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  #1  
Old 08-31-2011
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Smile patelMD Step 1 Experience!

Before I post my experience, I would like to thank the following members who've made my journey very memorable:

harlesmd, aktorque, hope2pass, struggle, heights, bebix, drhma, medico.in and many others whom I can't recall at the moment.


Background: Im attending a Carribean Medical School who finished the basic sciences portion of the curriculum.

MCAT: 27 (R/V)

Preparation: 6 Months, 5.5 days a week, all sundays OFF.

FAQ: How Much Time Did You Spend Per Day?

I don't really allot my day in terms of 'hours spent', I pick a certain goal / topic and make sure to finish it, even if it takes me 1 hour or 10 hours.

Ex. Want to finish all of FA (Approximately 500 pages) in 5 days. (500/5 = 100 pages a day)

So for that day, I will cover those 100 pages and not stop until I do so.

On AVERAGE, I have spent approximately 8 - 10 hours / day on studying (includes breaks)

Resources:

Kaplan Step 1 LN + Videos (Minus Pathology & Anatomy)

Pathology: Goljan Rapid Review & Goljan Audios

Anatomy (Including Neuro): Only FA

Preparation Timeline:

Months Before:

- Approached this like the average IMG by starting out with Kaplan LN & Videos (Simultaneously)
- Took approximately 4 months to finish

See My Thread How to best utilize last 3 months of studying?

Weeks Before:

FA, FA and More FA!

Days Before:

Only Weaknesses from FA + Image Preparation (See later part of post)

Hours Before:

Nothing!

Read a few PM's from my fellow usmle-world posters, one which really helped me!

Quote:
[B] drhma:

have no fear! you are all set to go
and no matter how these few days pass by, or how u put ur plans... make sure u stick to the lasts days plan.. which is have fun.. and have everything to do with the whole world except step1
[dont worry, no jinxing or envy, even though i dont know u.. u got my best wishes, god bless ]

u are ready for this, and go decapitate that exam so u can be able to feel that rare satisfying euphoria!
Now for the meat of the post: The Exam!

I would like to state the following before hand:

- I am an average student
- There isn't really a 'magical' or a 'set path' that one can take in terms of preparation because everything needs to be tailored to each individuals' strengths/weaknesses.

Before I started my exam, I had initially planned on writing some of the common formula's that everyone talks about, which I didn't do because I felt it was useless because I was able to recall them anyways, so what I did write was:


1. "Come At Me Bro" (Those of you who watch jersey shore know what this is about, for those who don't, it basically means "USMLE: throw at me anything that you can, I got this!")
2. QIS & QIQ till your SIQ of SQS

Block 1:

- Mix of Pathophys / Physio / Some Genetics and a couple of Biochems
- These questions were very straight forward, so straight forward they would mention something like ''this person has typical findings of Gauchers, what substance accumulates WHERE"
- Overall, not very bad.

Block 2:

- Mix of Pathophys / Behavioural Sci / Ethics / Pharm / Immuno etc

Behavaral Science: Simple diagnosis of OCD/Depression etc.

Ethics: This is what was different!

Normally in practice sessions we're stuck between choosing the BEST possible response by the patient, on the real thing I noticed how they would add 2 concepts into 1 ethics question:

Ex. A couple comes to you to ask what the chances of their future child getting the disease.

These types of questions were FLOODED in my exam, they required you to know:

a. Type of inheritance of the disease
b. Prevalence of the disease
c. Best response

Overall: Not very difficult

Block 3:

- Mix of Pathophys / A HEART SOUND / Ethics / Stats / Embroyology / Immuno
- Overall not bad

Block 4:

- Mix of Pathophys / Physio / Pharm /
- Marked about 25 questions
- Many experimental questions

- This block seemed to be the MOST DIFFICULT for me perhaps due to:
a. Mind was shutting down due to sheer length
b. Difficulty of questions (2nd or 3rd order questions mostly)


Block 5:

- After having a disastrous Block 4, I managed to take a big 25 minute break and calmed myself down it was either that, or the block was simpler.
- Mix of Pathophy / Pharm / Anatomy / Embryology / MS / Repro / Etc.


Block 6:

- Again mix of different principles
- Felt alot better, had a heart murmur, and a couple of ECG's.

Block 7: FINALLY!!


- Mix of everything
- Marked about 10 questions
- Many experimental questions
- Just "Finished" for the heck of it!

What I would change about my preparation:

1. Not worry about USMLE WORLD cumulative percentage less than 50%:
Quote:
In many USMLE Qbank sources an average student can answer around 70%-80% of the questions. This means that by spending a good amount of time and money, you end up learning only 20%-30% of new content. Unlike our competitors, our practice questions are much harder, making it much more difficult for an average student to score high in the first few attempts. The goal is not to discourage students, but to motivate them to study harder and smarter. Average scores for USMLEWorld border around 50%-60%, implying that on average a student learns 40%-%50 of new content with our QBank. The USMLEWorld Qbank question items are designed to test the difficult part of the examination content while incorporating the less to medium difficult concepts in each question’s explanations.
I feel this made me prematurely underestimate myself.

2. Taking NBME When not "ready":


School administered NBME 6 gave me a terrible score, one which significantly demoralized my situation. I felt hopeless, but this was before I had reviewed FA & UW.

3. Concentrating on Kaplan LN For:

a. Microbiology
Best way to Study Micro Bugs?

b. Biochemistry
Kaplan Biochemistry - Sam Turco

These subjects, I felt only required FA, so I probably shouldn't have wasted time watching their videos and reading the LN.

My UWorld Graph:



My Advice for future test takers:

1. Believe in yourself, for its the place to start.
2. Exam is only as difficult as you make it out to be.
3. Make realist goals, and stick to them, no matter what you have to sacrifice.
4. Use "Negative" energy towards board prep, self motivation and encouragement are better than looking to others.
5. Reward yourself for hard work, by taking a day off or eating something special (anything that makes you feel happy)
6. In the end, hard work WILL pay off!
7. Concentrate on YOUR weaknesses, don't worry if everyone on usmle-world, sdn etc. says that they have a difficult time on biochemistry or anatomy etc.
8. ATTACK the books, I've seen so many classmates just nonchalantly reading the review books, only to end up doing poorly.
9. Don't go into the exam until you feel you are ready (sure you might feel nervous on the last few days, this is completely natural!)
10. Best predictor of exam performance is ONLINE, NBME FORMS (7 / 11 / 12), not U World %, not Q Bank %, not any "scorellator" or a magical formula.

Break Allocation: I Recommend taking breaks after every block, even if you feel you aren't tired. Even if its for 5 minutes, its best to take a break 'just incase', in this case, walk around and take a few deep breaths. (I actually drank red bull every break and emptied my bladder lol).

What I did:
Block 1: 5 Minutes + 2 or 3 minutes extra from finishing block early
Block 2: 5 Minutes + 2 or 3 minutes extra from finishing block early
Block 3: 5 Minutes + 2 or 3 minutes extra from finishing block early
Block 4: 10 minutes + 2 or 3 minutes extra from finishing block early
Block 5: 15 Minutes + 2 or 3 minutes extra from finishing block early
Block 6 20 Minutes + 2 or 3 minutes extra from finishing block early
Block 7: Finished!

Other than this, I cant really think of anything else that would help anyone in preparation. If you guys & gyals have any questions, post and I will be happy to answer!

Overall: Exam is definitely do able, even if you are a OLD graduate who graduated 20 years ago, or current medical student who does not have a very good basic sciences foundation.

Hopefully, I help future students overcome this monster known as Step 1 in anyway I can, because this forum and its members have certainly helped me very much!

In conclusion, I leave you with one message:

"Pain is Temporary, Glory is Forever"

- PatelMD
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2011
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thanks meng...i have been reading a lot of your posts....your gon do it up...yeeeee boy! loll
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  #3  
Old 09-01-2011
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Nice detailed explanation.You should start writing your own blog !!!
Best of luck for your results. I am sure you will have an awesome score.
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Old 09-01-2011
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Excellent post!!!!! Thank you very much PatelMD for all of the details in your post, really appreciated.

Take it a day at a time. Great preparation is bound to yield great score.

I wish you the best of luck with this portion of your life and good luck in the following endeavors....

God Bless

PS... "come at me bro" Jersey Shore...LMBO!!!!
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  #5  
Old 09-01-2011
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What was your score 2 digit/ 3 digit,,,,,,,,,,,,,,?????????????:d:d
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  #6  
Old 09-01-2011
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thank you for sharing with us, congrats on taking you step 1.
i have couple of questions:
was the exam easier than the self assesments?
i had almost same score as your uw score, can you please tell me what gave u the confidence to go and take ur step 1 since u r saying that don take exam until u know ur ready, what was ur target and how did u find out that u were ready and if it was nbme self assesment then how what were u getting in the exams? i am asking it so i may get some courage out of it too!
when do u think is the best time to take 1st self assesment. my exam is in 2 months!
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  #7  
Old 09-01-2011
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Congratulations on finishing the exam and thank you for such a detailed report on your experiences! Good luck on your scores!
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  #8  
Old 09-01-2011
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Congrats, the hard part is over, have a rest ... btw did you go to unibe?
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  #9  
Old 09-01-2011
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PatelMD I'm so happy for you... Having the exam behind you is the best feeling in the world. I'm sure that you did great. Good luck on futures steps and I hope you go out and have some fun this weekend!
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Old 09-01-2011
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Congratulations!....I'm really happy for you!!!...next week is my turn ...see you later in the "USMLE Step 2 Forum"
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Old 09-01-2011
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Default congrats

congrats....
i'm still amedical student and was about to start preparing....
but i was very very very nervous and scared... but reading ur blog boosted my confidnce...
thanx a lot
and all the best 4 further steps
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Old 09-01-2011
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way to goooooooo!!!! Enjoy u're well and hard-earned break!

concerning ur 1st point in advice to test takers....
"Believe in yourself, for its the place to start''.... Listen to the msg, listen to the beat... A msg that comes from the heart~
I'll never forget that cartoon

P.s
When the results are out.. Be sure to delight us all with ur score
Welcome to the 99 club... Yes im sure u've nailed it, doc
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  #13  
Old 09-01-2011
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hey man great post thanks for such a helpful post.best luck for your result
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  #14  
Old 09-01-2011
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That is a brilliant post man! My exam is in next 2 weeks or so, this provides me with much needed confidence boost. Hopefully I will do the exam as well as you did and we all get good scores!
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  #15  
Old 09-01-2011
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Default when results back?

Hi PatelMD,
How are you? Congratulations on finishing the big one. I sat for the exam the same day, remember? I'm so glad it's done. I can finally really relax. I hope for the best results for us any time soon...btw, can I ask u a q?? when exactly are we getting our results back? is it on the 20th or 21st?
I haven't put up a post with my personal experience just yet ..but will be doing so very soon...since I am also very thankful to others who left note of their own experiences. Good luck!
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  #16  
Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triquetrum View Post
Hi PatelMD,
How are you? Congratulations on finishing the big one. I sat for the exam the same day, remember? I'm so glad it's done. I can finally really relax. I hope for the best results for us any time soon...btw, can I ask u a q?? when exactly are we getting our results back? is it on the 20th or 21st?
I haven't put up a post with my personal experience just yet ..but will be doing so very soon...since I am also very thankful to others who left note of their own experiences. Good luck!
Hi Triquetrum! I am looking forward to read your experience as well, and I bet many others are too! It is really helpful.

Thanks again, PatelMD!
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  #17  
Old 09-01-2011
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PatelMD!! Ur done man, thats amazing! Congrats

I hope you get that 99!! Thanks for posting your experience, it was a great read.

Since you know my exam is in 3 weeks, what suggestions do u have for me? I'm doing UW (notes+review) and then going to start UW all over again and go through as many questions as i can. Along with this im doing FA. Anything else i should add on? Im shitless scared to be honest ..and Im not looking forward to taking an NBME (although i will by mid next week)

I hope you and triquetrum ripped your exams!! This is the biggest step for a doctor-to-be so congrats to both you future docs

Hope you're party-ing right now or off on a vacatioN! haha

Thanks for the post.
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  #18  
Old 09-01-2011
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Congrats on doing ur exam! I hope all your step 1 wishes come true! Congratulations
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  #19  
Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimsonboy View Post
What was your score 2 digit/ 3 digit,,,,,,,,,,,,,,?????????????:d:d
For NBME's?

Before Studying: NBME 6 - 300 or "188" on the real thing.

After Studying 2 weeks away: NBME 7 - 500 or "220"
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Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salz View Post
thank you for sharing with us, congrats on taking you step 1.
i have couple of questions:
was the exam easier than the self assesments?
i had almost same score as your uw score, can you please tell me what gave u the confidence to go and take ur step 1 since u r saying that don take exam until u know ur ready, what was ur target and how did u find out that u were ready and if it was nbme self assesment then how what were u getting in the exams? i am asking it so i may get some courage out of it too!
when do u think is the best time to take 1st self assesment. my exam is in 2 months!
1. Was the exam easier than the self assessments?

I think it was the same difficulty if not easier on some questions. I looked at NBME 6 / 7 / 11 / 12, and felt the real exam was very similiar and some questions were even easier.

USMLE World was much more difficult than the real exam (as expected)

2. What Gave me confidence to go onto take my exam:

I feel that the best way to 'determine' this was score predicted by the NBME Form 7, I decided that I would set myself a target and once and only when I reach it will I go ahead to take the real exam, a few weeks before the actual exam, I obtained what I wanted to on Form 7, and felt 'ready' to attack the real exam!

My target, was set at a baseline score of 220, so once I had reached that level on the NBME's, I went ahead with the exam!

3. When I think is the best time for self assessment:

Do one asap! This will help you find your weaknesses and also determine how much time you need to improve to whatever your desired score.

DO NOT listen to people when they say you need 'certain amount of time' to improve 100 points on the NBME, its all baloney!

I've seen classmates literally moving more than 300 points on the NBME over the span of a few weeks, so never underestimate yourself!
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  #21  
Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bebix View Post
Congratulations!....I'm really happy for you!!!...next week is my turn ...see you later in the "USMLE Step 2 Forum"
You'll do great!

I've seen your NBME performance and your concepts are great!

Go into the exam with tons of confidence!
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  #22  
Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhma View Post
way to goooooooo!!!! Enjoy u're well and hard-earned break!

concerning ur 1st point in advice to test takers....
"Believe in yourself, for its the place to start''.... Listen to the msg, listen to the beat... A msg that comes from the heart~
I'll never forget that cartoon

P.s
When the results are out.. Be sure to delight us all with ur score
Welcome to the 99 club... Yes im sure u've nailed it, doc
Arthur? Haha, loved it!

Thanks for your awesome PM!
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Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donofitaly View Post
That is a brilliant post man! My exam is in next 2 weeks or so, this provides me with much needed confidence boost. Hopefully I will do the exam as well as you did and we all get good scores!
You'll do great! Just remember, the exam is doable, millions of people have done well, and so will you!
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Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triquetrum View Post
Hi PatelMD,
How are you? Congratulations on finishing the big one. I sat for the exam the same day, remember? I'm so glad it's done. I can finally really relax. I hope for the best results for us any time soon...btw, can I ask u a q?? when exactly are we getting our results back? is it on the 20th or 21st?
I haven't put up a post with my personal experience just yet ..but will be doing so very soon...since I am also very thankful to others who left note of their own experiences. Good luck!
I think we can expect it on the 3rd Wednesday after the exam, so probably around 21st of September!
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Old 09-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hope2Pass View Post
PatelMD!! Ur done man, thats amazing! Congrats

I hope you get that 99!! Thanks for posting your experience, it was a great read.

Since you know my exam is in 3 weeks, what suggestions do u have for me? I'm doing UW (notes+review) and then going to start UW all over again and go through as many questions as i can. Along with this im doing FA. Anything else i should add on? Im shitless scared to be honest ..and Im not looking forward to taking an NBME (although i will by mid next week)

I hope you and triquetrum ripped your exams!! This is the biggest step for a doctor-to-be so congrats to both you future docs

Hope you're party-ing right now or off on a vacatioN! haha

Thanks for the post.
3 Weeks? FA FA FA FA FA and MORE FA!

Honestly, I felt that 80% of the exam is covered by FA, an extra 10% will be covered with UW, so if you're aiming for a really high score, UW will be crucial, if you aren't then I think you should completely focus on FA!

Right now, it would be very important for you to do a very THOROUGH FA read, and then take an NBME (7/11/12 your call), this will give you perspective on where you stand and then if you can furthur concentrate on those weaknesses!

All the best bud, you'll do great, if you have any further questions, PM or post here!
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  #26  
Old 09-01-2011
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Congrats, the hard part is over, have a rest ... btw did you go to unibe?
No idea what that is lol
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  #27  
Old 09-01-2011
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Congrats patelmd!!! I am so happy for you and proud of you for facing the beast. I will keep you in my prayers. Relax and enjoy your much deserved break, and all the best for an awesome score
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  #28  
Old 09-01-2011
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Congrats patelmd!!! I am so happy for you and proud of you for facing the beast. I will keep you in my prayers. Relax and enjoy your much deserved break, and all the best for an awesome score
Thank you!!

Your advice really helped me get this far!

I hope your IM rotations going well!
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Old 09-01-2011
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hey dude.....congrats on getting it over with....im a big jersey shore fan too..bout to watch the new episode on the mtv site loll....but yeah i wanted to ask how many times did you get through FA and also how comfortable did you feel with it?....cuz i feel like im forgetting minor details here and there, but then again its a 500 page book, how can anyone expect to memorize each and every word....just wanted to get your thoughts on that......also most of my friends say the exam is more bout major topics/concepts vs every minor detail in FA (like trying to memorize piagets stages, muscle spindles, ear anatomy etc)...thanks bro
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  #30  
Old 09-01-2011
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Show Teeth Chapeau!

CONGRATS patelMD ..I am sure you are relieved now

I have a question. I am about to start UWORLD and i have no idea how to make notes out of it..i need to put all the info from it and yet make it easily accessible for the exam purpose, will you advice me on how to write the UW notes?? Should i fill it in FA...or split uw questions acc to each system in a notebook?? Please helppp
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  #31  
Old 09-01-2011
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hey dude.....congrats on getting it over with....im a big jersey shore fan too..bout to watch the new episode on the mtv site loll....but yeah i wanted to ask how many times did you get through FA and also how comfortable did you feel with it?....cuz i feel like im forgetting minor details here and there, but then again its a 500 page book, how can anyone expect to memorize each and every word....just wanted to get your thoughts on that......also most of my friends say the exam is more bout major topics/concepts vs every minor detail in FA (like trying to memorize piagets stages, muscle spindles, ear anatomy etc)...thanks bro
Haha, I actually dont watch the show, but I have a friend who watches it religiously so he says that line a lot!

I must of read FA maybe 8 times VERY thoroughly (flash card style: just going through each section almost every other day), towards the end, I was able to cover FA every 2 days.

The exam is about big concepts, but as you will see in NBME and U World, many of the big concepts rely on certain details that make or break the correct answer, so this is where FA is crucial!

Ex. Hearing Conduction:

They give you a bunch of pathways in random orders, you have to realize that the correct order is Tympanic Membrane -> Ossicles -> Basilar Membrane -> Hair Cell Depolarize / Repolarize etc., this is where the detail comes into play.
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CONGRATS patelMD ..I am sure you are relieved now

I have a question. I am about to start UWORLD and i have no idea how to make notes out of it..i need to put all the info from it and yet make it easily accessible for the exam purpose, will you advice me on how to write the UW notes?? Should i fill it in FA...or split uw questions acc to each system in a notebook?? Please helppp
First of all, biggest mistake I felt I made regarding UWorld was NOT GOING THROUGH FA THOROUGHLY.

If you go through this magical book, it has perhaps 75% of U World already in it, so dont go on making pages and pages worth of notes!

I used the built in Notes function to make my notes!

What the object of U World should be:

1. Learn the typical presentation of diseases
2. Be able to pick out what the question is asking you
3. Being able to cope with difficult "wtf" questions that you are bound to encounter on the real exam!
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  #33  
Old 09-01-2011
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You said u just completed your basic sciences...........How much did that help you in terms of your prep?
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  #34  
Old 09-02-2011
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congratulations patel!!! very valuable info you have shared with us.all the best buddy
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  #35  
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Hi PatelMD I have a request to you, if you are having NBME 11 & 12 could you please send them to me monicaszczsn@gmail.com I would be greatfull,
Best for the next steps!
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  #36  
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You said u just completed your basic sciences...........How much did that help you in terms of your prep?
I think it did help, not sure to what extent though.
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  #37  
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Hi PatelMD I have a request to you, if you are having NBME 11 & 12 could you please send them to me monicaszczsn@gmail.com I would be greatfull,
Best for the next steps!
Sorry, I dont have them.

Google it, you will probably find it.

Note: Offline NBME's are worthless!
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  #38  
Old 09-21-2011
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This is one of the best advice out there!!..

hey man, can u give me anyfeedback about FA.. im using it as my main resource.. i read the Kaplan LN see videos annotate and then re-read and annotate to FA.. and never go back to kaplan. Will do so except patho, i'll use RR, and micro i'll use MRS, plus qbank, and UW. Probably DIT at the end.



But please advice about FA.
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