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  #1  
Old 12-14-2013
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Experiences Drglo Step 1 Story

Hi Everyone!
I got my score 3 days back. This forum has been very helpful for me, so thought now its my turn to share the experience. Hope it helps..

I am an IMG.
Total prep time: about 8 months.

Resources used:
Pathology: Pathoma
Neuroanatomy: High Yield Neuroanatomy
Ethics: 100 cases by Conrad Fisher
Rest of the subjects: Kaplan Lecture Notes with videos
And of course, First Aid.
Question bank: USMLE world (subject-wise, timed)

Here I am going to briefly narrate what this journey has been all about for me.
I started my preparation in march 2013. Although I knew this exam required dedication and hard work, I was very inconsistent with my studies. In fact, sitting down and studying religiously for months was never really my style of studying. But that's what was required now if I wanted a decent score, at least that's what I got from reading all the experiences here! And I tried to do that, too..but there were way too many distractions I couldn't avoid (got married, moved to US, moved to another state for 3 months of summer, which was virtually a vacation with very occasional studying). Because of all these wasting of time, I had to extend my eligibility period.
It took me 6 months to finish my first read (and I'm not slow!!). My extended eligibility period would end by November 30. By the end of September when I had finished only my 1st read, it scared the cr*p outta me!!! This was the wake up call and time for me to take some much required action. I booked exam for November 19 and stopped doing evertything else...studied 7/8 am to 12/1 am everyday until the exam date. Finished 2nd read of kaplan notes and 1st read of FA in October, along with 60% of uworld. Did uworld subject-wise, timed 'cause I felt it helps consolidate my knowledge, also takes less time to annotate.Then gave nbme 13 (though felt like I know nothing, forgot everything, I had to know where I was standing). Found this nbme form weird, nothing like uworld, I was making educated guesses in most of the questions! After this my panic state cooled a bit, I thought, at least I won't fail! The next 10 days I went through weak areas in nbme, ethics 100 cases, some of FA for the 2nd time, took uwsa 1 and was doing uworld 2 blocks everyday. Then I gave nbme 15. I was more comfortable with the type of questions it had. Took the free 150 right after nbme 15, making it a mock 8 hr test. At this point I would be happy with anything above 230

Uworld % : 78%
NBME 13, ( abt 2 weeks out) : 219
UWSA 1 ( 10 days out): 242
NBME 15 ( 1 week out): 233

USMLE step 1: 245

I wanted to keep the day before exam study-free, as everyone has suggested..but I had 25% uworld yet to be done, weak areas to go through, FA to revise and so on, all within 6 days..Went to visit the prometric center to confirm location etc the day before exam and ended up studying till 10 pm . At the end I couldn't finish around 200 uworld questions. Why am I telling you all these? I am writing these mainly because, now I feel it would be better if I had just believed in myself like I have so far and not panic reading what everyone else has done. It would be better for my mental health as well as for my preparation if I had realized earlier that, finishing everything months before the exam was never my style, I've never done that, I study and improvise till the last minute..that's who I always have been! Only you know what your style of studying is, what you need to do to remember or understand better; how many hours and how many times you need to study the material, what works for you and what has worked for you so far you know that already, otherwise you won't be here today.

Pathology:
I used Pathoma, nothing else. Dr. Sattar is amazing! I think I put most time to it during the final days, reading it at least 3 times cover to cover, as the exam is 60% pathology stuff. In the actual exam, I was comfortable with path questions. There were tons of slides and pictures, but were doable. There were a few wtf questions, of course, but they were as I said, a few.

Anatomy:
Kaplan LN and videos, except for neuroanatomy for which I used HY neuroanatomy. In my opinion, these along with FA ( for embyology only FA is enough) and UW are more than enough. In the exam, the questions were straight forward, even the CT/MRI/specimen weren't too bad. Nonetheless, this has always been my favourite and strong subject.

Physiology:
I used kaplan LN and videos only, but didn't find it quite sufficient to answer questions confidently both in NBMEs and in actual exam. I didn't have time to go through anything else, so have no idea what else could be more useful. Ended up with a moderate curve, neither higher performance, nor borderline..in between.

Microbiology:
Had gone through some of the kaplan LN (no videos) earlier in prep, which I had forgot entirely, and never touched again during 2nd read. Only FA is enough for micro. (I am saying 'enough' according to how comfortable I was answering questions on exam and my score report :P)

Immunology:
Kaplan LN and videos do a great job building the concepts, FA helps it consolidate. In the exam, they try to test easy concepts making it seem like a difficult one. All those experimental mice questions..you read the whole question thinking wtf is this and at the end realize, oh that's what they're trying to ask..lol.

Biochemistry:
Kaplan is great for Biochemistry. Both the LN and videos. I did very well in this, though thought I wasn't very strong in it and its gonna be a pain, may be 'cause it was so vast. But the exam questions didn't turn out to be very difficult. Few were straight recall questions! Know kaplan well and you're good.

Genetics: Kaplan does a fairly good job making you understand the concepts. Other than this what helped most was FA with annotations from uworld. The questions were integrated with pathology, were all over the place, from easy to wtf every other question. I felt I knew it well by the end of prep, Uworld score was 85%, but in the exam not so comfortable.

Pharmacology: First did kaplan LN and videos. Videos are very good. At the end, read mainly FA with uworld annotations with few things from kaplan. This was a frustrating subject for me, kept forgetting everything. I don't remember struggling much with the pharma questions in the exam day though!

Behavioral Science: Did only kaplan notes and videos at first. Of the kaplan lectures liked these videos the most. I thought I'll skip going for any other resources for ethics and rely on common sense, 'cause there was just no time! After I gave nbme 13, it showed BS as one of my weak areas. Then I decided to go through Conrad Fisher's book. It was a good decision, as after this in all the assessments I took, also in the real exam, BS showed higher performance with a star. And the best part is it took only half a day to go through this entire book. For biostat, kaplan and uworld does the job.

After the exam, there was a 'suppression' mechanism going on, I didn't think about it at all..Even didn't remember questions I screwed up in, as most ppl say they do. But overall, I found the exam trickier, but doable. (Hey, if I can manage even with my messed up study routine, why can't you?) If it had any similarity with anything I had done, I'd say the questions were more like nbme 15. Long (some very long) questions, ..It took me almost the full hour to finish each and every block, whereas in uworld I finished blocks in 40/45 min max. Big difference was, not only was I answering, I was thinking hard abt the other stems as well making sure I had answered it right. Keep that in mind. Its hard to answer 'casually' in the real exam. There were questions I didn't have a clue abt, or confused between 2 options. I'd try making educated guesses and move on.
Lastly I would say,
Keep your resources limited. Fill your plate with only that much you can digest. In the final stages of prep you won't have the time to go through everything.
Read experiences, take advice, but in the end trust yourself for what's gonna work best for you.
Don't just memorize, build concepts and make sure you can correlate that concept with multiple subjects.
DON'T PANIC on the exam day. This helped me the most I think.
If I could do this all over again, I would start FA and UW a lot sooner 'cause ultimately these are the only resources you've to stick to, these are your bible.
And, I would like to thank Almighty and also my husband for..everything! My family for giving the mental support..

I've written a whole book I guess , but if you have any questions feel free to ask..
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2013
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congratulation great score mashaa allah
i want to ask you what you have done to improve your score after you took nbme 13
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Congratulations! Good for you! Thank you very much for the sharing your experience! That gave me much confidence and motivativation, since I am currently in a kind of situation you used to be. I am also a similar person with the same strategy and habbits
Could you give me, please, any advices? There is a link of my small post here http://www.usmle-forums.com/usmle-st...need-help.html
I would really appreciate your advice. Thank you!
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  #4  
Old 12-14-2013
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Help congrats

Great score

im using the same sources as u except i did neuro from kaplan too.. did u do neuro from kap nd dint like it or u used to HY from the beginning?

also for patho did u do FA or u used pathoma till the end??

waiting for rep.. thanks... enjoy (-:
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Old 12-14-2013
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Only in 1 week u raised your nbme from 219 to 233?.please tell me which resources you used in that week..
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Awesome score .. well done .. congrats .. u have put a lot of effort .. and u have very well courage to move on ... I must say ...
I need advice ... I m doing for the first time u world random timed havent score good yet did 46 question per block .. n going thru FA for the frst time in a good time .. bcuz frst i did not in a good way ..
I need a help in this that i m not able to do FA n uworld together in a day .. as when i solve one block n start reading explanations i take my whole day a long to annotiate the topic on FA and make notes .. and than i m left with no time to learn FA .. what shd i do in ur oponin .. ? I have my exam in FEB INSHALLAH .. need alot of speed .. but i m not improving day by day in speed up plan..what shd i do ..
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2013
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I am planning to start my prep soon...

I just have a question, which order is the best to study the subjects in? I mean which subject first then what and what...etc
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  #8  
Old 12-15-2013
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Default After nbme 13

Quote:
Originally Posted by drfarg View Post
congratulation great score mashaa allah
i want to ask you what you have done to improve your score after you took nbme 13
Thanks drfarg,
Before taking nbme 13 I had only gone through FA once which I didn't even remember that much! And also, much of the uworld was left. The next about 2 weeks, I had gone through FA again, though could not cover it entirely. What I did was, I went through the subjects that appeared as weak areas in nbme 13. I couldn't cover some subjects 'cause I revised the weak subjects twice. As my preparation was not going very smooth, I had to be strategical to improve my performance..
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Last edited by drglo; 12-15-2013 at 07:25 PM. Reason: typo
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  #9  
Old 12-15-2013
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Default Resources

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Originally Posted by faith255 View Post
Great score

im using the same sources as u except i did neuro from kaplan too.. did u do neuro from kap nd dint like it or u used to HY from the beginning?

also for patho did u do FA or u used pathoma till the end??

waiting for rep.. thanks... enjoy (-:
Hi faith255,
Thanks . No, I didn't use kaplan at all for neuro ( so, can't tell how it is). I actually did neuroanatomy at the very last during my first read. I didn't hv time and the idea that I still had the big volume of kaplan neuro section plus videos left was scaring me. So I asked somewhere in the forums, and ppl suggested to leave the videos if I don't have time, some suggested HY neuroanatomy saying kaplan lacks in few topics. As I didn't have time to experiment and needed a concise book, I decided to go for HY only. And I liked the book. It had CT/MRI images which were helpful as well.
I did FA for all the subjects including pathology.
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2013
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Only in 1 week u raised your nbme from 219 to 233?.please tell me which resources you used in that week..
Hi,
Actually I took nmbe 15 12 days after taking nbme 13. Went through FA, did uworld, ethics book..Revision was the key. I didn't remember much after first read of FA, so going through that again helped a lot. Also, I worked on the areas that I was weak in.
Hope it helps..
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  #11  
Old 12-15-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc565 View Post
Awesome score .. well done .. congrats .. u have put a lot of effort .. and u have very well courage to move on ... I must say ...
I need advice ... I m doing for the first time u world random timed havent score good yet did 46 question per block .. n going thru FA for the frst time in a good time .. bcuz frst i did not in a good way ..
I need a help in this that i m not able to do FA n uworld together in a day .. as when i solve one block n start reading explanations i take my whole day a long to annotiate the topic on FA and make notes .. and than i m left with no time to learn FA .. what shd i do in ur oponin .. ? I have my exam in FEB INSHALLAH .. need alot of speed .. but i m not improving day by day in speed up plan..what shd i do ..
Thanks doc565 .
Well, It should not take more than 4-5 hours to complete and annotate 1 block of uworld questions. If its taking you whole day, that means either you are not focusing, or you are not taking notes of the gist only. Don't make a whole notebook from uworld explanations, don't write whole sentences, 'cause if you do that, as you yourself have said, you won't have time to actually study it. Write the important words only, not sentences..make flow charts.. This means you are understanding when you are reading explanations. And, you should not just write the explanations and put it aside for studying later. Go through the explanations as if you are studying it now, and write down the gist word just to remember what you are reading now when you'll revise FA again. I repeat, don't make a whole bunch of notes on the paper, take note in your brain..'cause you won't have time to revise all these notes at the end of prep.
You have to motivate yourself to speed up the preparation. I don't know how you study, some people need more time some need less. Know yourself, make a doable schedule and stick to it no matter what.
Hope it was helpful.
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  #12  
Old 12-15-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by target250 View Post
I am planning to start my prep soon...

I just have a question, which order is the best to study the subjects in? I mean which subject first then what and what...etc
Hi target250,
There's no hard and fast rule as to which subject to do first, 'cause whichever order you do, it'll all come together in the end, after you're done with all the subjects. I would suggest you do subjects like pathology, biochemistry, anatomy first, 'cause these take time, and are less crammable. As I said, no one can tell you what works for you except yourself. Like for me, if any subject is taking too much time it becomes frustrating, so I would do a large volume subject then do a small volume subject right after, only to feel good about completing another subject... So, no, there's no single best way to do it.
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Last edited by drglo; 12-15-2013 at 08:21 PM. Reason: typo
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  #13  
Old 12-15-2013
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congrats on great score and thanks for posting detailed explanation!

you improved tremendously in last 2 weeks going from 219 on nbme 13 with 2 weeks to go to 233 on nbme 15 with 1 week to go then 245 on real deal. what did you do in last 2 weeks to allow you to improve so much??
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danylo View Post
Congratulations! Good for you! Thank you very much for the sharing your experience! That gave me much confidence and motivativation, since I am currently in a kind of situation you used to be. I am also a similar person with the same strategy and habbits
Could you give me, please, any advices? There is a link of my small post here http://www.usmle-forums.com/usmle-st...need-help.html
I would really appreciate your advice. Thank you!
Thanks, danylo..
Replied you here
Limited Time Prep
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  #15  
Old 12-15-2013
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Originally Posted by drglo View Post
Thanks, danylo..
Replied you here
Limited Time Prep
Thank you very much for your feedback. I will do my best using your recommendations. Good luck in your next Steps!
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  #16  
Old 12-16-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drglo View Post
Hi target250,
There's no hard and fast rule as to which subject to do first, 'cause whichever order you do, it'll all come together in the end, after you're done with all the subjects. I would suggest you do subjects like pathology, biochemistry, anatomy first, 'cause these take time, and are less crammable. As I said, no one can tell you what works for you except yourself. Like for me, if any subject is taking too much time it becomes frustrating, so I would do a large volume subject then do a small volume subject right after, only to feel good about completing another subject... So, no, there's no single best way to do it.

Thanks and congrats on your score
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  #17  
Old 12-16-2013
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Haha everybody is asking how you improved so much in last week ..i know u have magic stick and you are not telling us about it.
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  #18  
Old 12-16-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadej_a View Post
congrats on great score and thanks for posting detailed explanation!

you improved tremendously in last 2 weeks going from 219 on nbme 13 with 2 weeks to go to 233 on nbme 15 with 1 week to go then 245 on real deal. what did you do in last 2 weeks to allow you to improve so much??
Thanks .
I revised as much as I could and worked on my weak areas.
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  #19  
Old 12-16-2013
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Default lol

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Haha everybody is asking how you improved so much in last week ..i know u have magic stick and you are not telling us about it.
Well..yes..I do have a magic stick, I always had that
I perform well under pressure. I'm stressed out during prep sometimes, but not during the exam..my head becomes super cool
I really didn't write this so anyone could take it as some standard preparation. It's unlikely someone else would have similar outcome if put into my situation. Everyone functions differently. I posted it so no one else freaks out like me thinking you have to study a certain way to do well in this exam. There isn't. You have to trust yourself and ask yourself what you should do to do better and do that.
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  #20  
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Default your suggestion

congrats for such wonderful score.
i would like to ask that IS Autonomic nervous system and general principles of pharmacology section of first aid enough for the real exam ? coz i think its less writtrn .
Second ,did you have lot of graphs questions in physiology n pharma in exam? were they easy or tough?
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  #21  
Old 12-18-2013
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Warning!

ok..so u r suggesting to do pathoma as well as FA for patho ryt?

also plz tell wht abt histo? i did read once from kaplan but now i dnt think i have much time to go through it again .. :/
is FA enough for histo? wht did u do?

thanks..JazakALLAH
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  #22  
Old 12-28-2013
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Originally Posted by dr.y View Post
congrats for such wonderful score.
i would like to ask that IS Autonomic nervous system and general principles of pharmacology section of first aid enough for the real exam ? coz i think its less writtrn .
Second ,did you have lot of graphs questions in physiology n pharma in exam? were they easy or tough?
Hi dr.y,
Thanks and sorry for replying late. For autonomic I used these (sequentially)- kaplan videos/LN + FA + uworld annotations. No single thing is enough for the topics you've mentioned. About graphs, I had quite a few of them in the real exam, they were workable, not very tough but a little time consuming. You can work it out if you have the concept down.
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  #23  
Old 12-28-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faith255 View Post
ok..so u r suggesting to do pathoma as well as FA for patho ryt?

also plz tell wht abt histo? i did read once from kaplan but now i dnt think i have much time to go through it again .. :/
is FA enough for histo? wht did u do?

thanks..JazakALLAH
Yes. I think you must have a clear concept of pathology to do well in this exam, most of the questions are in one way or other integrated with pathology concepts.
For histo, I didn't really use anything in particular, I skimmed through Kaplan histo once in earlier months of prep, found it very boring, didn't go through that again. Did FA and uworld later, and didn't find histology questions tough in either assessments or real exam. May be my basic was good enough..
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