TenderLovingDoc Passed Step 1 exam! - USMLE Forums
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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 12-12-2011
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Smile TenderLovingDoc Passed Step 1 exam!

Glory be to God, I passed my step 1! Well, I know it's not the typical 200+ that I see on this forum, but I am grateful for my score. I took my exam in late Oct 2011 and got back my score in Nov 2011. Sorry, I haven't been able to come back to this forum since I got my results back--I have been busy compiling all the documents required by my school for placement into clinical rotations. The good news is that I am here now to share my Step 1 experience and to show my heartfelt appreciation to each and everyone on this forum for their support and helpful advice. You've all helped me become a better test-taker. Your help is greatly appreciated! I also thank my loved ones, friends, well wishers, including my medical school, for giving me the opportunity to study medicine.

I don't post here that much but I often check for updates and whenever I got sick of studying I would come here for motivation.

Please note that each individual is unique and what works for Person A may not necessarily work for person B. To those who are still preparing to take the test: it's doable. Just don't give up, keep working hard, be prayerful and I'm sure you will make it too!

This past year for me was the toughest and the most demanding period of my life. Being an IMG, I had to cater for my own financial needs, pay for my exam prep and other basic needs. Every month, I also pay back interests on the loans I had taken for my basic sciences at med school. The point I am trying to emphasize is that I am grateful that I survived and passed despite all those moments.

Preparation for my step 1 prep started partially in early January 2011, but serious prep only began May/June.

What I did:

I purchased the Kaplan webprep in January. I started watching Kaplan videos (x1) from Feb-April (about 10-12hrs daily and 5-6 days weekly)--I also followed along the videos with Kaplan books--I however did not go back to read all the books after I finished the videos, but I did annotate all important info from Kaplan to my 2010 first aid. Kaplan Qbank 100% (x1), included with my WebPrep. I got sick of studying and took some weeks off.

Read FA (x2) from May-August alongside USMLE World 100% (x1.5 approx)--0.5 came from the time dedicated for revising UW marked and incorrect answers. I initially booked my exam for July but extended my eligibility (thanks to low NBME scores).

NBME scores:

NBME 3 (May 2011)=2 months to initial exam date -----------------------------------------------------------------------------> 320 (I felt really bad about it)

NBME 12 (July 2011)=3 weeks before initial step 1 date-----------------------------------------------------------------------> 360

NBME 7 (July 2011=1week before initial test date-------------------------------------------------------------------------------> 340 (felt horrible and nearly gave up, so I extended my eligibility)

NBME 11 (August 2011)=2 months to my actual test----------------------------------------------------------------------------> 390 (low score, but my highest NBME)

UW avg------------------------> 51% correct overall

Kaplan avg-------------------> 54% correct overall

Step 1 score---------------------------------------------------> 197 Therefore, NBME 11 was the closest predictor for me.

I know 197 is not a perfect score, but I am so glad I passed on my first attempt. Now, I am going to work very hard on my Step 2CK and also make sure I pass my CS at the very first attempt, because I would like to match in Internal Medicine residency and further specialize in future. I had approx. 1 year research experience during my undergrad (in the U.S). I also participated in research during my basic science of med school. Please, if you have suggestions for what I can do to improve my chances of matching in my choice residency, I will appreciate if you can share with me.

After my last NBME score of 390 in August, I decided to schedule my exam and I chose October ( just a few days to the end of my extended eligibility period). That decision was a tough one:
1.) because I wasn't making the progress I had anticipated); 2.) I was always thinking about the time, money, energy, etc I had invested on my med education and on this particular exam. I actually believe that great achievements involve great risks. So, I prayed about it and I started reviewing my first aid with all the notes I annotated from Kaplan and UW till my exam.

I listened to Goljan (a great teacher) and also audio quickhitz from studywithsubstancep (this guy is awesome!) whenever I wasn't doing serious study--e.g. when taking a walk, eating, in the bathroom, at the barber's shop, etc. I reviewed all the wrong questions from my online NBME (i.e. the expanded feedback from NBMEs 7, 11, & 12).

A week to my exam: I made sure I did the topics tagged as 'forgettable' from this forum (I'm glad that I did!).

A day to my exam: I did not do much study--I revised the HY facts at the back of FA with the images. Went to bed around 10:30PM, but I couldn't fall asleep and it was around 12 midnight, so I took ibuprofen-diphenhydramine combo as sleep aid.

Exam day: I managed to sleep until approx 4:05AM when I suddenly woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I quickly took a shower and freshen up, went back to my room and dressed up. I was joined by my family in prayers, hoping for the best. By 6:00AM, I left my house for the exam center (approx. 30 mins drive). I asked someone to drive me there. That morning I didn't have much appetite for food, so I packed some sandwich, fruits, water, glucose powder, soda.

My exam was at 8.30am, but I got to the exam on time and I went through the regular check-in early, presented my photo ID and step1 scheduling permit, a locker for my belongings, 2 marker sheets with erasable markers. I was able to begin the test early. Once I started, the time went by pretty fast! I never really had enough time to review all marked questions, but I made sure I read carefully before picking my answers. Guys, in my opinion, I felt like the exam was testing my knowledge of first aid and kaplan Qbank (I am not trying to advertise for any company)--that's just my own opinion. The questions were straightforward, had a few , say 2 or 3 audio qs. Pathology was about 50%, 20% physio qs, 10% pharm, few biochem qs, and others were basic general principle and behavioral qs. I was a bit apprehensive during my first block, but I took deep breathes to calm down. I also washed my face with water during each break and then had a teaspoon of glucose powder for extra energy.

I took breaks in this order:

2 blocks (7 min break)
1 block (6 min break)
1 block (25 min long break)--no eating was allowed in testing area, so I had to take the elevator to eat at the cafeteria in that same building.
1 block (12 minute break= final break)
2 blocks-->done! I then filled out the post-exam survey.

Reflections:

Was there something I felt I should have done but I didn't do?
I did not have a study partner because group study was not my thing back during undergrad years, even in med school (as I stated earlier every individual is different, so you should do works for you).

What should I have done better?
I probably should have read my first aid more times and should have taken more NBME assessments, and early too. May be I should have done more Q banks (i.e. 2 or more passes)?? Well, I have no regrets whatsoever, but I think it could be better.

Any advice or take-home message for future test takers? Yes:
Please ensure that you do online NBMEs ONLY and do them early during your prep to gauge your preparedness-- don't wait until the last minute--say NO to procrastination! In my opinion, First Aid is the single most important study resource you will be using, therefore know this book inside-out. Undoubtedly, in the end, everyone will be responsible for their own scores; therefore no matter the amount of advice you obtain from someone else, you will still have to make your own decisions as to what will work out for you. Listen to your heart, believe in yourself and if you believe in prayers, continue to pray to your God! And I hope that it shall be well with you too and that you are going to get your dream scores by the grace of God. I will keep you in my prayers. Please keep me in your prayers as well.

Friends, please forgive me for the long post. I apologize for any typos. I would try to post replies to your comments or questions as soon as I can. I want you to know that I cherish you all. Who knows, maybe someday we might even meet and work together--I am surely looking forward to working with great minds (men and women) like you.

Finally, I want to use this opportunity to thank you helpful members of this resourceful forum. Former American professional footballer, Tony Dorsett, once stated that "To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you." On this forum, I have been motivated and inspired time after time. Please know this: I remain forever grateful to you all.

Thank you all and God bless you!!!
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The above post was thanked by:
abeer (12-13-2011), aknz (12-13-2011), alfjof (12-13-2011), b.marzbani23 (12-13-2011), dextrocardia (12-20-2011), dr-ahmed (12-13-2011), DRIBO (12-13-2011), fahadalam (12-13-2011), gayathri (04-30-2012), husseinalaa (07-21-2012), kieffer (12-13-2011), miaham (12-13-2011), mulchandani161 (12-14-2011), nativedoc2 (12-13-2011), pkul85 (12-18-2011), samba (12-13-2011), savleem (12-18-2011), stepdoc1 (02-06-2012), Triquetrum (12-14-2011), usmle_taker (12-13-2011), USMLE-Syndrome (12-13-2011), vishalmethre (12-12-2011), welove (04-12-2014)



  #2  
Old 12-12-2011
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congratulations dude. you are finally done.
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TenderLovingDoc (12-13-2011)
  #3  
Old 12-13-2011
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Congratulations on passing!
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  #4  
Old 12-13-2011
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congratulations and wish u all the best.
I would like to ask you some help regarding applying because i'm from out of USA, US qualified.i'm suffering to apply please help me to get through.
please.
thanks
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  #5  
Old 12-13-2011
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Default Congratulations!

Hey congratulations! Im an IMG as well! I will be going to the US to start my preparation for step 1 and step 2 in January 2012. Hopefully I will take step 1 in august or September. Im also responsible for my own financial needs. I will get a loan here in my country, but im very stressed with that because i dont know how much money i will spend each month there. Its been very difficult to get the loan, but i hope it will pay off with a good score in the steps!
If you can give some advise in how to live a year in the US as an IMG, i will be very grateful.

Thank you, and congrats! You will pass Step 2 for sure!

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  #6  
Old 12-13-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan5 View Post
congratulations and wish u all the best.
I would like to ask you some help regarding applying because i'm from out of USA, US qualified.i'm suffering to apply please help me to get through.
please.
thanks
@jordan5: When you said you are trying to apply, I am guessing you mean for step 1 right? You need to go to ecfmg website and fill out your application (prior to that, make sure you first obtain your ecfmg ID).

Follow the instructions on their website and print out all the necessary forms (e.g. form 186) they require your med school to sign and mail directly to ECFMG. Once your application has been approved by ECFMG, you can then choose your eligibility period and pick your exam date. This process may take couple of weeks. Make sure you check your emails regularly because you will be receiving notifications from ECFMG about your application via email.

All the best to you!
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jordan5 (12-13-2011)
  #7  
Old 12-13-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDChristiangbs View Post
Hey congratulations! Im an IMG as well! I will be going to the US to start my preparation for step 1 and step 2 in January 2012. Hopefully I will take step 1 in august or September. Im also responsible for my own financial needs. I will get a loan here in my country, but im very stressed with that because i dont know how much money i will spend each month there. Its been very difficult to get the loan, but i hope it will pay off with a good score in the steps!
If you can give some advise in how to live a year in the US as an IMG, i will be very grateful.

Thank you, and congrats! You will pass Step 2 for sure!

@MDChristiangbs: Well, I am thankful that I didn't have to pay for feeding and housing (rent) costs because I live with my family, but as stated in my post above there are several basic stuffs I have to pay for by myself. I think the estimated expenses per month for a whole year will depend on your personal choices, how much you want to spend based on your personal budget--rent and other bills, groceries, etc. I am sure there are several affordable housing in the U.S (prices may however vary from one location to another). Make sure you look for the best deals where you can save more.

I hope you find this helpful. Good luck with everything!
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  #8  
Old 12-13-2011
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Awesome, congratulations!
Your name reminds me of Pyruvate dehydrogenase co factors.
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TenderLovingDoc (12-13-2011)
  #9  
Old 12-13-2011
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thank u so much, i got the ECFMG ID as well. and started fill the on line form but to fill the online application i have lot of doubt so i send a mail to them and to fill getting delay that's why I'm very upset there is no one for me to guide or give idea to fill soon and carry on my carrier.
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  #10  
Old 12-14-2011
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Congrats! nice post.
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TenderLovingDoc (12-14-2011)
  #11  
Old 12-18-2011
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Congratulations !!
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  #12  
Old 12-18-2011
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Smile Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by savleem View Post
Congratulations !!
@savleem, thank you very much!
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