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USMLE Step 1 Forum USMLE Step 1 Discussion Forum: Let's talk about anything related to USMLE Step 1 exam


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  #1  
Old 09-25-2011
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Default Got my score!!

254/99

My hands're shaking as I write these lines, coz I've recently floated out from a week-long-booze, so hangover, you know..
First of all, I wanted to THANK ALL OF YOU guys for your support, good advises, understanding and calming me down several days before exam, when I was about to crap my pants coz of anxiety.
Heaven bless you all !

And here is my expirience, as it should be.

It took me about 10 months to prepare for step 1, started in November 2010. During the most part of this time, I was studing about 4-5 hours a day, coz I had to visit my medical school classes as well. Last 3 months (June-August), and also January (winter holidays), I was studing 8-10 hours a day at least.

Books, used for my initial study: High-Yeld Anatomy, Neuroanatomy and Embryology; High-Yeld Behavioral science; Costanzo's Physiology; Lippincott's Biochemistry; Lippincott's Pharmacology; Microbiology made rediculously simple; Goljan Pathology; Kaplan Qbook (outstanding chapter on studing and test-solving techniques) - spent about 8 months all in all.

Final study: during the last 2 months (July, August) I was just trying to learn First Aid by heart, especially chapters on Microbiology, Pharmacology and Pathology, which so quickly do fade away from memory. Sometimes I used my initial books for reference on concepts which I thoroughly forgot. All in all, I went through FA about 4-5 times.

QBanks
1) Kaplan Q-bank (June-July): 95% completed, 70% average correct
2) UWorld (July-August): 100% completed, 75% average correct
Done in all-random, timed mode.

Forms
1) NBME 7: 560(235) - 14 days prior exam
2) NBME 12: 580(240) - 7 days to go
3) NBME 6: 600(245) - 3 days to go
During the last week, once more I ran through Micro, Pharm and Patho chapters of FA as well as excessively reviewed other "must-know forgetables". Also, at this time I ceased my coffee intake and started getting up and going down early.

In my country there are no Prometric centers, so I was sitting the test in Yerevan, Armenia. I arrived there on August 26th, 4 days prior exam. On 26 & 27th I was studing hard. During the last 2 days my preparation ceased, I only ran through "rapid review, formulas and equations'' section of FA in the morning. All the rest of time I was lazing around the city, visiting museums and sightseeings, degustating local alcohol. There is exellent local wine, brandy and Artsah (mulberry vodka) in Armenia, very tasty and very cheap.

EXAM DAY
My test was on August 30th.
The night before exam I was too anxious to fall asleep, so at 11 pm I took a pill of Zaleplon and slept for about 7 hours, which is not bad at all.
Woke up refreshed and in good mood. Ate my breakfast (sandwiches and a can of "Burn" drink) and peacefully went to the test center. I took with me kebab, 2 Twix bars, 2 more cans of Burn, and a bottle of water.

In general, the test turned to me easier, than I expected (though tough anyway). There were no wierd and obscure concepts, most of tested facts are well known from the FA, but asked in tricky manner. Virtually no controversial questions (like in NBME forms). Some questions are pretty same between blocks.
Of course, there were some things I've never seen before, but not many, maybe 2-3 such questions in each block.
Lots of pictures, photos, graphs and labs (seems, more than 30% of q-s have them). NOT many multimedia: I had only 2 audios (both heart sounds), no video. Only 1 conjoint quesiton.
Generally, test seemed very well balanced: all sciences presented equally with slight slant on Patho (1,5-2 times more than any other one), though it is hard to say so, coz most of questions were very integrative and scoped more than 1 discipline. For me, the toughest were Behavioral and Genetics.
The most tough of the real exam, in my opinion, is that all questions have pretty long stems. There are virtually no short q-s in line or two (like in NBME). It just takes a lot of time to read and understand those lengthy stems, so time pressure is higher, than in NBME and QBanks.
And, of course, 8 hours of quizzing and solving - non penis canis est, very tiresome.
My timig: first 3 blocks - no break, after 3rd - 10 min, after 4th - 30 min (ate Twix and drank Burn, that's it, not much appetite), 5th - 5min, after 6th - rest of break.

Aftermath
In the end of the test day I felt empty and exhausted. But I felt also that I did my best. I just could't do better with my level of knowledge and training. Of course, several days after you start review and refresh questions that you had. You try to check and find answers on the items you remember. Of course, you find some mistakes and become upset and doubting. But stop, it is not appropriate, coz you can't do anything anyway. So forget it and booze

Now, when I got my score and found out it's not bad at all, of course I'm pleased and happy. But it's only a beginning of the long and hard way. I'm IMG from Russia, graduated this year, and I will seek residency on surgery. I know how hard it is to get, but I'll crush the walls with my head to reach the goal

Once more I wanted to thank everybody, especially Heights, Dr.Sidd, Rasheed, Sabio, Lee-usmle, ZumZum and Neuromat, whose posts and threads I found especially helpful.

Good luck to you, and all who stepped on this long and winding road=)

Last edited by Antonosjn; 09-25-2011 at 05:37 AM.
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The above post was thanked by:
akua (09-25-2011), angelina vivien (09-25-2011), Cairo (09-29-2011), Crimsonboy (09-26-2011), drgabroomunda (09-27-2011), DrNur (09-25-2011), inno (09-26-2011), Jeesan (09-25-2011), lizard (08-08-2016), roodiemd (09-25-2011), rulz (09-27-2011), samba (09-26-2011), sumedha (09-26-2011), tootsie (09-25-2011), USMLE-Syndrome (09-25-2011), usmle2011 (09-25-2011)



  #2  
Old 09-25-2011
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Thumbs Up Congo!!!!

congrats , your hard work paid off
its party time know.

I had a question which Qbank do you think represents more of exam like questions
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  #3  
Old 09-25-2011
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Default Equal

Well, I think UW is generally more representative, except of Behavioral sciences, and Biochemistry (with Molecular/cell biology and genetics) sections which are more representative in Kaplan. I think, neither of these banks is better, they both are exellent and both worth attention.
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  #4  
Old 09-25-2011
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Smile

Thanks
Currently i am doing Kaplan Qbank but the physiology questions in it are really weird, do they ask dis sort of qns in exams.

which NBME do you think was most near to your exam?
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  #5  
Old 09-25-2011
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In my opinion, the biggest disadvantage of Kaplan is that they often ask bare recall of such specific facts, that may be found in Kaplan books and lectures only, and if you (like me) didn't read these books, there is no way you can answer these questions. You just don't know these facts!

No, I saw very few, if any such wierd questions on real exam. They prefer to ask well-known facts, but in challenging manner.

I think all these NBME forms are good. All of them have a plenty of very representative questions (those with long stems), but if I'd pick one form, it would be form 12.
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  #6  
Old 09-25-2011
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How were ur basic subjects before starting prep for USMle exam?

what kind of student were u in med school?
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2011
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Star great score!

congrats on the great score! thanks for sharing your experience

is hi-yield anatomy/neuroanatomy enough for the exam? or would you recommend other books?

thank you in advance
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  #8  
Old 09-26-2011
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to Crimson-boy:

Before November 2010 my basic subjects were zero
What do you mean by "kind of student"?

to Vivien:

As we know, the anatomy subject has 3 subdivisions: Gross anatomy, Neuroanatomy and Embryology. About 40% of all anatomy questions are Neuro. About 30% - embryo, and the rest 30% - Gross. HY Neuroanatomy and HY Embryology are exellent short books (about 100-150 pages each), you'll deal with them in a couple of days. They are rly high-yeld, I recomend them.
High-Yeld Gross anatomy, in my opinion, is poor book. It is lengthy (~350 pages), unnecessarily detailed, and presented information is beyond USMLE scope.
Due to low-yeldness of Gross Anatomy as a subject on USMLE, I think you needn't any special books on it at all. QBanks (esp Kaplan) and FA will do the trick. But if you have time and wish to master Gross, I'd rather recommend "USMLE Road map anatomy" book.
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  #9  
Old 09-26-2011
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q) how many times did u go through the review books.......??

q) one more rather unrelated q.....did u study all week(continuously for ten months,,,,or did u have weekly holidays+ any long break(a week or more) in your ten month prep?
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  #10  
Old 09-26-2011
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1) Through most of my review books I went only once, except for Micro and Biochem, which I did twice. As it is said, all this big books should be understood, NOT learned by heart (which is impossible). The FA is the only book that must be imprinted in your memory prior exam.

2) Yes, generally I studied the whole week. Of course, I had some days-off-learning: relatives birthdays, friends weddings, important exams in my local med-school, and so on... I think such days were about once in 2-3 weeks. Once I had 3-day "vacation", but that's all, I guess...
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  #11  
Old 09-26-2011
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Hii..congrats..did u have lot of molecular biochem and questions about gene therapies? And which book do you recommend for these subjects?
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  #12  
Old 09-26-2011
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I do not completely understand what do you mean by "Molecular biochemistry"

If you mean Cell biology (cell cycle, organelles function, cellular signaling and so on) - NOT many, about 10 questions maybe...

If you mean Molecular biology (transcripton, translation, nucleic acids processing and so on) - not many too, perhaps 10 more of them...

I had no special books on these subjects, I found them pretty well covered in Lippincott's Biochem and Pharma books. QBanks and FA will do the rest of trick!
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Old 09-27-2011
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Unhappy struggling with behavioural science

Hi... Congrats on your score. I started preparing for the USMLE step 1 two months ago. i completed behavioural science kaplan lecture/book. But as soon as i started with the Qbank ,i got really depressed. I am only getting an avg score of 52%. I tried answering 200 question , but my score aren't going up. I am struck with 2 answer choices, that are very hard to pick one. Kindly advice me on how to tackle this section.

I appreciate you spending time answering all our questions...

Sam
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  #14  
Old 09-29-2011
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Sam,

I don't know, behavioral science was tough to me too. It is the only subject I've got borderline performance.

I think you should carefully analyze every each question from the bank (especially those you got wrong) and try to understand what's gone wrong in your mindwork. Why that definite option is right, not another, and how did question-writer think making up this question?
Sooner or later you'll find out that you see, where he leads you. Otherwords, you'll start to think the same way as the question-writer and since that moment your performance will increase dramatically. That's what Kaplan says =)

Last edited by Antonosjn; 09-29-2011 at 05:48 AM.
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  #15  
Old 09-29-2011
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Smile Thanks Antonosjn

Thanks a lot for replying. I will do the same as per your advice
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  #16  
Old 09-29-2011
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hey, great score~~!!!! congrats u must be going crazy!

what would be your advice about FA..? im reading from review books and annotating then in FA...
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