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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 03-12-2010
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Smile Just finished the exam

So I just finished the exam earlier today and thought I'd share some thoughts with you guys.

When you arrive, you need your scheduling permit and a piece of photo ID with a signature. I brought two just in case but didn't need it.
You are then handed a sheet of paper with a list of rules, etc. It's just a formality. You get a small locker and can store all of your stuff in the locker. The only items you can bring into the exam room are your ID and your locker key.
You then register and they may or may not take your fingerprint (didn't take mine). They will take a photo ID of you. They will give you a markerboard, or markerboard-type paper, as well as a couple of dry erase markers. You need to put your name and CIN number on one of the markerboards - the CIN is on your scheduling permit, but they'll remind you of that when you are there.
You then sign into a log book and proceed to the exam room. *Every time you leave the exam room (breaks after blocks) you sign out, in the log book. When coming back from break, you sign in, in the log book.

So you are assigned a seat, and you can change it if you don't like where they put you. Once you are sat down at the computer, the proctor will make sure you have everything you need - headphones for the audio and headphone-earplugs.

You then click on the computer screen and it will prompt you to enter your CIN.

Once you do this, the clock begins ticking...

So this is the time breakdown.
7 blocks of 48 questions, and 1 hour to complete each block.
45 minutes break time.
15 minutes tutorial.

So that means, if you were to finish every block at the last second, you would have a total of 45 minutes break time throughout the exam. This INCLUDES any time you may want to eat lunch. So you basically have short breaks throughout the day.

Now, if you basically skip the entire tutorial, you can add that tutorial time to your total break time = 60 minutes of break time (45 minutes scheduled + 15 minutes added from skipping the tutorial).

**However, I would not just skip right through the tutorial. Make sure your headphones are working properly when the headphone tutorial page comes up. Mine weren't working, and the proctor had to run over and find some that worked... and the whole time the clock was ticking. So that was annoying but at least it didn't disrupt an actual question block.

After the tutorial, there is a screen with 2 boxes that read:

Proceed to the next block of questions?
and
Take a scheduled break?

Obviously you aren't going to take a break here so you click on the box that takes you into the actual exam. You now have 60 minutes to complete the first block of 48 questions. At 5 minutes, a warning message will come up on the screen saying you have 5 minutes left in the block.
The format of the exam is basically EXACTLY the same as USMLE world. So definitely familiarize yourself with the lab values tab, etc. I used it a lot more in the actual exam than I did when doing UWorld. Not for every single question or anything, but more often than UWorld. So make sure you know where things are on that tab - i.e. TSH values, WBC differentials, Urine creatinine, etc. etc.

*What is unique to this exam:
1) for the audio questions, you are able to actually move a stethoscope over a picture of a patient's chest. There are 3-5 areas of the chest with yellow circles that you can move the stethoscope to and you will hear different sounds based on the location you put it. Was cool, but it obviously made the question take longer.
2) there are video questions! I didn't have any, thank God, but there definitely are potentially video questions. In the tutorial, there was an example of a patient with Parkinson's displaying Parkinson's symptoms. So just don't be caught off guard if you get a video question.
--> so for either of these types of questions, you will a prompt at the beginning of the question saying "this has accompanying audio, etc" then have the regular question stem, then the answer choices below the question stem, then in the bottom right corner of the screen there will be a box that says "audio" or "video" or whatever. You can't miss it.

Ok, so now you've finished your first 48 questions. Yay that wasn't too horrible, and if it was, who cares, those are just the questions that don't count towards your actual score.

Now, you will select "End block" at the bottom of the screen. The computer will prompt you "are you sure" and you click "yes" to proceed or "return to question block" if you clicked that by accident. If you click "yes" you will again be taken to the screen that says:
Proceed to the next block of questions?
and
Take a scheduled break?

At this point you may take a scheduled break.
If you click "Take a scheduled break?" you will be taken to a screen that reads:
Total break time remaining: xxx
Total exam time remaining: xxx

You may now get up, and leave the exam room and sign out with the proctors to get some food, a drink, walk outside... whatever.

You can take as long or as short of a break as you want, but obviously don't take a 20 minute break since you may not leave yourself with anything later in the exam.

As an aside: When doing UWorld questions, I always had at least 10 minutes to spare after each block of 48. The most I ever had for the real USMLE Step I was 4 minutes. Four of the blocks I finished with like 30 seconds left. So don't assume you're going to be able to bank a ton of time cause when the real exam is on, you double, triple, and quadruple check your answers (or at least I do because I have OCD... or OCPD... or.... who the hell cares, I'm done )

Once you are done with your break, you sign back in again in the log book, and go back to your computer. You are then prompted to put in your CIN again, and once you have done that, you are taken to the next block of 48 questions.

Rinse and repeat until you are done all 7 blocks. And that's it!

Oh, then at the end there is some survey you can fill out that takes 5 minutes.

OK so now the stuff you guys want to hear: what was on the exam?

Quite honestly, it was DEFINITELY easier than UWorld. Like night and day. I'd say it was tougher than the Free 150 questions that you can do if you do a practice exam at your centre.. and probably about the same difficulty as the practice NBMEs.

I was considering pushing my exam date back 2 weeks but I'm glad I didn't. Using the resources I did (FA, UWorld, and Goljan) I wouldn't have done any better going over all of that again.

So what I 100000000% recommend, is in your last 10 days of studying, MAKE SURE you go over FA in its entirety. Like, know FA cold. Just like everyone says. I heard from upper termers to do this, and I did. And I'm VERY glad I did. So many questions I just flipped through FA in my mind and basically grabbed the answer right out of it. Like I can't emphasize enough: GO THROUGH IT.

One thing about this exam that I really liked was that it was, without question, the most fair and best written exam I have ever taken. Out of the 336 questions, there was only 1 I was slightly confused about. All of them were worded well otherwise.

OK breakdown:
**: know that chapter well, nothing crazy, but do know the stats questions. cause having to figure out the math through reason takes up too much time. so make sure you know PPV, 1-B, etc. just so you don't have to think about it if you get a question.

Embryo: FA is more than enough

Micro: FA is more than enough

Immuno: FA is more than enough

Pathology: FA and UWorld are essential

Pharm: FA is more than enough, and definitely focus on mechanism, side effects, drug interactions. Uses were less yield, but still important. i.e. I had a question on malignant HTN and it asked which drug to use. I had a question with a pt who had an anthrax infection and it asked which antimicrobial to use.

Anatomy: make sure you know the nerve distributions in the shoulder/arm/hand. Dermatomes are important too. I had some randoms involving the leg and origin/insertion questions. meh, close eyes and guess.. haha

hmm what other subjects are there?

Psychiatry: FA is more than enough

Neuro: look through a neuro atlast for brainstem, medulla, midbrain slices and look at where the tracts are that go through each area. FA covered the spinal cord well.

And I think that's it? Oh physio: FA is prob all you need.

So ya, look at all of that. FA is definitely $ in the bank. The questions I didn't know were questions I wasn't going to get no matter what I studied, unless I used my old class notes, so I wasn't too worried about those since I don't think most ppl would have studied that stuff
i.e. what are the layers that cover the ureter and bladder and something about putting a needle through it and which structures would you hit/ they were all random things, i dont' remember it exactly, but i was like ***??

Um, so ya. I think that's about it.

The key to success here is to maintain mental focus. Constantly remind yourself to keep it together. Remind yourself that you've been studying for 2 years and you aren't going to lose focus now.

The beginning you are nervous, the end you are drained. Be prepared to feel this way so that you can know how to overcome it when it happens.

so ya! good luck to you guys, let me know if you have any specific questions!
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2010
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Very well written - thank you for covering every possible thing. This helped lots. Best of luck with the score and the next step!
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  #3  
Old 03-12-2010
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best of luck for ur scores
u kept studying FA, U world and goljan for 2 years??? what other resources did u use?
thanks
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  #4  
Old 03-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syedaanaqvi View Post
best of luck for ur scores
u kept studying FA, U world and goljan for 2 years??? what other resources did u use?
thanks
I meant by the two years is the preclinical med school years am still medical student
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2010
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ok
were u doing kaplan n goljaon along with ur school?
wwhat resources do u think will be enough for IMGs?
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2010
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good luck for u ... congrats
wish u get high score
what about the biochem ? FA is enough ?
how many question u face in each block ?
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thumb View Post
good luck for u ... congrats
wish u get high score
what about the biochem ? FA is enough ?
how many question u face in each block ?
Yes FA is enough, I got like 2 or maximum 3 questions in each block about biochem and they were really obvious and not the weirdest enzyme as you usually see in UW
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  #8  
Old 03-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syedaanaqvi View Post
best of luck for ur scores
u kept studying FA, U world and goljan for 2 years??? what other resources did u use?
thanks
I don't really know about IMGs
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2010
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thank u fahdoon
do u face any difficult histology or pathology slides or pictures ?
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thumb View Post
thank u fahdoon
do u face any difficult histology or pathology slides or pictures ?
No not at all, these were easy to get.
Perhaps only one histology slide that I didn't even understand what organ it was. But, that's OK to miss one or two of them.
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  #11  
Old 03-13-2010
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Thank you very much Fahdoon, nicely put and very informative.

However can u tell us if u watched Kaplan Videos and also Lecture notes, and if u did Kaplan qbank ?
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  #12  
Old 03-13-2010
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Default Am a medical student

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Chaitanya View Post
Thank you very much Fahdoon, nicely put and very informative. However can u tell us if u watched Kaplan Videos and also Lecture notes, and if u did Kaplan qbank ?
Once again, let me remind that am a medical student. Am not an IMG like you.
No I did not see Kaplan vids or notes and I did not do the Kaplan Qbank.
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  #13  
Old 03-13-2010
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Idea! Concerning your post , how about Biochemistry and Genetics portion ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fahdoon View Post
So I just finished the exam ....... if you have any specific questions!
Concerning your post , how about Biochemistry and Genetics portion ?
__________________
If you have good things, please do share with everyone.
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  #14  
Old 03-14-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahaha007 View Post
Concerning your post , how about Biochemistry and Genetics portion ?
Also FA
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  #15  
Old 03-19-2010
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Default Time constraints

Hey there, quick question.

You mentioned that you had markedly less time on the exam than when taking UW quizzes. Was this because of doubting your selections or because of the length of the question stems?

I'm curious because I have a reading disability (reading rate, not comprehension), and the NBME denied my request for accommoations. I took a practice NBME and did pretty awful despite averaging 55% on UW questions. The only reason I did so bad was because I could not finish.

So, how did the length of questions on the USMLE compare to the length of UW questions?

Thanks!
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  #16  
Old 03-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warriorpoet85 View Post
Hey there, quick question.

You mentioned that you had markedly less time on the exam than when taking UW quizzes. Was this because of doubting your selections or because of the length of the question stems?

I'm curious because I have a reading disability (reading rate, not comprehension), and the NBME denied my request for accommoations. I took a practice NBME and did pretty awful despite averaging 55% on UW questions. The only reason I did so bad was because I could not finish.

So, how did the length of questions on the USMLE compare to the length of UW questions?

Thanks!
Hmmm, I think the real exam is 85-90% of the UW time. This is just an approximate time of what I felt. I might be wrong.
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  #17  
Old 03-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fahdoon View Post
Hmmm, I think the real exam is 85-90% of the UW time. This is just an approximate time of what I felt. I might be wrong.
So, do you mean that the stems seemed 15% longer or that you took 15% more time to answer questions once you had alread read through the stem?

Sorry, I really do appreciate your post! It really helped a ton. I am just curious about the length of the questions.
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  #18  
Old 03-20-2010
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Default You will be superman in the exam

Quote:
Originally Posted by warriorpoet85 View Post
So, do you mean that the stems seemed 15% longer or that you took 15% more time to answer questions once you had alread read through the stem?

Sorry, I really do appreciate your post! It really helped a ton. I am just curious about the length of the questions.
USMLEWorld blocks seemed longer to me by 10-15% than the real USMLE exam. Maybe in the exam you have higher epinephrine levels and you will be superman
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  #19  
Old 03-20-2010
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Default Doubt it :)

haha...thanks. I sincerely doubt it, though. I've got a pretty good history of being awful at standardized exams. I'm getting 55-60% on UWorld and I literally got a 200 on NBME form 4 (equivalent of a 134) when I took it last week. It was purely because the questions were so long.

The questions on NBME 4 seemed to be much longer to me than those found on USMLE World.

so, it is good to know the UWorld questions seemed longer than the real USMLE you took.

Thanks!
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  #20  
Old 04-20-2010
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Default Congratulations for this first step

I wish u success for the next steps.And ur advice will be helpful Thanks.I had a question about the distribution of the question frequency: were they distributed close to the following?
Pathology 25% Anatomy 15% Pharmacology14% Microbiology 10 % Pathophysiology 10% Biochemistry 8% Physiology 8% Immunology 5% Behavior 5%
And were there a lot of diagnostic test asked?
Thank you for all your answers
aceman
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  #21  
Old 04-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceman View Post
I wish u success for the next steps.And ur advice will be helpful Thanks.I had a question about the distribution of the question frequency: were they distributed close to the following?
Pathology 25% Anatomy 15% Pharmacology14% Microbiology 10 % Pathophysiology 10% Biochemistry 8% Physiology 8% Immunology 5% Behavior 5%
And were there a lot of diagnostic test asked?
Thank you for all your answers
aceman
Please have a look here
http://www.usmle-forums.com/usmle-st...tribution.html
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  #22  
Old 04-29-2010
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Default HI

Have u got ur score?
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  #23  
Old 05-11-2010
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Great information... thanks for shared... and congrats ! i hope u get a high score ..
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  #24  
Old 06-23-2010
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did u get ur scores?? i m curious coz i too am using the books u said.. r they enuf,or u think differently after ur scores etc??
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  #25  
Old 06-24-2010
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Send a message via Yahoo to silakan_isi
Wink Yeah, How ?

tell us how about your score . . hehehe, we are very curious . .
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  #26  
Old 08-15-2010
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Default How did you prepare during MS II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fahdoon View Post
I meant by the two years is the preclinical med school years am still medical student
Hey Fahdoon, thank you for this great post, very informative! I hope you got the score you wanted (or even better )
I am about to start MS II in a couple weeks and was wondering how you prepare for the boards during your second year; I.e.
1) when did you start officially studying?
2) when did you review 1st year material?
3) were you doing boards prep along with your classes?
4) when did you start using FA and USMLE World?
5) any other tips?
Looking forward to your response, and thanks for you help! Anyone else in a similar situation or have suggestions, please comment
All the best
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  #27  
Old 08-21-2010
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Correct Answer thank u

@Fahdoon-thank u for writing such an outstanding review of everything..
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  #28  
Old 10-16-2010
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Default thank you faddon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fahdoon View Post
So I just finished the exam earlier today ...... let me know if you have any specific questions!
that was very enlightening. my exams is in 1 month. I've gotten some useful tips.
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