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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 11-05-2015
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Nigeria My Step 1 Story


Ha!
I can't believe I finally get to do this. My Step 1 journey has been long and hard. It has literally been the most difficult (and expensive) exam I have ever written. My prep was filled with ghosting through many forums, mainly for advice and encouragement. Thus, having finally bitten the bullet, I have decided to write something to contribute to the body of experiences for IMGs


First, my background was pretty basic: I attended a small medical school in South-Eastern Nigeria and graduated in 2013. Dedicated prep time was about four months but I had been reading FA 2013 in starts and stops for about a year prior.


Prep started with UsmleRX and bootlegged USMLEWorld questions. The RX helped consolidate the First Aid I was reading and the Uworld Qs was helpful. After going through three-quarters of RX. I started using Pathoma - I read the book but didn't watch all the videos as they were very time consuming. I only went through Kaplan Biochem & Physio videos and notes because I read that they were very important on the exam. In retrospect, they are!!

Pathoma was an amazing book. It is really built to give you a good foundation to Step 1 pathology. I finished RX with a cumulative of 78%, then I got a Uworld subscription. . .


Fellows, the rumours are true. . .Uworld is very essential for Step 1. I was literally blown away with all the dense material and the concepts tested in Uworld are similar to concepts on the real exam. In retrospect, two things are important to remember when doing Uworld:
- Uworld should be a second Qbank. Don't use USMLEWorld first. Finish another Qbank before doing Uworld

- Uworld is primarily a learning tool. Don't be mightily discouraged by low percentages; read the explanations for both correct and incorrect questions.


I did Uworld once in timed, random blocks of 44 questions and finished the Qbank with 78%. . .again!


After doing both Q banks, I purchased NBME 15 to see where I stood: 251. I continued reading First Aid and started using BRS Physiology because the NBME scoresheet indicated I was weak in Physio. The book was a good read but my scores didn't trend upward as NBME 16 had me at 247.
I then reviewed my Uworld incorrects and took the Kaplan Diagnostic Test and ended up with 75%. I was feeling the burn of the prep at this point as mental fatigue was setting in. I was tired of reading


I then participated in the crowdproofing of First Aid 2016 and found a code to purchase FA's Flash Facts for $1 and that was all I did for the last two weeks. Finally I took NBME 17 with much trepidation. It is probably the hardest NBME there is and I was just content when I had 249.
I had come to the end of my mental and financial rope. It was time to face the beast
I had to travel to Ghana to take the exam and the beast lived up to its reputation. 65% of the questions were simple recall, the rest were doable but very challenging. The concepts were similar but they had been shrouded in very complex ways. A simple question about hydrostatic pressure would evolve into an experiment with pulmonary artery catheterisation and an accompaniment of red herring values. For the first time in my prep, I was stumped for time. I didn't attempt 3 Qs on my last block because the timer elapsed.
The rest of the exam was a blur. I dont remember much because I was so stoked on adrenaline and my stress levels were sky high.


Real Deal: 245. I was content but would have loved > 250


TIPS
Visit online forums. You will gain a lot of exam tips. I remember answering one question on scabies correctly only because I came across it on an online forum. I also learnt a tip on answering questions on heart murmurs from a forum. (Listen to all four auscultation areas; the area where the sound is clearly loudest harbours the pathology)
Learn the appearances and descriptions of many patterns and buzzwords. I think the exam is steering away from using buzzwords that give away the answer. Look for pictures that explain what the pathology looks like. What do Call Exner bodies look like? Can you describe them? Can you describe a granuloma?
Do Questions and questions and questions. I regret not doing the UWSAs and Kaplan QBank. I recently read a study that surmised that the only factor that directly correlates with performance is the number of questions you are able to do and review.
Goljan audios and First Aid can't be over-emphasized. They are awesome.
God bless you all.




On to Step 2!!

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The above post was thanked by:
aria_snk (03-13-2017), CleverFOX (11-06-2015), docsum (11-05-2015), drmoth (11-15-2015), HighDefinition (11-05-2015), Hopefuldoc (11-05-2015), Ijeoma (11-08-2015), Mariam Zaidi (11-09-2015), meghakotha (11-05-2015), mehdirah (11-06-2015), PearlM (11-05-2015), sdorodgar (11-08-2015), smita (11-06-2015), thensg300 (11-05-2015)



  #2  
Old 11-05-2015
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Thank you for sharing your amazing experience. I'm glad that in the end your hard work paid off. Good luck for step 2 now. May you ace it with an even higher score.
I have a couple of questions if you can please answer. I agree that kaplan lecture notes and videos for biochem & physiology are the most important ones. Did you go through them only once or more than that? Did you refer back to them again while doing FA?
How many times in total did you do FA (including the initial time when you were not studying properly just skimming through)?
You said your cumulative of RX was 78%? What % did you start it with? I mean the scoring during the first 5-10 blocks of RX?
Thanks a bunch
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  #3  
Old 11-05-2015
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Smile

Can you tell us what topics were seen on the step 1 exam? Ive been hearing how a lot of questions aren't in FA/uworld so i want to make sure i know the topics so i can look it up later.

i also have a major weakness in physio and I've used BRS, but I'm not sure if my scores improve….. how can i use it to my advantage?

Also, for the heart murmurs (weakness for me) how can you find the answer when the question stem doesn't give us clue… basically its just a listening audio… how can you find the answer with just a listen? they all sound the same to me. how do you know if its systolic or diastolic. ex if its loudest(you mentioned just find the one thats the loudest and thats the pathology) in mitral how do you know if its regurg or stenosis?

thank you, and sorry if I'm asking a lot, its my first post ever.


also how do i create a new post? i want to make one but i don't know how to go about this website, its confusing.

Last edited by junipxx; 11-05-2015 at 10:57 AM. Reason: add a topic
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2015
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1.I went through the videos once and then went back to watch areas I had difficulties in.
2.I actually lost count of the number of times I went through FA. Maybe about 3 times. After a while, the book gets very tiring to look at.
3.I started RX b/w 65-70%
4. BRS Physiology is a very good book. I'd recommend it particularly for Respiratory and Renal.
5. The heart murmurs will be loudest in the area with the bad valve. There will always be a clue. It is an exam, not magic
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2015
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Thanks for sharing your experience, Finally a exam experience, after many months here, this forum has become stale, from people not posting much.

Question for you ? did Flash Facts help ? how did you use it ?

How you studied Pharmacology and Microbiology ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naija_Doc View Post
1.I went through the videos once and then went back to watch areas I had difficulties in.
2.I actually lost count of the number of times I went through FA. Maybe about 3 times. After a while, the book gets very tiring to look at.
3.I started RX b/w 65-70%
4. BRS Physiology is a very good book. I'd recommend it particularly for Respiratory and Renal.
5. The heart murmurs will be loudest in the area with the bad valve. There will always be a clue. It is an exam, not magic
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  #6  
Old 11-07-2015
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Flash facts was decent, nothing spectacular. I used it for areas I was trying to re-inforce.
FA is good for micro and pharmacology. I only had reference pharmacokinetics from Kaplan
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  #7  
Old 11-07-2015
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Thanks a lot Naija doc for answering my queries. Good luck for step 2! ?
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