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  #1  
Old 09-04-2010
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Hi folks,

I wanted to write this before this rich and tough life experience fades away in my memory, serving only me!

1) Do you really want to do this ? Now? Why?
If you answer I want to be a doctor – oops !! wrong answer……..you already are one! Half the battle was over before you got selected for medical school right? So there are some unique qualities about you that destined you to be a doctor.
The actual question is do you want to be a doctor in the USA – why? Is it worth the trouble for you and your family? At what cost will you be achieving your dream if you started now?
Are you better off focusing on what you are doing right now for a living /studying and will focus 100% on USMLE later when you are more settled – maybe when your spouse gets a job! Lots of sacrifices involved especially if you are in a family (so all those under your parent’s wings don’t even think of giving an excuse!) Were you a good student, average, or a bad egg – doesn’t matter – the question is, are you willing to put in your best for this exam (for a bad egg it is a good time to get your basics down – another God given chance!. We are talking about lives at stake here people... For oldies like me (1996 grad) – it is a time to rejuvenate yourself with new information that emerged while you had your babies, as your medical books got laden with dust, built your family, had an alternate career etc etc.)
Bottom line if you decided YES – you should feel like a superman or woman now. The task ahead is hard, rough road where you are going to feel ups and down, sometimes tears,sometimes anger , sometimes helplessness , sometimes feeling like giving up , sometimes so close to being there but still not confident…….during those times come back to this question WHY?

2) Pack up your excuses – even good ones!
Oh! I am prime example…….single mom, full time job…….no family in USA to help even if I had a pulmonary embolism or major surgery ( which for new readers, I did have during my prep for step1)… I had a pity party for myself and gave all these excuses whenever I would start and stop studying! The fact is when I stopped giving excuses that’s when I made slow and steady progress. Do know where that ends, right? Remember the tortoise story……?

3) Are you ready for the game?
If you take it as a burden…….believe me, it is burden….. if you don’t take it as a burden ……..it is still a burden……but the good thing is it is lighter!
Put on a positive attitude …an armor of faith in God and yourself …take a deep breath and big broad smile and …tell yourself “never once in this prep I am going to let a single negative thought like “I can’t do it! Will I fail? Am I just stupid? What happened to my neurons? Why cant I remember? (if can’t remember challenge yourself – it is me or the cytokines? Is it me or the qiss, qiq of G protein signaling) – repeat it in the bus to work, in shower….whatever it takes- who knows your brain better than you ?
Don’t compare when you see other people’s preparation or read their journals – take the positives and imbibe in your strategy – you will see yourself evolve during this prepemotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually – all 4 components are so important. This forum is great…….use it to help others, help yourself, push yourself, find partners, encourage them , teach them , discuss, argue but learn and imbibe as you go- all 4 areas I mean. Have fun studying at your best

4) What’s on your buffet plate?
You can tell that one of my goals this year was to lose weight! When there is an array of food in a buffet, you pick what you like on your plate. Same here……..hundreds of books and sources……..but pick the ones that suit your style. Don’t pick more that they fall off the plate…..just what you will enjoy reading and what you would nourish your brain with. For me Kaplan and FA and UWorld was good enough! Dessert was discussing with my study partner which has its unique advantages – sometimes we laughed, puffed and phewed or giggled when we we just remembering only our ABCD’s with mnemonic’s – but all this will flash like a light bulb in your exam! If you are good in a subject teach it to the other and benefit from the other’s excellence in whatever subject they were good at. It is a two way street….cherish and nourish it!

5) Cut out the fringes !
When you study no yapping on phone, no television, no favorite show, no movies, no gym………hold on……….NO!! NO!! NO!!
If you talk for hours –learn to keep it crispy and short! If you get a call from that sexy voiced lady who loves to talk – just let is go to your voice mail. Be savvy…….You have a goal here, buddy….protect your time. If watching a favorite show increases your endorphins ( I don’t want to go to other ways you can do this )…..enjoy the show, get pepped up and switch off the goddamn TV and get to your books. DISCIPLINE – key to your success. Exercise regularly – everyday….increases circulation to your brain and keeps you energized….bored with studying – go out for a walk but discipline yourself to hit your books as soon as you get back. 24/7 – Your goal in mind. Travel with Goljan…he comes to the gymn too if you ask him to! Sometimes when I have a headache, or my eyes hurt…..but mentally I still am fresh to grasp info…..I just lie down listening to him. Wealth of information in 1 hour …….personally he motivated me to be as good as him! ( I know some of you are thinking - hey that's too much to dream of ! You are only limited by your thinking! Amazing talent to teach without a book in hand …….the nitty gritty….stuff….."mechanisms guys mechanism" that’s what I am getting at…65 yrs and he can do it, why cant we? Imagine what efforts would have gone into the making of that man, GOLJAN …..I would kneel before his knowledge and passion to teach, any day!

6) Find your McD spot?
Yeah that’s where I found my place of zen……..Mc Donald parking lot….to have an uninterrupted 4 hours study after dropping my son at school, drove there for cup of coffee and breakfast - 8.30 to 12.30 solid block of time. Yeah if I get bored….moved to the parking lot near my gym – if ever there was a low phase in that time or not in mood – went in for a swim and then shut myself in the car again! Sounds crazy – but it boosted my productivity each day. So find your spot!

7) Golden rule of 4
Divide your day into 4 hours zones. You could make it 3 if it suits you. If you are working full time make 2 hrs.Whichever suits you !Review your productivity at the end of that time period. If not so good....take a break.......rev up your engine for the next slot! No slacking.........
Mix and match your quota for the day…….For me a 1st 4 hr would be First Aid (my brain's prime time!)…..2nd 4 hr …..UW world Q and review and a third 4 hr of Kaplan with my study partner (this was my down time – if had to study on my own, the productivity would be very low and my mind would have wandered ……..neither are possible if you have a live person on the other end on skype …….if nothing at least they would wake you up when you doze off! My reading would get slow and shwe’s hm hm hm….would become sparse and sparse till we waived each other gnite!

8) Set your test day on stone
Very important – don’t postpone! I made this mistake – not once but twice till I forced myself to take it! As someone said on the forum you are never really ready for this exam. It is the point where you feel “this is as good as it gets” and when you are "at your best".
Never realized when I read in other’s forum but this prep is an upslope and then a few days gap or hole in your studies you can feel it disintegrating. So the aim is to keep it upslope…..when you are at your summit – JUST DO IT ! (I know I am yelling! sorry )
Now don’t take NBME two weeks before like I did, and realizing you are not ready you have to postpone. Rather pre plan this “what if I don’t do NBME well” ahead of time and then set your date in stone. Give time for failure, recuperation everything and then set your date after your first read.

9)Time table & Balance a/c
I am a queen of time tables………I have 100’s of versions on my computer ..once every year since 2001 (that’s how long I wanted to do this thing……..but I had my PhD, and other good excuses you know!)…….none worked perfectly…….No. 1 they were very very stringent and to the date and time…..dont ever make such time tables unless you are those perfectly programmed people! Be kind to yourself….expect unexpected things……..and give yourself leeway……..when you cant do it put it in your balance a/c for the week…….so you don’t beat yourself up and go dwindling down if you don’t hit your target (not me, of course !)
Before I even started I printed the contents pages of Kaplan and but them subject wise on a bulletin board. It gave me great pleasure to tick them off with a colorful pen as I completed so even my 9 year old could see what I have completed or not
(one day I had this question from him – can you clone me ? I was shocked - where he got this idea, said “No”. “How come you don’t know - You’ve already ticked Gene mapping and cloning”– was the answer!
I would put the date on it during my first read, so I had a rough idea of when I did what and would arrange my reads accordingly if I had to revise.
Another advantage is that you can mix and match…..across subjects like fungus from micro and anti fungals from pharm.
Use your family members to gauge your progress or tell your study partner….so they can push you ….My master was my hero……..I stuck up my quota for the week near the fridge and every time he went for a snack or sipping his drink , he would ask “….so how many pages have you finished in Kaplan……or that Gol…..whatever!” Sometimes I would regret having told him, but that’s a another story.
I made him understand the importance of this exam to me the “WHY” …..so one day when all down in my prep ….told him I feel I should quit – he reminded me of my “why” – “so what happens to your dream of helping people?”. Filled my eyes with tears……..but on another occasion I heard him also pray…….when mom becomes a doctor and helps all people………Jesus please please remind her to share her money in the bank a/c with me!!! His dream is to have a Lamborghini, actually 4 and a big house with a helipad with a chopper parked in the backyard……..and a race track around his house! I should have chosen another profession for this alone!

10) THE MOST IMPORTANT
It’s time to play AT YOUR BEST – not first day, 2nd day but everyday! Believe in yourself! If you have come thus far …….You can do it, my friend!
I should probably be studying for CK than writing this – but even if one point from here makes a difference to somebody now or several years later, it adds to the same purpose in my life. One such powerful line for me from a blessed person in my journal was “ It is only about 350 Questions”. Whenever I was down I would remember this because Step1 is not my life ……..it is just a phase in life!!! Rightly named, 1st step to your greater purpose in life!
I would love to hear from you if you are reading this last line! Two way street remember….
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2010
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Hmm..i didn't post it here.
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  #3  
Old 09-04-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donofitaly View Post
Hmm..i didn't post it here.
Your post moved here as a new thread because it deserves to be stand-alone
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  #4  
Old 09-04-2010
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Thank you so much. Please leave this up forever...or at least the next few months. This is the best thing to read when you're frustrated and need motivation.
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  #5  
Old 09-04-2010
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what are other ways you can increase your endorphins??
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by convalescence View Post
what are other ways you can increase your endorphins??
Running, working out, etc.
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  #7  
Old 09-05-2010
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that is one fantastic post.

And it deserves to be a sticky.
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2010
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ur post is absolutely fantastic....just wat i needed to hear....thanx a tonne for dat n for inspiring others like me...
kudos to u n ur efforts...n all d best for ur next step n residency too...may God bless u..
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2010
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heyy target,is dat you???


to all-Target has this exact post in prep4 forum.it was posted like a year or so ago.kinda confused here.as long as i know,she passed step 1 and currently not in usa...etc etc....really surprised to find this post from someone who hasn't passed step 1 yet....

you know wat...it's ok...this post helped me out sooo much,i can't thank target enuff.i am sure it is doing wonders for others too.target or not target...i still thank u.
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Old 12-27-2010
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Thumbs Up wow... thanks!

Totally loved this post...!! THANK YOU SO MUCH
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2011
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thanks for these pointers.. its really inspiring.
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2011
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WOW! you're so right!
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  #13  
Old 03-15-2011
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hi thanx a lot for these wonderful tips
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  #14  
Old 04-22-2011
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Default Great!

Greattt pep talk!
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  #15  
Old 04-22-2011
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Hey Don


Nice tips !! Gotto to be strooooooooong from now
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  #16  
Old 04-27-2011
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it was the litterati that illuminated the vision of mine ..
its a treat for the reader inside u when u really want to get enlightened by the power of words .
its perplexed though the doctors are thought to have the weirdest sense of humour . coz their sense of humour encompasses the terms which a lay man might not understand . so its a treat for the sweet tooth of any doc when they are armed with their weaponry for the steps .. i like this post .. good job .. and well done .. we got talent !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #17  
Old 07-07-2011
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This is such a wonderful post! I think four months from now and I'd be in the thick of reviewing for Step 1 and I read this post, I would probably bawl. Then feel motivated to review again

Thank you for taking time to write this
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Old 10-21-2011
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i m very much speechless reading your post.. it just took my one tear to feel what we all go through. you just recharged my battery. less talk gtg back to study. catch up on what i missed in past two days.
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  #19  
Old 02-03-2012
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Thanks!
THis kinda brings my motivation back.. While I was slacking off!
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  #20  
Old 02-06-2012
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Thank you for the post
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  #21  
Old 02-08-2012
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thank you so much it was so helpful!!!!!
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  #22  
Old 03-01-2012
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Thank you for your post. being a beginner, it really helps alot
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  #23  
Old 04-05-2012
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Thanks for your inspiring and motivating post.
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Old 05-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazzles View Post
Thank you so much. Please leave this up forever...or at least the next few months. This is the best thing to read when you're frustrated and need motivation.
Wow, it's been 2 years n it's still there, it ll be der in years to come!!!

Encouraging post!!
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  #25  
Old 06-14-2012
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hi i was really feeling very dowm when i came across this post ............like its worth reading cant describe in words..................m totally alone in my community n i study alone no partners n started using forum just abt week or so back......................bt it s really been useful, with posts like this i dont misss my frens , i dont need ppl who r nt interested to share my studies ...........it s just great
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  #26  
Old 12-20-2012
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Thumbs Up thank you

this post is 2 year old and its still the best thing to read when u r down.
awesome.
hats off to u, mam
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A honey bee visits 2 million flowers to collect 500 mg of honey. So our workload is nothing as compared to them. Be cheerful and keep working.
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  #27  
Old 01-24-2013
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wonderful post....n its good for me reading it at this point when i m just 2 months away from my exam...... feeling better after reading this......thanku so much... big thanks to u friend
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  #28  
Old 04-03-2013
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we need more doctors like you...
simply WOW...
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  #29  
Old 06-10-2013
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thanks .....love you lady for sharing with us ......really i was not feeling so focused and was thus looking for inspiration which i finally found here ......your point about cut the fringes is where i need to work hardest .
thanks again ....
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Old 08-16-2013
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Default your step 1 score? best thougts with encouregment

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Originally Posted by donofitaly View Post
Hmm..i didn't post it here.
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  #31  
Old 09-06-2013
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Default Thank you so much!

Thank you so much! Such an amazing person and motivational post!
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  #32  
Old 09-26-2013
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Default I don't know when should I take STEP 1

Hi,

First I'd like to start by saying thank you so much for your motivational speech, it really puts everything into perspective.

Second to all of you people here, I need help in deciding what's the best time for me to take the USMLE. I'll start by giving you a bit of background on my current situation. I am IMG from the UAE and at my school the program is 6 years long ( first 2 years = basic medical sciences / second 2 years = organ systems / last 2 years = clinical years i.e rotations ) I am in my fourth year. My medical school doesn't give time off for the USMLE nor does it follow the american curriculum. I will only have 2 to 3 full free months in the summer and that's when my friends want to take the test. I am just not sure if I should do it this summer and get it over with before my clinical years and since the material is still fresh in my head or should I do it after I finish med school so I can take around a year off to fully prepare for USMLE ? ( in other words I am asking if you think it would be better to just concentrate on taking the USMLE by itself or should I just do it by august 2014 ) I haven't touched anything yet and I am still working on figuring out a schedule will work for me since I have 5 days of school a week.

I'd appreciate any help, and thank you in advance.
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