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Old 10-23-2013
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Help What am I doing wrong?

*I know this is very long so I'll tell when I'm getting to the point*

Hello everyone,
I'm an IMG, enough said lol, and I've been studying for 6+ months for my usmle step 1. I was an average student with my basic science classes and I made it thru all of them without failing once. After finishing basic sciences I took my first NBME, reality hit me and it hit me hard. I did horrible in it.
I realized that I don't know so much information that I need to know for me to get a 240+. I'm not blaming the school for not teaching me enough or anything like that, I can accept the fact that I was a bit lazy BUT the school also contributed a tiny bit to my lack of basic science knowledge. here are my nbme scores...

NBME 6: 270/168
NBME 7: 320/179
NBME 11: 440/207
NBME 12: 500/221
NBME 13: 520/226
NBME 15: Didn't take it yet.


I want to make sure that I score at least a 235+ on the step 1 3digit scale and I have one more NBME left to go. my exam is on october 31st and I'm planning on canceling that and reapply for a new sched permit cause I've already used up my one time extension.

This is what I've done to prepare myself for step1:

1) Made a binder of FA 2012 so I can add additional notes if there's no more room on the page. Like most IMGs I know, thats the first book I picked up and started reading. I would read a system and then do questions about that system on UW. That was really helpful since that's what helped me to expand my knowledge. I added notes to my FA binder.

2) Pathoma videos: added notes to my FA binder and did UW questions again after finishing each respective system.

3) Kaplan videos: I just did the pharm section from this video set. added notes to my FA binder and did respective UW questions again.

4)Goljan audio + transcript but only for some systems (CVS, GI/Hepatobilliary/Pancreas, CNS, Resp, Endo, Musculoskeletal, Renal) I'm pretty good with Heme and WBC so I didn't do that.

5) USMLE Rx videos.. I found them realllly awesome and helped so much with remembering first aid.. I didn't finish all of them and I'm still trying to finish them. I found some sections to be useless though (Immuno, so far)

6) After adding all the notes in my FA I read it roughly 2 - 3 times and I got my score to 520/226 on NBME 13.

Idk what I'm doing wrong and I'm really losing hope of ever getting a good score. I tried to set a timeline and figured out, after talking to ECFMG, that if I cancel this exam and reapply for a new permit that process will be finished by december 2nd-ish. No matter what my NBME score is going to be by then, I'm gonna take the exam. So that gives me a month or so more to prepare.
I've realized that I'm very strong with pathology, Micro and Immunology. I'm mediocre with pharm, physio and biochem. And I'm horrible at Molecular biochem, biostats and psych!

can someone tell me how can I improve my score, if it is at all possible now with my time. I'm so down and I feel like just giving up. I'm usually able to manage my stress pretty well but this time it's just breaking me down.

Last edited by futuredoc1987; 10-23-2013 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 10-23-2013
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Hey ..

I think at this point you should concentrate on your weak points.
Since you already eluded that your weak points are Molecular Bio, Biostats, and Psych.. I think you should consider the following.

1- You should go through Kaplan Behavioral Science, and since the videos might be too long and time consuming you can skip to the parts that you need the most.
For Psych generally, you don't have to know every single thing, the most important thing is to be able to compare and contrast between diseases and illnesses respectively. i.e ( personaloty disorders, defense mechanisms, etc... )
2- For biostats, just keep doing questions, it gets confusing at times, so learning just the theory i think won't do you so much good, try to find questions from UW, Kaplan, UsmleRx etc.. do them and read the explanations.

3- For molecular Bio, it's also one of my weak points to be honest, but what i did is the following : The first few chapters of Kaplan Biochem, you can also try to read the first the few chapters of robbins (just reading), and go through first aid the Molecular part and add some notes from uworld etc..

I really hope this helps..
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Old 10-28-2013
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Hello there,

One of the things that jumped out at me right away was the consistently with which your NBME's improved!! That is exceptional progress as you moved through the material!

As the previous poster suggested, you need to maximize your time now by taking the feedback from your NBME's and working exceptionally hard in bringing up those weaknesses! I believe that if you focus very hard on your weakest areas at this point, you should bring the scores into your 235 desired range.

You should be proud of the progress you've made here, as I've encountered many students over the years who were not able to make such consistent progress. So keep focusing on your weakest areas, push really hard, and you will get to your goal.

Best of luck!

Dr. Paul
The USMLE Success Academy

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Old 10-29-2013
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Thank you guys,
I'll try to finish kaplan vids for the subjects I'm lacking in.
I'll let you guys know How it went.
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