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  #1  
Old 11-08-2012
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Star Exam Prep, Experience and Results - October 2012

Hello all,

This may not be as well written as other experiences, but I will try my best to write as well as I can. I just want to start by saying that those that are preparing for Step 1 right now, know that this exam is NOT as hard as everyone thinks it is. It is a very doable exam, you just have to stay focused and stick to your schedule. After all the test is designed your knowledge of "BASIC" sciences!

I began by reading first aid alone on my own. The first read took me around 3 weeks. This was just a casual read, I didn't sit down and memorize everything. I knew I was going do to that at a later time. So I just wanted to start off by knowing where everything is in FA and have a general idea of what information FA has. So that's how I started my preparation. (Initially I planned to read FA in 2 weeks, but I was getting lazy and I ended up taking 3 weeks just to finish FA.) After finishing this, I took UWSA 2, just to see where I stand, and I got a 216 (around 60% correct answers). Even though that was a relatively good score, I knew that UWSA overpredicts by some 20 points, so I considered that a 196.

After this, I started to go through Pathoma, I wanted to finish it in 5 days, but I think I ended up taking around 10 days, because I was just getting distracted and not studying properly. After finishing with Pathoma, I started to work on Kaplan videos and lecture notes. I did the subjects roughly in the following order: Physio --> Pharmacology --> Biochem --> Behavioral Sci --> Anatomy and Neuroscience (not everything...just flipped through the pages of the book, did not go into too much detail because I felt these subjects are not that important) --> Immuno --> and finally Microbiology (I just looked at this section for maybe 2 hours).

I know the order in which I did kaplan notes is very weird and random. I did not make a schedule going into Kaplan notes, and so I just did what I felt like doing...I know that is not the best way to go...but I still went with it. I think Kaplan took me around 5-6 weeks to finish. Oh forgot to mention, that as I was doing the important subjects, ie Physio, pharm, biochem...I had my FA nearby, so whenever I felt that some information was important and was not explained well in FA, I would add that information into FA from Kaplan.

After kaplan, I decided to take NBME to see where I stand, I think I took NBME 13 (not knowing that it is supposed to be on the difficult side), and I ended up with a 198...which was a very sad day...I was very discouraged...Even after doing all that extra work, I didn't get a good score. But I read some stories on forums, and got inspired, and started to do UW. I was doing Random, Unused, Timed blocks of UW. I believe I was doing on average 3 blocks a day. And trying to add as much information that I thought was important into FA as I go along. Finishing UW took me about 3 weeks. After going through all the unused questions, I did all the incorrects as recommended by mostly everyone!!

After doing UW, I really gained some confidence and I felt like I had cleared a lot of concepts in my mind by going through all the questions. After about 3.5 weeks of NBME 13, I decided to take NBME 7, and I ended up getting 221, I think. This was a big motivation booster. I finally felt like some of the hard work was showing up on the assessments!!

I decided that now I should take the exam after doing a final review of Pathoma and FA. So I started my FINAL review with Pathoma, and I finished in 5 days. Then I started to do DIT 2011, and I finished it in about 13-14 days (took that long because of the quizzes). At this point, I was 10 days from the exam day. I decided to take UWSA 1 and got a 228. This was a shocker...because I was hoping for at least a 235 or 240, since it overpredicts. But I guess it was because I didn't really take UWSA1 very seriously and I was half asleep.

Again, since there was 10 days left, I wanted to go through FA all over again, because it is what most people recommend that you should do in the final week before the exam. But the anxiety was starting to kick in...everytime I started to study, I would start thinking about the exam and get distracted. And I was having thoughts of postponing the exam, so I forced myself to take another NBME, and see how it goes. I decided if it goes well, I will take the exam, if not, I will postpone. I took NBME 12, and got 231. This really helped me get the confidence that I needed to go and take the exam!! NBME 12 was roughly 4-5 days before the exam!!

Finally the exam day arrived!!

It was such a surreal feeling. I couldn't believe that I was actually at the center and about to go into the exam. But it all happened so quickly, before I could take a second to think, I was already sitting at the computer putting in the ID number to start the exam!!

And so it began!!

Block 1:
The very first question was an easy one, but then the next few were tricky. I don't remember exactly what those questions were. But I kept on going. I had decided that any question that I was not 100% on, I would mark it just to get an estimate of how many questions that I might get incorrect. In the first block, I marked around 13 questions. After this I took a 5 minute break.

Blocks 2 and 3:
I finished blocks 2 and 3 together with 13-14 questions marked in each of those block. Then I took a 10 minute break. Drank some water, ate some snacks.

Block 4:
This was also a relatively easy block. I marked 12 questions in this block. After the 4 blocks I felt like I just took a NBME. I knew that if the exam were to end at this point, that I would pass, but I wouldn't know how much I would get. That is exactly how I felt after taking NBME 7 and 12. Even in NBMEs 7/12, I used to mark around 15 questions in each block, so I was having a good feeling about the exam so far upto block 4. Took a 5 minute break to drink some juice!

Block 5:
This was the block where I wanted to go home and cry!! haha...In this block I think I marked around 18 questions, which was a record of the day! So I was starting to freak out...so I took another break!

Block 6:
This was also a relatively difficult block, I marked around 16 questions. After this block I took a 10 minute break hear, tried to motivate myself to give it my all in the final block, because I was starting to get tired and just wanted it to be over.

Block 7:
The beginning of the end!!! Again in this block I marked 16 questions. And I was finally done!! Not sure how I felt at that time. I was happy that I was done, but very scared because of the last 3 blocks!!


Alright, so that is how the exam day went. Now I will try to give a brief overview of all the subjects:

Anatomy: had around 10-15 random anatomy questions that I had to just guess based on my general idea of anatomy.

Behavioral science: i am not sure what to tell you about this thing...these questions were very tricky. Try to do kaplan notes if you get time.

Biochemistry: I didn't have many biochem questions. I did have some weird biotechnology questions, which I really hoped were experimental, because I found them very hard to answer! But mostly FA was enough for biochem.

Biostatistics: I had a couple questions on Types of errors. Also had a few questions on the types of studies, and simple calculation problems (maybe 2 of them). So basically FA and uworld is enough for this!

Embryology: so glad this was not heavily tested on my exam!! I think I had 5 questions max on this. And FA has answer to each of those questions!!

Genetics: that table in FA about the genetic terms was really helpful on the exam...had about 2-3 questions directly from that. But nothing too crazy.

Microbiology: Straight out of FA. It was mainly about the virulence factors (mainly capsules!!). Basically if you know the information in the microbio section of FA, you will not find any questions difficult on microbiology.

Pathology: The meat of the exam! Every other question seemed to be about pathology. And thanks to pathoma, I was not shocked by any path question. That being said, there were some tricky path questions, but if you know Pathoma well, you will be able to answer even the most difficult questions.

Pharmacology: FA FA FA!! I was thinking pharmacology would be heavily tested, but it wasnt. Pharm questions were really easy and felt like they were coming straight out of FA! Some of these questions were so easy, it felt like I was being Punk'd!

Physiology: Physiology was pretty tricky on my exam. I can't point to a certain source for physio. You just have to know physio pretty well in order to answer these questions. They were not straight forward questions, they made you think about what you know and connect the dots. So try to do kaplan and understand it well.

Exam results:

So after a long wait, I finally got the results. 229/83. I was really surprised by this! I was expecting a lower score than this! But I will take it! NBME 12 and UWSA1 were most predictive in my case.

Summary:

Alright, so let me just summarize, because I just realized I have been writing this thing for 2 hours now and it has become an essay!! So remember this exam is doable. At times you will want to just stop studying and you will get distracted, but try your best to stay focused and on your schedule. Don't use all the sources out there, just use a few and use them multiple times. For example, FA, pathoma and UW! Those 3 things are the most important things right now. And remember, you do not have to be smart to do well on this exam, you just have to work hard and stay focused!

Here are my assessment results:
- UWSA 2 - 216 (3 weeks into the prep)
- NBME 13 - 198
- NBME 7 - 221
- UWSA 1 - 228 (10 days out)
- NBME 12 - 231 (4-5 days out)
- Step 1 - 229

I hope this makes sense and is helpful to those studying to take this exam. If I missed something, or if something is not clear, let me know!! I really appreciate everyone that has shared their experiences on forums, because I have read some of them and they really really helped me in my preparation.

THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK to all!

Last edited by exudate; 11-08-2012 at 08:40 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2012
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Good job!! Your finally done with a good score, it must feel sooo good.

And you actually didnt waste too much time on it, so finishing it within a few months with that score, its kinda amazing.
Good luck on your other steps.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2012
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Congratulation Dr.Exudate.
Very useful experience ... your Self- assessment scores very close to my scores i hope i can get 229 ..

Good luck in step 2 brother.
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2012
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Star Well Done!

Congratulation for your honest input! It feels good to read about people with experiences such as yours, I really appreciate your time and effort! I was just wondering if you've looked at Rapid Review by Dr. Golijan and if you recommend it over Pathoma. I bought RR and have been trying to do it according to whatever section I cover during the week but I'm starting to think that maybe I should buy Pathoma?
Also, how long did you prep for? You mentioned that you were able to finish all of kaplan in 5-6 weeks, how many hours a day were you studying?
Thanks
Sarah
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2012
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Originally Posted by SarahM View Post
Congratulation for your honest input! It feels good to read about people with experiences such as yours, I really appreciate your time and effort! I was just wondering if you've looked at Rapid Review by Dr. Golijan and if you recommend it over Pathoma. I bought RR and have been trying to do it according to whatever section I cover during the week but I'm starting to think that maybe I should buy Pathoma?
Also, how long did you prep for? You mentioned that you were able to finish all of kaplan in 5-6 weeks, how many hours a day were you studying?
Thanks
Sarah
I did not use RR because personally I thought it is way too long. If I actually used it, I would've ended up taking one more month in my prep and I did not want to extend my prep that much. Also based on what people were saying online, RR is just too much information and pathoma is concise and to the point. I would rather know every single word from pathoma, instead of doing Pathoma and RR both one time. So that doesn't mean that RR is not a good source, I just really liked Dr. Sattars teaching, and I stuck with it. And honestly I can remember answering so many questions based on what Dr. Sattar was saying in his videos.

If you have time and do not mind going through the whole book, go ahead do it. It will not hurt you, it can only help you. But if you are short on time, and want to get done asap, then I would suggest you stick with Pathoma. Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2012
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wow! thank you so much for sharing your experience. Ive been going through exactly the same "free fall" feeling the last blocks when I have done my self assesments so now Im certain that I should be prepared for this in the exam. thank you for taking the time to write in such detail about the actual examen experience. it really helps to know what to expect so we can be better prepared for it. Im just 1 week away from my exam now and starting to feel the pressure. one question, do they let you use like, paper an pencil?? earplugs? did you take time for lunch? what did you eat for lunch? just snacks?
congratulations and again. THANK YOU.
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2012
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Originally Posted by bullonto View Post
wow! thank you so much for sharing your experience. Ive been going through exactly the same "free fall" feeling the last blocks when I have done my self assesments so now Im certain that I should be prepared for this in the exam. thank you for taking the time to write in such detail about the actual examen experience. it really helps to know what to expect so we can be better prepared for it. Im just 1 week away from my exam now and starting to feel the pressure. one question, do they let you use like, paper an pencil?? earplugs? did you take time for lunch? what did you eat for lunch? just snacks?
congratulations and again. THANK YOU.
Good luck!! Just a week huh? You must be feeling the pressure, but don't let it waste your time. Stay focused. Try to do as much FA as you can. This last week is very important time in your prep. Do not let it get wasted by getting anxious! Stay confident and focused. And yes they give you marker and 2 laminated papers. And for earplugs, I believe someone hear said that you can use them. I personally didn't use those, so I can't tell you for sure, but they do have noise cancelling headphones that you can use. I didn't really take time for lunch, I would just eat some snacks. You will realize, food will be the LAST thing on your mind on exam day. You might just want to drink water or soda or something. That's what I did. Good luck, and lmk if you have any more questions.
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Old 11-15-2012
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more questions.
how many questions per day were you doing the last week? did you go over the answers or were they just to keep your mind "trained" for the exam? and finally, what did you do the last day, did you study or not? did u relaxed the last day as many people in this forum encourage us to? or if u did study, how late? I just checked out pathoma yesterday and DANG! i wish I would have known about it before!!! too late for me know thou.
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congratulation and thank you for sharing your experience with us
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HELLOOOOOO DR.EXUDATE

THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR THIS THREAD ON YOUR STEP 1 EXPERIENCE...

FIRST OF ALL A BIG CONGRATULATIONSSS ON YOUR SUCCESS... WELL DONE WITH YOUR SCORE MUST BE SUCH A RELIEF AND A GREAT FEELING THAT ALL THE HARD WORK HAS PAYED OFF!!!

SO I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS? ARE YOU AN IMG FROM CARIBBEAN MED SCHOOL OR ELSEWHERE? I MEAN LIKE ARE YOU AN MBBS GRADUATE???

TOTAL HOW MANY MONTHS YOU TOOK TO PREPARE? DID YOU START OFF YOUR PREP WITH JUST READING FA TO GET AN IDEA OR YOU DID KAPLAN EARLIER???

HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU DO ALLT HE KAPLAN LECTURE NOTES? DO YOU RECOMMEND DOING KAPLAN ANATOMY SECTION WITH VIDEOS OR IS READ THROUGH OF IT OHK? IS IT BETTER TO DO THE ANATOMY BY CORRELATING WITH THE KAPLAN PHYSIO NOTES? OR SHOULD I DO THEM BOTH SEPARATELY?

HOW MANY HOURS A DAY YOU PUT IN? LIKE WHT TIME DID YOU DO 3 BLOCKS A DAY AND THEN HOW LONG IT TOOK YOU TO REVISE? AND THEN WHAT TIME DID YOU DO YOUR READING? AND OTHER BREAKS YOU TOOK HOW DID U SCHEDULE EVERYTHING???? PLZZZZ THIS IS WHERE I'M LACKIN THE MOST.. I'M WASTING A LOT OF TIME..GETTING DISTRACTED A LOT

DO YOU RECOMMEND ME DOING PATHOMA AFTER I FINISH FIRST READ OF FA? OR SHOULD I DO KAPLAN ANAT AND PHYSIO FIRST BEFORE PATHOMA? WOULD IT HELP? OR DOES DR SATTAR CONNECT ANAT AND PHYS WITH PATHO???

B/C MY PHYS PATHO PHARM ARE VERY POOR ACCORDING TO AN NBME I TOOK 3 MONTHS AGO.. THATS WHY I'M CONFUSED WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE? DID YOU ALSO READ BRS PHYSIOLOGY? WHEN SHOULD I INCORPORATE THAT?

OVERALL HOW MANY READS OF FA DID YOU DO???? PLZ IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF YOU CAN HELP ME.. SORRY I KNOW I ASKED A LOT OF QUESTIONS BUT I'M REALLYY DEPRESSED AND BUMMED OUT WITH THIS PHASE.. I'VE BEEN PREPARING SINCE LIKE APRIL.. AND I KNOW I'M TAKING TOO LONG AT THIS POINT ?

WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST I DO THE LAST 2 MONTHS? SO FAR FROM KAPLAN I HAVE FINISHED PHYSIO, PATHO, BEHAV SCIENCE, BIOCHEM, IMMUNO,AND NEUROANAT PART.. I STILL HAVE MICRO, PHARM AND GENETICS LEFT.. OF ONE READ..

AND I STARTED DOING FA SINCE SEPT 11.. BUT IN BETWEEN I WASTED A LOT OF TIME.. SO I STILL HAVE RENAL, RESP, REPRO, CARDIO, MICRO, AND EMBRYO LEFT... AND I'M PLANNING TO GIVE UWSA 1 AFTER? WHAT DO YOU THINK? AND BASED ON MY SCORE..S HOULD I START WITH PATHOMA OR DO KAPLAN ANAT, PHYSIO NOTES FIRST??? WHATS YOUR SUGGESTION?

THE LAST NBME I TOOK WAS AUG 11 AND I DID MISERABLE. I GOT WAY BELOW PASSING SCORE OF 188

PLEASE I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR HELP.. I'M SORRY AGAIN FOR THE LENGTH.. BUT I'M JUST GOING CRAZY RIGHT NOW.. AND YOUR HELP WOULD MEAN A LOT:sorry::sorry::sorry:

THANK YOU SO MUCH
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  #11  
Old 11-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bullonto View Post
more questions.
how many questions per day were you doing the last week? did you go over the answers or were they just to keep your mind "trained" for the exam? and finally, what did you do the last day, did you study or not? did u relaxed the last day as many people in this forum encourage us to? or if u did study, how late? I just checked out pathoma yesterday and DANG! i wish I would have known about it before!!! too late for me know thou.
During the last week, I did not do any questions. On the last day I studied until the evening. I was not able to relax and so I kept on looking at FA. Sorry for a late reply!
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  #12  
Old 11-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5hstar View Post
HELLOOOOOO DR.EXUDATE

THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR THIS THREAD ON YOUR STEP 1 EXPERIENCE...

FIRST OF ALL A BIG CONGRATULATIONSSS ON YOUR SUCCESS... WELL DONE WITH YOUR SCORE MUST BE SUCH A RELIEF AND A GREAT FEELING THAT ALL THE HARD WORK HAS PAYED OFF!!!

SO I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS? ARE YOU AN IMG FROM CARIBBEAN MED SCHOOL OR ELSEWHERE? I MEAN LIKE ARE YOU AN MBBS GRADUATE???
Caribbean med school student.

Quote:
TOTAL HOW MANY MONTHS YOU TOOK TO PREPARE? DID YOU START OFF YOUR PREP WITH JUST READING FA TO GET AN IDEA OR YOU DID KAPLAN EARLIER???
Around 3 months, and I started off with FA and then did kaplan.

Quote:
HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU DO ALLT HE KAPLAN LECTURE NOTES? DO YOU RECOMMEND DOING KAPLAN ANATOMY SECTION WITH VIDEOS OR IS READ THROUGH OF IT OHK? IS IT BETTER TO DO THE ANATOMY BY CORRELATING WITH THE KAPLAN PHYSIO NOTES? OR SHOULD I DO THEM BOTH SEPARATELY?
Just once. And anatomy is not that useful...so if you don't have time, just skim through it. You don't need to correlate anatomy with physio kaplan...kaplan physio alone is good enough.

Quote:
HOW MANY HOURS A DAY YOU PUT IN? LIKE WHT TIME DID YOU DO 3 BLOCKS A DAY AND THEN HOW LONG IT TOOK YOU TO REVISE? AND THEN WHAT TIME DID YOU DO YOUR READING? AND OTHER BREAKS YOU TOOK HOW DID U SCHEDULE EVERYTHING???? PLZZZZ THIS IS WHERE I'M LACKIN THE MOST.. I'M WASTING A LOT OF TIME..GETTING DISTRACTED A LOT
I tried to do around 8 hours a day. And when I did uworld blocks, I started in the morning and went into the evening. I take random breaks, they are not scheduled at all. Haha...if i get distracted, then I take a break. If not, I keep going. Try your best to stay focused, if you need some help with that, just try to force yourself to study for 30 mins and take 5 min break and study for 30 and then 5 min break...and so on.

Quote:
DO YOU RECOMMEND ME DOING PATHOMA AFTER I FINISH FIRST READ OF FA? OR SHOULD I DO KAPLAN ANAT AND PHYSIO FIRST BEFORE PATHOMA? WOULD IT HELP? OR DOES DR SATTAR CONNECT ANAT AND PHYS WITH PATHO???
I am a big fan of pathoma. So I would say, do FA along with Pathoma, because whatever path FA has, pathoma covers it pretty well. So that way you will start to memorize FA from the beginning, instead of doing it again the second time. And yeah try to do kaplan physio before you start pathoma, it will help in some areas.

Quote:
B/C MY PHYS PATHO PHARM ARE VERY POOR ACCORDING TO AN NBME I TOOK 3 MONTHS AGO.. THATS WHY I'M CONFUSED WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE? DID YOU ALSO READ BRS PHYSIOLOGY? WHEN SHOULD I INCORPORATE THAT?
I didn't do all of the BRS, I just did a few chapters that I felt like I needed to do. If you do kaplan physio very well, then you won't need the BRS.

Quote:
OVERALL HOW MANY READS OF FA DID YOU DO???? PLZ IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF YOU CAN HELP ME.. SORRY I KNOW I ASKED A LOT OF QUESTIONS BUT I'M REALLYY DEPRESSED AND BUMMED OUT WITH THIS PHASE.. I'VE BEEN PREPARING SINCE LIKE APRIL.. AND I KNOW I'M TAKING TOO LONG AT THIS POINT ?
I would say around 2-3.

Quote:
WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST I DO THE LAST 2 MONTHS? SO FAR FROM KAPLAN I HAVE FINISHED PHYSIO, PATHO, BEHAV SCIENCE, BIOCHEM, IMMUNO,AND NEUROANAT PART.. I STILL HAVE MICRO, PHARM AND GENETICS LEFT.. OF ONE READ..
Last two months?? That is a very long time. Just try to finish up your first pass of everything that you need to do, and start reviewing your material along with UWORLD! So finish the remaining kaplan, and then start review with FA and uworld and Pathoma!

Quote:
AND I STARTED DOING FA SINCE SEPT 11.. BUT IN BETWEEN I WASTED A LOT OF TIME.. SO I STILL HAVE RENAL, RESP, REPRO, CARDIO, MICRO, AND EMBRYO LEFT... AND I'M PLANNING TO GIVE UWSA 1 AFTER? WHAT DO YOU THINK? AND BASED ON MY SCORE..S HOULD I START WITH PATHOMA OR DO KAPLAN ANAT, PHYSIO NOTES FIRST??? WHATS YOUR SUGGESTION?
Dont keep changing your schedule in the middle of your prep just because of an assessment score. Keep doing what you planned on doing. Make your schedule, whatever makes you more comfortable. As I said, my schedule was very weird, I did whatever subject I felt like doing next. Which was kinda stupid of me, I shouldve planned it from the beginning and stuck with it. That way I wouldve saved a lot of time. So make a schedule of what you think you will want to do, and then stick to it.

Quote:
THE LAST NBME I TOOK WAS AUG 11 AND I DID MISERABLE. I GOT WAY BELOW PASSING SCORE OF 188

PLEASE I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR HELP.. I'M SORRY AGAIN FOR THE LENGTH.. BUT I'M JUST GOING CRAZY RIGHT NOW.. AND YOUR HELP WOULD MEAN A LOT:sorry::sorry::sorry:

THANK YOU SO MUCH
Try to take another NBME after you have done everything once, and see where you stand. Sorry for a late reply, I hope I answered your questions. Good luck studying!
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