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 Dear Diary, here I come!  

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I've decided to keep a journal just to motivate myself and also at times receive advice and motivation from others smiling face

I started my prep in Jan of this year (2014), initially studying from Pathoma (took me a good 18-20 days to listen to the lectures and annotate into my book), HY Neuroanatomy, BRS Behavioral Sciences, HY Anatomy and 1/2chapters from BRS Physiology.

From February, I felt I the need to do Kaplan to build a better foundation but I didn't memorize anything. Just did the videos with lecture notes (LN) for all subjects except Anatomy (for which I used HY), Embryology, Histology (just read LN), and Microbiology (read bacteriology from CMMRS and then the rest from FA.).

Kaplan took me around 2 months to finish. I was simultaneously doing my 1st read of FA (annotating some points from Pathoma) and also did around 1026 questions (40%) from USMLERx.

I then started UWorld from April 1 and I did it along with a 2nd read of FA. I decided to to do a block per each system/subject in timed mode. Some subjects like Micro and biochem took me more than a day, so I would do the blocks corresponding to that system/subject on the day is finished that subject.

I still have to do a block from Pharm and Behavioral sciences each, and then I will start doing random, timed blocks. I still haven't decided if I'm going to do one or two blocks a day, most probably one so that I won't get burned out. I'm planning to start my 3rd read of FA simultaneously.

So far majority of my UWorld scores have been between 60-76%, with the exception of 2 blocks where I performed very very poorly (cardio block only 34%, neuroanatomy block only 52%) so I will have to emphasise more on those 2 subjects more. I will probably go through HY Neuro + Kaplan Cardio physio again (may be with the audios).

My personal thoughts:
Preparing for this exam is TIRINGGGG! I feel like though I'm following a relatively decent schedule, there are days where I just can't study and even if I did, it would have been unproductive. What's even more depressing is that I can't remember most of the stuff I've read from Kaplan, and even FA. With FA, I keep forgetting a system after I have studied 2/3 more systems (eg. I forget cardio by the time I've done endocrine, reproductive, and Gastro) so I really have to combat this memory problem some way or the other and I guess for me (and others), the only way is repetition.

If I do continue doing 1 block a day, I'll most probably finish UWorld by the 1st of June. If I have finished my 3rd read of FA by then, I will start a 4th read, paying closer attention to the annotations in FA (which takes a loooooot of time).

I'm planning to take my exam in Sept/Oct, even though my eligibility period ends in July.

Edited by qirkergaard on Jun 26, 2014 - 8:37 PM


Update: I still have 2 subject before I can finish my 2nd read of FA: pharm and behavioural sciences. I haven't studied the last two days as my sister's in laws came from another state, so we had to entertain them.

So I'm just doing general pharm, plus pharm from all systems in FA, and then do a block from UWorld. Should take me 2 days.

@keeepgoing, thanks a lot. my cumulative in world is only 72% though. It fell drastically after my extremely poor performance in cardio and Immuno blocks.

Regarding Kaplan, I only watched videos for Physiology, Immunology, Pharmacology, Neuroanatomy, Behavioural Sciences, and Biochemistry (along with genetics and molecular biology).

I didn't watch them for the others as I felt reading the books were sufficient. For eg. I think micro from Kaplan is more than enough and the rest from the qbanks.

As to how I finished it, well I just sat and sat throughout the day (in the library) and got through them by annotating notes into Kaplan (keeps your focus). I guess there is no other easy way. I played most videos on 1.2-1.5x.

Of course you must trust me when I say my memory is pretty bad. The reason I was scoring moderately high in these qbanks is that I was doing the block right after reviewing the subject. So it's only obvious. I guess folks would be scoring in 80 percentiles given the same scenario.

Edited by qirkergaard on Jun 26, 2014 - 8:39 PM


Hey, indeed I noticed this forum is a lot quieter than it used to be, which is a pity. I also check usmle-forums which are quite helpful.

When are you planning to take the exam?

It's such a looong, frustrating process especially when you go through the same cycles of learning, forgetting, learning, forgetting over and over.

Also I can safely say you can skip Kaplan Patho coz it's not that great. I used Pathoma and it was simply the next. Although I've also been reading so much about Goljan, that I'm strongly considering reading it at least once.


Did pharm block 1 (which covers general pharm, antimicrobials, antivirals, antifungals Gastro, endocrine, heme-Onc, musculoskeletal, renal, resp, and reproductive systems) and scored 78%

I shall do pharm block 2 tomorrow (general, cardio, neuro, and psych)


Wow qirkergaard u r so fast and ur sore is awsome. gringrin
Best of luck to ur study ....smiling face


Thanks mill11 and keepgoing, y'all are kind.

Yes I might look at RR, it does look overwhelming indeed. I might not have much time as I want to start the 2 blocks of UWorld a day plan from the 3rd of May (lets see how long I last with that) but perhaps I can do it when I'm doing my 3rd read of FA (which is after I finish UWorld qbank).

I would ideally like to go through UWorld 3x as I find this website quite resourceful for me: For some reason, this plan really struck me (even though I saw almost hundreds of other experiences) and decided to give it a shot, albeit with a few modifications (like adding in the USMLERx bank etc.)

Tomorrow I start review of Behavioral Sciences and Biostats. Should take 2 days as I will be do Behavioural Sciences from FA tomorrow along with Conrad Fishers 100 ethics cases problems (already read the book before, which is a super easy yet helpful read.)

Day after, I shall devote the day to Biostatistics (from FA) including reading HY Biostats. I might also go back and review Kaplan. Don't know if I'll be able to do a block for B.Sciences day after but I'll definitely make up for that the next day.


Hi qirkergaard!
U r a really fast reader...amazing!!!
Keep going!!!
Good luck!!!


@Bakita250, thanks =)

So I sort of changed the entire schedule today. I finished doing the 101 cases from the Conrad Fischer ethics and all I can say is, it's an awesome resource!
Shouldn't take you more than a few hours to finish the book along with the problems!

I also started reading HY Biostats (which I had originally intended to start tomorrow) and while the book is really nice, I find the writing style very boring (to the point that I had to take a quick nap.)

There are 9 chapters and I have only done 1 sad very slow pace indeed.

So I've decided to do something more active now: FA Behavioral Sciences. I find it funny that I wrote "more active" as reading FA for be can at times be even more passive. Lets see how it goes.

I have decided that I won't rush and finish the HY Biostats books, I'll try and reading 2-3 chapters tomorrow and thereafter, do may be a chapter a day.


Dear Diary,

So I finished a 100 questions of Behavioral Sciences from BRS (there are a total of 155), and got a 80/100 so far (some of them were just silly mistakes.)

I'm going to do the remaining 55 questions tomorrow coz I just got suck of doing q's lol.

Of course, these are not UWorld q's, so they're straightforward but I think they do help consolidate concepts.

so total no. of q's done today: 201 (101 from Conrad Fisher and 100 from BRS B.S.)

I'll probably end the day with reading a chapter of Goljan in another 15-20 min. I hear Goljan is great, so I'll be reading it whenever I get the time.


Hey Keepgoing,

You were right, RR by Dr. Goljan is pure gold. I really regret not having studied this before. Of course, Pathoma really gave a solid foundation in pathology but this book is on a whole another level coz it really integrates most high yield subjects together and that's exactly what I've been looking for so far.

P.s. if you need a copy of Conrad Fischer's book, let me know and I can send it. The book should honestly take you a few hours. It's a must have resource for ethics though.

Dear Diary,
As per yesterday's schedule of reading 1 chapter of Goljan, I only read 10 pages lol (too tired from a 12 hour study day) So hopefully I'll do the other 10 pages of 1st Chapter today. I did initially waste time trying to jot down the high yield points on my laptop, when in fact I didn't need as (as I have the book with me.)

At the moment, revising Biostats from Kaplan again. I'll probably go through the videos (by Dr. Daugherty) for the problems and may be even some of the concepts I've forgotten.


Dear D,

Finished the remaning 55 q's from BRS B.S.

Did only 8 q's of UWorld Biostats (this was a separate subscription on UWorld.) Will probably do more.

Also finished FA Biostats (very short section) and Kaplan review of Epidemiology and Biostats (along with the 31 or so questions at the end of the chapter.)

Although Goljan is so resourceful, it's putting me to sleep for some reason sad( Also don't think I'll be reading HY Biostats anytime soon coz my head is saturated with this subject. I might give it a read when I do my 3rd review of FA, so that plan will have to wait.

Instead of reading Goljan now, I've start doing Q's from Robbins and Cottran Review of Pathology (which is a book of nothing but q's q's q's!) I bought this book back when we had Pathology in med school but only did the 1st three chapters. So I'm going to review those chapters first and then continue doing q's from other chapters. I feel like the more number of q's I get exposed to, the better.


From R&C Pathology review, reviewed:
1) Cell Pathology (35 q's)
2) Acute and Chronic Inflamm (31 q's)
3) Tissue Renewal and Repair (18 q's)
4) Hemodynamic Disorders (32 q's)

And finally I also did 34 q's from 5) Genetic disorders

My thoughts on the book: It's great to sort of review whatever foundation of Pathology you have. The q's are not really USMLE like (some are) but it does a great job, reinforcing the concepts that are easy to forget.

I will probably finish the remaining 10 pgs of Ch 1 Goljan in another half an hour before I retire for the day (unless I decide to start Ch 2...but most likely not.)

Good night, D


Dear D,

I did 2 random, timed blocks today:

Scored 70% in 1st block, and 68% in the 2nd.

Reviewing these takes such a looooooooooooooooong (have I put in enough O's?) time.

I've only reviewed 13 q's so far from block 1 (the ones which I got wrong), so I have to finish reviewing even the ones I got right.

Don't know how on earth do some of the folks here do 2-3 blocks a day along with review. Just doesn't seem to work out for me.




Couldn't finish reviewing Block 2 but finished Block 1.

Also, finished 60 q's from Ch 7 R&C Path (Neoplasia).

Skipped Ch 6 (Immunity) coz I thought I was burnt out for today, so didn't want to do a subject I hated (Immunology.)

I don't think I can study any more!



Hey keepgoing,
Nope I have the old one too. I think that should suffice.

Actually I quite like R&C q's coz I actually got 2 q's on my UWorld block from there (there weren't the same exact ones but they were based on a similar concept) so I might have underestimated the power of that book lol. Anyways, I'm doing a chapter a day so hopefully I can finish General Pathology in 4 more days.

I find that a lot of the q's are pretty easy if one has already used a primary resource (May it be goljan or Pathoma).

Happy weekend to you too! (Although I guess for me weekend or weekdays are the same lol)



I did nothing today except review 17 q's from block 2. I guess Sundays are my break days.


Indeed, it's just the day after that sucks big time. I feel like I should've at least finished reviewing my block from day before so that I could do 2 more today.

Oh well, I guess it'll be reviewing a block today plus doing a new block and reviewing that.


Today's block went pretty bad, I got a 59%.

I feel like may be this is a good thing coz it just indicated that I have to learn a lot more and improve my recall.

Update: finished reviewing the block. Man this was an intense block coz so many new things I haven't really seen or topics I forgot.

I also finished Ch 10 of R&C: Diseases of infancy (34 q's)

I still have to do Chs. 6,8,9. Each ones of these Chs has a lot of q's (55-62)

Edited by qirkergaard on May 05, 2014 - 10:30 AM


qirkergaard: loving ur positivity!!


Thanks makeitorbreakit.

On a sad note, yesterday was unproductive. I experienced a burn out and so took a day off.

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