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  #1  
Old 09-26-2012
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Smile Great exam experience 241/85/99

Good Day my friends I would like first to thank people running this forum & people sharing their study experiences
The information I obtained here regarding preparation was very helpful.

My plan Time
: 17 month (1st 11 month I was working in a 36hr/week job, last 6 month I stayed home)

Materials used: First Aid Ė parts of Kaplan notes & videos Ė Goljan audio only + some diagrams from the book Goldberg neuroanatomy + some dr.Najeeb videos + Conrad fisher medical ethics First aid MCQ book (Iíll post the exact pages & videos in another detailed post)

Method: I used 1st Aid as my main book For Organ systems: I start by reading Kaplan physiology & pathology then watching Kaplan videos then integrate only important information they point to in 1st aid, then finally listening to Goljan. N.B There is no point in integrating whole Kaplan in 1st aid just write down the important data

For basic science: Reading Kaplan biostatistics, some chapters of biochemistry & microbiology & the whole immunology. I didnít do Kaplan videos in basic except for VLDL- LDL ĖHDL circulation - purines & pyrimidine classification. Again 1st aid my primary book After integrating all these stuff in 1st aid, I read the book twice

Then did Kaplan Q bank random timed 1st time -----> 67% Finished it all in 28 days, again copying explanations into 1st aid.
Then I did UWorld also random timed 1st time ---------> 72% Finished all in 25 days, 2 blocks/day, copying explanations in different color than Kaplan. (because UWorld information is more towards exam than Kaplan so if u need a quick review you can just read Uworld information)

I did the free 150 Q -----> 89%

NBME 7 online (1 month before exam) ------> 247
I read 1st aid over & over again till the exam day


Exam day

Arrived 1 hour early bringing a lot of pepsi & snickers 1st & 5th block were the most difficult I took a rest after the 2nd,4th,5th & 6th Some questions depends on strict memorization (Drugs, side effects, enzymes, mechanisms)
Others depend on principle understanding Most Biostatistics & ethics questions were straight forward. Finished each block 2-3 minutes before time. After I finished the whole exam I didnít know whether I did good or bad I remember doing some silly mistakes
I received my score report today it was 241 !!!!

I will be starting step 2 CK soon.

Some pieces of advice

1. The magical formula for step 1 is (first aid + Uworld) but you must understand (not just memorize) every word in 1st aid

2. Solve as many questions as possible questions banks, question books, NBMEs even questions sent on facebook groups are useful.

3. Every one of us has one or more of these weak points

a. Strict memorization
enzymes names, pathways, syndromes, drugs classes, sphingolipids diseases
Solution: repetition, mnemonics, drawing enzymatic pathways in your own way & colors

b. Imaging: plain X-rays, CT, MRI.
Solution: be familiar with anatomy, remember these are the stuff they like: CT chest identifying heart chambers & vessels Ė CT & MRI brain at level of globus palidus, caudate & putamen CT abdomen & pelvis with identification of retroperitoneal structures, MRI knee with identification of ligaments + Circle of Willis angiography
I didnít have these in test but these stuff were repeated in question banks & NBMEs over & over.

c. Equations: renal, pharmacology, respiratory & biostatistics formulas Solution: Write them down in your copybook each group in one page so your eyes will be used to compare them, revise them regularly. These questions come straight, they just need you to know the law, you donít want to lose marks in these questions

d. Tumor suppressor Genes, chromosomal numbers & translocations solution: write your own genetic map like
chromosome1 ÖÖ..
chromosome2 ÖÖ..
Again these questions are straight forward & not time consuming, you just need to know the chromosome number you donít want to lose marks in these questions

e. Graphs: Cardiac function graphs, Respiratory curves & pharmacology
graphs
solution: they are explained in a very good way in USMLE challengers channel on Youtube


4. Once you paid the exam fees, donít open disappointing posts about how finding residency became difficult or how they are planning to make USMLE harder on 2016 etc.., the only posts you need to open are the ones with questions or exam experiences whether good or bad to see whether you are on the right track or not & remember there is no single right way to pass step1, there is a right way for each one. Finally I hope everybody gets benefit with this experience,

Iíll make another post about how to make FA a complete book until then, if anyone has any question Iíll be glad to answer it.

Last edited by MastermindDoctor; 09-26-2012 at 04:08 PM. Reason: need to edit the font
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  #2  
Old 09-26-2012
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Thank u so much for ur post.it was very helpful!
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  #3  
Old 09-26-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stem cell View Post
Thank u so much for ur post.it was very helpful!
nice exam experience. Thanks for sharing
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  #4  
Old 09-26-2012
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very detailed. thanks

question: I always wondered what to expect for images, CT, MRI etc on the exam?

Was first aid enough or did you have to look through other sources for the images that appeared on your exam?
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  #5  
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enzymes names, pathways, syndromes, drugs classes, sphingolipids diseases

do you have the list of of the above in a word doc ?
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  #6  
Old 09-27-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsoon View Post
very detailed. thanks

question: I always wondered what to expect for images, CT, MRI etc on the exam?

Was first aid enough or did you have to look through other sources for the images that appeared on your exam?
No Actually I didn't depend on first Aid at all for imaging
I used a better technique, when I see a good CT or an MRI in the qbanks I look for the same image in google, download it and label it as in the correction of the q bank. collect them in 1 file and have a look at them on the exam night.
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  #7  
Old 09-27-2012
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Correct Answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezguy View Post
enzymes names, pathways, syndromes, drugs classes, sphingolipids diseases

do you have the list of of the above in a word doc ?
This is a list of things needing strict memorization was posted early in the forum
List of Forgettables - What you need to review few days before the exam
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  #8  
Old 09-27-2012
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how did you study pharm ?
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  #9  
Old 09-27-2012
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Many many congratulations on the great score, thanks very much for your feedback and encouraging post

did only goljan audio help with the pathology on the exam?
and also is conrad fischer ethics book must read?
how did you prepare for the sustained 8 hour exam mode period?
thanks in advance
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  #10  
Old 09-27-2012
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congratulations on your score. your post is very elaborate and helpful. i just finished kaplan q bank 63% timed starting u world now ,could you share some tips how to go about u world .. thank you
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  #11  
Old 09-27-2012
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Congratualtions! Thank you for your experience sharing! I found it extremely useful.
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2012
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Smile Making notes in FA

Hi Doc Master mind, congratulations for the wonderful score and a wonderful post summarizing your exam experiences. It would indeed be great if you could post on the topic of "How to make notes in First Aid"
I think it will be very useful for those preparing to give the Oct-Nov-Dec eligibility period.

Thank you again.
With best wishes.

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  #13  
Old 09-27-2012
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Default Congrats!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastermindDoctor View Post
Good Day my friends I would like first to thank people running this forum & people sharing their study experiences
The information I obtained here regarding preparation was very helpful.

My plan Time
: 17 month (1st 11 month I was working in a 36hr/week job, last 6 month I stayed home)

Materials used: First Aid Ė parts of Kaplan notes & videos Ė Goljan audio only + some diagrams from the book Goldberg neuroanatomy + some dr.Najeeb videos + Conrad fisher medical ethics First aid MCQ book (Iíll post the exact pages & videos in another detailed post)

Method: I used 1st Aid as my main book For Organ systems: I start by reading Kaplan physiology & pathology then watching Kaplan videos then integrate only important information they point to in 1st aid, then finally listening to Goljan. N.B There is no point in integrating whole Kaplan in 1st aid just write down the important data

For basic science: Reading Kaplan biostatistics, some chapters of biochemistry & microbiology & the whole immunology. I didnít do Kaplan videos in basic except for VLDL- LDL ĖHDL circulation - purines & pyrimidine classification. Again 1st aid my primary book After integrating all these stuff in 1st aid, I read the book twice

Then did Kaplan Q bank random timed 1st time -----> 67% Finished it all in 28 days, again copying explanations into 1st aid.
Then I did UWorld also random timed 1st time ---------> 72% Finished all in 25 days, 2 blocks/day, copying explanations in different color than Kaplan. (because UWorld information is more towards exam than Kaplan so if u need a quick review you can just read Uworld information)

I did the free 150 Q -----> 89%

NBME 7 online (1 month before exam) ------> 247
I read 1st aid over & over again till the exam day


Exam day

Arrived 1 hour early bringing a lot of pepsi & snickers 1st & 5th block were the most difficult I took a rest after the 2nd,4th,5th & 6th Some questions depends on strict memorization (Drugs, side effects, enzymes, mechanisms)
Others depend on principle understanding Most Biostatistics & ethics questions were straight forward. Finished each block 2-3 minutes before time. After I finished the whole exam I didnít know whether I did good or bad I remember doing some silly mistakes
I received my score report today it was 241 !!!!

I will be starting step 2 CK soon.

Some pieces of advice

1. The magical formula for step 1 is (first aid + Uworld) but you must understand (not just memorize) every word in 1st aid

2. Solve as many questions as possible questions banks, question books, NBMEs even questions sent on facebook groups are useful.

3. Every one of us has one or more of these weak points

a. Strict memorization
enzymes names, pathways, syndromes, drugs classes, sphingolipids diseases
Solution: repetition, mnemonics, drawing enzymatic pathways in your own way & colors

b. Imaging: plain X-rays, CT, MRI.
Solution: be familiar with anatomy, remember these are the stuff they like: CT chest identifying heart chambers & vessels Ė CT & MRI brain at level of globus palidus, caudate & putamen CT abdomen & pelvis with identification of retroperitoneal structures, MRI knee with identification of ligaments + Circle of Willis angiography
I didnít have these in test but these stuff were repeated in question banks & NBMEs over & over.

c. Equations: renal, pharmacology, respiratory & biostatistics formulas Solution: Write them down in your copybook each group in one page so your eyes will be used to compare them, revise them regularly. These questions come straight, they just need you to know the law, you donít want to lose marks in these questions

d. Tumor suppressor Genes, chromosomal numbers & translocations solution: write your own genetic map like
chromosome1 ÖÖ..
chromosome2 ÖÖ..
Again these questions are straight forward & not time consuming, you just need to know the chromosome number you donít want to lose marks in these questions

e. Graphs: Cardiac function graphs, Respiratory curves & pharmacology
graphs
solution: they are explained in a very good way in USMLE challengers channel on Youtube


4. Once you paid the exam fees, donít open disappointing posts about how finding residency became difficult or how they are planning to make USMLE harder on 2016 etc.., the only posts you need to open are the ones with questions or exam experiences whether good or bad to see whether you are on the right track or not & remember there is no single right way to pass step1, there is a right way for each one. Finally I hope everybody gets benefit with this experience,

Iíll make another post about how to make FA a complete book until then, if anyone has any question Iíll be glad to answer it.

Good luck! Thanks for share your experiences !
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  #14  
Old 09-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezguy View Post
how did you study pharm ?
First Aid is enough for basic & systemic pharmacology
but in order to make things easier you can highlight most repeated drug names & side effects in U world & kaplan Q bank so you won't miss them
this helped me a lot in neurology & psychiatry drugs
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  #15  
Old 09-28-2012
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Correct Answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by usmle_taker View Post
Many many congratulations on the great score, thanks very much for your feedback and encouraging post

did only goljan audio help with the pathology on the exam?
and also is conrad fischer ethics book must read?
how did you prepare for the sustained 8 hour exam mode period?
thanks in advance
Goljan audio is great,it helped me a lot, I listened to all of it and wrote every word in systemic but I didn't listen or took care of basic pathology. I took some diagrams from goljan book like relation between hypoalbuminemia and total T4 & free T4 & read the questions at the end each chapter. I used kaplan videos for systemic pathology explained by dr. Cecil Cone , he highlighted many parts as being high yield for the exam. I integrated & marked all these in 1st aid.

About Ethics it's not a must but this book gave me confidence and helped me a lot
I'm an IMG so I'm not a lot familiar with US medical laws. you don't need to memorize it by heart you can just read it like u're reading a newspaper. All I can say it made me get a star in Behavioral science.

about the 8 hrs actually this was my weak point. and I think this explains why my NBME score was higher than actual score. I think you can beat that if u r doing uworld for 2nd time, try doing blocks back to back with gradually increasing blocks day after day till reaching 7 blocks
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  #16  
Old 09-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nishaa View Post
congratulations on your score. your post is very elaborate and helpful. i just finished kaplan q bank 63% timed starting u world now ,could you share some tips how to go about u world .. thank you
Well thank you
63% in kaplan is not a score especially if timed but I took 15 days between kaplan & U world in which I reviewed FA again & stressed on parts I suck in it like the hand anatomy and biochemistry metabolism (kreb's cycle, urea cycle etc............)
About Uworld every day I wake up in the morning, do 2 blocks back to back then do the corrections for both, I'm not a fan of making a copybook for uworld, I prefer adding information to FA pages itself but in a different color than kaplan information. In Uworld program itself I mark the difficult questions, the questions I guessed even if they are right & the radiology questions to repeat them after I finish. There will be ups & downs in your scores before being stable. Take 2 days rest when you finish 50 % of the bank. there is a lot of information on how to solve Q banks on USMLE challengers channel on youtube.
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  #17  
Old 09-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MastermindDoctor View Post
Well thank you
63% in kaplan is not a score especially if timed but I took 15 days between kaplan & U world in which I reviewed FA again & stressed on parts I suck in it like the hand anatomy and biochemistry metabolism (kreb's cycle, urea cycle etc............)
About Uworld every day I wake up in the morning, do 2 blocks back to back then do the corrections for both, I'm not a fan of making a copybook for uworld, I prefer adding information to FA pages itself but in a different color than kaplan information. In Uworld program itself I mark the difficult questions, the questions I guessed even if they are right & the radiology questions to repeat them after I finish. There will be ups & downs in your scores before being stable. Take 2 days rest when you finish 50 % of the bank. there is a lot of information on how to solve Q banks on USMLE challengers channel on youtube.
oh thank you so much for guidance. and again congrats score.. good luck with step2 prep
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  #18  
Old 09-28-2012
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............. X

Last edited by DefeatTheBeast; 09-28-2012 at 06:15 AM. Reason: Messes up
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  #19  
Old 09-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highlander View Post
Hi Doc Master mind, congratulations for the wonderful score and a wonderful post summarizing your exam experiences. It would indeed be great if you could post on the topic of "How to make notes in First Aid"
I think it will be very useful for those preparing to give the Oct-Nov-Dec eligibility period.

Thank you again.
With best wishes.

Well I had a different plan. I used 1st aid as my primary book from the beginning. So In my personal opinion I would suggest that you use the book you study from the beginning till the end making notes in it as long as you watch videos & solving Q banks
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  #20  
Old 09-28-2012
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Congrats bro...had one question, how did u feel after the exam? My results coming next week and the wait is killing me!!! I can remember about 20 q's I got wrong and 100 I got right
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  #21  
Old 09-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefeatTheBeast View Post
Congrats bro...had one question, how did u feel after the exam? My results coming next week and the wait is killing me!!! I can remember about 20 q's I got wrong and 100 I got right
Well I felt there were 2-3 blocks messed up, I felt I could get a 210 or 260
Of course every 1 or 2 days a question pops up in my mind but I convince myself that worrying won't change anything, I went on a relaxing vacation I began to worry on Tuesday night when I knew results would appear the day after & the permit disappeared.
Good Luck my friend :sorry::sorry:
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  #22  
Old 09-29-2012
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Question hours per day

What was your daily schedule? How many hours you used to study per day?

I work 40 hours per week. What would you recommend?

Thanks!
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  #23  
Old 09-30-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinaM View Post
What was your daily schedule? How many hours you used to study per day?

I work 40 hours per week. What would you recommend?

Thanks!
well my daily schedule varied according to what Stage I'm in
stage of reading & gathering information ---> 4-5 hrs/day as I was working
stage of solving q banks ---> 8-10 hrs/day with no work
Last month ------> no timing just studying till finishing schedule

A good tip is to set a timetable without setting how many hrs/day like
cardiology in 4 d - endocrine in 3 days etc....
one day u might be tired or sad the other day you compensate
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  #24  
Old 10-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MastermindDoctor View Post
Well I felt there were 2-3 blocks messed up, I felt I could get a 210 or 260
Of course every 1 or 2 days a question pops up in my mind but I convince myself that worrying won't change anything, I went on a relaxing vacation I began to worry on Tuesday night when I knew results would appear the day after & the permit disappeared.
Good Luck my friend :sorry::sorry:
thanks bro...congrats again on the great score!
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  #25  
Old 10-01-2012
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Congrats bro nice score
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  #26  
Old 10-02-2012
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Thanks for the wonderful writeup.
I am reading Kaplan notes with the lectures for the first time. I am wanting this to be the only read because I want to spend time solving more questions. I seem to have an average memory.
I was wondering what is the best method to use UW. Is it good if I finish reading all the subjects once and do the QB and then SA? Which according to you is the best method?
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  #27  
Old 10-02-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wenskyrose View Post
Thanks for the wonderful writeup.
I am reading Kaplan notes with the lectures for the first time. I am wanting this to be the only read because I want to spend time solving more questions. I seem to have an average memory.
I was wondering what is the best method to use UW. Is it good if I finish reading all the subjects once and do the QB and then SA? Which according to you is the best method?
If (like u said) u have an average memory the kaplan isn't the right choice for you. kaplan is a very good source of information but it's too large to be repeated unlike 1st aid which can be repeated like I did for 7 times
Again it depends on you if u have good basics then you just need this 1 read but if u r like me (I'm a graduate) so I was having troubles with biochemistry & micro then you need like 2-3 reads before going on q bank
I'm sorry what's SA
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  #28  
Old 10-02-2012
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Listening

I meant the UW self assesment.
I may not have best asked the question.
What I would like to know is how and when is UW to be used.
They have qbanks, subject reviews, self assessment etc.
Some people start UW in the beginning itself along with their kaplan reading. While some use it as the sole source.
Is it advisable to finish reading once and then go to Qbanks? and take self assesment few days before the exam?
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  #29  
Old 10-03-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wenskyrose View Post
I meant the UW self assesment.
I may not have best asked the question.
What I would like to know is how and when is UW to be used.
They have qbanks, subject reviews, self assessment etc.
Some people start UW in the beginning itself along with their kaplan reading. While some use it as the sole source.
Is it advisable to finish reading once and then go to Qbanks? and take self assesment few days before the exam?
In my personal experience I used U world after I finished making 1st aid my complete source, read it thrice and finished kaplan q bank
I did 2 blocks/day with writing all information from wrong and right questions into 1st aid itself. took a rest when finishing 50% of the bank and finished it all in 1 month.
I didn't take self assessment bec it's overestimating instead I took NBME it's closer to real exam.
When inside Uworld mark the wrong questions, the questions u answered with guessing and radiology questions to be able to have a 2nd look.
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  #30  
Old 10-03-2012
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thank you so much for your help
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  #31  
Old 10-03-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MastermindDoctor View Post
In my personal experience I used U world after I finished making 1st aid my complete source, read it thrice and finished kaplan q bank
I did 2 blocks/day with writing all information from wrong and right questions into 1st aid itself. took a rest when finishing 50% of the bank and finished it all in 1 month.
I didn't take self assessment bec it's overestimating instead I took NBME it's closer to real exam.
When inside Uworld mark the wrong questions, the questions u answered with guessing and radiology questions to be able to have a 2nd look.
Thank you so much!
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  #32  
Old 06-27-2014
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solution
: they are explained in a very good way in USMLE challengers channel on Youtube

i couldn't find this channel on youtube?
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  #33  
Old 11-02-2014
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Thanks for all the advices!
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