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 pmapunk's path to 252/99  

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what do you think about my prep and advices?
5 wow you've rocked this dude!

loto, docninetynine, sabin, dr_puma, prevail, drsaima, tmoz, mikoo, usmlekiller, ouba, Passerby, beautybrain2001, doctor_mhl, dr_egyptian, cdn_md, dipen18, Karime, iiwg99, zapusmle, drbrd, jasonbourne99, alwayslight, bloomingsand, MeND, fireonmyeyes, wishikhan, punjabidoc, rainbowe, doomestic, cxcr5, sico1983, super_doc, TIRTH1987, Mantador, sadtab, fazeel08, nikzz, grinya, Weddell, hellfirebd, Leho, anime
42 84%
4 good but improveable!

doppler_color, DrFJ, drmng, arrvindraghunat, Me_lody, metacognitz
6 12%
3 fair enough

zx_stien, naveed97
2 4%
2 ouch, I really don't get how you got a 252!

0 0%
1 lame, lame... just lame.

0 0%
50 votes

Author37 Posts

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

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%. UWSA1: 650/248, UWSA2: 770/263 (???? very surprised LOL!)

Actual situation:
IMS, 5th year of med school.. Didn’t want to study 8 freaking years to reach MD when I could do in 6 all around the world; and also is sooooo $$$$!!!! Part time job to help paying studies. Very busy. I must thanks my Med school, they've taught me a lot and done a superb job with the basics of medicine.

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! hard work, hard work... no pain, no gain!

Study methods: ACTIVE!!
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 were 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.

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!):

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.

Test experience:

Other relevant posts I made on this forum:

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 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 from more general review books 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.

I'm wishing you all the best of luck for this journey, I’m here for anything you need!


Attached Files:
score report.jpg (669 KB, 562 downloads)
Edited by pmapunk66 on Aug 16, 2009 - 6:55 AM


Great man, u deserve it and more.
Congratulations now and my best wishes for CK/CS


congrats! great score..


u deserved it actually more but saw ur score wit all the stars to thhe right..yearn 2 get for ck/cs


Brilliant score and even more superb post.Congrats


excellent score and advice. Good luck with part 2 and I know you are going to rock part 2 too.



Congrats on such a remarkable score. I advise you remove your USMLE ID number from your score report if you plan on leaving it up here.


DarlynVMD wrote:

Congrats on such a remarkable score. I advise you remove your USMLE ID number from your score report if you plan on leaving it up here.

For your own seccurity confused delete it!!!


On the other hand thanks for sharing this nod Congrats!!. S2 is awaiting for U: another 99!!!! I'm sure!


Karime wrote:

For your own seccurity confused delete it!!!

ooooopppps didn't realize how stupid that was!! problem fixed =)


Excellent smiling face thanks for sharing.!!!


CONGRATULATIONS,and thanx 4 replying.


great determination,great preparation n great score,hope u ll repeat or beat urself in step 2,GL


hey congrats on achieving the goal.
well i need help bro..i'm doing UW done wit 30 blocks of it my score is 68% mixed n timed mode.what do u say about my score..i just recently asked a classmate who got 99 he said his of above 72% in UW & he said with my score of will come around 92 or 93% in the real exam..i'm quite worried..dunno how to manage out be frank,i desperately needs 99


hapten getting a 68%, if you apply the formula UW score*2.3 + 84 gives you a 240/99. UW is damn hard and excellent learning tool. I had 75% and that means a 256... got 252 in test though but still, all depends in when are you having the test? maximize UW by learning two things: its contents, and to face the challenging questions it has. Guud luck and we are here for anything!



I was hoping you could give me your input.. is it possible to score in the 90s without knowing ANY anatomy or embryo? I guess I'm around borderline right now, and have a goal of increasing 100 NBME pts in the next 4 weeks. I'm going to start reading FA and master it. My goal is to reach 500 on NBME, so I need to improve a lot in the next month. However, my anatomy and embryo knowledge is ZERO, and I don't know anything regarding them. They are also by far my poorest on NBME score reports.

With only 4 weeks remaining, I feel I don't have the time to learn anatomy and embryo this late, and its best to use my remaining time to master FA and the subjects that I already am familiar with. What are your thoughts? I've heard some people get only 10-15 questions max on these subjects combined.


Congratulations...Well done.

Good luck for step 2 & thanks for sharing all this.




tmoz I'm just gonna tell you what I think and many others believe: totally negleting a subject can be catasthrophic! Tests vary between people, and although for example Patho is more important than Anat, what if on your test you encounter 50 Q's of Anat/Embrio/Histo?? Indeed it can be a BIG mistake, and if I was you, I would be very cautious. Sorry for telling you this, but is the true.

GL!! thanks all for their feedbacks and congrats!!!


hi ,,,thanks 4 advices ,,,,CCCCCOOOONNNGGRRATSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

hey were did u get those FA Q n ANS from?? can u share the link ,,,,,



hey were did u get those FA Q n ANS from?? can u share the link ,,,,,
n one more thinG ,,m y score iin UW fluctualtes b/w 40 n 50 % in timed mode doing it for the first time ,,,,,,,,,
get worried at times ,,,,,,,

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