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Old 06-11-2013
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Wink Some FAQs by the great phloston

I gathered some Q and As compiled by the great Phloston of SDN who scored an amazing 262 in step 1, an IMG too. I am sure some people have come across it, but for those who haven't I think it has most of the FAQs about step 1, literally. Sorry it's a bit long but hope it helps.

Phloston- I've also received many post-exam PMs and questions that I'll post below:

Q: Good to hear you did well, hey phloston I know your exhausted and all but if you could just answer a few questions I would be grateful... exam in a week
1.Having given the exam now what would you recommend is the best routine to follow in the final week to do to get the most out the last few days?
2.How was the exam compared to NBME? Uworld? Uwolrd assessment exams?
3.Can 90% of it be done from FA as many have stated before?
4. Anatomy was it from FA or should we supplement another source and go through pictures/ diagrams etc.?
any other avdice which is key to doing well would be appreciated

A: Hey, man, I am pretty beat right now. I only got 3 hours of sleep last night (the night after my exam) because I had difficult questions flying into my head that I wasn't sure whether I had gotten wrong. I even woke up with my heart beating to a renal calculation question that I thought I may have messed up on. I'm hoping everything went okay.
As far as the final days are concerned, I had been asking people that question for a long time as well. I pretty much spent the last couple weeks, believe it or not, at ~50% the workload / # of hours that I normally put in throughout the year. The final week for me was literally alternating days of just doing an NBME and then going through a chapter of FA. In the final week, don't study physio. You know that stuff. Make sure you learn the biochem, micro, pharm and embryo that's in FA. I had one day where I just did biochem. One day was just embryo. One was just micro. And the last was just going through the drugs at the end of each chapter and in the pharm chapter itself. Know your side-effects. I had a low-
yield side-effect show up in a very tricky question, where they wanted you to think it was a different drug they were asking about.
I would rate the exam much closer to UWorld in terms of question-style and difficulty than the NBMEs. I found the NBME questions to be either joke-easy or WTF-hard, no real in-between. The real deal was mostly middle-ground difficulty, with a handful of gimmies and a handful of hard ones. I found the UWSAs to be much much harder than the real deal. That being said, I had thought the UWSAs were harder than UWorld QBank as well.
I would say that FA alone is not nearly enough. I think about 60% +/- 10% of my exam was straight from FA. The rest was literally all QBank material. When you get to the real deal, you'll know what I'm talking about. You can read FA, but if you haven't done a lot of practice questions, you're toast. Do a ****load of questions. I've read posts in the past where people say FA was >90% of the exam. Those people either got very easy exams or are just oblivious.
Love that you ask about anatomy. I was worried most about this going in, but I may have gotten lucky I think. I didn't have too much, but the ones I had were WTF questions, and for some ridiculous reason, I knew them. There was one obscure anatomy identification question (go figure) that literally popped up like the 3rd to last question of the whole exam. It kind of sank my mood ever so slightly, but I tried not to let it bother me. But yeah, I had no idea wtf it was asking. Abdominal x-ray, both frontal and lateral views, pointing to different things. Hopefully I got it right.
If I were you (and listen to me square), know your neuroanatomy. This was exceedingly high-yield on my exam. I had pretty much everything you could have imagined, and would have been royally ****ed had I been weak in this area. I would say I'm above average, not excellent, with neuro, and I was still able to get by for the most part.

Q: Could you also comment on pathology, if FA + pathoma is good coverage? I own Goljan but it seems low yield.

A: I didn't use Pathoma. I listened to about 2/3 of the Goljan audios but didn't use the rest of them because I was impatient. I think the audios are great if you're learning that material for the first time, but if you're approaching crunch-time, there's other things that are higher priority. The FA% on my exam I mentioned above.

Q: By "QBank material", do you mean just UWorld?
Because as far as I can gather from the forum posts about the other two banks, USMLERx is basically just FA and 95% of Kaplan QBank is FA including reference to the page numbers in FA.
The other argument which I hope someone can answer is, if FA authors have been clever enough to put all the facts needed to solve all the 10x322+150 NBME questions in their book, how do the NBMEs still correlate so well with the score from the actual test that has only 50% of necessary facts from FA?

A: Each QBank contributed something unique. USMLE Rx seemed to draw heavily from FA with its actual questions, but the explanations sometimes provided a lot of low-yield factual info. A few drug names popped up on my exam that I had only seen because USMLE Rx had mentioned them. They weren't the answers to the actual questions, but I at least knew they weren't right.
USMLE Rx's questions are much more simple than the real exam's. When I had gone through the QBank in March/April, I thought the difficulty was normal, but I had gone back through ~5-600 questions within 3 weeks of the real deal (7 months later, so no, I didn't remember any questions), and they were so easy that I felt it wasn't the best use of time to tackle the QBank a second time. Once was fantastic. Twice was a no no.
In short, if I am as objective as I can possibly be, I think FA alone can get you most of the straightforward questions, just as reading that text would help you with Rx, but the harder questions require that you know a mechanism really well and then be able to manipulate it. FA alone can't give you practice with that, and Rx is only the first step in developing your thought processes.
Kaplan QBank is definitely not 95% FA. KQB was the hardest of any resource I had used while prepping for this exam, and it had a ton of low-yield info. It definitely helped with my molecular biology, which interestingly was very high-yield on my exam.
As far as the NBMEs are concerned, as I've said before, 90% of the questions on those exams are cake-easy, so it's not a surprise that FA can be generally adequate. But the curves are extremely extremely steep. When you do those exams, it will become apparent to you how much bearing the low-yield info has on your score.

Q: No what I meant to say about the NBMEs is that the FA authors certainly would have seen every single one of those questions and they would have incorporated the factoids into FA somehow. I haven't taken a single NBME yet but I can bet every question in them would have the factoids needed to solve mentioned in FA. If 50% of the questions on the actual test needed minutiae outside of FA to even solve, I am not sure how NBME tests still correlate that well with the actual scores, steep curves or not.
If you are saying Kaplan QBank is not 95% FA, I think I should really try it, though I have no freakin' idea where I would find the time for it! However, I have read at least ten posts on this very forum by ten different people saying that 95% of the questions in Kaplan QBank can be solved using factoids from FA and those 95% even give the page numbers in FA where the answer may be found. That is the confusing point.

A: The bold is not what I've said. FA may have covered ~60% +/- 10% of my exam, but that doesn't mean the remainder was minutiae. There are quite a few questions that require your external knowledge integrated with strong problem-solving skills.
FA does not build your pathology. You need BRS Path, Webpath and many QBank Qs to cover this area. FA's coverage of path is mere cursory.
I say I had a lot of minutiae on my exam. Probably about 20 questions fell into this category. They either required you know some small factoid, or you had to know what you were looking at without the help of the vignette. I'd say two of the hardest questions on my entire exam included images. Other difficult questions had patients with presentations I had never seen before. In fact, one of the most challenging questions on my exam had to do with a vitamin.
If I mention anything related to difficulty and this exam, it's completely objective, not subjective.
When I said that, for me, "the real deal was mostly middle-ground difficulty, with a handful of gimmies and a handful of hard ones," that is how I see it in relation to what I think the % of people answering each question correctly was.
Some QBank questions you do literally have 85+% answering correctly (e.g. here's a drug causing orange tears/sweat, which one is it?); I just don't feel these were a humongous portion of my test. I'd say the bulk of the questions fell into what felt like the "50-65% answered correctly" category.
I probably encountered ~25 questions that were thoughtlessly easy (>80% answering correctly), but there were also ~25 that were in the <25-30% answering correctly category. I think I may have seen ~5 that were for sure <20%-type questions.

Q: Phloston, in retrospect, would you still say UsmleRx over Kaplan Qbank?
For all recent test takers, assuming you have tried both because I don't know how you can know otherwise (unless you do with a reason .. then that's fair), UsmleRx or Kaplan Qbank?
Also - I'm doing GT, not sure if that changes anything but perhaps GT is similar enough to UsmleRx....

A: As I've said before, each QBank has different strengths. Rx was better for reinforcing FA. Kaplan is good for building your micro and molecular biology. Here's a post I made about Kaplan a while ago. I mention a bit about it in comparison to Rx as well:

Q: I was going to ask how BRS path compares to patjoma and if one is more dense or better. I'm trying to avoid goljan.

A: I never touched Pathoma. I thought BRS was perfect for learning stuff during MS2. It's basically the FA of path. It's a skeleton to get you started and isn't too overwhelming (like big Robbins).
I own Goljan RR, but had only used it to look at p.57 (I think that's the p.#) on occasion, which has really good volume vs osmolarity boxes. None of this stuff ended up showing up on my exam, but the topic was high-yield in the QBanks.
I had spent no more than 10 minutes at different times flipping through random sections of the Goljan RR, but I could tell that it would have been a great text during MS2, not something to use approaching the exam. I would recommend BRS Path + Webpath + tons of QBank Qs as top priority.

Q: Phloston ), if you had only a few days to spare for Kaplan, which sections would do from the QBank given you have already completed UWorld?

A: I recommend the whole QBank, but if you absolutely need to crunch, get through the biostats and molecular bio. I would also suggest doing neuro if you can. Neuroanatomy was one of the highest-yield topics on my exam.

Q: would you say that uworld covers most >85% of the pathology on the exam not seen in FA, since everyone claims it to be hi-yield

A: UWorld asks questions well within the context of the topics that it does cover, but overall, it does not nearly cover the breadth of path that could show up on your exam. Path is one of the most extensive subjects. They can show you any picture in a patient with any type of presentation. UWorld covers the highest-yield topics well (e.g. Marfan's, phakomatoses), but the lower-yield stuff can come out of nowhere. Make sure you know BRS Path, and try to do Rx and Kaplan QBank in addition to just UWorld; if you don't have time, just try and fly through BRS Path so you at least know everything in there.

Q: Phloston, would you say that understanding and knowing ALL the info in the UW explanations w a good thorough understanding of FA would be enough for 220?

A: If you spend the time to learn all of UWorld, you'll do very well. FA is your foundation, then from there, your score is somewhat directly tied into the # of practice questions you do. This begins to plateau around 6-7000 questions, but from there, you are more so just developing rapid recall skills and the ability to manipulate experimental models than actual raw score augmentation.

Q: Phloston, congrats homie on taking the exam. Was Neuroanatomy really that high yield? How many questions would you say were on your exam?

A: I had a ventral brainstem pic (identify the nerve based on the vignette), gross haematoma pic, several MRIs, brainstem transverse cross-section, spinal cord cross-section, and at least 30 vignettes (without images) that relied on you making a diagnosis or being able to identify the location of a lesion based on the information given. I'd say ~40 questions on my exam were neuro.
Two of the hardest questions on my exam were neuro. And a third question was of the pure factoid, esoteria-type; you either knew it or you didn't, and FA didn't cover it.
One of them had a very abstruse image with a relatively simple vignette. I had never seen an image like that before. Of the conclusion that I was able to draw, the vignette just didn't seem to relate whatsoever to the image. I believe they were trying to pull some sort of trick. Based on what I've encountered through practice questions in this type of situation, it's important to go with your conclusion of the image more so than getting pulled into the vignette. So in the end, I answered this question based on the image alone. I have no idea whether I got it right.

Q: Phloston, why do you recommend BRS path? I don't think I've heard of anyone recommending it.

A: During MS2, I would read the chapter in BRS Path over the weekend before that corresponding topic was covered in PBL. That way, I went into class with a good foundation, versus just seeing the material for the first time. This helped me lead the class discussions. I thought BRS Path was absolutely platinum for building my path. It's mainly bullet points and is super well-consolidated.

Q: many suggest BRS Physiology. Goljian audio is great too but only if you do it earlier in the year.

A: I read BRS Physio about 5-months-out. I only purchased it because everyone raved about it, but it was way overkill for Step1. This text earned me zero questions correct on both the NBMEs and on my real deal. I would recommend this text for someone in MS1 who wants to build his or her foundation in physiology. However if you're within 6 months of the exam, this book should be essentially nill on the priority list. Practice questions and reading the explanations is pretty much all you have to do for physio. And don't touch physio in the last two weeks. Just focus on biochem, micro, embryo and pharm.

Q: Now that you are done with the test, what do you think is the highest value for time in last two weeks? Do you still think FA, UW and NBME or would you include anything else as well?

A: The highest valued thing you can do during the last two weeks is to sleep as much as you can at night. If that means getting 9.5 hrs every single night leading up to the exam, do that. I wore ear plugs and a blindfold and didn't let anyone wake me. You'll need all of your energy when you enter the real deal. But don't nap during the day. Just push through your study days and sleep long at night. You need max REM for your memory.
In terms of resources, the last two weeks should be making sure you've finished UWorld, doing all of the NBMEs and touching up on the HY subjects in FA. That's it. I finished my second pass of UWorld right around the two-week-mark from my exam, then spent the final days on the NBMEs and FA at 50% effort.

Q: What do you suggest for images CT , MRI

Q: Phloston, you say neuroanatomy was heavy on the exam. What is on your opinion the best resource to study neuroanatomy from for someone with not the best background? Thanks

A: To both of you: practice questions. That's it.
I had been most worried about anatomy going in because it's not my strong area and it has been known to be highly variable on people's exams, but practice questions turned out to be sufficient for me.
Interestingly, as much as I hate Kaplan's question-style, the QBank developed my ability to read CTs really well. By the time I sat the real deal, I felt very comfortable with CTs of the thorax and abdomen. This comfort came strictly through practice questions.
I also recommend the neuro sections only of the Kaplan anatomy lecture notes. These saved me on the exam. I wasn't a fan of the lecture notes overall because I feel they're generally too long and overkill,
but the neuroanatomy section of the anatomy book is spot-on. I didn't read the notes in this section; I just looked at the images. This helped big-time.

Q: I heard you say micro cards were good and I did go through them once. Do you think they are useful to keep using in the final few months of prep or did you just use FA?

A: Going into the exam, I made sure I had the images of the tree-diagram cards in my head. I had several questions that required you knew the structural characteristics of the organisms. The Microcards were ultra-clutch and pretty much got me all of my Micro points on the exam.
Surprisingly, I only had one question on bacterial toxins on the exam, despite these being very high-yield. It also happened to be one of the trickiest questions on my form because the vignette was nothing I had ever encountered before. I almost got it wrong, but when I went back to think more about it, I was very impressed that they had managed to make such a twisted question out of otherwise very straightforward material. Know your toxins and how they relate to immunology. They know people can memorize toxins, but be sure you understand how the cytokines and receptor pathways factor in.

Q: how much biochemistry/molecular biology should I study?
I have been reading conflicting reports. FA is really short on pathways, with little to no coverage outside krebs, glycolysis, urea and even those were short. I plan on doing FA, Kaplan QBank, USMLE World, Lippincott q&a. Is that good enough? Or should I go to the big lippincott review book and go over all of the pathways?

A: FA covers the metabolic cycles sufficiently. However, the QBanks will clue you in on how they can be tested.
This means good and "bad" news:
Good news: the only text you need for biochem is FA (and just in case you are curious, I own DejaReview Biochem and HY Biochem; both were preter-unnecessary. I also spent about an hour one day flying through a copy of Underground Clinical Vignettes - Biochem that I had seen laying around in my SoM's bookstore. This was actually pretty good, but not necessary.).
"Bad" news: you have to do a lot of practice questions to see how biochem's tested. The USMLE likes to mesh the biochemical pathways in with enzymatic phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, cAMP and pathoendocrinology (e.g. hormones, congenital disorders). Biochem is also a prime target for minutiae questions. The QBanks will fill you in on the details you need to know.
Kaplan QBank is the best QBank for building your molecular bio.

Q: Similar question for anatomy. FA is very, very short on anatomy. Again is FA + Kaplan QBank + USMLE World good enough for the score I am aiming?
FA + the QBanks + neuro-only sections of KLN + Underground Clinical Vignettes (anatomy) is sufficient. The latter isn't necessary, but is only a 10-15-hr read, so I still recommend it.

A: Now let me just make a point clear: anatomy stands as the one subject where your external knowledge is most critical. You can't get this through USMLE resources. This comes only with having been an anatomy tutor or a lab aficionado during the first two years of med school. When I say that those above resources are all you need for anatomy, they're in actuality just all you should be using during your study period.
I own BRS Anatomy, HY Anatomy, USMLE RoadMap Anatomy and KLN anatomy - all were a waste of time. QBank Qs will make you aware as to how anatomy is tested. These latter texts are consonant with lab-based anatomy-learning during MS1/2, but they are too generalized for helping you answer USMLE questions. Just do tons of practice questions and quickly review the neuro sections of the anatomy book of the KLNs.

Q: Phloston, Is it worth getting kaplan Qbank only for the mole bio section if I'll also be doing Rx and UWorld?

A: It's worth getting Kaplan QBank not just for the molecular bio, but for everything is has to offer. There are quite a few lab techniques as well as analyses of plasmid construction / gene transfer that are assessed in KQB that are simply just not covered to the same extent in Rx or UWorld.
This also refers to testing you on conjugation, transduction, homologous recombination, site-specific recombination, phenotype masking/mixing, complementation and antibiotic resistance mechanisms.
This is not to say that you would necessarily be lost on these types of questions on your actual exam if you didn't do KQB, but what I can say, in relation to my exam, is that I had 4-5 questions with regard to the mechanisms above, where I tackled them based off of my external knowledge for the most part. One or two were basically rapid recall. But another two were questions I had marked on my form (i.e. I wasn't 100% sure). For these, the background knowledge that I used to narrow down the answers likely came from KQB more than any other resource.
When I went through UWorld after KQB, I noticed that they very briefly touched upon some of the molecular bio topics, but not nearly as comprehensively as Kaplan. That's also for a reason. Molecular bio isn't the highest-yield topic ever, but Kaplan for some reason likes it.
On my exam, I feel 4-5 questions is actually a lot to ask on pure molecular bio (i.e. mo bio not integrated with pathology or biochem; just pure mo bio). I think I may have expected perhaps one or two questions on plasmid construction or gene transfer, but I had double that number.
The question I had on transfer of genetic material was quite nebulous. It fell into the category of one of those reasoning questions that you just can't prepare for, but if you understand how the process works, you're in a better position to think your way through what would or would not be reasonable.

Q: What about the Neuroanatomy section of Webpath?
Some folks who had taken the test had recommended it. For those of you who have done it, can someone point out what precisely needs to done.
There are whole set of Anatomy Images and some quizzes, so it seems a bit overwhelming.

A: Just do the examination questions. Don't worry about the slides or tutorials.
Do the questions in topic-specific blocks as you move through MS2. These are great to end your week or to prepare for exams.
I never looked at the pathology slides/tutorials. I just did the questions.
For anatomy, on a few occasions when it would be late at night and I couldn't do any form of reading because I was too tired, I would listen to music and run through their head-to-toe cross-sections. These aren't necessary, but once again, they're good if you're too tired to read but still want to study.
But in short, when I recommend Webpath, I'm referring to all of the examination questions. In terms of slides/tutorials, use those at your leisure, but they are not a must.

Q: What do you think about doing a radiology elective during this month off versus trying to blow through a Q-bank potentially? am I overdoing it by taking a radiology elective with the sole purpose of nailing every radiograph/CT on my test?

A: Absolutely do not opt out of doing a QBank in order to do a radiology elective. QBank questions are your best friends. Always.
The imaging that shows up on the exam will be completely random. You will not be able to directly prepare for it in a reasonable amount of time. It would be like studying all of the insertions/origins of the muscles hoping that one could possibly show up on the exam, when meanwhile having spent all of that time doing more questions or reading FA would have been 20x as beneficial.
So yeah, know your basic radiology well. Kaplan QBank has some good CTs in it. Just be able to read CTs of the thorax and abdomen, and be familiar with MRIs of the knee. Those three things are the highest yield.

Q: when do you think is a good time to start doing uworld? I've been preparing for the test for about 4 weeks now, haven't done Uworld b/c I haven't gone over everything in FA yet. Should I just get it now before going over all of FA or wait until I've at least finished it once?
Thank you so much!

A: BRS Path, Webpath (examination questions only) and QBank questions are top priority for path. Don't worry about Goljan RR or Robbin's.
Start your first pass of UWorld ~2.5-3 months-out. Be sure to give yourself a solid 6 weeks to get through it because it will take a lot of time.
The first thing you should do with regard to USMLE prep is to read FA and go through USMLE Rx QBank. Those two are collectively one resource because they're both by the FA authors. Once you get through your first pass of FA + Rx, you'll already be at the high-230 or low-240 range. Do UWorld last.

Q: I know you highly recommended physio and molecular bio section from the Kaplan qbank... Any other subject?

A: I would also recommend going through the biostats. Biostats is one of those subjects that you can never get enough practice, so be sure at least to go through those questions too.

Q: pholston some stuff just seems so lowyield. we cant possibly need to know stuff like ependymomas having their rod shaped blepharoplasts.

A: I will just point out that that detail is mentioned in FA. Anything in FA, regardless as to how pedantic it may seem, is fair game.

Q: When you and others who have taken the test say the exam is different from NBMEs and UWorld in that the questions there put you in places where you have not gone before and makes you think hypothetical situations, what exactly do you mean?
Could you give me examples of such questions? Is it something like this is this pathway, what will happen if this gene is missing or if we add this miraculous drug that only blocks this enzyme, etc? If so, that's alright for biochem where most stuff is pathways and already follows a logical progression but how can that work for other subjects like micro, systems, etc?

A: I'm not entirely sure what you mean, but it seems like you're already aware that you need to know various mechanisms well enough to be able to manipulate or extrapolate from them. I would say this applies best to your cell signaling pathways (e.g. G-protein, MAP kinase) and the lac operon.

Q: Yeah I meant about just that. I remember you posting something about the questions on the real thing are a lot harder than the NBME because it required a lot of manipulation. I was just wondering where all this applies, apart from the biochem pathways.

A: The harder questions will integrate many concepts, particularly endocrine. For instance, they might ask you about a gene knockout that affects calcium-sensing on bone but not on enterocytes, and then they might also tell you that the patient has a long Hx of uncontrolled diabetes (so you'd need to infer secondary hyperparathyroidism); then they'd possibly show you some table asking you, with arrows, about how calcidiol, cholecalciferol, (24R)-hydroxycalcidiol, phosphate, and ALP would all be expected to change based on the mutation. Now it's not that this question would necessarily be exceedingly difficult as much as it is that you just need to know vitamin-D and Ca-PO4-PTH mechanisms really really well, and then be able to understand how the arrows would change based on the knockout they give.
Most often, you'll actually get a much more simple question than the above one, where they'll merely just ask you for Ca, PO4 and ALP levels (with arrows) in secondary hyperparathyroidism (which you'd have to infer based on the pt's presentation), but the caveat is that they'd then throw in an additional variable that most people likely haven't heard of before (e.g. osteocalcin, osteoahderin, DMP-1), and it will come down to you literally having to know that variable, and there's no way out. You either know it or you don't, and it's not in FA. This is an example of where low-yield info can come rushing up out of nowhere.

Q: Pardon my manners, happy new years. What do you recommend for sleeping the night before? How was workout schedule like?

A: Two cups of chamomile tea with milk and honey, one hour apart, but not within one hour of bed (if you take them too close to bed, you'll have to wake up in the middle of the night to micturate). Don't use any medications, etc. I averaged probably ~4 days/wk at the gym during my final two weeks. Definitely work out if you can.

Q: Did you go over the all of NBME wrong answers a day before the real exam?

A: I made a Powerpoint with all of all incorrect questions (or ones I had answered correctly but thought were strange). I went through most of them a few days before the exam. The day before, I actually did very little studying. I went through the remaining incorrects from the Powerpoint, but there weren't many at all.

Q: Should I keep the online NBME towards the end of my dedicated study period?

A: Yeah. Take one or two online ones outside of the 6-week mark. But take the remaining online ones within the last ten days.

Q: In one of your posts you mentioned that you used offline nbmes after taking the real/bought ones to learn from. Do you know how I can get them? Also, do you know where we can find the answers?
I tried searching and asking around but had no luck. If you can point me in the right direction I'd really appreciate it. (I plan on buying them too but I like the idea of being able to look through the questions and answers afterwards)
Thanks a lot!!!

A: I had made a thread about where I could find the offline NBMEs a while ago, and someone PMed me, granting me access to his/her Google account, where I was able to temporarily access them. I suggest you just make a thread asking where you can find them. You'll likely get PMed.

Q: Also, did you memorize all the cards or just the cards pertaining to the microbes in first aid?

A: Know all of the organisms. I've seen each and every one show up some way some how during my prep / on the exam.

Q: Does it matter what edition of microcards you use? I ordered 3rd edition but instead they sent the 2nd edition and I'm wondering if it's worth the S+H back to get the 3rd edition. thank you!

A: I used the 2nd edition. They were more than amazing.

Q: Hey phloston did you start first with firsaid then reading som books?And at wich stage you become able to know all information before doing quest? Thanks

A: Do a pass of FA before you start any questions. This way, you're reinforcing, not just blindly learning for the first time through questions.

Q: Hey Phloston, i asked you earlier in the fall about how to approach micro, and you suggested to properly go through it you should use the microcards. I have them and plan to do so. After reading your write up and reflections on the board exam, I was wondering if your views towards micro prep are the same or do you suggest anything more? A: The most unequivocally important thing regarding micro for your exam is to know the images of those tree-algorithm cards within the Microcards COLD. I had quite a few organism structural identification questions. For instance, they asked about a couple viruses, and it came down to knowing whether they were enveloped or non-enveloped, or circular vs linear. I wouldn't have been able to answer those had I not memorized those algorithms. Go through the vignette cards too. Quite honestly, it might seem like a lot, but once you approach the real deal, you'll realize much of the info in the Microcards is fairly basic and not a big deal. The QBanks will fill you in on the vignette card info if you don't get to those cards, but at the very least, make sure you do the tree-algorithms, and know those images cold. Know the chapter in FA really well, especially all of the toxins and MOAs. Know vaccine types very well. I had a few questions asking about what kind of vaccine (e.g. toxoid, polysaccharide) for a few different pathogens.
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