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  1. #1
    girlfromcali is offline Member 538 points
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    Students who PASSED Comp on 1st try - please answer

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    How did you study? What was your technique?

    I'm thinking:
    1. DIT
    2. Kaplan QBank
    3. USMLE World ?
    4. Kaplan videos for specific areas I'm struggling with
    5. 1-2 NBME practice tests

    What worked? What didn't? Thanks!!!
    MD candidate, April 2014
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  2. #2
    Xalin73 is offline Member 523 points
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    I used DIT videos and first aid basically. Also practice questions such as the ones at the end of BRS books or the question banks are good as well. One thing to remember about the comp
    its a pass fail test. You dont need to be perfect. Study efficiently but get good rest and sleep too. Take good care of yourself and dont get overstressed. Put in the work for the 2-3 weeks between 4th and the test and you will be fine.

  3. #3
    fewl is offline Junior Member 523 points
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    I feel like this question has been answered many times. I'll tell you what the common denominator for myself and all my 1st time pass friends:
    NBMEs (as many as you can buy/get your hands on) the week before the comp. Knowing FA front to back of course is awesome, but it takes at least a week to get through it on your first time. Don't bother with kaplan videos, you don't have enough time. Uworld will help, but it's way harder than comp questions and you'll be frustrated about how many you are getting wrong and you will use a lot of time reading explanations that might be better spent reviewing FA.

    Personally I did NBME 1,5,6 and 2/3 of DIT and got a good passing score. Good luck.

  4. #4
    miggy211 is offline Member 529 points
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    i think the best resource is simply having a strong foundation....i personally did questions n looked at old notes. felt like it was a giant mini, but heard its harder now.

  5. #5
    Xalin73 is offline Member 523 points
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    I agree with the foundation thing. If you were an A and B type student on the island you will be just fine on this test as long as you put in abit of effort over that break. Thats probably the hardest thing with the comp. After spending 16 months on the island you get home and want to take a break see family and friends. Quite a number of people dont study as hard as they should for the comp because if that.

  6. #6
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    medic300107 is offline Supermedic Moderator 10497 points
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    Not to mention people are traveling to a new city, getting settled in, dealing with landlords, cable guys, etc. It's a big adjustment and requires a lot of will power to actually get to studying right away. But it can be done as has been by many before you. Just make sure to do some sort of practice questions, lots of them.
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  7. #7
    hiloboy is offline Member 517 points
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    Here's my experience as I just received my passing Comp score this past Friday.

    You will get a 3-week break between 4th and 5th. Many people go home to study as moving into a new place does take time to adjust, so people study for a couple of week then move to wherever their 5th is. If you do it in Miramar (starting 9/2011) or Michigan, you'd probably be "culture shocked" again being back in the States. Since our Comp was pushed back 10 days from the original date, I decided to take 1 week off to visit family. I arrived in Miami 2 weeks prior to 5th starting, but a little more than 3 weeks until the Comp. Took a couple more days off to settle into Miami.

    I started using DIT since it is a 15 day course. Being the way I am, I can't handle somebody reading First Aid to me. So, basically I quit DIT in the middle of the course but used the DIT reading outline for First Aid. I never did any of the DIT quizzes or read anything in the DIT handout. Basically, I read all of First Aid once and never really went back to individual sections. I did about 130 questions of UWorld a few days prior to the Comp. At that point, I figured I did the best I can to prepare and took the Comp (read First Aid and did some practice questions). I ended up getting a 73 which is equivalent to a 208 (not great, but not bad for only 3 weeks of loose studying). My foundation for the first two semesters was really weak.

    An advice, practice your quick reading skills because the vignettes on the Comp were really long and does start to wear you out when you get pass 150 questions and you know there are 50 more to go. Anatomy wasn't really high yield compared to what Ross teaches you (there probably wasn't more than 5 straight-up anatomy questions IIRC). Lots of 4th semester pathology, very little 3rd semester pathology. As far as pharm, know your MOAs and adverse effects (those are the only type of pharm questions with a couple of what would you give questions). Know your physio and biochem (questions on enzyme deficiencies). There were some DPS type (ie, what would you say to this pt) and biostats/epi questions. Lots of pregnant women too.
    Last edited by hiloboy; 06-05-2011 at 11:40 AM.
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  8. #8
    girlfromcali is offline Member 538 points
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    Thanks everyone! I do appreciate all of the great advice and I will use it when figuring out my study plan.
    MD candidate, April 2014
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  9. #9
    PaoMD is offline Member 514 points
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    I just passed it too. I basically took 3 weeks as well. My plan included:

    1. DIT (at 2x all the way). Honestly, I just watched it for points of emphasis and to annotate FA for the step. You won't have time to do all the quizzes and stuff, save that for the step. But let me tell you, his HINTS are gold. Things that he repeated multiple times were on the comp (some verbatim). I can estimate that doing DIT got me 5-10 Qs directly (and some of the Qs were obscure!).

    2. I went with Kaplan QBank for the comp (saving UWorld for the step). Kaplan is one of the few qbanks that has an iph/android app. It was great, especially since they had us in class the week before the comp. I flew through Qs, ~1200 in 10 days or so. If it was an easy Q and I knew the answer, I wouldn't bother reading the explanations. The key is to become efficient with questions. And you will see the really high yield stuff asked many ways, so know all the different angles (ie, I saw ~6 ways they quizzed Marfan's).

    3. Read FA thoroughly. It sounds monotonous, but you really need to absorb the minutiae. I ran short on time, so I skipped sections that I was strong on.

    In general about the test, it was challenging to say the least. I'm a fast test taker, usually finished minis with plenty of time to review; had about 15 mins left on the comp. You will not have much time to go back, so pick an answer the first time through the test. The comp was reading intense, and it fatigues you like someone mentioned above. It's 4+ hrs with no breaks, so be prepared! As for the subject areas, the island prepared us very well for pharm and micro. Physio and path were more challenging. Anatomy is straight high yield, you will see questions repeated almost verbatim from QBanks/UMich.

    Lastly, your goal is to pass! This score doesn't matter (it should really just be P/F), so just get through it and get ready for the step.
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  10. #10
    shades mccool is offline Junior Member 514 points
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    Wait, so on the comp you do not get breaks in between sections? You just go straight through all 200 questions?

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