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  #1  
Old 11-30-2014
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Star IMG Step 1-263 My experience... :)

Hi guys, How do you do? Most of you probably donít know me as Iím not online that often.
Iím an IMG from India, doing my third year medical school. Gave my STEP 1 exam on 30th september. Because of some verification process pending in my medschool, I got my score late, on 19th November, but it was worth the wait. When I saw 263 written in my mail, I had to check 5 that I was not reading it wrongÖ
At the same time my third year exams also started so was caught up in that, didnít get a chance to write.

First of all, I want to thank all members of forums, for helping me out. This experience is just an advice. No offence intended.

Planning: Plan ahead. Find out what score you want to achieve, prepare a path of your own , with the help of others.
I made my plans first, it took three whole days. I searched forums, experiences as USMLE was totally unknown to me & designed a plan. But then I stuck to it. I didnít go on searching what in need to do in this and that.
Donít just keep reading on forums what others keep saying, you will be diverted, as everyone have their own methods. It is good to use forum/community. But use precisely, only on which points you need help. Itís not like ďthe more you try to find out how to prepare /read, the more you scoreĒ. So yes, get help from other, but not try to be others. Make your own plan and stick to it. Make small adjustments as needed timely but Donít deviate. Discussing in group in one thing (good thing) , but being deviated by it is another. Every now and then I opened forums to find out about my specific problem or see if any important update has come out about exam. I saw many who were just confused what to do by different answers on forums, & just wandering searching for answers, posting questions, discussing idiotic things. In my opinion, if they had spent that time in reading, man,they wudíve scored higher then me.
So if you are reading this after starting your prep, donít be confused by what I say.

Prep timing: Average 8 hour a day, 5-6 days a week, for total of 8 months.

As an IMG, it was hard to make the decision of giving STEP 1 in 3rd year of medical school, as most of seniors & other guys gave/are giving in Internship/post-intern. It becomes hard to study as most of your friends in 3rd year are enjoying, while you have to stick to reading constantly!! Besides, you donít have experience in medicine, ophthal, surgery, etc. while examinors are asking a few ques related to that!!! But everyone says if you can do it in third year, you shoud do it. You get lot of time to read & you save the time of internship in which you can do clerkship & rotations. So I did it. It was hard, but itíll be hard to study constantly no matter whenever you give the exam. So it depends on you, what is aim, how much you are dedicated. If you think you can read seriously in 3rd year, then no proble.

I used to study for 10-12 hours initially, but soon I burnt out. Iíd go watching movies without reading for a week or so. Then I started reading for 8-9-10 hours. Morever, initially I read without any break, continuous for 10-14 days, then I wud burn out & wont be able to read for a few days.
So my advice wud be, donít take load. Know your capacity to read ďefficientlyĒ. Plan in advance and stick to it. Donít go reading like an idiot. Work smart. And take a break a day in a week or so, voluntarily. Do the things of your hobby, like I did movies, piano, visit friends & families. Otherwise those days are going to be wasted anyway involuntary, as you will be fatigued & wonít be able to read at all (happens for most of us).

Prep Materials:
Kaplan: Videos and Lecture notes for all subjects except patho.
Pathoma videos + Goljan book:
Qbanks: Kaplan 2010 version and Uworld of 2013.

Timeline:
First read: 5 months (as my basics were good)
Anat->Biochem->Physio->Patho->Behavioral->Pharmac&Micro
[note: I had no idea about what USMLE is & no plan of giving it upto 2nd year. But I had done Kaplan Micro and Pharmac videos in 2nd year and Anat Physio in 1st year medical school just to make my concepts brighter. So it was easy for me to do these subjects now. You may need more time.]

I saw videos of Kaplan, annoting & highlighting on the book. This way I would finish a subject in week or so & would do Qbank blocks for that subject (I had Qbank in subjectwise, blockwise manner).

Physiology: I did Kaplan first, but it was not satisfying. So I just read through BRS Physiology. It is good. I read it in a day. After Physio, I did Patho. So it would complete my Pathophysiology. Morover, when starting a particular patho chapter, I would read physiology of it briefly.

Pathology: Most important subject. I mainly did Goljan Rapid Review, 4th edition. I only used Pathoma videos when I found the chapter boring or hard to memorise. Goljan is all you need to know. No pressure on memorising minor/sharp details. But know practically or exam relavant information. You can find out what you need to know by doing some blocks of Qbank questions in advance. Every chapter is important, as the exam covers all topics, from medicine to environment to nutrition to genes and senescence. The Plus point is, the info which you need to know about medicine surgery pedia etc is given in Goljan. Goljan is a sort of bridge between patho & medicine. Pathoma is not enough, in my opinion. Basic knowledge of pathoma is good, but ďPathoĒ for concept of our exam does not only mean pathology, but overall understanding of a disease.

Making notes: Make a lots of notes, because you will remember not the things you read but the things you understand and make a schematic or map of that in your mind. Make schematics, tables, acronyms, whatever you want to make, thus it becomes not merely facts but ur own creation & understanding. I inserted 1 blank page in between two pages of goljan, so I could write, or make a diagram of relevant info on that page. You can make a separate book for that.

What to focus on: Concepts are important. Although I also put much effort in memorising, it was not necessary. In starting, just do a subject & then Qbank block, you will understand how much you need to memorise. Otherwise donít just go on memorising, as kaplan and goljan has so much info that might not be necessary. If you can memorise , good. Do it, as it may come handy in some ques. I got maybe 10 -20 ques based on memory or specific info, e.g. which type of cyp is inhibited by a particular drug. Donít put much effort in that, as this type of que may come out of anywhere, thereís no way to avoid it. I had que that a girl decreased her diet by *** caloris, how much weight would she lose in how much time?? So avoid overworking on this datas etc & donít be fraustrated if you encoounter a que like this. They are just for this sole purpose, to fraustrate you.
Instead place your focus on concepts and visualizations, basics, as most of ques are from that. Even by working on that only, you can get your score as high as you want.
[Some guys have been saying ďI just do FA & by only that I got good score. FA is most importantblah blahÖĒ But to score very high, that guy must have good basic concept, good knowledge and understanding. So donít go blindly, know the concepts. FA is good ,compact (I did few chapters of it). ]

Revision and Qbanks:
In second phase I started doing Qbanks. Half the day I would revise a subject and then do 3-4 blocks of Uworld. Thus 3-4 days for each subject, based on your need. I completed MicroPharmac in 1 day. But for patho i needed 7-8 days to revise, as I revised goljan in detail, not just highlights.
Do questions in blocks, timed manner. Look the answers for each questions carefully.
I completed Uworld in 15 days. Took screenshots of the questions or concepts which were unknown to me, to revise later.
REMIND: Many guys Qbank very slowly & depend on it for concepts. But for me concepts were from Kaplan. So Qbank went very fast. Donít spend too much time, as it contains limited number of concept. And nowadays the exam questions are not similar to Uworld. It is monopoly of Uworld that everyone says it is must. In my opinion, if you want to ďjust passĒ then only uworld is okay, as it contains most important ques & in exam you can pass on most important. But if you want to score high, do all the concepts of Kaplan & Goljan. Itís like Kaplan Goljan are textbook, and Uworld and FA are ďmost impĒ to do in short time near exam.

Utilisation of Uworld is that you can simulate exam like situations, exam like stress on you & when looking at answer, you can think of the technique in which you have to answer. You can develop tactics for tackling a particular question. Youíll have the knowledge and concepts from Kap+Gol , but you will need to learn how to understand what is asked, how to think/process a question, reach to an answer with certainty. Notice the mistakes you make, & decide/think how you will not make the same mistake in future. This is what you learn from Qbanks.

Then I thought what were my week points and gave special attention to it , revised it thoroughly.Then I did the Kaplan Qbank 46 blocks for which I got more than 40 corrects for each block. I did it in 7 days! Some would say impossible, but I did 7 blocks each day, just like in exam, continuous, from 8 AM to 4 PM. In 4 hours I would check all the answers and would only give more attention to the ques , which I got wrong/new concept. {6-10 questions per block}.

I relaxed , get determined.
Last month: I was relaxed, as I had done what I needed to. I did 1 NBME per day offline, but in exam like situation, and then wud solve that NBME:
My correct answers out of 200 wereÖ
1=183
2=187
3=196
4=194
5=183
6=191
7=189
11=187
12=191
13=191
15=191
I didnít do any of them online but from screenshots. I cud not predict my score as I did nothing online, So I laked confidence of what score I might get. I didnít do NBME 16 , which was a big idiotness, as it is most near the exam. I saw some questions of it afterwards. E.g. I was asked 2-3 questions about incontinence, which were on 16, but I got them wrong!!!!!
Each NBME has 3-4 controversial questions, to which answers are not known. Donít focus or discuss them. Let them go. Even on exam, learn to let go question. Donít get hyped or worried. As I said earlier, thereís no way to avoid them from being asked. So just avoid them from your mind, keep them in your blind spot.

Exam advice: Be relaxed. Donít freak out. Donít do new material. Keep your focus and peace together. Keep smiling.

RELAX: It is not necessory to do everything. Itís not like ďthe more material you do, the more you scoreĒ!!!!!! You will find some guys doing all the DIT,FA, Kaplan, Rx, studying for 12 or even more month, but it doesnít guaranteed high score. Just know yourself & decide what you need. FOCUS!!!!

I did not buy/ use any material online, for which I am guilty. So you all can start judging me. But I had no other way around. I can afford none of them, even paying for STEP 1 was hard.

Thank you. Keep helpingÖ. May be Iíll meet some of you in US 

Good luck to all of you for your bright future
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2014
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Thanks for sharing your experience. That is a stellar score. Score like that in step 2 and you're set to get into a really good residency program (along with electives in final year of course).

Congrats once again on such a great achievement!
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drhouse (11-30-2014)
  #3  
Old 11-30-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhouse View Post
Hi guys, How do you do? Most of you probably donít know me as Iím not online that often.
Iím an IMG from India, doing my third year medical school. Gave my STEP 1 exam on 30th september. Because of some verification process pending in my medschool, I got my score late, on 19th November, but it was worth the wait. When I saw 263 written in my mail, I had to check 5 that I was not reading it wrongÖ
At the same time my third year exams also started so was caught up in that, didnít get a chance to write.

First of all, I want to thank all members of forums, for helping me out. This experience is just an advice. No offence intended.

Planning: Plan ahead. Find out what score you want to achieve, prepare a path of your own , with the help of others.
I made my plans first, it took three whole days. I searched forums, experiences as USMLE was totally unknown to me & designed a plan. But then I stuck to it. I didnít go on searching what in need to do in this and that.
Donít just keep reading on forums what others keep saying, you will be diverted, as everyone have their own methods. It is good to use forum/community. But use precisely, only on which points you need help. Itís not like ďthe more you try to find out how to prepare /read, the more you scoreĒ. So yes, get help from other, but not try to be others. Make your own plan and stick to it. Make small adjustments as needed timely but Donít deviate. Discussing in group in one thing (good thing) , but being deviated by it is another. Every now and then I opened forums to find out about my specific problem or see if any important update has come out about exam. I saw many who were just confused what to do by different answers on forums, & just wandering searching for answers, posting questions, discussing idiotic things. In my opinion, if they had spent that time in reading, man,they wudíve scored higher then me.
So if you are reading this after starting your prep, donít be confused by what I say.

Prep timing: Average 8 hour a day, 5-6 days a week, for total of 8 months.

As an IMG, it was hard to make the decision of giving STEP 1 in 3rd year of medical school, as most of seniors & other guys gave/are giving in Internship/post-intern. It becomes hard to study as most of your friends in 3rd year are enjoying, while you have to stick to reading constantly!! Besides, you donít have experience in medicine, ophthal, surgery, etc. while examinors are asking a few ques related to that!!! But everyone says if you can do it in third year, you shoud do it. You get lot of time to read & you save the time of internship in which you can do clerkship & rotations. So I did it. It was hard, but itíll be hard to study constantly no matter whenever you give the exam. So it depends on you, what is aim, how much you are dedicated. If you think you can read seriously in 3rd year, then no proble.

I used to study for 10-12 hours initially, but soon I burnt out. Iíd go watching movies without reading for a week or so. Then I started reading for 8-9-10 hours. Morever, initially I read without any break, continuous for 10-14 days, then I wud burn out & wont be able to read for a few days.
So my advice wud be, donít take load. Know your capacity to read ďefficientlyĒ. Plan in advance and stick to it. Donít go reading like an idiot. Work smart. And take a break a day in a week or so, voluntarily. Do the things of your hobby, like I did movies, piano, visit friends & families. Otherwise those days are going to be wasted anyway involuntary, as you will be fatigued & wonít be able to read at all (happens for most of us).

Prep Materials:
Kaplan: Videos and Lecture notes for all subjects except patho.
Pathoma videos + Goljan book:
Qbanks: Kaplan 2010 version and Uworld of 2013.

Timeline:
First read: 5 months (as my basics were good)
Anat->Biochem->Physio->Patho->Behavioral->Pharmac&Micro
[note: I had no idea about what USMLE is & no plan of giving it upto 2nd year. But I had done Kaplan Micro and Pharmac videos in 2nd year and Anat Physio in 1st year medical school just to make my concepts brighter. So it was easy for me to do these subjects now. You may need more time.]

I saw videos of Kaplan, annoting & highlighting on the book. This way I would finish a subject in week or so & would do Qbank blocks for that subject (I had Qbank in subjectwise, blockwise manner).

Physiology: I did Kaplan first, but it was not satisfying. So I just read through BRS Physiology. It is good. I read it in a day. After Physio, I did Patho. So it would complete my Pathophysiology. Morover, when starting a particular patho chapter, I would read physiology of it briefly.

Pathology: Most important subject. I mainly did Goljan Rapid Review, 4th edition. I only used Pathoma videos when I found the chapter boring or hard to memorise. Goljan is all you need to know. No pressure on memorising minor/sharp details. But know practically or exam relavant information. You can find out what you need to know by doing some blocks of Qbank questions in advance. Every chapter is important, as the exam covers all topics, from medicine to environment to nutrition to genes and senescence. The Plus point is, the info which you need to know about medicine surgery pedia etc is given in Goljan. Goljan is a sort of bridge between patho & medicine. Pathoma is not enough, in my opinion. Basic knowledge of pathoma is good, but ďPathoĒ for concept of our exam does not only mean pathology, but overall understanding of a disease.

Making notes: Make a lots of notes, because you will remember not the things you read but the things you understand and make a schematic or map of that in your mind. Make schematics, tables, acronyms, whatever you want to make, thus it becomes not merely facts but ur own creation & understanding. I inserted 1 blank page in between two pages of goljan, so I could write, or make a diagram of relevant info on that page. You can make a separate book for that.

What to focus on: Concepts are important. Although I also put much effort in memorising, it was not necessary. In starting, just do a subject & then Qbank block, you will understand how much you need to memorise. Otherwise donít just go on memorising, as kaplan and goljan has so much info that might not be necessary. If you can memorise , good. Do it, as it may come handy in some ques. I got maybe 10 -20 ques based on memory or specific info, e.g. which type of cyp is inhibited by a particular drug. Donít put much effort in that, as this type of que may come out of anywhere, thereís no way to avoid it. I had que that a girl decreased her diet by *** caloris, how much weight would she lose in how much time?? So avoid overworking on this datas etc & donít be fraustrated if you encoounter a que like this. They are just for this sole purpose, to fraustrate you.
Instead place your focus on concepts and visualizations, basics, as most of ques are from that. Even by working on that only, you can get your score as high as you want.
[Some guys have been saying ďI just do FA & by only that I got good score. FA is most importantblah blahÖĒ But to score very high, that guy must have good basic concept, good knowledge and understanding. So donít go blindly, know the concepts. FA is good ,compact (I did few chapters of it). ]

Revision and Qbanks:
In second phase I started doing Qbanks. Half the day I would revise a subject and then do 3-4 blocks of Uworld. Thus 3-4 days for each subject, based on your need. I completed MicroPharmac in 1 day. But for patho i needed 7-8 days to revise, as I revised goljan in detail, not just highlights.
Do questions in blocks, timed manner. Look the answers for each questions carefully.
I completed Uworld in 15 days. Took screenshots of the questions or concepts which were unknown to me, to revise later.
REMIND: Many guys Qbank very slowly & depend on it for concepts. But for me concepts were from Kaplan. So Qbank went very fast. Donít spend too much time, as it contains limited number of concept. And nowadays the exam questions are not similar to Uworld. It is monopoly of Uworld that everyone says it is must. In my opinion, if you want to ďjust passĒ then only uworld is okay, as it contains most important ques & in exam you can pass on most important. But if you want to score high, do all the concepts of Kaplan & Goljan. Itís like Kaplan Goljan are textbook, and Uworld and FA are ďmost impĒ to do in short time near exam.

Utilisation of Uworld is that you can simulate exam like situations, exam like stress on you & when looking at answer, you can think of the technique in which you have to answer. You can develop tactics for tackling a particular question. Youíll have the knowledge and concepts from Kap+Gol , but you will need to learn how to understand what is asked, how to think/process a question, reach to an answer with certainty. Notice the mistakes you make, & decide/think how you will not make the same mistake in future. This is what you learn from Qbanks.

Then I thought what were my week points and gave special attention to it , revised it thoroughly.Then I did the Kaplan Qbank 46 blocks for which I got more than 40 corrects for each block. I did it in 7 days! Some would say impossible, but I did 7 blocks each day, just like in exam, continuous, from 8 AM to 4 PM. In 4 hours I would check all the answers and would only give more attention to the ques , which I got wrong/new concept. {6-10 questions per block}.

I relaxed , get determined.
Last month: I was relaxed, as I had done what I needed to. I did 1 NBME per day offline, but in exam like situation, and then wud solve that NBME:
My correct answers out of 200 wereÖ
1=183
2=187
3=196
4=194
5=183
6=191
7=189
11=187
12=191
13=191
15=191
I didnít do any of them online but from screenshots. I cud not predict my score as I did nothing online, So I laked confidence of what score I might get. I didnít do NBME 16 , which was a big idiotness, as it is most near the exam. I saw some questions of it afterwards. E.g. I was asked 2-3 questions about incontinence, which were on 16, but I got them wrong!!!!!
Each NBME has 3-4 controversial questions, to which answers are not known. Donít focus or discuss them. Let them go. Even on exam, learn to let go question. Donít get hyped or worried. As I said earlier, thereís no way to avoid them from being asked. So just avoid them from your mind, keep them in your blind spot.

Exam advice: Be relaxed. Donít freak out. Donít do new material. Keep your focus and peace together. Keep smiling.

RELAX: It is not necessory to do everything. Itís not like ďthe more material you do, the more you scoreĒ!!!!!! You will find some guys doing all the DIT,FA, Kaplan, Rx, studying for 12 or even more month, but it doesnít guaranteed high score. Just know yourself & decide what you need. FOCUS!!!!

I did not buy/ use any material online, for which I am guilty. So you all can start judging me. But I had no other way around. I can afford none of them, even paying for STEP 1 was hard.

Thank you. Keep helpingÖ. May be Iíll meet some of you in US 

Good luck to all of you for your bright future

great job Dr.house...!! congrats for your happy marks...!!! thanks for sharing...!! good luck for a bright future ahead..!
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  #4  
Old 11-30-2014
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Congratulations for your score. Great post, helpful advices. If you had to select 2 NMBEs to do them online, which would they be?
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  #5  
Old 11-30-2014
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Wow what a a score... Congrats for sucha brilliant score👍
Can you please share the link for all NBMEs that u have done . I really appreciate your help in this
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2014
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Thumbs Up Ofcourse nbme 15 and 16

Quote:
Originally Posted by pd10 View Post
Congratulations for your score. Great post, helpful advices. If you had to select 2 NMBEs to do them online, which would they be?
Ofcourse nbme 15 and 16, as they are most recent , and que format is most near to exam....
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2014
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thank you for your post...congratulations on your score
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2014
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Congratulations, it s really inspiring experience ,wish you the best in the next steps.
Please would you share the answer key for the nbmes?
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhouse View Post
Ofcourse nbme 15 and 16, as they are most recent , and que format is most near to exam....
Congratulations for your score. So you basically didn't use that much FA? I don't like that "book". Also I guess qbanks were done subject wise, is that "ok"? Really inspiring post! would you recommend going twice over KLN or the vŪdeos? Or once is enough?
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2014
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Thumbs Up Go on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by usmled10 View Post
Congratulations for your score. So you basically didn't use that much FA? I don't like that "book". Also I guess qbanks were done subject wise, is that "ok"? Really inspiring post! would you recommend going twice over KLN or the vŪdeos? Or once is enough?
Qbank Uworld was done subject wise...
I forgot to mention that Kaplan qbank was of mixed questions.. 46 blocks..
Kaplan books i revised for second time bt just the concepts, superficially...
no need to do videos again.... If u are doing first time, do it properly first time.. So u wont' need to go back to vids., nd even pages of lecture notes will also start flowing if u've dont it properly first time..
Keep revising , or u'll forget..
nd a big Thank you

Last edited by drhouse; 12-04-2014 at 03:03 AM. Reason: forgot to thank
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2014
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could you please explain me the interventicular septum formation and its defects as i am missing the video lecture on this topic and by reading notes it just dosent fix in my mind. thanks in advance.
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  #12  
Old 12-04-2014
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Default Congras

You really did great and best of luck with future steps.
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2014
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Default Great job!

Wow, that is an exceptional score. Very well done. You're in India, so med school is 5 years right?

I'm in Pakistan and a 4th year MBBS student, planning to give Step 1 next year

Everyone says the vast majority (70%) of Step 1 is patho, is that true? How important are pre-clinical subjects like anatomy, patho, biochem etc.? I still have the basic concepts in mind but have been out of touch with the details for past 2 years, will I have to go over everything all ovr again.

Also, did you use Robbins Basis for patho (it's the main course book)? I'm currently doing Basis for special patho and plan to start First Aid concurrently next month.

Finally, how much time should it take me if I'm studying for Step 1 along with my 4th year and 5th year studies? Will I be ready to sit for the 2015 exam?

We started patho in 3rd year (special patho in 4th year) so I think now would be the best time for me to start Step 1 prep since it's in line with what we're studying at med school.
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usmled10 (12-04-2014)
  #14  
Old 12-04-2014
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Default Offline or online

Hi dr.house awsum score !
I liked your q bank stratergy!
I am doing 2 blocks / day wid 2nd revision .But i dont get. so many questions correct...around 50-60 % .I havent touched FA.Just doing Kaplan + goljan.

also i have finished offline uworld 2013...i was wondering if an online subcription make a diffrence ..n for how long shal i take it for?
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  #15  
Old 12-21-2014
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Congratulations for your great score,please could you help me to get the link for all NBME
offline version that you did.
Wish u the best.
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  #16  
Old 12-21-2014
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please help me with kaplan video link
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  #17  
Old 12-22-2014
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congratulations...great score...all the best for ur remaining steps
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  #18  
Old 01-21-2015
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Congratulations! ! That's a very good achievement. Your hard work paid off. Btw how did you read brs physio in a day?!
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zaeema ansari (01-23-2015)
  #19  
Old 01-23-2015
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I stopped reading your experience when i saw that u did BRS physio in a day.. No-one can can lie that much.
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