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  #1  
Old 09-18-2010
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Unhappy What am I doing wrong?

What I'm finding is that I often get stuck on the final point when I'm trying to answer a question - the last connection of the 3 step reasoning that the Qbanks and I guess ultimately the USMLE makes you do. I can't seem to ever choose the right one when I'm stuck between two answers. It doesn't matter what subject this is about - it happens mostly in Path, but not exclusively...

I'm wondering if you guys think that's a problem with my basics or a problem with memorizing details because I'm the guy (and maybe many of you are as well) that always gets questions wrong because its down to two answers and I just can't remember the detail that's required to choose between the two. Is this a problem with details or with my basic concepts? Any thoughts?
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Old 09-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashishkabir View Post
What I'm finding is that I often get stuck on the final point when I'm trying to answer a question - the last connection of the 3 step reasoning that the qbanks and I guess ulitmately the USMLE makes you do. I can't seem to ever choose the right one when I'm stuck between two answers. It doesn't matter what subject this is about - it happens mostly in Path, but not exclusively...

I'm wondering if you guys think thats a problem with my basics or a problem with memorizing details because I'm the guy (and maybe many of you are as well) that always gets questions wrong because its down to two answers and i just can't remember the detail thats required to choose between the two. Is this a problem with details or with my basic concepts? Any thoughts?
I think the problem is the detail part. Don't try and memorize the details. let your reasoning take you to the answer. Don't look at the answers before answering the question to see if that helps.

When you narrow it down to 2 answers, is 1 usually the correct answer?
Remember, the USMLE likes to play word games on you, they can switch up an answer just by changing 1 word (language) and that throws doubt into you.

If its happening in path, you should be knowing what word you are looking for. Chances are that word is going to appear in the correct answer and not in the other answer that your looking at. But both will be similar.

This is what doing thousands of questions does for someone, it helps them filter out the BS and gives them practice to figure out how to answer standardized tests.

I've been there and worked through it, you can too.
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2010
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Almost all my mistakes are like yours, and that's the danger of the USMLE. You know, a few wrong answers, like 3-5 per block, could get your score down by 10 points on the 2-digit scale. That's pretty dangerous.

At first, I was cursing at UW for being not so clear, but when I read the explanations and revised FA about the part in question, I found out I was really missing those little differentiating bits. They may seem similar to the unaware, but they're really different. Take hyaline vs hyperplastic arteriolitis or subepithelial vs subendothelial immune deposits, as examples. So if you're getting a lot of such questions wrong, especially in pathology, I think you need to revise and MEMORIZE the FA. Pathology is very high-yield, and it's essential to be very good at it. Thankfully, a lot of pathology is so unique that it's easy to figure out.

I don't agree with what Peewee said, "I think the problem is the detail part. Don't try and memorize the details. let your reasoning take you to the answer." -- I think you need to memorize the details. I believe this is what makes the difference between a 99er and 95er. The 99er knew the details very well, there was not a chance for him to make many mistakes.

Go with your heart only when you don't know the details.

Lastly, I think this issue will be ever-present no matter what. The USMLE is an exam about picking the best answer among other answers that in theory could be also correct.

EDIT:

I want to say as well that getting confused over 2 answers (where it happens that really one of them is correct) is good and is much better than not being able to narrow down the choices at all. This means you just need one more FA reading and you'll be all set. Thought that would put you at ease a little bit. We're in the same boat, anyway, so it puts me at ease too!
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Old 09-19-2010
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Thanks a lot for the support, guys... You're right... I used DIT to go through FA once but I think I should one more time because I often, when I'm doing the random blocks think ohh if only I could open my book right now... I realized when I was going over my mistakes in UW that I couldn't remember simple things like differences between Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis and I was using gut instinct to answer those. I'm going to try and push those questions, even if I don't get them right from not sure to certain.

I'm going to go ahead and do FA maybe at double speed this time. I'm also going to go over Goljan at double speed - just to make sure I've got the path theory down. I've looked over UW once (well, 80 % of it) and I'm going to go over my mistakes and really figure them out and hopefully that should help.

I'll do the last 20% of UW then random timed and hopefully my score goes up. That's the plan right now - what do you think?

Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 09-19-2010
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Good plan. Btw, I didn't do goljan; just Kaplan video + notes (once) and FA (twice). And I'm doing fine.

Btw, what's your UW cumulative by now?
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Old 09-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haisook View Post
Good plan. Btw, I didn't do goljan; just Kaplan video + notes (once) and FA (twice). And I'm doing fine.

Btw, what's your UW cumulative by now?
Cumulative is about 55... so thats why I'm worried
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Old 09-19-2010
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Originally Posted by ashishkabir View Post
Cumulative is about 55... so thats why I'm worried
If you still have a lot of time to prepare, and if you started doing the questions early in prep, I think 55 is good...
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Old 09-19-2010
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Originally Posted by Haisook View Post
If you still have a lot of time to prepare, and if you started doing the questions early in prep, I think 55 is good...
Lets hope so... I'll see if I can try again in a little bit and hopefully it gets better. I do find i have a lot to learn from the explanations still. I'll keep you guys posted!
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Old 09-19-2010
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well most of people says...do FA in last months....
m confused....about revising kaplan again or only FA...(though i hv not read FA yet)

well i hv 2 months to my exam...is it possible to get 99 if i do only FA n Qs in these last 2 months....well i read kaplan notes 2 months back...since 2 months m doing only Qs n referring kaplan for my weak points only....
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Old 09-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khushboo View Post
well most of people says...do FA in last months....
m confused....about revising kaplan again or only FA...(though i hv not read FA yet)

well i hv 2 months to my exam...is it possible to get 99 if i do only FA n Qs in these last 2 months....well i read kaplan notes 2 months back...since 2 months m doing only Qs n referring kaplan for my weak points only....
In theory, the more your read the books, the better. Nobody can doubt that, but in a 2 months worth of prep, what's more high-yield? Of course it's the FA. You've already gotten the concepts from Kaplan, and really Kaplan has a lot of extra info that's rarely, if ever, tested. Check out the new Kaplan books; they're half the size of the older ones! There's too much in these books to be read more than once.

I did kaplan once (+ the videos), FA twice, and I'm currently doing UW + reading some FA. I'll be done with UW a month from my exam. All I'm gonna do then is read FA over & over again.

FA is really a gift from heavens. The majority of my UW mistakes could've been avoided if I had FA memorized.
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  #11  
Old 09-19-2010
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Well thats definitely true, FA is the bible - but I think if you can just skim through Kaplan to look up a table or a chart that might do a little better than your annotated FA that would be useful too. Definitely not another full revision of Kaplan - I don't know how you're even thinking about doing that Khushboo - that would kill me

But to put things in perspective the scores you're getting now I'd say you're ready now... 70% can well be a 99 and nobody can control what questions they get on exam day. If there are any final concepts you've got left I'd just go and pick those up in case they pop up. Otherwise, just jump in


Quote:
Originally Posted by Haisook View Post
In theory, the more your read the books, the better. Nobody can doubt that, but in a 2 months worth of prep, what's more high-yield? Of course it's the FA. You've already gotten the concepts from Kaplan, and really Kaplan has a lot of extra info that's rarely, if ever, tested. Check out the new Kaplan books; they're half the size of the older ones! There's too much in these books to be read more than once.

I did kaplan once (+ the videos), FA twice, and I'm currently doing UW + reading some FA. I'll be done with UW a month from my exam. All I'm gonna do then is read FA over & over again.

FA is really a gift from heavens. The majority of my UW mistakes could've been avoided if I had FA memorized.
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Old 09-19-2010
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Ya i too think doing kaplan once again is too much...
I was very confused about it n planned to postpone exam just to revise kaplan once again....but thanks now will concentrate on FA n Qs only..m kinda perfectionist type that all things should be revised before exam but its not possible n i get tensed easily just by the thought that m not gonna revise kaplan
well now have decided to do FA...hope i'll stick on my decision
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Old 09-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khushboo View Post
Ya i too think doing kaplan once again is too much...
I was very confused about it n planned to postpone exam just to revise kaplan once again....but thanks now will concentrate on FA n Qs only..m kinda perfectionist type that all things should be revised before exam but its not possible n i get tensed easily just by the thought that m not gonna revise kaplan
well now have decided to do FA...hope i'll stick on my decision
Thank god you are getting more confident now, you have done well. Just have confidence in yourself, concentrate on FA and UW and you will be good to go.
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