Scoring 39% Kaplan Q bank and 31% on Diagnostic after 9 months of preparation, SOS - USMLE Forums
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Old 07-16-2013
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Warning! Scoring 39% Kaplan Q bank and 31% on Diagnostic after 9 months of preparation, SOS

Dear folks,
I've been preparing for step 1 for 4 straight months using FA only, stopped 3 months (The reason for the interruption was a major illness, anyway) then resumed for 9 straight months now.

Now these 9 straight months, I've been using Kaplan prerecorded videos and LNs plus Kaplan q bank a year subscription, my scores were 33% at the beginning of the preparation, then after integrating FA with Kaplan it raised for 45-55% in some subjects (below) giving me a total average of 39%. (Only completed 35% of the bank subject-wise).

Notice, I'm a slow reader, I believe a slug can read faster and I spend more time reading carefully.
Still doing my FA 1st read, Progress; covered Micro and General pathology from General principals and CVS, Endo, GI, Heme&Onco, MSK&CT from Organ systems except Pharm for every system).

I took the Kaplan diagnostic test today and scored 31% (which is FAILURE) owing that I didn't cover these subjects; Pharm, BS, Bio&Gen.

I need some insight on the diagnostic test result of 31% and the average 39% of Q bank. (I tend to forget some concepts and other concepts are news to me!)

Any advice would be much appreciated.
My exam is in November and I'm kinda lost.
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Old 07-16-2013
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You are using the wrong resources.

Since you asked for it-Here is my blunt advice (based on you being a slow reader):

First 2-3 Months

1. Ditch FA (for now) & Kaplan LN (except Neuroanatomy).
2. Watch Pathoma video & read Pathoma book
3. Listen to Gojan lectures (If you have time read Goljan Rapid Review-at least the side Notes)
4. Do USMLERx Q Bank and read FA Basic sciences Book and first aid organ systems book to develop an understanding of FA.
5. Revise Pathoma
Take an NBME (13)

After you are done with above then (Next 2 Months):

1. Start UW and review with FA (write notes on FA)
2. Revise your notes & Pathoma
Take UWSA 1
Revise UW & FA (with Notes)
Take NBME 15 & UWSA 2

Take the test.
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Last edited by Novobiocin; 07-16-2013 at 03:58 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2013
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novobiocin, why not Kaplan LN and videos? i think when used correctly, they are good before FA.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReggieMiller View Post
novobiocin, why not Kaplan LN and videos? i think when used correctly, they are good before FA.
Good question ReggieMiller but that advice was specifically for him.
He has been using Kaplan for last 9 Months & FA for 4 Months prior to that.
He is also a slow /passive reader. (I apologise for saying that DocCT but I have to be honest with you).
Clearly, all that has not worked for him.
Therefore, I believe that he need to do "active learning" and hence my advice.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Novobiocin View Post
Good question ReggieMiller but that advice was specifically for him.
He has been using Kaplan for last 9 Months & FA for 4 Months prior to that.
He is also a slow /passive reader. (I apologise for saying that DocCT but I have to be honest with you).
Clearly, all that has not worked for him.
Therefore, I believe that he need to do "active learning" and hence my advice.
that makes sense, and i believe its good advice. as far as kaplan goes, it could be your best friend, or your worst enemy.

my problem initially, was that i treated kaplan like a textbook, by slowly going over every word in the books, to understand the details. BIG MISTAKE.

kaplan is all about the big ideas, and putting things together. the details come from FA, and Questions.
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No worries, Novobiocin.

I prefer watching videos than reading, I'm an excellent audiovisual learner, I even used Picmonic for having a brittle memory and it helped a lot with correspondent FA pp/topics/subjects. This is why I may have been slow on my FA 1st read. Not to mention, I'm a resident working FATHER with a family to support. I dedicate 4-6 hours daily for my studying and on my offs I can do 8-10 hours.
I read in shifts and can be interrupted by patients! But I'm struggling to spare the moment.

Does this still categorize me as a passive learner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Novobiocin View Post
Good question ReggieMiller but that advice was specifically for him.
He has been using Kaplan for last 9 Months & FA for 4 Months prior to that.
He is also a slow /passive reader. (I apologise for saying that DocCT but I have to be honest with you).
Clearly, all that has not worked for him.
Therefore, I believe that he need to do "active learning" and hence my advice.
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Dear Novobiocin, Many thanks.
I really do appreciate your kind advice, ain't blunt at all, honestly.

I already finished Pathoma (All except for Reproductive & Respiratory). Kinda waiting to do them when theses two systems come to play in my FA 1st read plan.
I annotated in FA all Satar HY points + others explanation points for building a good understanding. (I think the book is just a duplicate for the slides and I will do pathology again from the videos).

I listened to 68 pages out of 125 pp of Goljan, but I didn't like it, kinda preferred Pathoma (But I'll try to take your advice indeed).

Rx kinda felt it adds nothing new (tried an offline complete 2013 version) I feel it's just copying/paste from FA, correct me if I'm wrong. But can you please explain why you suggested it in the 1st place please, may be I'm missing something here.

My plans:

I was gonna subscribe 1 month UW on 8/1 for a month then read Kaplan LNs (2nd run) for 24 days and then do UW 2nd run for another month.

8/1 - 9/1 UW 1st run
9/1 - 9/24 Kaplan LNs 2nd read plus extra FA reads
9/25 - 11/1 UW 2nd time

A lot advised that Kaplan 2nd read elevates the UW score from 10-20% and a 3rd read is preferable if one has time; can add extra points. But one can compensate with 4 to 5 FA reads.

Can we please work out something from your suggestions plus the above ones for a thorough plan for the next 4 months, Novobiocin?
Much appreaciated.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Novobiocin View Post
You are using the wrong resources.

Since you asked for it-Here is my blunt advice (based on you being a slow reader):

First 2-3 Months

1. Ditch FA (for now) & Kaplan LN (except Neuroanatomy).
2. Watch Pathoma video & read Pathoma book
3. Listen to Gojan lectures (If you have time read Goljan Rapid Review-at least the side Notes)
4. Do USMLERx Q Bank and read FA Basic sciences Book and first aid organ systems book to develop an understanding of FA.
5. Revise Pathoma
Take an NBME (13)

After you are done with above then (Next 2 Months):

1. Start UW and review with FA (write notes on FA)
2. Revise your notes & Pathoma
Take UWSA 1
Revise UW & FA (with Notes)
Take NBME 15 & UWSA 2

Take the test.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCT View Post
Does this still categorize me as a passive learner?
The reason I said that you have worked so hard and read so much but you are unable to reproduce your learning in terms of getting a decent score on the Kaplan. So, you have to agree that there is a problem.
Just like you, I am also an audiovisual learner and therefore never read any book cover to cover for my Step 2 CK. All I did was do all Q Banks and only read the books/resources to clarify my concepts. With this strategy I did well on my Step 2 CK.
I therefore, suggest that you do the same since nothing else works better than doing tons of questions to clarify concepts (active learning) as compared to reading a book.
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Much appreciated man! chapeau!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Novobiocin View Post
The reason I said that you have worked so hard and read so much but you are unable to reproduce your learning in terms of getting a decent score on the Kaplan. So, you have to agree that there is a problem.
Just like you, I am also an audiovisual learner and therefore never read any book cover to cover for my Step 2 CK. All I did was do all Q Banks and only read the books/resources to clarify my concepts. With this strategy I did well on my Step 2 CK.
I therefore, suggest that you do the same since nothing else works better than doing tons of questions to clarify concepts (active learning) as compared to reading a book.
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Old 07-16-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCT View Post
Dear Novobiocin, Many thanks.
I really do appreciate your kind advice, ain't blunt at all, honestly.

I already finished Pathoma (All except for Reproductive & Respiratory). Kinda waiting to do them when theses two systems come to play in my FA 1st read plan.
I annotated in FA all Satar HY points + others explanation points for building a good understanding. (I think the book is just a duplicate for the slides and I will do pathology again from the videos).

I listened to 68 pages out of 125 pp of Goljan, but I didn't like it, kinda preferred Pathoma (But I'll try to take your advice indeed).

Rx kinda felt it adds nothing new (tried an offline complete 2013 version) I feel it's just copying/paste from FA, correct me if I'm wrong. But can you please explain why you suggested it in the 1st place please, may be I'm missing something here.

My plans:

I was gonna subscribe 1 month UW on 8/1 for a month then read Kaplan LNs (2nd run) for 24 days and then do UW 2nd run for another month.

8/1 - 9/1 UW 1st run
9/1 - 9/24 Kaplan LNs 2nd read plus extra FA reads
9/25 - 11/1 UW 2nd time

A lot advised that Kaplan 2nd read elevates the UW score from 10-20% and a 3rd read is preferable if one has time; can add extra points. But one can compensate with 4 to 5 FA reads.

Can we please work out something from your suggestions plus the above ones for a thorough plan for the next 4 months, Novobiocin?
Much appreaciated.
OK, based on details you posted, I would recommend:

1. Start doing USMLE Rx Q Bank tomorrow online-many people have reported getting questions from it directly. It also is a better way of revising/retaining/solidifying FA concepts.

2. Start doing UW Q Bank along with doing USMLERx -It is the single most important available resource out there for Step 1. Use it as a learning tool and watch your progress but do not be worried about your score. Do it thoroughly at least two times before your test. Read the explanations/make notes. Do it timed/random mode (three hours for one block-one hour for each block & two hours for reading the explanations-Take notes on FA).

3.DO NOT read KLNs except NeuroAnatomy (not a good idea considering your time constraints). Instead watch key lectures videos like Raymon, Dr. Dougharty etc)

4. Do Micro cards/Picmonic, Pharma card, etc

5. Must listen to Goljan audio -he integrates everything so well and this test is all about integration of knowledge. If you have time to read a book in next 4 months then I would highly recommend Goljan RR.

Each month take one/two NBME except 13 & 15 to assess your progress and revise the answer explanations of NBME.

Take UWSA 1

Revise your notes with FA, Micro cards/Picmonic, Pharma card. Pathoma etc one month before your test. Look up all the images on WebPath and brain cross section Ct scan etc online.

Take NBME 13 & 15 & UWSA 2

Bottom line: Do as many questions as possible and read only when required (i.e. to clear your concepts). Exception-Goljan RR (as explained above).
Also, remember Pathoma & Goljan are not mutually exclusive but compliment each other.
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“What is man? He's just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur.”

Last edited by Novobiocin; 07-16-2013 at 05:35 PM.
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  #11  
Old 07-17-2013
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I forgot to mention the most important point:

Kaplan diagnostic tests are NOT good for assessing your performance. So, instead take online nbme's to get a better idea of how you are doing starting with NBME 7 and then 11 ,12, 13 & 15 (in the end of your prep -since your actual score will most likely to be an average of the two).
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“What is man? He's just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur.”
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