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  #1  
Old 01-13-2016
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Default HD's Step 1 magical 249 experience (long post).

Some background:
--Bolivian IMG
--YOG 2015
--Test taken on 12/15/2015

Time of preparation:
--7 months for 8-10 hours/day for 5.5 days/week (it takes 1 day and a half to cure my hangovers).
--the 6th month -> 10+hours/day for 6 days/week (stopped partying hard).
--last month -> 12+ hours/day for 7 days/week (stopped partying at all).

Materials used:
--FA
--KLN + vids. Except for physio and path
--BRS physio
--Pathoma (Goljan for some chapters, only as a consult book).
--DIT 2014 (offline)
--UWorld U -> 82 % first pass (98 % second)
--USMLE-Rx -> 84 %
--Kaplan Qbank (offline)*
--Sketchy micro (only bacterio since it’s available on YouTube. I’d highly recommend to subscribe to the complete videos, they are pure gold)

As extra resources I’d mention and recommend forums! usmle-forums, /r/medicalschool/, studentdoctor.net, usmleforum. They’re useful for reading experiences, questions, consults, mnemonics, resources, etc. It’s a good way to meet with people who are pursuing this insane USMLE idea.
*I did ~65% of offline Kaplan. DO NOT do offline qbanks, avoid them completely -> old and unrevised questions, impossibility to review them with ease, search for them, determine score progress, and many other disadvantages.

How I used them:
--KLN + vids anatomy
--BRS physio + Kaplan vids
--KLN + vids biochem/genetics
--KLN + vids micro/immune (didn’t watch micro vids, they suck. The immuno ones are great, though)
--KLN + vids pharm
--Pathoma
--UW -> at first they seemed incredibly hard, but after some blocks I started getting used to solving qs and the timing. Started with a ~65%. I wasn’t happy. I was pissed! High-Def started smashing stuff and stopped doing UW after 500 qs.

--USMLE-Rx and DIT -> Most of UW’s answers are textually in FA, so I wanted to review more of it before seducing UW. That’s why I decided to use these two resources despite some people think they suck. They helped me A LOT to consolidate tons of info and go through most of FA. Did Rx in a month and DIT in 15 days.
Bottom line for these two: underrated, highly advisable.

--UW, the revenge -> after this unexpected change of strategy (neither DIT nor Rx were in my plans) I went back to UW and gladly found that my scores jumped to ~85%! (The first few blocks had a wide range, from 66% to 87%, they started stabilizing after a couple days).

--FA -> cover to cover (I took notes in FA while doing all the resources above cited)
--UW -> incorrect and marked
--UW -> reset the whole thing and did it again. Most of this second pass was reading only the explanation for the correct answer, in few I felt like going over all the options.
--Pathoma and BRS physio again
--Both UWSAs and both NBMEs
--FA again

--Finally, the last 2 days I reviewed all biochem, all pharm (just reading through the pharm section of each system), and important things I kept forgetting (branchial arch derivatives, GU tumors, etc.).
--The day before the test I reviewed some concepts during the morning, in the afternoon my head was somewhere around Jupiter so I went to the gym, and watch some funny vids on YouTube. Slept for 6-7 hours (crucial thing!).

One very helpful thing I did while doing qbanks was keeping a journal titled “HD’s journal to UW/Rx mastery” in which I wrote 2-3 lines of wrong questions in a flashcard format and adding some pictures from the internet (CTs, X-rays, etc.) After finishing all the questions, I read the journal once, and started doing incorrect/marked qs.

Practice tests:
UWSA1: 260
UWSA2: 256
NBME 15: 260
NBME 17: 258
Real deal: 249

All of them overpredicted the actual score, I presume because of the real deal difficulty.
Do you remember when you finished reading part of the material, told yourself “yeah, bruh, I’m ready to crush qbanks answering every mf question”, started solving a qbank, reading questions and said “WTF is this?”? Well, the test felt exactly like that for me.

Some of the questions were pure fact recall, nothing out of what you learn from FA.
But the majority of qs were more analytical in the sense that there were more than 2 big subjects involved. They love to mix subjects and try to trick you even in the easiest concepts!
Also, topics that most of us struggle a lot in memorizing and understanding, such as every rate-limiting enzyme in biochem, G-protein-linked 2nd messengers, all the hypersensitivity disorders, gene translocations in heme, and oncogenes -just to mention some- were almost absent.
Lots of tables and graphs. The typical ones with arrows where you determine the state of a patient (hormonal, cardiovascular, sympathetic, etc.).

Won’t say more because the test is different for everybody.

My breaks were distributed like this: Block 1 -> 5 mins -> Block 2 -> 5 mins -> Block 3 + 4 -> 35 mins -> block 5 -> 5 mins -> block 6 -> 10 mins -> block 7 -> apoptosis.


What I would have done differently:
I’d change the order of what I reviewed to this:

Anatomy KLN + Vids -> DIT videos -> BRS physio -> Pathoma -> rest of KLN + Vids -> SketchyMedical -> FA + Rx x1.5 -> Kaplan Qbank x1.5-2 -> UW x2.5 + FA -> FA once more -> success!
(The .5 in the qbanks means solving marked and incorrect qs once)

Before you say “This HD dude is crazy!” let me explain: first start with some anatomy to see what this material is all about and warm up.

Then do DIT before anything so you start reviewing important HY concepts (despite what the DIT guys say that one should use DIT after reading FA at least once). In the real deal I had questions with “familiar” concepts I was sure I reviewed in Kaplan, but since Kaplan was for me like the “introduction to the step 1”, I forgot almost everything. Thus, I would have made DIT the introduction material, and then proceeded with KLN+vids in order to understand them better with more concepts learned.

Also, I learned a lot doing questions, not only with UW, but Rx also. Any knowledge you may have is useless if you can’t apply it. This can be accomplished by doing questions. That’s why my plan is solving qs after acquiring the knowledge, once again, of concepts.

Begin with Rx as a warm up, then do Kaplan, and leave UW for the great finale. It’s the only one you might want to fully complete twice.

Finally, read FA from cover to cover twice.

It’s a weird prep plan, but, it makes sense!

Final words:
I know 249 is not the best score out there, but is a good one. Of course I would’ve liked a 280, but it is what it is.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with books and stuff you won’t use, know what you’ll read and stick to it.
Get a good sleep the night before. The hardest part is to keep focused for the whole test.
The test is hard af, but is doable as long as you have well learned and understood concepts.
Don’t memorize, understand.
Take time off from time to time. Burnout is real and is really dangerous.
Do as many questions as you can.

Feel free to ask anything.

Cheers!

~HD

Last edited by HighDefinition; 01-15-2016 at 03:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2016
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amigo, felicitaciones. tienes un muy buen ingles por lo que veo. Yo tambien ando con lo de DIT + FA.
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Old 01-13-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gus247 View Post
amigo, felicitaciones. tienes un muy buen ingles por lo que veo. Yo tambien ando con lo de DIT + FA.
¡Muchas gracias! ¿Cuándo piensas tomar el examen?
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  #4  
Old 01-13-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighDefinition View Post
¡Muchas gracias! ¿Cuándo piensas tomar el examen?
He separado para Marzo, pero cuando de los nbme decidire la fecha final jaja.
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Old 01-13-2016
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congrats on a great score! my exams in two weeks and i guess im just wondering maybe what I should look at a few days before exam? im just reading first aid atm.
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Old 01-13-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gus247 View Post
He separado para Marzo, pero cuando de los nbme decidire la fecha final jaja.
Sí, toma los NBME y los dos UWSA para definir tu fecha de acuerdo con tus resultados y debilidades que puedas tener. ¡Suerte!
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Old 01-13-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudomyxoma View Post
congrats on a great score! my exams in two weeks and i guess im just wondering maybe what I should look at a few days before exam? im just reading first aid atm.
Thanks a lot, pseudomyxoma! You still have two weeks, it's a long time even if it doesn't seem like that.
Try to finish FA once more focusing on your weak points and on easy-forgettable details (like drug adverse effects).
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Old 01-13-2016
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Appreciate the advice. try not to be too hungover. ill be in that state soon enough haha
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2016
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That is totally awesome!! Thanks for all of your advice and pointers and for all of the details.

Like you say the test makers always come up with things you have never seen or heard of but u still got through it!!!

You totally rocked that exam. Now celebrate in ur victory

Kudos to u!!!!
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pushtothestars View Post
That is totally awesome!! Thanks for all of your advice and pointers and for all of the details.

Like you say the test makers always come up with things you have never seen or heard of but u still got through it!!!

You totally rocked that exam. Now celebrate in ur victory

Kudos to u!!!!
Thanks a lot, Pushtothestars.
Let's celebrate!
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Old 01-14-2016
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Default congrats.

just a quick question how many times did u revise fa. and how helpful it turned out to be in the exam? would u say that u recall stuff from fa while u were taking an exam ?
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Old 01-14-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alikhan121986 View Post
just a quick question how many times did u revise fa. and how helpful it turned out to be in the exam? would u say that u recall stuff from fa while u were taking an exam ?
The first time I went through FA was with DIT, which covers ~80% of it. Then I read it twice cover to cover.

I'd say most of the test knowledge is in FA, but I wouldn't think of it as "the Step 1 bible" anymore. Mixing it with tons and tons of questions is the key IMHO.
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Old 01-15-2016
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Thumbs Up Thanks a ton!!

Hey I guess you gotta correct this


--Test taken on 12/15/2014
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Old 01-15-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelzac View Post
Hey I guess you gotta correct this


--Test taken on 12/15/2014
You're absolutely right! Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighDefinition View Post
You're absolutely right! Thanks!
haha that's the American way of saying it.
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  #16  
Old 01-15-2016
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Congratulations HD for a great score and thanks for sharing your detailed experience. It's really helpful.
I have one question though, which kaplan videos did you watch for neuroanatomy, 2010 or 2014 version? And did you feel that it was enough?

I'm following a method similar to yours but I'm a bit confused whether kaplan lecture notes + videos will be sufficient for neuroanatomy or I should incorporate high yield neuro into my schedule.
Thanks
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Old 01-15-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by san.usmle View Post
Congratulations HD for a great score and thanks for sharing your detailed experience. It's really helpful.
I have one question though, which kaplan videos did you watch for neuroanatomy, 2010 or 2014 version? And did you feel that it was enough?

I'm following a method similar to yours but I'm a bit confused whether kaplan lecture notes + videos will be sufficient for neuroanatomy or I should incorporate high yield neuro into my schedule.
Thanks
Thanks a lot, san.usmle!

All watched videos were the 2010 version, I couldn't get the newer ones.

They are enough for neuroanatomy, try to include HY only if you have the time. I only skimmed through it, but the graphics there are an excellent complement to FA and even the KLN.

~HD
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Thanks for your prompt reply and advice. I appreciate it
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  #19  
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Hi hd i am bolivian img from santa cruz primero que nada felicitarte por tan maravillosos puntajes. E leido tus experiencias me parecieron excelentes. Te deseo lo mejor en la especialidad que entres con esos puntajes te ira de lo mejor. Yo planeo irme a mediados de este año si tuvieras algunos consejos de como te fue en tus primeros tanto en tus estudios y gastos que tuviste te estaria muy agradecido. Hace 3 meses e estado leyendo mtb 2 y fa 2ck y algunos videos del kaplan si tuverias un tiempo ya sea por este medio o si pudieras pasarme tu numero te agradesco de antemano +59172836349 fernandogogo.fgo@gmail
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  #20  
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so there are stuff on exam that you can answer just because you did kaplan?
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  #21  
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was golijan useful?
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  #22  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FernandoGO10 View Post
Hi hd i am bolivian img from santa cruz primero que nada felicitarte por tan maravillosos puntajes. E leido tus experiencias me parecieron excelentes. Te deseo lo mejor en la especialidad que entres con esos puntajes te ira de lo mejor. Yo planeo irme a mediados de este año si tuvieras algunos consejos de como te fue en tus primeros tanto en tus estudios y gastos que tuviste te estaria muy agradecido. Hace 3 meses e estado leyendo mtb 2 y fa 2ck y algunos videos del kaplan si tuverias un tiempo ya sea por este medio o si pudieras pasarme tu numero te agradesco de antemano +59172836349 fernandogogo.fgo@gmail
Just messaged you to WhatsApp
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  #23  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needynerd View Post
so there are stuff on exam that you can answer just because you did kaplan?
Yeah, Kaplan is very useful despite being extensive.

As for Goljan, another thick book, I just used it as a consult book when something was unclear in FA and I wanted a quick review. But for path, Pathoma FTW!
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  #24  
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Default Thanks!

Congrats on your score!! Appreciate the detailed feedback. I am doing KLN/BRS now (1st read), and I think I will include DIT along with FA in my plan now. Can you tell us a little bit about DIT vidoes to get a basic idea before I try to get my hands on them?
Also, how did you manage to do these many resources in 7-8 months? That too 3 Qbanks! It's commendable. Im struggling to finish KLN/BRS first read with videos for some subjects - in 2-3 months. Could you please tell us a bit about your study timeline in months?
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  #25  
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Another question regarding Path - so Pathoma is obviously more smaller and HY compared to Goljan. But what about Pathoma vids or goljan audios? are they needed and if yes, which ones would be better?
I was thinking to do Pathoma with listening to Goljan audio - as Ive read that he stresses on HY stuff while talking?
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Thanks ??

Just messaged you to WhatsApp [/QUOTE]
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  #27  
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Thank you, I replied for whatsapp
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  #28  
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congrats, how to study phaem?
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  #29  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happyboo View Post
Congrats on your score!! Appreciate the detailed feedback. I am doing KLN/BRS now (1st read), and I think I will include DIT along with FA in my plan now. Can you tell us a little bit about DIT vidoes to get a basic idea before I try to get my hands on them?
Also, how did you manage to do these many resources in 7-8 months? That too 3 Qbanks! It's commendable. Im struggling to finish KLN/BRS first read with videos for some subjects - in 2-3 months. Could you please tell us a bit about your study timeline in months?
DIT vids are short (20-ish minutes each) and at the beginning they have a set of short questions and at the end a short gag video with mnemonics or just some fooling around. Some of them are so dumb that you remember things just because of that. Try to watch a couple, if you feel they're teaching you at least a one thing, go for them! Some people tend to hate them, but I liked them a lot.

At this point I can't recall my precise timeline in months, but I can tell you that the longest part was definitely reading KLN and watching the videos. After you finish them, things will start moving faster and everything will become more dynamic. Just have some patience with these loooong lectures; since they are the foundations of your knowledge, it's better to go slow and steady. Then you'll run and slowly lose your mental sanity until your test comes haha Also, all the things I did, can be manageable to do in less than the 7 months it took me. If you do the right things, you can do it in about 6 months, so don't worry about the time if you have at least this 6 months available.

As for your other question, Pathoma notes can be easily skipped as they are just a guide for the videos (i.e. the vids are the central point of Pathoma, and a must IMO). I didn't do Goljan audios; but, despite the fact they're kinda old, I still hear many good things about them. So, if you have the time, go for them!

Cheers!

HD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezguy View Post
congrats, how to study phaem?
For pharm I did KLN+vids first (totally worth it!), then UW, and FA. I don't think there's the need of including any other resource as they are test-centered. What I recommend you is that a few days before your test, try to review your UW notes and only the pharm section (plus the ones in every system) in FA.

Hope that helps!

Cheers,

HD
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  #31  
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Thanks for the reply, which year video of KLN did you watch ? and the the professor ?





Quote:
Originally Posted by HighDefinition View Post
For pharm I did KLN+vids first (totally worth it!), then UW, and FA. I don't think there's the need of including any other resource as they are test-centered. What I recommend you is that a few days before your test, try to review your UW notes and only the pharm section (plus the ones in every system) in FA.

Hope that helps!

Cheers,

HD
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thanks for posting this! Very helpful.
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