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 3 Weeks left... advice please?  



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  #1

Hi guys (and gals)

I occassionally browse this forum to motivate myself to study. I look at all the previous high scores and work towards a score similar to those I have seen. My test is in three weeks and I was wondering if those who have taken the test (and did well) could guide my studying a little.

Some background:
I'm currently taking the Kaplan review course. It's pretty much done except for Pharmacology which finishes next week. I got a 53% on diagnostic when I first started the course, which was kind of saddening, but I guess it's supposed to motivate you right? So I've been reading the Kaplan books ahead of time, listening to the lectures and doing Qbook and Qbank all the way through. I also did Princeton Review's Online Workout primarily because I wanted the extra questions. In addition, I've been doing complete tests for the last 6 saturdays. My percentages have been between 66% and 74% total on the 350 question tests. Of course, I have also been reading First Aid throughout, which I find to be incomplete and more of just a review or refresher to get your brain to continue thinking about the various aspects of the test throughout the course of studying. I've also read all of the Blackwell's Underground Clinical Vignettes because I liked being able to see all the different aspects of a disease laid out for me on one page. Lastly, I have a subscription to ExamMasters but I dislike its question style and I don't feel they're up to the USMLE standard, and sometimes the questions are so "out there" that I wonder who wrote them... also, the numerous spelling errors makes me wary of the quality of the questions.

I had been too scared to take the NBME assessment because I was worried I wouldn't do too well. But yesterday I bought both tests and took form 1. I got a 540 on it, which I'm not sure exactly what that means, although I have seen correlations which say it correlates to a 215 or something. In addition, I think perhaps a 540 is artificially high and perhaps I just got lucky. I plan to take the nbme form 2 sometime next weekend after we finish Pharmacology.

Right now, the NBME assessment says my best subjects are: cardiovascular system, general principles, hematopoietic & lymph, microbiology & immunology, musculoskeletal & skin & connective, and nervous & special senses. My weaker areas are: gross anatomy & embryology, gastrointestinal, nutrition, renal & urinary, reproductive & endocrine, and respiratory. From that information, I gather I should probably do some more concentrated review on physiology and anatomy. Any comments or guidance on the results is welcome.

I am at odds with how to spend these last three weeks. I've done about half of the Kaplan Clinical Vignettes, but I'm not sure if it's really worth it to finish the rest. In addition I've read some the 100 page Goljan High Yield and listened to a few of his audio lectures. I also have tommyk's high yield concepts that I have not yet gone through. I've already gone through Webpath during my time taking Pathology in medical school, and I wanted to review that again as well, mostly for the pictures. I guess I'm just wondering that of the things listed above, what is a MUST DO before I take the test? Everyone says Goljan is THE MAN, but listening to lectures all the time makes me tired even though I do agree he is a great lecturer, what does everyone else think?

I wanted at least the last week to have no new material and be pure review, but I'm not sure if I have enough time. I guess I just kind of have the pre-exam jitters ya know? Butterflies in the stomach and the whole bit. When I first started out studying, I was thinking: a 200 would be ok, a 215 would be great, a 230 would be awesome, and anything over 230 would be the best Christmas gift ever.

Thanks for reading, please comment with any guidance you have for me.

FragileX




  #2

Well, first off a 540 on NBME corresponds to roughly what, upper 80s, low 90s? So that is a great score. I can tell you that for both step I and II, I did better on the real test than the NBME score said I would do. Don't know if that was just luck or the NBME is a bit harder than the real thing.

So with 3 weeks to go, you should only be able to raise your scores! You may even want to think about pushing up your exam date, since you will have to keep reading everything to keep them in your head. I would tell you though, that scores are becoming more and more important for any residency you want.

What I did in your shoes was just reread Kaplan notes and do questions. The last day or so I reread FA. As you said, FA is not sufficient, but it is a great list of high yield stuff. Some people just read that and do questions the last week. I just kept rereading Kaplan notes until the end. Whatever you do, just make sure you keep studying until the end so you can keep that info in your head! I would advise against reading so many different sources as you are doing, but from your score on the NBME, seems you are doing ok. In general, pick one great source of info (Kaplan notes is enough to get you a 99) and just read and read.

Good luck!


  #3

"retroviridae" wrote:
Well, first off a 540 on NBME corresponds to roughly what, upper 80s, low 90s? So that is a great score. I can tell you that for both step I and II, I did better on the real test than the NBME score said I would do. Don't know if that was just luck or the NBME is a bit harder than the real thing.

So with 3 weeks to go, you should only be able to raise your scores! You may even want to think about pushing up your exam date, since you will have to keep reading everything to keep them in your head. I would tell you though, that scores are becoming more and more important for any residency you want.

What I did in your shoes was just reread Kaplan notes and do questions. The last day or so I reread FA. As you said, FA is not sufficient, but it is a great list of high yield stuff. Some people just read that and do questions the last week. I just kept rereading Kaplan notes until the end. Whatever you do, just make sure you keep studying until the end so you can keep that info in your head! I would advise against reading so many different sources as you are doing, but from your score on the NBME, seems you are doing ok. In general, pick one great source of info (Kaplan notes is enough to get you a 99) and just read and read.

Good luck!


Thanks retro, I think I will take your advice and condense my studying down to the Kaplan books. I do agree that Kaplan has more than enough information... I will start back on re-reading it with First Aid along side. Do you Webpath think is worth going through for the pictures or listening to Goljan? (did you listen to Goljan?) I guess I'm just worried I'll "miss" something... I'm a little OCD I guess. :oops: Also, I just read back on the previous posts, congratulations on your excellent scores! I hope to have something near to you if possible...

Thanks,
FragileX


  #4

I didn't do webpath or Goljan. For path I just flipped through Robbins while reading Kaplan to look at the histopath micrographs. I have heard great things about Goljan, but I only discovered this forum a week before my step I. So I didn't use it. Everyone who used it has really liked it, so if you have the time, I see no harm in it,





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