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  1. #1
    Captainwada's Avatar
    Captainwada is offline Member 510 points
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    MY USMLE step 1 experience...

    Lets lay some ground first...before I blow off some steam...
    Undergrad GPA: 3.4
    MCAT 24
    ROSS GPA: 4.0/4.0
    Kaplan Qbank (85% complete): started ~mid 70s, ended around 80s
    Kaplan Qbook (100% complete): avg 70s
    Basic science comprehensive given by ROSS: 74
    NMBE 3: 530 --> 226 (2 months out)
    NMBE 1: 660 --> 250 (2 weeks out)
    NMBE 4: 620 --> 244 (1 week out)
    Released USMLE CD: 88.7% (45/50, 42/50, 46/50)
    NMBE 2: 600 --> 240 (1 day out)
    USMLE: taken today
    HOW do I feel: LIKE crap!!!...man that was AN ALL out spanking I got...I was not prepared for such an integrative test. Difficulty level equal to greater than the NMBES!!!
    TO begin..i studied for 2 months non stop..everday 9AM-10PM (w/ lunch break 15min & workout break 1 hr).
    1st month: i finished all KAPLAN videos (except pathology b/c I was listening to GOLJAN on my downtown from school), annotating in FA, Q book
    2nd month: did Kaplan Q bank (read ALL explainations, even Qs I got right), finished Q book, and read BRS path & FA
    THE TEST: It's like no other...maybe I got a hard version?...but they were very hard compared to NMBE questions. I felt like this was a test for practicing Doctors!!! Very CLINICALLY oriented, stuff you don't really think about unless you saw it in question. You have to really understand the pathophys of stuff. You have to visualize what they are talking about, and then figure out the mechanism of defect. Maybe they were the experiemental questions? who
    knows...All i know is that the questions were longer, more convoluted with distractors, and much more integrative than the NMBES....The inventors of the test are brilliant. They ask all types of questions, half being very general, and half being detailed. So the tests covers all types of students, those who know details, and those who understand concepts. But students who KNOW & UNDERSTAND will do the best. There seemed to be 4 types of questions:
    1) Straight up recall (20%)
    2) moderate (2nd-3rd order questions, 40%)
    3) Hard (stuff you have to think critically, rulling out and in dz based on minute details, labs, sx, 5 columns of labs w/ arrows pointing up/down in every feasible combination known to man... 20%)
    4) Random crap you have never seen before (but I guess your supposed to logically deduce the answer based on "basic science" 20%)
    TOPICS: were well distributed...everything was covered (10% molecular, 10% biochem, 10% immuno, 10% micro, 5% genetics, 10% pharm, 20% anatomy/neuro, 5% epi/stats, rest was pretty much path/phys or combo.)

    WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY: Looked up DIAGRAMS online, drawings....stuff to help me Understand integrative pathophys rather than rote memorization (which is hard to do cuz you always crammin, esp. when learning it in med school).... You really have to know your stuff inside out....Hopefully it was just a harder version. I shouldve went through GOLJAN notes....i started doing this..but i felt it was too detailed.....honestly..I don't think I could have went through all of it b/c of the level of detail in such restricted time. I should've started learning GOLJAN through the 2 years of med school so I could apply it. Definitely go through the NMBEs...they are easier than the real deal, but they are MOST SIMILAR Qs to the STEP1 i've seen yet.

    BOOKS to live by in order from MOST IMPORTANT: (IF you have Kaplan lecture notes, its good enough for everything, but way in depth)
    1) FA: I shoud've known this cold...spend at least 1 full week near ur test date going over FA. I only spent 5 days...If I could do it again, I would spend 2 weeks. FA is more than enough on: PHARM, MICRO, ANTOMY, EPI/STATS, EMBRYO) Note: that on anatomy they did expect me to know names of bones (to make my point,but not actual Qs: navicular, lunate, capitate....man..i had to dig deep into my mamillary bodies to remember anatomy parts) and find em on Xray. In that aspect, FA is not enough (only damn good med school studying helped me there).
    WHen I say more than enough: I mean you have to understand it..not just memorize it.. FA is enough to memorize..but you have to be able to apply FA facts to Qs and be able to handle manipulation of Qs, renaming of "buzz words", and topics taken out of context. This, I feel can only be aquired through Qs, and looking up words that we medical students "think" we understand, yet If we were asked by a layman to explain it....we wouldn't be able to. For ex: "What is a mitochondria?" 1st thing that pops up is .."Oh that's easy..its in the cytoplasm of a cell, makes ATP via Ox phos, has circular DNA (i think)"...but We forget so many other aspects that they might test us on...how is the mito related to necrosis? What biochem substrates enter the mito for urea cycle? TCA? ..so forth? Remeber the theory on how our mito came from bacteria, are there more mito in Type I or II fibers (da hell are type I/II fibers????!?!) ahhaha...
    ...I know I am guilty of this too, but what do you expect...we are only HUMANS!!
    2) BRS path: I read this once....shoud've spent more time on BRS path, than stupid Q bank (GOD i hate Q bank now..though it did give a few (2, i think) similar Qs on the STEP, I wasted alot of time learning minute which was never tested on)...It also gave me the wrong idea of the type of questions that I was going to see on the STEP.
    3) HY cell & molecular bio: Just hit up the DNA experiment crap, (SNOW DROP, Restriction enz, etc.), KNOW the G proteins & other receptors (TK, lingand gated, zinc fingers, leucine zipper, jacket buttons, chicken fingers...who the hell makes up these names...etc..) and their full secondary messenger systems downstream. IF you have time, go through the whole thing.
    4) If you have time: BRS phys, Pathophys B&W (just as good for HY as FA if not better for path)

    Videos: I loved the Kaplan videos (watched all while I took notes in FA & followed along in their PDF notes)..Some Qs came right to me during the test b/c of the the stress the profs in the videos emphasized on certain topics...(behavior sci, genetics)

    Q bank: If I had to do it again, I would not have choosen Q bank or Q book. They are too focused on too much details, which I already knew most of from medical school. WHat I lacked most was integration. I have yet to find a q bank to provide that level of thinking...maybe USMLE world? i dunno..but definitely NOT Q BANK...(esp. not for med students who already know the dzs, the details, mechanisms).
    On the other hand..If you have not been exposed to Path, pharm, phys for a while, or have been out of school...I think Q bank would be more helpful to you guys.

    OVERALL: who knows..I might pass, do well, or fail....BUT man...it was tough!
    PS: I aways think I failed tests...or do bad..but end up doing well.(for ex, I thought I failed the COMPREHENSIVE but got above avg)..I just don't like taking tests on topics I've never seen before b/c it lowers my confidence level. So with that being said: I might have made the the STEP1 seem harder than it really was, but to me it was TOUGH...take it however you like..but I did do well on NMBEs...and I thoguht those Qs were fair.
    LEARN IT IN MED SCHOOL RIGHT!!!! main point is to understand mechanisms, then you can pretty much answer any question they throw at you.
    __________________
    Update: Oasis trick works!!! 3rd Wed after your test @ 12 midnight!!! I passed....so few more days till score report!
    Score came in 3 fridays after the test date: 233/94
    Last edited by Captainwada; 11-06-2006 at 09:34 AM. Reason: update
    For strength and honor.....

    Done until I walk!!!!!

  2. #21
    GFLIP's Avatar
    GFLIP is offline Senior Member 510 points
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    anyone know how long it takes to get your scores in the mail for step 1?

    thanks

  3. #22
    IMG SURVIVOR's Avatar
    IMG SURVIVOR is offline Moderator 536 points
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    4-6 WEEKS, but it depends.

    They send it on wednesday.
    Moderator: USMLE AND Residency Forums.

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    why even bother with the obvious. Just know where you are need it and where you can help the most.

  4. #23
    sallie is offline Newbie 510 points
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    hi marcus can you pls give me the list of books you recommend the best for USMLE step 1,and which 1 is better to review Q bank or to subscribe for USMLE worls.Im to confused now!!By the way where can I possibly get the USMLE CD?

  5. #24
    FFMG is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    Well finally 3 weeks passed since my exam and the oasis trick worked. so yay i passed now just have to wait for my score. Ive used this forum extensively for prep so i think i should put down a few words about my exam experience:

    First my stats--
    Im at SGU (from SGU premed hence no MCAT score) med GPA about a 3.5. I thought the school prepared me pretty well for my boards and few questions came that i didnt know something about.

    Prep-----
    I took about 8 wks to prep. i think it could be done in 6 actually but procrastination and other probs cost me the extra two wks

    I used primarily the kaplan vids. i thought they were pretty good in most areas. i highly recommend the path, biochem and the behavioural science (i thought they were the best). the anatomy areas were poor though but there wasnt alot of anatomy on my exam. Pharm was ok but not great so i supplemented with lippincott and my notes from class. I used the first aid as a guide. its great for cramming random facts which can supplement with a reference text or 2. Other things i also tried:

    Goljan audio: these were pretty good quite comprehensive. i began using these initially thought they would be better after i had studied everything else but never got the time to finish them still. I still would recommend them

    BRS Path: i think this book was really poor on alot of areas. i completed this book but still couldnt answer alot of UW questions so i wouldnt recommend (alot of ppl swear by this book though). its a great book for reference for random facts when you are doing questions though

    BRS physio: this i think was really great. did it about 3/4 of the way through. i think it covered most aspects of physio well. i may be biased cuz physio is always a strong point for me

    Kaplan Home Study series (the 4 volume set): i really thought these were total crap with not enough info. my "procrastination" was the time i spent reading these books only to be unable to answer any tough questions. hence i had to go relearn those topics. I really really would not recommend. I hate these books so much that i decided to give them to the person i was selling them to cuz i would feel bad for selling them useless garbarge. i recommend to stick with the kaplan vids and save your $400. this may be just my experience though.

    Questions:USMLE World. i bought this Qbank because i had the kaplan Qbook already (bought along with the previous $400 worth of garbage). i thought the UW questions were great. they were a bit more difficult than those on the actually exam and alot tougher than the ones in the kaplan book. I recommend these highly. the only problem i thought was that the GI questions were somewhat limited to crohns, UC and a bit of pharm. other areas were pretty good. b4 my exam i was about 70% done with the qbank and my average was up to 68% ( i started at about 54% but these questions were tough)

    The exam: the exam was tough but i wasnt too phased cuz i was getting pounded by uworld questions all week (seemed to me that the questions got harder as i went on). the questions were in clinical vignettes. the exam was alot of path, physio and pharm. suprisingly alot of female repro and pulmonology. i had no renal and bone questions( which i thought was odd) alot of behavioral science, ethics and biostats. i had 1 biochem question (which sadly i had spent 2 wks studying for). pretty much the question breakdown was:
    pharm, path, physio >>ethics, micro, **, biostats>>>>neuro, bchem, anat, embryo

    In retrospect: i should have spent more time planning and sorting out what sources i should use for each course. i was actually still doing this during my study plans. this resulted in having needlessly used multiple sources for a topic. also i planned a schedule with 15 hr days which was a bit too vigorous hence i fell behind often (parlty due to my time wasting also). one great idea was to do a little pharm everyday (also can be done with micro) to cram in those minute details. thats about it.
    ---------------------------

    Actually it's super FFMG to you, when i jump in, ** goes out the window

  6. #25
    jameslynton's Avatar
    jameslynton is offline Super Moderator 48 points
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    Great job - your comments about the Kaplan have been heard before.
    Best wishes for a good score!
    PreMed Forum Moderator

    I call it like I see it. I am not paid by ValueMD or any school. Nor do I recruit for any school.

  7. #26
    HHN786 is offline Member
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    I took my step one two days ago and i thought i was taking molecular bio PhD exam. So yea it was tough, i had about 4 easy questions from each block and thats it. I had a lot of CT scan and man this exam was just hard, i thought it was harder then usmle world, so yea i prolly failed it:-( . Oh well im glad its over for now.

  8. #27
    Captainwada's Avatar
    Captainwada is offline Member 510 points
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    Oh...and please feel free to PM me..If you have any Qs are interesting topics to discuss. I'm always up for a good review as I am studying for STEP 2 now!
    AIM: oocaptainwadaoo
    For strength and honor.....

    Done until I walk!!!!!

  9. #28
    sidjackson is offline Newbie 510 points
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    USMLE question bank

    Hey guys,
    Do you know where i can get free downloads of USMLE questions or miniboard exam questions for practice?

  10. #29
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    stateofequilibrium is offline Super Moderator 6105 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by sidjackson View Post
    Hey guys,
    Do you know where i can get free downloads of USMLE questions or miniboard exam questions for practice?
    Check the USMLE webpage. They have 150 free questions there. Also, check under Medical Resources at the top right of this page, there are a few question banks that are very helpful. Not quite USMLE style, but if you understand and know the material, it's golden.
    Posterior Fornix.

  11. #30
    schoolagain is offline Junior Member
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    Just took the test

    Wow..I first want to thank most of all God...he was my rock during this whole thing. The test was very integrative...alot of clinical scenarios. Anatomy was very well represented on my test as well as the reproductive system...especially male. Anywho..now I have the three week wait...then I will post all my scores. Most of all...USMLE World Rocks....you have to do all this bank and redo it and understand the concepts..if you do you will pass. Anyway..I pray I passed and will post once I receive my scores. Feel free to ask questions.

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