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Old 12-08-2009
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Question Strategies

hi mates,
i hope every one is going through the USMLE step 1 is doing very well.
then i've a big problem it is that there are some questions i answed wrong inspite of i know vwery well the fact they are built on.that's leads to me to think what are the best strategies approching solving questions. in other words how can i organise my way of thinking to imitate that who invent that question.
let's start a disscussion about that issue and any one can lead us never hesitate to participate....
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Old 12-08-2009
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Default Practice qeustions

I have faced the same problem
I think the best is to practice thousands and thousands of questions
the more you practice the more you get to know the various tricks behind the questions
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Old 12-08-2009
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Default Question tackling strategy

If the question seems for to be straight then do not think beyond that just choose the obvious answer
If the question seems for you to be twisted somehow then dig into it by thinking more and more

If it's talking about something that you know very well then chances they have made the options look very similar because this is usually a common high yield topic and they know that everybody knows it and so you have to work the options very carefully.

One, strategy that I have found really useful is working through options by elimination which means that you look for the most obvious WRONG option and then the next most obvious wrong option and so on eliminating them one by one, ultimately you most probably find yourself with one or two options that are most likely if you cannot decide which one of these two then just hit on your best guess.
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Old 12-08-2009
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Hi Hypothalamus,

I think what you are going through is absolutely normal. Do not worry about it. Students IQ varies. I was doing some qbank questions with a friend of mine who's known to be a genius and his process of thinking was way better than mine. No matter how I tried to simulate his reasoning and thinking I could not. He kept score 80+ in Kaplan qbank and I kept scoring 65 even though we read the same material which is Kaplan lecture notes.
When I asked him why did you choose that option he was telling me it was obvious!!

So I think after we do our homework after reading Kaplan notes very carefully two or three times and then we go for the qbanks then that's it we can not do any better.

Everybody has a peak, you should reach your peak (Vmax ) and you cannot go beyond that no matter how many questions or materials you practice or read. The important point is to know where you have reached your peak.

One way I realized my peak has reached is when I stopped improving on my percentages in Kaplan and UW no matter how many more reviews I do.

Just accept the fact that you cannot do more than 60 or 70 or 80 (depending on your level) in Kaplan or UW for example.
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Old 12-08-2009
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One of the strategies that my instructor taught me was to read carefully
You may think that this is obvious and does not need alertness but in fact it is amazing how many questions you'll start to get correct once you practice careful reading.

For example:
A flow volume curve is presented, you think of it and you intelligently came to conclusion that this is an obstructive pulmonary disease then you proceed to the options which are:
-Intraalveolar hemorrhage
-Interalveolar wall destruction
-extrensic atalectasis

If you read quickly you will likely dismiss the second option as you may read it Intra alveolar not Inter alveolar and so you missed the chance to deduce emphysema from that option. And you may end up choosing the wrong distractor (atelectasis) overlooking the most obvious answer.

So double check your reading ability, for me it was a problem and I missed so many questions until I learned how to read carefully. When I rectified my reading behavior I started utilizing all the one hour time of the block while before that I was finishing 10 to 15 minutes shorter.

In the same context, do not hurry up when the question seems so straight forward it might be sometimes that you are missing like some hidden words or dazzling distractors are there.

For example:
Blood samples were taken from patients that were enrolled in a longitudinal study. Then they were tested for HIV status.
What type of study?
-Cross sectional

It's likely that the buzzword longitudinal makes you think that this is for sure a prospective study but in fact they just took blood samples from those enrolled and there's a new study now on these blood samples which is cross sectional!
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Old 12-08-2009
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Default Match the options to the question stem

Yet another advice for you
If you see a clinical case scenario that is so confusing that you don't have a clue what could be the diagnosis then look at the options.
Work out each option and see if the question maker means a specific diagnosis behind that particular option and try to match it to the question stem.
I did use this strategy in my USMLE exams and it worked for me.
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