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  #1  
Old 09-17-2010
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Question Physiology on the USMLE

Hi all - do you guys think that USMLEworld is a little light on physiology questions compared to the actual USMLE? I found that Kaplan's physio questions were much harder and longer than UWs. In face UWs questions seem to be more about facts rather than solving equations and stuff most of the time whereas on the Kaplan bank I spent all my time looking at graphs and stuff it felt like.

My question is, I guess - how much direct physio is on the real exam - any idea? Is it more like I need to be at the top of my physio game or more like if I know the path then the underlying physio will be obvious and if it isn't then I don't really know the pathology and my question will be wrong - any suggestions / thoughts / ideas?
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Old 09-17-2010
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UWorld qbank & Kaplan qbank do follow different approaches to make questions. I haven't completed physiology portion completely so i can't comment on it.

Regarding ur question how much physio is on real exam. I think it varries individualy, also there are no straight forward question. These question mostly check interdisciplinary concepts.

This thread will give u a rough idea

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Old 09-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkabir View Post
My question is, I guess - how much direct physio is on the real exam - any idea? Is it more like I need to be at the top of my physio game or more like if I know the path then the underlying physio will be obvious and if it isn't then I don't really know the pathology and my question will be wrong - any suggestions / thoughts / ideas?
I have the same query because when i read Physiology of Excitable tissues, Skeletal Muscle and stuff, i wonder if they would really test us on this. My bet would be more on Cardio,Renal,GIT,Endo Physio, more so because we can integrate Patho with it as well.
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Old 09-17-2010
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Hmm - makes sense, thanks guys... The poll seems to think about 8% are pure physio but I guess its one of those things that even if its one question why would you let it go and you have no idea what will happen on your specific exam.

Apparently BRS physio is considered enough though its definitely is not enough for the Kaplan qbank questions... still, we learn something from every explanation I guess.


No matter how many times I see questions with up and down arrows I always get a little worried even though sometimes they are pretty straightforward...
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Old 09-17-2010
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I would say USMLEworld is more accurate.

DON'T buy the Kaplan Physiology questions that they sell separate, they are useless. They are more math and the exam just simply isn't made that way.

Everything can be related physiology, so the Step 1 will be asking questions indirectly. You'll be answering a question and not even realize that it has something to do with Physio.

Every question could really be related to physio and patho
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Old 09-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donofitaly View Post
Physiology of Excitable tissues, Skeletal Muscle and stuff, i wonder if they would really test us on this. My bet would be more on Cardio,Renal,GIT,Endo Physio, more so because we can integrate Patho with it as well.
AHA! but you forget of how important the cotransporter, symporter, uniporter and ATPase pumps are! Pretty much all systems use the same underlying principles for concepts in Phys, Path and even Pharm (Mitochondrial depletion of ATP includes uncouplers like Thermogenin and Dinitrophenol etc)(Detrimental effects of inc Ca+ in the cytosol and permeation of Mito), also so are the action potentials, types of gap junctions btw cells(sinusoid organs such as Liver, bone marrow, spleen and fenestrated organs such as glomerular basement membrane), transport types (Active/passive etc) as well as Osmolarity/Osmolality, Osmotic/Oncotic pressure (Renal Phys/Path/Pharm)

So if you know the normal usage of ions, water, excitation/coupling in excitable tissues/muscle you will start to understand WHY something happens the way it does (instead of just memorizing it) Exs hyper/hypo Kalemia, natremia, calcemia, myositis, muscular dystrophies, tetany, myasthenia gravis and the list goes on....

Yes they won't give you a straight forward questions in those, but the USMLE knows that any student can memorize the WHAT, thats why they base their questions around understanding the underlying common and easy/medium topics so they can test whether you know WHY and HOW something happens, the reasoning behind it.....In 1 swift move of a 2 step question they will test your knowledge of Path/Pharm and Physio/Biochem/Anatomy etc...

The reason you want to know your General Physio/Path/Pharm well is because then you don't need to Memorize every little detail of what happens in a Diseased state, because you know the Normal and when you study the Abnormal there will be clues of WHY its abnormal, thus your comprehension of the material depends on it! You can refer to Q-banks, and you'll notice 50% of the questions make you guess the diagnosis but the question is a little simpler about the understanding of the MECHANISM of WHY things happen the way they do.

So don't cheat yourself on the basics and general(Intro topics) because you're gonna be a GREAT doctor some day (at least thats what we all should aim for)...


Hope this helps, Good luck, Study Smart not just Hard!
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Old 09-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Kal_El View Post
AHA! but you forget of how important the cotransporter, symporter, uniporter and ATPase pumps are! Pretty much all systems use the same underlying principles for concepts in Phys, Path and even Pharm (Mitochondrial depletion of ATP includes uncouplers like Thermogenin and Dinitrophenol etc)(Detrimental effects of inc Ca+ in the cytosol and permeation of Mito), also so are the action potentials, types of gap junctions btw cells(sinusoid organs such as Liver, bone marrow, spleen and fenestrated organs such as glomerular basement membrane), transport types (Active/passive etc) as well as Osmolarity/Osmolality, Osmotic/Oncotic pressure (Renal Phys/Path/Pharm)

So if you know the normal usage of ions, water, excitation/coupling in excitable tissues/muscle you will start to understand WHY something happens the way it does (instead of just memorizing it) Exs hyper/hypo Kalemia, natremia, calcemia, myositis, muscular dystrophies, tetany, myasthenia gravis and the list goes on....

Yes they won't give you a straight forward questions in those, but the USMLE knows that any student can memorize the WHAT, thats why they base their questions around understanding the underlying common and easy/medium topics so they can test whether you know WHY and HOW something happens, the reasoning behind it.....In 1 swift move of a 2 step question they will test your knowledge of Path/Pharm and Physio/Biochem/Anatomy etc...

The reason you want to know your General Physio/Path/Pharm well is because then you don't need to Memorize every little detail of what happens in a Diseased state, because you know the Normal and when you study the Abnormal there will be clues of WHY its abnormal, thus your comprehension of the material depends on it! You can refer to Q-banks, and you'll notice 50% of the questions make you guess the diagnosis but the question is a little simpler about the understanding of the MECHANISM of WHY things happen the way they do.

So don't cheat yourself on the basics and general(Intro topics) because you're gonna be a GREAT doctor some day (at least thats what we all should aim for)...


Hope this helps, Good luck, Study Smart not just Hard!
I agree with what you say but the general topics you mentioned have been covered in Biochemistry,Pharmacology and even in RR by Goljan Pathology.
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Old 09-17-2010
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Default Physiology Is very important for the Exams

No matter what anyone says, or any review exams suggest; Physiology is one of the core subjects on the exam.
Some of the toughest questions on the exam will be from Physiology.
If you do your Physiology well, you have those tough ones covered as well..
Physiology cant be ignored in any way..also the topics are all of hig yield and the questions in patho and pharmac can be linked to phy easily..
If you need a detailed understanding of their questions, this is one subject to concentrate....
And dont leave it till the end...they are all concepts..if u understand them...u have them in your pocket....
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Old 09-18-2010
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Pure physiology constitutes around 8% of the questions, while pathology & pathophysiology combined constitute around 35%.

So I'd say, get your pathology in check as a 1st priority.
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Old 09-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haisook View Post
Pure physiology constitutes around 8% of the questions, while pathology & pathophysiology combined constitute around 35%.

So I'd say, get your pathology in check as a 1st priority.
This is how i thought of the exam as well, its nice to know someone else concurs with me.
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Old 09-18-2010
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I understand that most ppl believe that Pathology is most imp on this exam, but I am still one of the very few who believe PathoPhysiology is more important than just 1 or the other, thus you need to know BOTH collectively to understand and do well on the USMLE!
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Old 09-18-2010
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Default Of course

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haisook View Post
Pure physiology constitutes around 8% of the questions, while pathology & pathophysiology combined constitute around 35%.

So I'd say, get your pathology in check as a 1st priority.

Of course..the whole exam will be some how or the other related to Pathology. And that should indeed be the 1st Priority.
But the patho questions are usually linked to pathophys as u mentioned for which physiology is very imp. Also physio is a tough subject, so it is better to deal with it in the beginning of your prep.
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Old 09-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Kal_El View Post
I understand that most ppl believe that Pathology is most imp on this exam, but I am still one of the very few who believe PathoPhysiology is more important than just 1 or the other, thus you need to know BOTH collectively to understand and do well on the USMLE!
I agree 110% with this.
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Old 09-18-2010
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Well this is a lively discussion... thanks for all the feedback everyone... It certainly helps put me at ease.

I know that I'd love to be the doctor that has the disease processes down like the back of my hand and I've always focused on that. I also find that physio is essential for most questions and so thats okay but I just wanted to make sure that pure physio was closer to the UW level and not so much the Physio math questions that Kaplan has.
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Old 09-18-2010
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Thank you Peewee - this addressed the question that I really had in my head I think...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peewee View Post
I would say USMLEworld is more accurate.

DON'T buy the Kaplan Physiology questions that they sell separate, they are useless. They are more math and the exam just simply isn't made that way.

Everything can be related physiology, so the Step 1 will be asking questions indirectly. You'll be answering a question and not even realize that it has something to do with Physio.

Every question could really be related to physio and patho
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Old 09-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Kal_El View Post
I understand that most ppl believe that Pathology is most imp on this exam, but I am still one of the very few who believe PathoPhysiology is more important than just 1 or the other, thus you need to know BOTH collectively to understand and do well on the USMLE!
I'm hoping for this too - integration is what happens in real life and that should be the way we are tested...
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Old 10-31-2010
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Default Kaplan Physio or Costanzo?

Is it just me or does the Kaplan Physiology notes seem confusing? Physiology is one of my weak subjects and have heard many recommend the Physiology by Costanzo. The book seems very basic but is it sufficient for the knowledge required in the Step 1 examination?
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