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  #1  
Old 07-22-2016
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Default I need help. Please advice on what I should do.

Hello guys,

I've been a lurker for a while in these forums, but I've decided to ask for help since I am so lost right now.

I'm an IMG and I'm scheduled to take step 1 in 6 days. I'm into the 1st month of my extended eligibility, and the last day possible for the exam is on 29 September this year. I've been studying since last year but it's been on and off. This year however, I've sat down and really studied for at least 6 months now.

These are what I did so far:
- Kaplan videos and books x 1 (last year)
- Pathoma vids and book x 1 (last year)
- FA x goodness knows how many times I've ran through that, annotated with the UWorld explanations of course.
- UWorld x 1.5 (most recent scores were high 60s-70s)


I took the NBMEs and both UWSA and they've been bad to say the least. Last one I took was a 188 if I remember correctly. I know I should reschedule my exam because of the low NBMEs/UWSA, but the thing is I don't know what else to do.

Things I've observed about myself:
- I'm very very anxious when taking the exams, to a point where I just run through several questions and skipping them even though I know the answers to them. I also tend to misread some question details. (I remember one question where i was about pregnancy and vitamins, and I answered Folic Acid, but the question was which should not be given and it was Vit A).

- I tend to miss minute details (i.e. marfan syndrome's upward/outward lens dislocation vs marfanoid's downward/inward) although when I look at my notes they were annotated.

- The mistakes that I made were more on the "right, now I remember what this is", with some "wtf is this?!"



Right now I don't know what to do. I feel like I can pass the test, but being an IMG, I know that in order to have a fighting chance, I need to score way higher than that. I'm also considering taking an online course, but I'm 68 days away from my September deadline if ever I decide to take that.

I just need help guys, please. I'm lost, confused, burned out, and distressed. I just don't want to fail in this endeavour.
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2016
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Hey fulcrum,

Here's the thing. Do you have a goal score in mind? If you do, and you haven't been reaching at least those scores on the practice tests, then perhaps it would be a good idea to postpone the exam - but not by much! It seems to me that you have covered at least the essential resources you need, however you have two other problems that you need to work on:

1) your test taking strategy
2) your ability to apply the knowledge you already know to answer an exam question

Much of the struggles you have described in actually doing practice exams and answering questions can be alleviated by first and foremost having more confidence in yourself! Do not skip questions that you know the answer to - if you are not 100% sure, then place an answer and mark the question and go back to it later. Read the question stems carefully. Actively think about the information you read in first aid rather than just recognizing that you know it...for example, the difference in lens dislocation between Marfan's and homocystinuria. It is easy to read it in first aid and say to yourself in the moment "yes I already know this"...however try thinking about it when you're not reading first aid. It's very easy to confuse the two in that situation. So come up with ways to remember the difference that should come to you as a reflex upon thinking about either disease (for me I remembered it because it's homocystINuria, so the lens is in and downward, while in Marfan's is opposite (out and upward)).

Hope this helped, and best of luck!!
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The above post was thanked by:
thelostsoul (07-23-2016)
  #3  
Old 07-23-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pasta273 View Post
Hey fulcrum,

Here's the thing. Do you have a goal score in mind? If you do, and you haven't been reaching at least those scores on the practice tests, then perhaps it would be a good idea to postpone the exam - but not by much! It seems to me that you have covered at least the essential resources you need, however you have two other problems that you need to work on:

1) your test taking strategy
2) your ability to apply the knowledge you already know to answer an exam question

Much of the struggles you have described in actually doing practice exams and answering questions can be alleviated by first and foremost having more confidence in yourself! Do not skip questions that you know the answer to - if you are not 100% sure, then place an answer and mark the question and go back to it later. Read the question stems carefully. Actively think about the information you read in first aid rather than just recognizing that you know it...for example, the difference in lens dislocation between Marfan's and homocystinuria. It is easy to read it in first aid and say to yourself in the moment "yes I already know this"...however try thinking about it when you're not reading first aid. It's very easy to confuse the two in that situation. So come up with ways to remember the difference that should come to you as a reflex upon thinking about either disease (for me I remembered it because it's homocystINuria, so the lens is in and downward, while in Marfan's is opposite (out and upward)).

Hope this helped, and best of luck!!
@pasta273, thanks for the response. Yes, I did have a goal, which was at the very least 230s, because I've read, and have been informed by others that IMGs have to get a score above the US average in order to be considered by the programs. But now, given my exam performances, self-doubt has crept in, if it is at all possible to achieve my goal, given the time constraints.
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