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Hi you guys! SO. I guess I started really studying for this exam in August. Before that, I had done some kaplan...sporadically.

Now, this is where I am at:

-Online NBME (form 7, i think) 3 weeks ago:Yep. Got something equivalent to 194 on the real exam. Blah.

-Finished Pathoma about 2.5 weeks ago and did about 3/4 Goljian rapid review path. I didn't actually take a lot of time reading through RR path. I would skim the relevant section after completing a chapter in Pathoma. I would mark anything that wasn't given in Pathoma. Then I would annotate from both resources into my first aid.

-Uworld, first pass: 57% I already had a one year subscription to UWorld and used it haphazardly, in tutorial mode. This was my biggest mistake, but I did annotate all of UWorld into my first aid.

-USMLE RX qbank, first pass: 74% But a lot of that was in tutor mode.

-USMLE RX 7 block,8 hour simulation exams:

  1. Two weeks ago: 66%, 221 predicted
  2. Today: 64%, 216 predicted

-I'm really irritated because the usmlerx software isn't working/is innately idiotic...and I can't use the marked questions. I had planned to redo just the marked questions in this bank but now I've given up on it.

-started DIT 2014 videos at the same time as the RX qbank. I'm not following their schedule...have a few biochem, micro and systemic videos left.

-I started reading the immunology chapters in Review of Medical Microbiology by Levinson because I was basically never taught immuno in school. I think it's an excellent resource! I obviously started it too late, but at least it's a quick read.

-I am using HY Biostats for practice.

Today, I'm feeling very depressed with my score on the usmlerx simulation exam. I know it overpredicts by 15-20 points. So that means today's score was barely 200!

My exam date is in about two months.

I feel like the 250 I want is impossible to get right now.

My plan:

-Memorize first aid front to back, as much as I can...till Oct 11.

-Give an NBME 7 again (offline) on Oct 11.

-Start Kaplan Qbank from Oct 12. Finish it by the 25th.

-Do NBME 5, 6, 12 and USWA 1, 2 and the kaplan diagnostic before I start Uworld in November

-Do Uworld in random, timed mode (second pass)

-Do NBME 13, 15,26 and the free 150

-At some point, during all of pathoma...and listen to goljian audio.

Hopefully that will be enough to get the score of my dreams!!!

I would love any comments/suggestions from you guys.

Do you know of anyone who has had a dramatic increase in their scores in 2 months?

Has anyone who did usmlerx recently taken the test? How predictive was it for you?


Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 13, 2014 - 11:25 PM


For the next few days (till the 11th), I will be focusing on my weaknesses.

1.) Pharmac

2.) Physio

Hopefully I can get through most of these two topics by the 11th! After all, it is my second read.

I have the hardest time memorizing drug names. I think I need to look at them every day and just practice the flashcards I made.

It's taking me forever to finish the arrhythmics today. At this pace, I'm afraid I won't be done with these two subjects by the 11th.

I am trying to stay positive but reading through all of the usmle forums is depressing! So many people with amazing scores! And here I a 200 or something.

We'll see for sure what my score is on the 11th when I take NBME 7.

I hope to get at least 215-220 on that NBME!

Let's see.

Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 13, 2014 - 11:25 PM


Welcome, don' give up, keep at it and want it. You will see a difference, all the best.


Thank you for the encouragement, Indomethacin!

Today was a better day. I took forever to do the anti-arrhythmics and the related physiology and pathology, but I feel like I have a good grasp on the topics now. I also did a 46 q block on only cvs pharmac and got an 89%, so that is an improvement. Maybe if I study this way, I will keep getting good scores on practice questions.

Really hoping for a 215-220 on the NBME on the 11th. Praying for a 250+ on exam day.

Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 13, 2014 - 11:26 PM


I wasted A LOT of time yesterday and today on "helping to edit" the 2015 FA. I guess everyone with a usmlerx subscription was invited? I don't know. At first, I thought they would take a couple of my suggestions since an editor turned them blue (the code for "accept for fa 2015"). But now, I think in reality they only accepted one of my suggestions and I doubt they will credit me for it since it was really just correction of a typo.

So. That was a collossal waste of time. But it was very cool to see how they edit the book.

Now its 1 pm and I haven't studied anything.

I plan to finish off cvs pharmac and physio today. Maybe do some GI physio along with the lipid lowering agent pharmac.

My progress is too slow and I can't concentrate as well as I should.

Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 13, 2014 - 11:26 PM


I noted down some of the new topics mentioned in the FA 2015 and studied them. Memorised the lipid-lowering drugs, vasculitis types. Also read rbc disorders and some musculoskeletal diseases.

Not an incredibly productive day.

Had a stressful day at home.

Tomorrow's goal:

-Memorize the anti-cancer and immunomodulator drug pages. Make mnemonics and stories and do whatever it takes to memorize them forever.

-Memorize the lymphomas and leukemias.

-Do 46 q block of only immuno/hemat/ca pharmac.

Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 13, 2014 - 11:24 PM


I didn't study the way I wanted to for the past 3-4 days. I haven't memorised all the pharmac and my physio is still weak.

We'll see how I do on NBME 4. It's offline and the one I got comes with an answer hopefully it will be helpful and not a waste of time!

I just think doing all the NBMEs (as many as I can) is a good idea. Even if they're offline and discontinued on the official site.

I'm praying for a 220 on this. It would be a miracle, yes. But maybe I can do it...if I don't zoom through the questions and think each one through.

Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 13, 2014 - 11:24 PM


I took NBME 4 offline and thought it was toooo easy.

I got 145 right out of 200 questions, which is a 72.5%.

I'm not sure how to correlate this and I know the offline correlations may not be up to par...

But according to the nbme percentile graph pdf thing...72.5% correlates to about a 232.

And if I calculate it with the (#correct x 1.46) method...then it's 211.7.

That's a bit of a difference.

The average is 221! lol It's all shooting in the dark, really.

But it does feel like I reached the 215 level, at least.

Does anyone have any input about the offline nbme score calculations?

Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 13, 2014 - 11:27 PM


Hey there, welcome to the forum.

I really wouldn't use the offline NBMEs to assess your progress. Rather treat it like an additional set of 1,200 UWorld q's (there are 1,200 offline q's from 1-6). The reason I say this is coz I've heard most people who took it recently say that the exam is much much harder than the newer NBMEs, UWorld or any other testing resource out there that was previously predictive of one's performance. The older NBMEs have very easy q's for the most part (except some like in NBME 6, and the for the oddballers in every NBME), and therefore it is very inaccurate for the most part.

Now if you want to calculate the score just to boost up your morale, then that's quite fine. The most common method used is: # of correct * 1.4.

Rather I would recommend you take the online NBMEs to assess your progress. These are 7,11,12,13,15,16 (a total of another 1,200 qs).

Goodl luck!


What you just wrote is quite scary to read qirkergaard.

I would like to share two stories that I've heard.

One of seniors in medical school said, "As long as you understand FA and UW and are able to flip the concepts inside out, it's very doable." He scored a 251 on his USMLE, he took his exam this past april. I wasn't around him much so I don't know what kind of brain power this guy had to say something as humble as that.

Another one of my seniors took an exam, and said 75% of his questions were behavioral science. He scored really high also on his USMLE don't know the exact score, but this was the middle of last year.

That's all the stories that I know of, a bit on the positive end.

But if what you say is true, and if the newer USMLE exams are harder than NBMEs and any Qbanks including UW, then it's going this test is going to be a tough mountain to climb. Going to climb it regardless!


I know it's quite scary and my intention isn't really to scary anyone. I just think we should brace ourselves for the worst outcome. I heard these USMLE horrors from 2 people: 1 who took it 4 months back, and another who take it very recently (2 weeks back). The first one got somewhere between a 230-240 while the guy who took it recently is still waiting. He said it was the worst experience ever (it all fairness it probably has to also do with him aiming for a very high score: >255). He was telling me how he badly the qbanks (UW in particular) needed to upgrade their questions so as to be more reflective of the current pattern. He said NBME form 16 is as close as it gets and even that's not too close.

Of course I can't really say much as I haven't taken the exam yet. So yeah, I guess we just gotta stay optimistic and give it our best.

Regardless of how hard the questions are, I think doing the old NBMEs are definitely a great resource of questions.


I gotcha man, I'd be devastated if I scored 230-240, I am also humbly shooting for a very high score. I really appreciate that you mentioned it though. It will prevent others around here to fall into a mindset of complacency, and will keep all of us on our toes. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best it is.

I originally wasn't going to go through old NBMEs, but now, I am going to do my best to finish the Kaplan Qbank this month, and then spend all of november doing old NBMEs and online NBMEs. I'll see how it goes, if the questions help, I'll stick to it.

Then will go through UW qbank again in first week of december, take UWSAs in second week or so, and then take step in third week or so of december. Gotta figure a specific date out this week, just got my scheduling permit emailed yesterday.

I do wish you get the goal you have set for yourself qirkergaard, and look forward to hearing your experience.


Welcome & good luck with your prep nodnodnod


Hi you guys! Thanks for the warm welcome

@qirkergaard: Yeah, I heard similar complaints from my friends about the exam. Most people are saying it's tougher than any NBME or Qbank. Two people commented on how biochem and immuno-heavy their tests were. Everyone said it was a horrible experience. That's scary!! But, even with that does it make a difference? Besides scaring the shit out of me's not going to change the way I study. Is there something we can do to save ourselves from the same fate as our friends? I think we just have to do our best and be optimistic (like you said)...what else can we do. After all, I think my friends survived the exam with pretty good scores.

When is your exam, qirkergaard? Best of luck regardless

Oh no...I thought NBME 5 and 6 were still available online?

@indomethacin: You seem to have it all planned out! I guess you'll be taking the exam a few weeks after me. Good luck!

@Bakita: Thank you! Same to you...when is your exam?

Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 13, 2014 - 11:28 PM


This morning started out pretty badly:

  • Kaplan Step 1 Diagnostic Exam Cumulative: 59%
    • Block 1: 68%
    • Block 2: 42%
    • Block 3: 66%
  • After searching the forums, I found out that 60-65% is considered passing.
  • So. According to this thing, I am failing Step 1.

It told me something I basically already knew; my weakest subjects are:

  • Biochem
    • Molecular Bio
    • Cell Bio
    • Genetics
  • Immuno
  • Histology

And something I didn't know...apparently my weakest subjects also include:

  • Behavioral sciences
  • Heme/lymph
  • Renal

That's why I decided to finally tackle my biggest fear today:


(dun dun dunnnnnn...)

I watched all the Kaplan videos pertaining to carb metabolism. The Turco guy is way better than I initially gave him credit for. I was planning to do 50 questions of just biochem...but I didn't finish all the metabolisms like I was supposed to. So, I haven't started the actual Qbank.

I. SUCK. At. Biochem.


After listening to the lectures (which I had to pinch myself to pay attention to), I couldn't even solve the questions given at the end of every chapter. Epic. Fail.

Pretty much feel like I should give up and apply for a janitorial position at a hospital. I'm not trying to put down janitors, they have important jobs (esp in hospitals)!

I'm just saying, all I seem to be good at lately is cleaning.



Woke up late today. After a million updates to my computer, I'm finally starting to study (after I write this entry, of course ).

I realized a few things last night:

  1. ‚ÄčI don't know how to study in the most efficient way. And that scares me.

  2. I am avoiding subjects that terrify me. I have done this for a while and now I only have 1.5 months till my exam.

  3. I haven't touched my first aid for the past 4-5 days. I've been doing kaplan and editing the 2015 first aid (and studying the topics alongside) but I didn't open my first aid.

  4. I only have 2 weeks (till the end of this month) to finish Kaplan Qbank so that I can give enough time to the second run of UWorld.

Hopefully, the remedy goes something like this:

  • 100 random questions per day

  • 50 subject wise questions per day

  • Finish Biochem metabolism (with memorization) today

  • Finish Genetics and molecular bio tomorrow

  • See a behavioral science video when it gets to be too much.

  • Take an NBME on the 19th.

Edited by IndiaInk on Oct 14, 2014 - 9:40 PM


I've started out doing only high-yield, easy questions. Helps me boost me self-esteem! Ha. I need the boost after that 59% on the diagnostic.

I had a decent study day today even though I started late and went slower than I wanted to. I managed to finally cover quite a few behavioral science and physiology topics using kaplan videos. I chose the topics according to the questions I wasn't sure of or got wrong in the Qbank.

Apparently, I never did Kaplan videos as well as I thought I did months ago. I wasn't studying well then, but I was watching some Kaplan. And for whatever reason, I have overestimated how much Kaplan I actually saw.
Now that I think of it...besides watching Micro and Immunology and some Genetics, I don't think I've watched much of Kaplan videos at all!

I'm glad I started the Kaplan behavioral sciences videos. They are gold!

Unfortunately though I'm concentrating on doing the easy questions, I've only got 88% (of 73 questions) correct so far. Boo.

I did get 92% on the subject specific behavioral sciences block, though. That's after listening to the kaplan lectures,so I guess something stuck!

Everything else was random and timed.

Hope I can finish 50 more questions before I sleep.

Tomorrow's Plan:

  1. Biochem Amino Acid and Lipid metabolism
  2. 50 subject specific, biochem questions
  3. 100 random, timed questions.


Kaplan Qbank servers are down!


I managed to break into molecular bio today. Read, understood and memorized the first chapter. It's a very small step, I know. But it's an important one!

Also found an old white board at home and am using it to practice biochem pathways. Finally, after what seems like 3096509568 years, I think I know everything there is to know about glycolysis (exam-related anyway). Another small acheivement!

I also listened to some Kaplan behavioral science lectures and some physiology lectures as well.

I hate that you can't delete a test in Kaplan Qbank! I started a test, pressed the pause button and ran off because someone was ringing the doorbell. I ended up being away from the computer for 30 min or so. I came back and there's a message on my screen asking me if I want to suspend the exam. The clock is still going. I have 7 minutes left. So I rushed through and did as many as I could but only finished up to number 21. The score was a 40-something %. This obviously dropped my score significantly and I'm really annoyed by that. I only had 2 wrong out of the 21 questions that I actually did!

The second 50 q test I took, I got 80% correct. But this was again in high-yield, easy mode, so I'm not happy about it! Made some stupid mistakes.

Anyway. I think I have enough time (6 weeks) to do both Kaplan diagnostic exams, both Uworld assessment exams and the NBMEs. I'm not sure if I'm overestimating my time.

I figure I have until the end of this month (2 weeks) to finish biochem, immuno and physiology and do a quick run through of pathoma again.

After that, it's going to be me, first aid and Uworld for a month, with practice tests sprinkled in, of course.


How am I supposed to complete 250 questions a day, if the Kaplan Qbank servers are constantly down! This is soooo frustrating!!!

I've only done 1 block of questions today and I need to do 5 more but the Qbank won't load.

Finished 2 chapters of Pathoma (hemostasis and male reproductive), 2 chapters in Kaplan physio, 1.5 chapters of molecular bio, 1 chapter of genetics and 1 chapter in immuno. Also listened to a Goljian lecture while walking the dog in the evening.

I know the genetics and molecular bio questions are relatively easy and I know the answer, but get tricked by the answer choices. Guess I don't know the material as well as I think I do!

Maybe I will sleep early if the Kaplan Qbank is still down. At least I can wake up at 6 tomorrow. Today, I woke up late and started studying late. Not something I should be doing 6 weeks from the exam.

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