googly’s & bouncers too, with cell biology & general principles.

    One thing I must mention- know your anatomy, basic brain & spinal cord cross sections, some common CT/MRI’s, cycles of biochem, pedigrees & imprinting in genetics ( had 2 questions on imprinting) & guys- endocrine & vitamins. They have a fetish for both vitamins & endocrines I guess, had atleast 5 questions on vitamins alone & endocrine- too many.

    In conclusion-

    For the ones who like to skip the lines & come to the last part- this is a DOABLE exam, just revise, be confident & pray for strength & recall.

    For the ones who want some ray of hope after not being successful, I am the living witness & IN MY THIRD ATTEMPT I DID IT, so you can too & YOU WILL. At any cost, DON’T GIVE UP!

    For the ones who’ve been my support- Thanks a million, I owe a big one to you guys.

    For the ones who are simply reading this as just another exam experience- Best of Luck for your Step 1.
  44. shualin.

    shualin. Guest

    hy everyone,

    it was like a day of war for me, actually i didnt sleep veryy well, so in the mornig i didn't was in the best mood. but, finally, i could survive.

    some words about me, i sarted to study one year ago, but just in the final 5 months i studied continus, an averge of 8h/day. i read kaplan lecture notes once, in the begining, then i took the FA, and kaplan when it need it. i use once goljan audio+ the trasnscripts, i just tried to undersand it.
    the last months just FA + QKB + UWQB, an average of 62-65%, complete 100%, i made them for study not for evaluate my knowledge.


    the test is really unique, actually like UW, some of the qs were so long, there were a few qs very hard, i think 10 in all the exam, some qs i was sure, but many i dont know.

    i took nbme 1 & 2 offline, with 5&4 wks before the exam, 1 - 78, 2 - 88, kaplan simulation 58%, they said 93 in 2 digital scores, 2 weeks before the examination, and one week before then i took their simulation, from the internet, i got 83%. (may be 97 if you compare to that statistics from the net)

    so the exam, like i said, it was like a day of war. there were qs from every field, many of them too long. i mean day of war bc if i dont sleep very well i could barely stay awake, . some intrisitng diagrams, they force the limit, put simple ideeas in diffrent ways, and diffrent conceptions.

    i just want to say that you have to try hard, i think it's manageble, rely on God and your family & friends, bc it's an exam of a team

    i hope the best, and wish you the best, too.
  45. duianaj.

    duianaj. Guest

    I gave my exam on December 16 and want to share the experience with everybody. I have been a constant viewer of the forum and have been benefitted by it in a variety of ways. Its my turn to pay back....

    The exam is definitely doable. It was full of both easy and tough questions. There were one liners- 10 liners qs. The difficulty level was between NBME and UW. I think one should only sit for the exam if you are fully prepared. The qs are thrown on you from all over.

    The paper was full of pathology Qs. I found pathophysiology tough as there lots of Qs with arrows going up and down. Pharm was easy with staight forward Qs from FA as was the micro. Loads of immuno and behaviour. Biochem was the least tested one (4-5qs).

    Its difficult to tell how I did. The more I think about the silly mistakes I did, greater my anxiety goes.

    I was confident in about 32 Qs per block, 10 qs I had to guess and about 5 seemed to be from another planet. I will highly apprecate if you guys out there give me some inputs about how does it sound as far as the exam goes. Was it bad or OK? My NBME scores ranged were 490-530.

    I will be happy to answer any more qs.
  46. DarrenA1

    DarrenA1 Guest

    RE:

    What you get by reaching your destination isn't nearly as important as what you become by reaching your goals - what you will become is the winner you were born to be!
  47. yasmin.

    yasmin. Guest

    I thought Step one was clinical, its only clinical in the sense that patients are written in questions but what is asked is picky facts or so hypothetical making the right connections can be difficult.

    I only passed in the end because I spent hours reviewing Kaplan lectures, written and video, and doing the Q banks, going over wrong and right answers.

    One of the things Goljan says is correct

    Know the why they what is not as important

    The boards are not: ( step one)
    truly clinical ( step one)
    Stop thinking its about the practice of medicine step one is written by PHD's mostly not Physicians
    A true measure of your ability to be a physician but a right of passage

    First Aid is good for quick review but is so lacking if used alone you will not do well and even fail

    Kaplan is not enough also alone

    You need Q banks they are so important, written by PHD's just like the real thing.

    So my take based on all 5 times is

    Picky facts
    Lots of theory
    Little anatomy
    Lots of pharm and genetics
    Micro
    Some Path mixed in
    Path is easy questions
  48. jietsinha.

    jietsinha. Guest

    On Feb 5
    I wrote this after my exam:

    "just got back from my exam... kinda tired but i'm glad i survived, haha... as most people have experienced, it was not that difficult... but u do need to pay attention to basic concepts and details (pls don't ask me questions regarding the exam per se). the questions weren't as twisty as one would think. anyway, i would say i was sure about 60% of the questions, 30% needed guessing, and I had no idea at all about the rest 10%... I will post again when I get my score, along with my nbme scores, and then you guys may find out which one co-relates the best with the real thing. I am just very happy the harded one is done now, and I can move on to step 2... "

    So I got my score today, it's 99/246. I'm glad I did it. a few of u guys out there asked me how well nbme scores co-relate with the actual score, here is my experience:

    nbme6 500/225 (9 weeks before)
    nbme3 540/231 (6 weeks before)
    nbme7 610/247 (3 weeks before)

    Also, uwsa2 650/248 (1 week before)

    I studied for 4 months: before starting, I first did 50% of uw qbank to assess where I stood, then I focused on my weak subjects and went through kaplan lecture notes quickly (one book per week roughly), then FA. while i was reading FA, I used nbme's to see how much I improved.

    My real score is almost the same as nbme 7, but i would say all the nbme's are equally difficult. it's NOT that which one u do matters, I think, but when you do it.

    just last week, a few guys reported that they got ~230 but still 99, so they wondered if the exam was harder now... but I didn't think the exam was harder... nonetheless, it looks like now is an excellent time to take your exam, if u don't care about the 3-digit score and just wanna a 99.

    anyway, step 1 is hard but everyone can do it... my suggestions:

    1. Set your goal (realistic goal, not the one you dream of)
    2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses
    3. Focus on what u don't know well
    4. Use nbme's to check your improvement (no need to overdo them to wreck your nerves)

    finally, give the exam like you are doing uwsa at home (i know it's easy said than done...)
  49. Ivan.

    Ivan. Guest

    Hi,
    I explain my situation in order to share experiences with someone who could be in a similar position.
    I have started to apply for USMLE step 1 in February 2010 in order to take the exam during May 2010. But in my case, applying for the exam is turning out much more difficult than actually studying the exam. I ask for help or ideas to solve my situation.
    I am a graduate (actually, a Pediatrician), and I am scoring really high in Kaplan Q-bank (around 75% questions right) and USMLEWORLD Q bank (around 78% questions right).
    But...the Form 186 signed by the Dean of my Medical School was not accepted because it was not signed by an authorized medical school official. (Even if the Dean of my Medical School has previously signed documents that had been accepted at ECFMG in the case of previous students).
    OK, I have sent a Form 186 signed by a notary public and this form was accepted.
    My problem regards verification of Medical Education Credentials:
    My Medical School has received my Medical School diploma from ECFMG and has been requested to answer to ECFMG. My Medical School has verified my diploma, has filled in the form, and has sent my translated Medical School transcript as requested by ECFMG. Additionally, my Medical School has sent an actualized list of officials that are authorized to sign ECFMG documents. But...my Medical School has sent all that documents on April 22nd. And I have not received any notice by ECFMG that the documents have arrived.
    I am living in a state of shock for the last days because I do not know what has happened and I do not know what to do next.
    So, here come my questions:
    1. Do ECFMG notify you when your Medical Education credentials documents arrive?
    2. How long could it last to verify the documents once that they arrive?
    3. If the documents are lost, what can I do to make the proccess of resending the documents faster? Should I contact ECFMG to resend my Medical School all the documents again?
    4. My period of eligibility was May-June-July 2010. My region was "Europe". I am going to do a clinical research project in the USA during August-September-October 2010. So...does anybody know whether it is possible to take the exam before your Medical Education Credentials are verified? I have seen in various posts that some people took the exams before their Medical Education Credentials have been verified. In case that it is not possible, does anybody know if it is possible to change the exam location from Europe to the USA to take the exam in August or September?
  50. Growin.

    Growin. Guest

    Hi everyone,
    Instead of talking about what I used to study, which has been repeated at nauseum by other students posting (First Aid, Kalpan, Goljan and USMLEWorld). I'm going to tell you what was unique about my experience.

    1) I prayed to St. Joseph of Cupertino (whose prayer can be found online) and who is the patron saint of exams. I don't think your religion or your set of beliefs are as significant as the actual act, the process of praying helps to center and refocus the mind during difficult periods, and it helped me.

    2) I totally bombed the first block because I didn't pace myself properly. I had something crazy like 20 questions(or more) remaining in the last 10 minutes. And I'm sure the error cost me. So, even if you have a bad block don't freak out, just keep a cool head and everything will be alright. Doing a practice exam is different then the actual step, adjust your speed accordingly and really watch your time.

    Aside from that I have nothing to say, my methods of studying as I've said were based on other posts in this site. Hope what I've said can help someone, just as the posts I read helped me.

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