Home » Step 1 » my exam experience (1)
fkfk65639888 (Posts 1) - 10/31/2010 12:33:17 PM
 
hello everyone,
i used this forum a lot during my exam preparation, so decided to post my experience as well...

i took exactly 6 weeks to prepare and used the following sources:

FA - went through it twice (details below)

Uworld - used parallel with FA, fist subject-based than mixed. my subscription expired 2 weeks before my exam, so instead of renewing it, i decided to buy a new one so i could go through ALL of the questions again in a random mode without worrying that i'm repeating the ones i just did yesterday. i know it's a bit more expensive this way, but it really helped me.

RR pathology - HATED this book. maybe read 3 chapters and totally gave up on that.

KAtzung's pharmacology - liked the way the book was written, but only had time to read a couple of chapters. 6 weeks are not as long as i though... ;-)

my study schedule was broken up into 2 blocks:

block 1: 4 weeks
i made a study schedule covering ALL of FA (3 days biochem, 1 day biostats+behavioral, 3 days micro, 2 days hematology, etc). make sure you divide it up based on YOUR strength - i was pretty confident on neuro, so only took a day for that, but my cardio sucked, so i spent 3 days reviewing that subject... i tried not to spend more than 3 days on any one chapter because i still had the REST to cover. one important thing to remember when studying the FA though - don't try to memorize stuff you don't understand. remembering that kayser-fleischer rings are characteristic for wilson's is not gonna help you on the actual exam unless you know what they are and what they look like. so take the time to look up any unfamiliar terms - it will pay off later. so these 4 weeks of rather fast FA review should be spent taking notes and trying to understand the material.
+ Uworld (timed, subject-based, unused)

i have to confess, i blissfully ignored everything FA had to say about helminth. the first look at the 2 (or was it 3?)-page table scared the crap out of me. my micro class did not cover helminth AT ALL, so it was all chinese to me, and i just figured that torturing myself for hours trying to memorize this crap wasn't worth the 1 question they MIGHT ask me on the exam. i was right - the 1 question i did get on helminth i guessed and moved on.

after going over the FA for the first time and almost finishing (90%) the Q-bank, i took the first UWSA to make sure i was on track and didn't have to push back the exam date. + one of the NBMEs

(rest in the next post - length restrictions)...

fkfk65639888 (Posts 1) - 10/31/2010 12:33:59 PM
 
then came block 2:
going over FA again trying to MEMORIZE as much as possible. 1 FA chapter = 1 day (combining some smaller subjects together - there was no reason to spend the entire day on embryo alone, so i threw in immuno as well. same goes for behavioral and psychiatry, especially since they complement each other so well).
+ Uworld (timed, random, unused) - since i bought the subscription again, this really good exam preparation. i tried to do 2-4 blocks a day) didn't cover all the questions, but it got me into the exam mode. was well worth the extra 40 bucks.

2 days before the actual exam i took the second UWSA to make absolutely sure i was gonna pass. spent the last day going over pharm, since that was my weakest subject.

then came the exam day:
the question stems were actually not longer than Uworld. some were just one-liners. so time was not an issue at all - i walked out of the exam with 2 hours of break time left. and i did make sure to take a 5-10 minute break after each section to drink, have a quick snack and go to the bathroom.. i just kinda hate exam situations, so when i stare at the screen for longer that 2 minutes and don't know the answer, i just choose my favorite letter and move on. just sitting there stressing out about it isn't gonna make me think of the right answer anyway, so why torture myself?

anyway, about 20-30% of my exam was on the reproductive system. when i got the 3rd picture of a penis in a row in the first block, i started to freak out a little bit, but then i decided i couldn't do anything about it anyway, so stopped getting surprised.
the only calculations i had to do were in biostats, but it wasn't so bad.

overall, the questions were easier than uworld, but every block had 5-10 questions that were totally left field. they asked me stuff i've never even heard of. another 5-10 questions per block were perfectly doable, but i couldn't remember the correct answer. i could almost remember the page in FA the answer was on, but not what it was. it was frustrating but i got over that too. the rest was really easy.

so here are my stats:
NBME form 7: 530/227
UWSA 1: 510/221
UWSA 2: 590/238
Uworld: 63% (first time, about 90 % of questions)
Uworld: 80% (second time, about 70% of questions)

final score: 223/95

i know a lot of people here will not be satisfied with anything under a 99, but if you're just trying to pass, 6 weeks should be enough. after that you'll just be forgetting stuff you learned at the beginning of your preparation. i'm not the smartest cookie in the jar and definitely not the top of my class (IMG with 2 years of school to go).... so if i could do it, anyone can! i effectively spent about 4-6 hours a day studying, so if you're one of those people who can stare at books for 8-10 hours a day, 6 weeks should get you a 99 for sure. just make sure you're really UNDERSTANDING what you're reading instead of just reading ;-)

good luck to all and hope this might help someone.

stst46182140 (Posts 1) - 10/31/2010 9:53:28 PM
 
Thank you for sharing your experience. Just to clarify, you scored 223 on your USMLE right? Also, do you think NBME 7 was an accurate reflection of the exam?

fkfk65639888 (Posts 1) - 11/1/2010 2:49:08 AM
 
stargazer011 wrote:
Thank you for sharing your experience. Just to clarify, you scored 223 on your USMLE right? Also, do you think NBME 7 was an accurate reflection of the exam?


yes, my exam score was 223. as for NBME, it was pretty good at predicting my score and the questions had about the same level of difficulty, but all the subjects i did really well in on NBME turned out to be my worst on the real exam and vice versa. go figure. use it as an estimate of your preparation level. if you get a passing score on NBME, you'll pass the exam!

fkfk65639888 (Posts 1) - 11/1/2010 2:53:28 AM
 
nivedita wrote:
hi... am an img too i hav 3 wks left for my exam but i still hav 50% uw left... i was spending time doing my kap notes properly... is it ok if i jus stick to FA n finish my uw??? am no genius so was wondering if al b able to answer the q by jus studying FA?


hi there,
everyone learns differently, so take tis advice with a grain of salt. but yes, i do think that if you know what's in FA, you'll be able to answer most questions. just make sure to try an make connections between disease presentation and underlying cause - that way even if they ask you something you haven't read about, you'll be able to make an educated guess (always much better then guessing blindly) ;-)

good luck!
ps, i didn't even touch Kaplan during those 6 weeks... it's better to know one source really well, then several sources poorly...

SaBo81488767 (Posts 1) - 11/4/2010 2:23:58 PM
 
Hi,

thanks for sharing your experience. you didnt seem to mention ur pathology study and i hear that is super important what did u use for that?

Thanks Again

fkfk65639888 (Posts 1) - 11/6/2010 5:27:14 PM
 
Hello Sakkara

for my pathology review i used FA and this website (very good!): http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/webpath.html

i really hated Goljan's Rapid Review and didn't get the BRS book in time (i feel it's easier to read, but also not THAT good). what i did was going over a path section in FA and looking things up online whenever i didn't feel that FA had enough info or if a term used to describe something was unfamiliar. it was kinda time-consuming but was much easier for me than trying to stay awake reading Goljan.

hope this helps.

HeJe37660489 (Posts 1) - 11/7/2010 9:50:56 AM
 
my exam is on nov 18...I am still reviewing my uw notes.....i did not finish with fa yet......got 530 on uw 1,560 on uw 2,and 490 on nbme 4.....planning to take nbme 7 this week......but i do not feel confident....I have too much thing to review and i cannot postpone my exam....do i have to drop my uw notes and focus on fa more....or do i have to do the opposite/?

BePr62040072 (Posts 1) - 11/9/2010 12:18:20 PM
 
fk88med wrote:
ps, i didn't even touch Kaplan during those 6 weeks... it's better to know one source really well, then several sources poorly...


(1) u didnt touch kaplan at all
(2) u just did FA and UWorld
(3) and u passed the usmle exam

dude, you are giving yourself too less credit....ur some kinda freak!! thanks for the post....u just re-energized my prep, with 3 weeks to go. cheers!

fkfk65639888 (Posts 1) - 11/9/2010 1:44:12 PM
 
hi there,

first of all - take a deep breath and relax. freaking out is not gonna help (trust me i've been there). since you only have about a week left, i would concentrate of FA (judging by your SA scores, your Uworld studying went relatively well). try to memorize as much of it as you can (but do not neglect trying to still make connections). and do a block of two of uworld q's a day, then review only the q's you get wrong. just to get you into the exam mode. and GOOD LUCK!


HeJe37660489 wrote:
my exam is on nov 18...I am still reviewing my uw notes.....i did not finish with fa yet......got 530 on uw 1,560 on uw 2,and 490 on nbme 4.....planning to take nbme 7 this week......but i do not feel confident....I have too much thing to review and i cannot postpone my exam....do i have to drop my uw notes and focus on fa more....or do i have to do the opposite/?

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