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Old 12-22-2011
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Arrow Jattdoc Exam Experience 249/99

Hey I am a foreign medical grad from the Caribbean. I got my step 1 score in October. I got a 249/99, I was aiming/expecting a 220-230 but I was happy to see I got into the 240s. I finished med school in January and started to watch Kaplan videos passively (without the books) from January to end of February. After that I took my first NBME in early March to see where I stood. So from March to September I was studying actively/full-time like 10-14 hours a day. In between there were a lot of distractions such as family commitments, etc so that is why it took like 7 months for me to write step 1. My NBME scores are listed below:

NBME 4 – March 6 – 212
NBME 6 – April 17 – 228
NBME 11 – May 9 – 221
NBME 12 (offline) – 230s
NBME 3 – June 10 – 238
Didn’t take an NBME for like 2-3 months
NBME 7 – September 3 – 247 (3 weeks before step)
STEP 1 – 249/99

Make sure you are very critical of your NBMEs. See where you went wrong and why it happened? If it’s some minor details you didn’t memorize yet, then you know that your mark will be higher once you do FA a couple more times and hammer those down. If it’s because you didn’t know some concept then make sure you go on wikipedia, etc and figure it out. If its because you forgot some fact you had learned before, then make sure you relearn it and it will come back to when your taking the exam. All the stuff you studied is lodged in your brain somewhere and it’ll come out when your taking the exam and reading the answer choices. I honestly thought my step was very similar to NBME 12 and 7.

STUDYING:
So I basically studied from Jan to Sept. January to end of Feb was only Kaplan videos (without the books) and I made my own notes as I went along for stuff I wasn’t comfortable with. I forgot all of this stuff by the time I took step 1 in Sept because I never looked at these notes again, but I felt that I needed to do the Kaplan videos so I wouldn’t miss out on any info. Then I took my first NBME in March and started proper studying (full days, no day offs, sometimes take half a day off). I had some distractions in June for like a month which set me back, but that’s life, **** happens lol. I only did First aid 2010, goljan audio with transcript, and UWORLD qbank from March to Sept. I didn’t do question blocks everyday and when I did do the blocks, it would take me a long time to get through it so sometimes I wouldn’t get through all 46 in the day. I did the qbank twice only and made lots of notes in my FA. First time through was tutor mode (all random – 54% average overall) and second time through was timed mode (all random – 76% average overall). 2nd time through I used note cards and wrote down stuff I got wrong and looked at it before I went to sleep/or when I woke up the next day. I stopped doing uworld questions like 2-3 months before I wrote step because my subscription expired, so I started to do some usmlerx offline questions and questions from this forum to keep my mind active. In regards to first aid 2010, I started it in March and did it till Sept. I started from page 1 and went to the end each time, but I would take a long time to do it. I probably got through FA like 5-6 times from March to Sept….the first time it took me like a month and a half to get through it, then the 2nd time it took a month, and it would take less and less time each time I went through it. The last time I went through it was like in 8 days before Step 1 and this was so clutch because I was able to get through so much material in a short amount of time, so when I was writing the exam, so many of those facts and details were popping up (easy points). I did DIT once sometime in the middle of my studying. I did the tests and all his questions but I took like 25 days to do it (instead of the 15 days it is designed for). DIT was very helpful as it gave a structured way to get through FA and highlighted small details that I thought were unimportant. After I did DIT, I took my NBME 3 and I felt like DIT helped me with so many of the questions, so I really recommend that you do it. DIT took my mark into the 230s. I also did goljan audio along with the transcript twice during my studying. I would do an hour a day in the morning. The first time I did goljan audio was near the beginning of my studies and I felt like I didn’t know most of the stuff he was talking about, but when I did goljan audio again during the end of my studying I felt like I knew everything he was talking about because I had gained so much more knowledge. So in summary I basically memorized the crap out of FA, did questions, and supplemented with goljan audio. I didn’t use any other books or material. I also didn’t use any review courses besides the DIT (which is basically going through FA with a buddy) and Kaplan videos (which I had downloaded from torrents)

Exam Experience:
I went into the exam crapping my pants. I was so nervous that I would crack under the pressure and mess up the entire exam. I had the fear that I might panic and then mess up, get short of time and end up rushing through it. I had all of these feelings leading up to the exam, but this is normal for most people. The day of the exam I was surprisingly calm. The day before the exam I stopped my studying at 5 pm. I had to finish up one or 2 sections of FA, listen to heart murmurs and look at random pics online of the brain and stuff. After 5pm I just chilled, went to the temple, went to walmart to get snacks and stuff for the big day, and watched Jersey shore lol. I tried to get in bed at 10 pm and be awake at 6 am, but I was just tossing and turning the whole night, and I think I only got a total of literally an hour of sleep. This stressed me out even more because I thought I would be tired and not focused during the exam. I had some breakfast and coffee and got to the center early. I signed in and what not and took my seat to take the exam. I was very calm and chilled out on the drive to the exam center and also while I was sitting there about to start the exam. I told myself that I couldn’t panic because I can’t mess this exam up. I just told myself to try my hardest and seee what happens. So then I started the exam and it was surprising straightforward. It was easier than any NBME I took and much easier than uworld. Lots of easy questions, straight recall. I kept a good pace. I went through each block really fast. I was aiming to get the questions done in like 40-45 minutes and then 15 minutes to review whatever I had marked. I never left my blocks early, I always stayed till the end to review my marked questions. I never spent extra time on hard questions, I just guessed and moved on if I had no idea. I marked like 15-20 questions each block (3-4 of them because I had no idea and 10-15 of them I would just mark them to make sure I didn’t overlook any details that could change the answer because I was going at a quick pace and just looking for buzzwords or extra-ordinary lab values that helped me quickly answer the questions). I felt confident through most of the blocks. Only one block was kind of tough but I was able to power through it. I prayed that the last couple of blocks would be easier because I was getting tired and they ended up being easier. I had my lunch and a big can of redbull and that gave me energy to finish the last 3 blocks. There were always questions (about 5) per block that I had no idea about, but I didn’t let these bother me because I assumed they were experimental or that the curve would help me out or that I might just make a lucky guess. I made sure to take a break after each block. I would eat some small snack or sip some Gatorade/redbull/water. I also went to the bathroom to take a leak and put water on my face. Another thing I did was interact with the other ppl taking breaks and just make light conversation. I never went to go look at my FA to look up answers and what not, because I know it would bother me if I got it wrong. I never even looked that stuff up after my exam was done, I just put all my books away and went on vacation 2 days after I wrote my exam. By the time I got to my last block, I honestly just wanted to leave, but I knew this was the final stretch and I couldn’t mess it up now, so I made sure I took my time to answer each question but I didn’t bother rechecking my answers. Once I was done, it was such an amazing feeling. I thanked all the prometric staff and felt like I just got out of jail lol. I was feeling that I had passed but I didn’t know whether I had hit my goal of 220-230s. I knew I would be happy with 210 or above, but I tried not to think about it too much after the exam.

Exam Content:
Anatomy – Source: FA and knowledge from basic sciences – Exam: anatomy was pretty tough of the exam but there was only a couple of questions. They were very specific about nerves and muscle groups so I guessed on those ones, but they also had easy ones too that FA covers. You cant really prepare for the hard ones because anatomy is such a detailed course, so just guess on them

Embryo – Source: FA – Exam: I didn’t have much embryology on my exam but FA was enough for it

Pharmacology – Source: FA – Exam: pharm is huge on step because there is a ton of questions but they are all easy, straight recall and FA is perfect for this – honestly uworld questions on pharm go crazy in depth and that’s unnecessary

Micro – Source: FA – Exam: micro is also huge of step and again FA is more than enough – mostly bacteria questions and a couple of ones on viruses/parasites/helminthes – there were only a few pics but mostly very easy to answer

Immunology – Source: FA – Exam: immuno was very straight forward on the exam – very basic questions about IL-8, C5a, etc

Biochemistry - Source: FA – Exam: there were only maybe 5 questions of biochem in terms of enzymes and pathways, but there were very easy like asking about McArdle’s or Tay sachs and what enzyme is involved

Behavioral/Psych – Source: FA and Kaplan videos – Exam: most of the behavioral was in terms of ethics questions and these are 50/50, some were hard and some were easy – seemed like there were more than 2 correct answers but I just went with my gut – there were also questions about personality disorders and drug abuse which were very easy

Biostats – Source: FA and Kaplan videos – Exam: this was also a 50/50 draw – half of the questions were easy where you just plug in numbers into formulas, but the other half consisted of analyzing graphs and data (I guessed on these because I was too lazy to sit there and try to figure it out)

Genetics – Source: FA – Exam: genetics was about 3 questions with punnet squares and they either wanted you to figure out the probability or tell what the mode of inheritance is based on the punnet square – I thought these were slightly on the hard side as you had to sit there and spend time trying to figure it out, but it is doable

Neuro – Source: FA and google images for random pics – Exam: neuro questions on the exam were mostly associated with pictures and they were fairly easy – I had two where I had to identify broca’s area and one where I had to label the lateral rectus in a person with MLF – I also had a couple more I cant remember but they were very easy and I think I got lucky that I didn’t get any crazy cranial nerve or angiogram pics

Physio – Source: FA and Kaplan videos – Exam: this was mainly graphs such as the starling curve or other common graphs that were easy to derive answers from if you have some knowledge about physio, but there were maybe only 2-3 questions total – I also did not have any calculations question on physio as all my calculations questions were for biostats – also a lot of the concept physio was endocrine with arrows up/down for like PTH, calcitonin, calcium, Gastrin, secretin etc which were easy if you understood your endocrine physio from FA

Besides the stuff listed above, I can tell you that my exam had tons of reproductive on it, but it was all easy FA recall. There were some confusing pics of breast lumps and biopsies but the majority was very easy. I was always weak in repro so I made sure when I did FA for the last time in like 8 days, I kept repro for the last day and this paid off immensely because I was just breezing through all the questions because I was able to visualize all the answers from FA. General pathology was also pretty much straightforward and I used FA and goljan audio for that. Hematology was big for leukemia’s/lymphomas/anemia/mutiple myeloma, but they were all based on lab values and blood smears which made it easy to answer. The actual question was long as hell, but looking at the lab values or the pictures was like ‘buzzwords’ because it was so obvious what the answer was based on them. Musculoskeletal was tricky, I didn’t get a star on that section because it was hard to decide between stuff like gout or R.A etc on some of the questions, so just make sure you know those fine details in and out so that you can differ between all the musculoskeletal diseases in FA. I don’t remember much about GI but I remember I had a picture of a colon and had to ID it, and it was between crohn’s and IBD. For renal thank god I didn’t have those pics in the NBMEs where you have to identify what disease it is because I sucked at that. Otherwise renal was easy and asked bout kidney stones and cancer.

Overall, I was very happy with my studying and exam experience. I know I took a long time to study, but I saw my NBME marks improve and finally reach the 240s. I was very patient and I’m the type of person that can study for long periods and not get burnt out. I did full days, never took a whole day off and studied most of the day, but I never got burnt out. I wasn’t influenced by my peers telling to take the exam quick and I just did my own thing till I knew I was ready to take it. I always knew that I could choose/change my exam dates just in case I didn’t feel ready and this helped keep my anxiety and stress level down. When I finally chose my exam date for end of sept (I changed and pushed it back like 2 times before), I was happy and content with my studying and knew that I had done my best. I had no anxiety about not knowing the material, but I did have anxiety that I might panic and mess up the exam. But like I said before, I told myself to remain calm and the adrenaline also helped during the exam to push through it. It’s honestly a very doable exam. I cant really think of anything else to say, sorry about the long story but I felt I needed to contribute as much as I can because this forum helped me out a lot during my studying. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Thanks to all the members.
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Old 12-22-2011
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Smile Congrats

Congrats for such a great score...n thanx for sharing ur xperience...its really very inspiring....
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Old 12-22-2011
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Congratulations!!!! Your hardwork paid off
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Old 12-22-2011
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congratulations and very nice post thanks a lot.
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Old 12-22-2011
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Congrats. Hard work paid at the end. Best of luck in all ur endeavours
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Old 12-23-2011
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aah keeti jaatta vaali gall mittra..great score..cheers!!
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Old 12-23-2011
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thanks for detial guidance & congrts on ur good score...
wana ask about molecular biology & genetics in exam?? is it important to go thru detail of all blotting & labs (PCR,northern,western) ,VNTR, translocation ,transposons,genes therapy..etc??
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Old 12-23-2011
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@ jattdoc
congrates!!!! you got dream score, that everyone wants!!!!!!
thanx for honest experience and advice....
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Old 12-23-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jopaa View Post
aah keeti jaatta vaali gall mittra..great score..cheers!!
jattdoc knows punjabi?????
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Old 12-24-2011
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O juttttt chaaaa gaya yaar ! Jeyo jatta congratzzzzzzz
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Old 12-25-2011
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Jatt di te ho gaya WAH bhai WAH!!!Congratulations mate way to go
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Old 12-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marrium View Post
thanks for detial guidance & congrts on ur good score...
wana ask about molecular biology & genetics in exam?? is it important to go thru detail of all blotting & labs (PCR,northern,western) ,VNTR, translocation ,transposons,genes therapy..etc??
genetics was about 2-3 pedigrees and you either had to figure out the mode of inheritance or you had to figure out the odd of having a kid with blah blah...mode of inhertiance can be found in first aid and the odd ratios stuff can be found in uworld or kaplan videos

moleuclar biology in terms of VNTR, transposons etc was very low yield on my exam....i dont think i had any questions on that topic, so i would just stick with first aid for that info
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Old 12-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riya10 View Post
jattdoc knows punjabi?????
hanji mainu punjabi ohndi ah lol
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  #14  
Old 01-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mohitkmc View Post
Jatt di te ho gaya WAH bhai WAH!!!Congratulations mate way to go
thanks for all the congrats...lemme know if you have any questions
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Old 01-01-2012
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thank you ..you really shared worthy information regarding dealing step 1 as a whole...
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  #16  
Old 01-02-2012
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when u say

my scores are listed below:

NBME 4 – March 6 – 212
NBME 6 – April 17 – 228
NBME 11 – May 9 – 221
NBME 12 (offline) – 230s
NBME 3 – June 10 – 238

- u are refering to the step1 equivalent of the nbme score??
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Old 01-02-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfsheran View Post
when u say

my scores are listed below:

NBME 4 – March 6 – 212
NBME 6 – April 17 – 228
NBME 11 – May 9 – 221
NBME 12 (offline) – 230s
NBME 3 – June 10 – 238

- u are refering to the step1 equivalent of the nbme score??
yes that is my "step 1 equivalent" score....when you take a practice NBME online..they give you your nbme score and the equivalent step 1 score
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Old 01-02-2012
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thx. i was just wondering i did my 1st nbme today. and i got a 193, thou i must say alot of the questions i missed i knew i didnt have a clue cause i forgot it. i am going 2 take one in a few days, gonna brush up my biochem, has alot of biochem questions on receptors. ; )
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Old 01-02-2012
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Originally Posted by sfsheran View Post
thx. i was just wondering i did my 1st nbme today. and i got a 193, thou i must say alot of the questions i missed i knew i didnt have a clue cause i forgot it. i am going 2 take one in a few days, gonna brush up my biochem, has alot of biochem questions on receptors. ; )
oh ok nice start....your only going to see improvements in your score as you progress and work on your weaknesses, memorize small details, get down concepts, etc.....and yea its good that you know what went wrong in your nbme, be critical of your nbme score and figure out whether it was something you just forgot, something you havent covered yet, or something you dont understand, so then you can either go memorize that stuff or dig deeper and try to understand that concept....good luck with your studying...your gon do great !
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Old 02-04-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jopaa View Post
aah keeti jaatta vaali gall mittra..great score..cheers!!
meherbaani yaaar
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  #21  
Old 02-04-2012
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Originally Posted by jattdoc View Post
meherbaani yaaar
what did u do in ur last week of prep jide naal score went up on ur nbme from 220 to 240+??

my exams in a weeks time..
any advice?
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  #22  
Old 02-04-2012
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Congrats!!!
Thanks for the advice!
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  #23  
Old 02-05-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbbs2010 View Post
what did u do in ur last week of prep jide naal score went up on ur nbme from 220 to 240+??

my exams in a weeks time..
any advice?
honestly...just do FA this entire week...dont do anything else...dont need to do questions or anything....only do FirstAid and make sure u do the topics that are hard to memorize towards the end of the week, so they are fresh in your mind right before the exam....for example, i have trouble with the reproductive section, so i did that like 2 days before my exam and all the questions on step 1 for repro were st8 recall from FA and i got a star on that topic......so just do FA this week....this is what me and my friends did and we all scored very good on step
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  #24  
Old 02-05-2012
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I found nbme 11 too long.how was real exam as compared to the nbme 11 12 lenght. was timing an issue ? also how were 6 and 7 blocks in terms of tiring .i m worried of being tired till the last blocks

my exam is in 10 days ....thank u so much
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  #25  
Old 02-06-2012
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Originally Posted by step_enhancer View Post
I found nbme 11 too long.how was real exam as compared to the nbme 11 12 lenght. was timing an issue ? also how were 6 and 7 blocks in terms of tiring .i m worried of being tired till the last blocks

my exam is in 10 days ....thank u so much
Yea when i took NBME 11...i felt it was very difficult, but this may have been because i took it earlier in my studying and my knowledge base was still weak, but i really liked nbme 12....i felt the exam was very similar to NBME 12...when i took nbme 12, i felt there was lots of buzzwords in the questions and it was very easy to answer, which is the exact same way i felt about step 1...also the questions were short-medium in length...i dont remember any long question stems..and i always read the last line first, so i knew what the question was asking me and then i could pick out buzzwords from the stem...timing was never an issue...i always worked at a good pace...when i saw a question i had no idea about, i didnt even bother trying to figure it out, i just guessed and moved on because that question may have been "experimental".....i always had about 10-15 minutes left after each block and i would go back and review the ones i had marked...DO NOT spend too much time on a question...there are so many questions on the exam and some may be experimental and some may have less weight than others, but you will screw yourself if you take too long, because then you will rush to finsih the rest of the block and miss easy questions.....go into step 1 expecting at least 5 WTF questions PER BLOCK that you will just have to guess on them and move on.......and for getting tired....i started to get tired around block 4 -5...this is the case for everyone ive talked to....i only got an hour of sleep the night before and its a long exam so getting tired is going to happen...i made sure to take a break after each block and also drink redbull, i also kept reminding myself that it is almost over and i need to just push through, but being tired did not play a major role in my exam experience because you will also have all that adrenaline whilst taking the exam
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  #26  
Old 02-06-2012
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that was extremely helpful. thank you so much !
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  #27  
Old 02-07-2012
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hey are there question that have different scores than others , like a tough question may have 2 points while a easier one had just one ... and the experimental Qs are not scored ???? didnt know this

hey are there any linked Qs like in UW whose ans you cannot change after answering them ???

thank you ......
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  #28  
Old 02-07-2012
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Originally Posted by Hitman View Post
hey are there any linked Qs like in UW whose ans you cannot change after answering them ???

thank you ......
yup!! thats why uworld has them!

and yeah there are experimental questions that dont carry marks.. but u dont know which they are....

also it is said that some questions hv more weight than others.. but no one knows exactly. but not necessarily the tough ones..

no one apart from the question makers can confirm that info!
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  #29  
Old 02-08-2012
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Originally Posted by mbbs2010 View Post
yup!! thats why uworld has them!

and yeah there are experimental questions that dont carry marks.. but u dont know which they are....

also it is said that some questions hv more weight than others.. but no one knows exactly. but not necessarily the tough ones..

no one apart from the question makers can confirm that info!
yea thats all true...and also regarding the weight of questions, this is also true because on a few NBMEs that have extended feedback...me and my friends would have exactly the same amount of questions correct, but our NBME score would be a couple of points different
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  #30  
Old 02-25-2012
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Congrats veera...i hope to have a similar success story very soon...great job and thanks for the advice!
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  #31  
Old 10-14-2012
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thanks for the great advice!
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  #32  
Old 01-15-2013
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Originally Posted by DefeatTheBeast View Post
Congrats veera...i hope to have a similar success story very soon...great job and thanks for the advice!

thanks bro...you will kill it !
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  #33  
Old 01-15-2013
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realy gud n inspiring info! thanks n gud luk ahead
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  #34  
Old 01-26-2013
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Default real exam score

I scored 67% after finishing the whole of kaplan qbank. could you please give me an idea as how much would be my score in the real step 1 exam ?
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  #35  
Old 01-27-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jattdoc View Post
genetics was about 2-3 pedigrees and you either had to figure out the mode of inheritance or you had to figure out the odd of having a kid with blah blah...mode of inhertiance can be found in first aid and the odd ratios stuff can be found in uworld or kaplan videos

moleuclar biology in terms of VNTR, transposons etc was very low yield on my exam....i dont think i had any questions on that topic, so i would just stick with first aid for that info
CongratsThat's avery good score.
What r ur sources for neuro,pathology&anatomy images
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  #36  
Old 01-27-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sravya View Post
CongratsThat's avery good score.
What r ur sources for neuro,pathology&anatomy images
thanks a ton!! as of now i have not started preparing for the images part of the exam. but i am planning to focus mainly on the images found in the qbanks. is that a right choice?? wat are the other available resources tor the images??
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  #37  
Old 01-30-2013
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Default Thx

Thx for your input they are very helpful.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jattdoc View Post
Hey I am a foreign medical grad from the Caribbean. I got my step 1 score in October. I got a 249/99, I was aiming/expecting a 220-230 but I was happy to see I got into the 240s. I finished med school in January and started to watch Kaplan videos passively (without the books) from January to end of February. After that I took my first NBME in early March to see where I stood. So from March to September I was studying actively/full-time like 10-14 hours a day. In between there were a lot of distractions such as family commitments, etc so that is why it took like 7 months for me to write step 1. My NBME scores are listed below:

NBME 4 – March 6 – 212
NBME 6 – April 17 – 228
NBME 11 – May 9 – 221
NBME 12 (offline) – 230s
NBME 3 – June 10 – 238
Didn’t take an NBME for like 2-3 months
NBME 7 – September 3 – 247 (3 weeks before step)
STEP 1 – 249/99

Make sure you are very critical of your NBMEs. See where you went wrong and why it happened? If it’s some minor details you didn’t memorize yet, then you know that your mark will be higher once you do FA a couple more times and hammer those down. If it’s because you didn’t know some concept then make sure you go on wikipedia, etc and figure it out. If its because you forgot some fact you had learned before, then make sure you relearn it and it will come back to when your taking the exam. All the stuff you studied is lodged in your brain somewhere and it’ll come out when your taking the exam and reading the answer choices. I honestly thought my step was very similar to NBME 12 and 7.

STUDYING:
So I basically studied from Jan to Sept. January to end of Feb was only Kaplan videos (without the books) and I made my own notes as I went along for stuff I wasn’t comfortable with. I forgot all of this stuff by the time I took step 1 in Sept because I never looked at these notes again, but I felt that I needed to do the Kaplan videos so I wouldn’t miss out on any info. Then I took my first NBME in March and started proper studying (full days, no day offs, sometimes take half a day off). I had some distractions in June for like a month which set me back, but that’s life, **** happens lol. I only did First aid 2010, goljan audio with transcript, and UWORLD qbank from March to Sept. I didn’t do question blocks everyday and when I did do the blocks, it would take me a long time to get through it so sometimes I wouldn’t get through all 46 in the day. I did the qbank twice only and made lots of notes in my FA. First time through was tutor mode (all random – 54% average overall) and second time through was timed mode (all random – 76% average overall). 2nd time through I used note cards and wrote down stuff I got wrong and looked at it before I went to sleep/or when I woke up the next day. I stopped doing uworld questions like 2-3 months before I wrote step because my subscription expired, so I started to do some usmlerx offline questions and questions from this forum to keep my mind active. In regards to first aid 2010, I started it in March and did it till Sept. I started from page 1 and went to the end each time, but I would take a long time to do it. I probably got through FA like 5-6 times from March to Sept….the first time it took me like a month and a half to get through it, then the 2nd time it took a month, and it would take less and less time each time I went through it. The last time I went through it was like in 8 days before Step 1 and this was so clutch because I was able to get through so much material in a short amount of time, so when I was writing the exam, so many of those facts and details were popping up (easy points). I did DIT once sometime in the middle of my studying. I did the tests and all his questions but I took like 25 days to do it (instead of the 15 days it is designed for). DIT was very helpful as it gave a structured way to get through FA and highlighted small details that I thought were unimportant. After I did DIT, I took my NBME 3 and I felt like DIT helped me with so many of the questions, so I really recommend that you do it. DIT took my mark into the 230s. I also did goljan audio along with the transcript twice during my studying. I would do an hour a day in the morning. The first time I did goljan audio was near the beginning of my studies and I felt like I didn’t know most of the stuff he was talking about, but when I did goljan audio again during the end of my studying I felt like I knew everything he was talking about because I had gained so much more knowledge. So in summary I basically memorized the crap out of FA, did questions, and supplemented with goljan audio. I didn’t use any other books or material. I also didn’t use any review courses besides the DIT (which is basically going through FA with a buddy) and Kaplan videos (which I had downloaded from torrents)

Exam Experience:
I went into the exam crapping my pants. I was so nervous that I would crack under the pressure and mess up the entire exam. I had the fear that I might panic and then mess up, get short of time and end up rushing through it. I had all of these feelings leading up to the exam, but this is normal for most people. The day of the exam I was surprisingly calm. The day before the exam I stopped my studying at 5 pm. I had to finish up one or 2 sections of FA, listen to heart murmurs and look at random pics online of the brain and stuff. After 5pm I just chilled, went to the temple, went to walmart to get snacks and stuff for the big day, and watched Jersey shore lol. I tried to get in bed at 10 pm and be awake at 6 am, but I was just tossing and turning the whole night, and I think I only got a total of literally an hour of sleep. This stressed me out even more because I thought I would be tired and not focused during the exam. I had some breakfast and coffee and got to the center early. I signed in and what not and took my seat to take the exam. I was very calm and chilled out on the drive to the exam center and also while I was sitting there about to start the exam. I told myself that I couldn’t panic because I can’t mess this exam up. I just told myself to try my hardest and seee what happens. So then I started the exam and it was surprising straightforward. It was easier than any NBME I took and much easier than uworld. Lots of easy questions, straight recall. I kept a good pace. I went through each block really fast. I was aiming to get the questions done in like 40-45 minutes and then 15 minutes to review whatever I had marked. I never left my blocks early, I always stayed till the end to review my marked questions. I never spent extra time on hard questions, I just guessed and moved on if I had no idea. I marked like 15-20 questions each block (3-4 of them because I had no idea and 10-15 of them I would just mark them to make sure I didn’t overlook any details that could change the answer because I was going at a quick pace and just looking for buzzwords or extra-ordinary lab values that helped me quickly answer the questions). I felt confident through most of the blocks. Only one block was kind of tough but I was able to power through it. I prayed that the last couple of blocks would be easier because I was getting tired and they ended up being easier. I had my lunch and a big can of redbull and that gave me energy to finish the last 3 blocks. There were always questions (about 5) per block that I had no idea about, but I didn’t let these bother me because I assumed they were experimental or that the curve would help me out or that I might just make a lucky guess. I made sure to take a break after each block. I would eat some small snack or sip some Gatorade/redbull/water. I also went to the bathroom to take a leak and put water on my face. Another thing I did was interact with the other ppl taking breaks and just make light conversation. I never went to go look at my FA to look up answers and what not, because I know it would bother me if I got it wrong. I never even looked that stuff up after my exam was done, I just put all my books away and went on vacation 2 days after I wrote my exam. By the time I got to my last block, I honestly just wanted to leave, but I knew this was the final stretch and I couldn’t mess it up now, so I made sure I took my time to answer each question but I didn’t bother rechecking my answers. Once I was done, it was such an amazing feeling. I thanked all the prometric staff and felt like I just got out of jail lol. I was feeling that I had passed but I didn’t know whether I had hit my goal of 220-230s. I knew I would be happy with 210 or above, but I tried not to think about it too much after the exam.

Exam Content:
Anatomy – Source: FA and knowledge from basic sciences – Exam: anatomy was pretty tough of the exam but there was only a couple of questions. They were very specific about nerves and muscle groups so I guessed on those ones, but they also had easy ones too that FA covers. You cant really prepare for the hard ones because anatomy is such a detailed course, so just guess on them

Embryo – Source: FA – Exam: I didn’t have much embryology on my exam but FA was enough for it

Pharmacology – Source: FA – Exam: pharm is huge on step because there is a ton of questions but they are all easy, straight recall and FA is perfect for this – honestly uworld questions on pharm go crazy in depth and that’s unnecessary

Micro – Source: FA – Exam: micro is also huge of step and again FA is more than enough – mostly bacteria questions and a couple of ones on viruses/parasites/helminthes – there were only a few pics but mostly very easy to answer

Immunology – Source: FA – Exam: immuno was very straight forward on the exam – very basic questions about IL-8, C5a, etc

Biochemistry - Source: FA – Exam: there were only maybe 5 questions of biochem in terms of enzymes and pathways, but there were very easy like asking about McArdle’s or Tay sachs and what enzyme is involved

Behavioral/Psych – Source: FA and Kaplan videos – Exam: most of the behavioral was in terms of ethics questions and these are 50/50, some were hard and some were easy – seemed like there were more than 2 correct answers but I just went with my gut – there were also questions about personality disorders and drug abuse which were very easy

Biostats – Source: FA and Kaplan videos – Exam: this was also a 50/50 draw – half of the questions were easy where you just plug in numbers into formulas, but the other half consisted of analyzing graphs and data (I guessed on these because I was too lazy to sit there and try to figure it out)

Genetics – Source: FA – Exam: genetics was about 3 questions with punnet squares and they either wanted you to figure out the probability or tell what the mode of inheritance is based on the punnet square – I thought these were slightly on the hard side as you had to sit there and spend time trying to figure it out, but it is doable

Neuro – Source: FA and google images for random pics – Exam: neuro questions on the exam were mostly associated with pictures and they were fairly easy – I had two where I had to identify broca’s area and one where I had to label the lateral rectus in a person with MLF – I also had a couple more I cant remember but they were very easy and I think I got lucky that I didn’t get any crazy cranial nerve or angiogram pics

Physio – Source: FA and Kaplan videos – Exam: this was mainly graphs such as the starling curve or other common graphs that were easy to derive answers from if you have some knowledge about physio, but there were maybe only 2-3 questions total – I also did not have any calculations question on physio as all my calculations questions were for biostats – also a lot of the concept physio was endocrine with arrows up/down for like PTH, calcitonin, calcium, Gastrin, secretin etc which were easy if you understood your endocrine physio from FA

Besides the stuff listed above, I can tell you that my exam had tons of reproductive on it, but it was all easy FA recall. There were some confusing pics of breast lumps and biopsies but the majority was very easy. I was always weak in repro so I made sure when I did FA for the last time in like 8 days, I kept repro for the last day and this paid off immensely because I was just breezing through all the questions because I was able to visualize all the answers from FA. General pathology was also pretty much straightforward and I used FA and goljan audio for that. Hematology was big for leukemia’s/lymphomas/anemia/mutiple myeloma, but they were all based on lab values and blood smears which made it easy to answer. The actual question was long as hell, but looking at the lab values or the pictures was like ‘buzzwords’ because it was so obvious what the answer was based on them. Musculoskeletal was tricky, I didn’t get a star on that section because it was hard to decide between stuff like gout or R.A etc on some of the questions, so just make sure you know those fine details in and out so that you can differ between all the musculoskeletal diseases in FA. I don’t remember much about GI but I remember I had a picture of a colon and had to ID it, and it was between crohn’s and IBD. For renal thank god I didn’t have those pics in the NBMEs where you have to identify what disease it is because I sucked at that. Otherwise renal was easy and asked bout kidney stones and cancer.

Overall, I was very happy with my studying and exam experience. I know I took a long time to study, but I saw my NBME marks improve and finally reach the 240s. I was very patient and I’m the type of person that can study for long periods and not get burnt out. I did full days, never took a whole day off and studied most of the day, but I never got burnt out. I wasn’t influenced by my peers telling to take the exam quick and I just did my own thing till I knew I was ready to take it. I always knew that I could choose/change my exam dates just in case I didn’t feel ready and this helped keep my anxiety and stress level down. When I finally chose my exam date for end of sept (I changed and pushed it back like 2 times before), I was happy and content with my studying and knew that I had done my best. I had no anxiety about not knowing the material, but I did have anxiety that I might panic and mess up the exam. But like I said before, I told myself to remain calm and the adrenaline also helped during the exam to push through it. It’s honestly a very doable exam. I cant really think of anything else to say, sorry about the long story but I felt I needed to contribute as much as I can because this forum helped me out a lot during my studying. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Thanks to all the members.
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