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  #1  
Old 12-18-2013
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Experiences Step 1 Advice for the AVERAGE Minds

Hello friends.. I have not been a very active member of this forum, but today after receiving my score I thought about sharing my experience.

I got between 220 - 225. (Not telling exact score to avoid identity disclosure)

First of all, let me tell you all that I am an AVERAGE/BELOW AVERAGE student with a small memory which is just not big enough to hold all the facts that you need to memorize as a med student. So my experience is directed towards all such people with "low memory + recall problems" and if any 4.0 cGPA holders are reading this, I request them to close this becuase, guys, you already have something that can get you 240s (a good memory), and reading this post will only waste your time.

Being an average student, cramming and retaining the stuff was always my biggest problem. I would study for hours and hours, grab every concept very well, learn that particular thing extremely well, and after 2 days, would have forgotten 50% of that (as I moved onto study next section). I worked hard, kept revising and revising, yet kept forgetting stuff after a while. I still cant recall the differences between Warfarin & Heparin though I have read this about 25 times. Its very simple with me: Read - Retain - Forget (24 hrs later)

I posted on this forums few times previously about how to improve my retaining powers and even tried to follow the advcies, but wasnt much help. So I learnt a bitter fact - I have been given a small memory by God and I have to deal with it.

The thing I would like to tell you guys with similar problems is, unfortunately, the same face:
"You have a smaller memory than required for the medical field, and you must learn how to deal with this".
Sorry guys, but USMLE is, apart from perseverance, all about MEMORY. Yes you do need to have concepts, but a brilliant memory trumps everything. Even concepts can be memorized when it comes to USMLE, and easily high scores can be obtained. But with a short memory, you will always be like... "I have narrowed down the seven choices to 2, have read this topic 20 times, but just cant recall wether its A or D"

I wont talk about the study resources, becasue we all know they are almost the same - Kaplan, Goljan, Pathoma, First Aid, BluePrint, Goljan audio etc.
All I would say is, CHOSE THE BOOKS THAT YOU CAN RETAIN. If you are one of those bigshots who has a 100 Terabytes memory card in his brain, go for all the big books like Kaplan, Goljan, High Yeilds etc

But if you are just another ordinary guy like me with a 64 Megabytes memory, JUST STICK TO WHATEVER YOU CAN RETAIN. People will tell you to go for "really important books" but thats just bullshit if you study them and forget after first read. Avoid such materials at all costs, and TOTALLY RELY on resources which you can retain and recall (for example, First Aid and Pathoma instead of Goljan.). Practice questions, are of course, very very important so dont underestimate the power of good QBanks. I myself read Goljan, took one month for first read, and after finishing it, realized I dont remember **** from other chapters and so replaced it with Pathoma despite everyone telling me not to do so (I should have taken that decision much earlier).

To sum up, USMLE is about PERSEVERANCE and RETAINING KNOWLEDGE. I am not trying to discourage anyone, but just telling you all some bitter realities that I felt during my journey. Its a long road, and you will have to keep yourself focused as many a times, you will start thinking that you have been studying for months and its not working out etc etc. but you will have to cheer yourself up in such times and get back to books. A hundred times you will feel discouraged and demoralized, but you will have to recall "VICTORY BELONGS TO THE MOST PERSEVERING (Napoleon Bonaparte)"

If you are unable to retain stuff (like me), instead of ranting about it, sit down for a while, and recall that has it been always like this with you? If yes, then you probably have a small sized memory and you will have to learn to live with it - there is nothing to be ashamed of here becuase its NOT your fault - God created you like this so stop complaining as it wont lead you anywhere, and start studying with strategies that are helping YOU. If banging yourself with a brick, or studying while hanging upside down from the roof, then DO IT. No matter how much people tell you to avoid it, if this helps you in retaining stuff and you want a good score, YOU WILL HAVE TO DO IT. Stop reading big books no matter how tempting they look because eventually you wont be remembering them and it would be a sheer waste of time. Do First Aid + Thousands of questions instead.

Take my word people, a small-sized brain can easily get between 220-230s with studying less but studing really smart. UWorld averages, UWSA scores, NBMEs are just bullshit... All that matters is WHAT YOU ARE ABLE TO EXTRACT OUT OF YOUR BRAIN ON THE EXAM DAY. You can use various qbanks and UWSA as a learing tool and have averages in 50% and somehow cramp up entire First Aid in the following week - that would definitely get you a very good score despite pathetic performance in the QBANKS.

Lastly, I wish you all Good Luck for this exam. I hope my post really helps some one. USMLE is a long process, so keep geared up guys, and once you pass, DO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF becuase you were able to do something that many many others just can not.

Godspeed, and good luck to all !!
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2013
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I hope all that I have written actually turns out to be useful for someone....
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Old 12-18-2013
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I hope all that I have written actually turns out to be useful for someone....
everyone is different and there will surely be a lot of people finding this helpful.
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everyone is different and there will surely be a lot of people finding this helpful.
I think u r right I feel same like u thanks n goodluck
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Old 12-19-2013
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Written from the heart mate!!
Congratulations on your score!!
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  #6  
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Written from the heart mate!!
Congratulations on your score!!
Haha.. yeah man really from the heart !!
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Originally Posted by Leishmania View Post
I hope all that I have written actually turns out to be useful for someone....
Hi I think I m a average mind student .can u plzzz tell me about ur preparation which material u used for step 1?me done with Kaplan and Golgen but it's almost 6month ago now I feel I forgot everything now I m just concentrate over first aid and qbank wt u think ?is it ok?i hv 3months left n I m done with qbank almost 3 times both Kaplan n uworld but the first aid memorization is still poor plz advise me thanks
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Old 12-19-2013
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So, how did you then manage to retain pathoma and first aid?
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So, how did you then manage to retain pathoma and first aid?
What is pathoma?pathology?i m trying to retain and memorizing first aid now a days almost 60% I retain I guess
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Old 12-19-2013
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1st of all Congratulations for you and me. i got score ( 222-225 )
and it is 7 point less than NBME15.
for me and all those who have memory problem i think the best thing we can do we try to study in short duration as possible as we can.
good luck for all of us in next steps.
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Originally Posted by dr.mac2013 View Post
1st of all Congratulations for you and me. i got score ( 222-225 )
and it is 7 point less than NBME15.
for me and all those who have memory problem i think the best thing we can do we try to study in short duration as possible as we can.
good luck for all of us in next steps.
Short duration mean?
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Old 12-19-2013
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i feel you mater. i have the exact same problem. i laugh my ass out when u said u cant recall the difference between heparin adn warfain even now that's so me
thanks u for sharing your thoughts . good luck for step2
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Old 12-19-2013
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i feel you mater. i have the exact same problem. i laugh my ass out when u said u cant recall the difference between heparin adn warfain even now that's so me
thanks u for sharing your thoughts . good luck for step2
Yeah man since i ve given Step 1 so even i laugh at the fact that i cant recall warfarin n heparin after reading it 25 times ... but it wasnt funny while i was preparing for step 1 lolz

I know people like u n loads of others have "the exact same problem" and thats why I wrote all this to help
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Old 12-20-2013
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Yeah man since i ve given Step 1 so even i laugh at the fact that i cant recall warfarin n heparin after reading it 25 times ... but it wasnt funny while i was preparing for step 1 lolz

I know people like u n loads of others have "the exact same problem" and thats why I wrote all this to help
Hi can u plzzz tell how I can prepare myself for step one?i hv same problem unable to memories everything done with Kaplan notes n CDs and first aid once qbanks 3times Uworld n Kaplan qbank both
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Old 12-20-2013
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This is a very nice account of your trials and tribulations during prep and I think this should be cataloged under the "INTANGIBLES WHICH NBME/USMLE/ECFMG DO NOT TALK ABOUT AS BEIGN HINDRANCES TO TEST SUCCESS." There are many students who find incessant difficulty with this exam due to limits and constraints imposed by nature. Some people do have poor memory, some are poor at standardized testS, some do buckle under pressure!! I mean studying for weeks or months or years is great but what if on test day you cannot differentiate or recall the difference between direct and indirect basal ganglia pathway, after having reviewed in in different formats through difference sources. Worse, what if you could not recall it drink actual patient care when it was needed to restructure or reshuffle management modalities for a PArkinson's patient? Not far-fetched. Fortunately, I do not have this issue (not to say I don't have other ones, financial, emotional, cognitive) but there are some concepts which are so astray that they would boggle Einstein. what do u do then? its a real concern. but your quote sums it up:

"VICTORY BELONGS TO THE MOST PERSEVERING (Napoleon Bonaparte)"

congrats on your score. u persevered. now shoot for 15 more points on step 2! u will get thereby friend.
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Old 12-20-2013
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Originally Posted by 250orbust View Post
This is a very nice account of your trials and tribulations during prep and I think this should be cataloged under the "INTANGIBLES WHICH NBME/USMLE/ECFMG DO NOT TALK ABOUT AS BEIGN HINDRANCES TO TEST SUCCESS." There are many students who find incessant difficulty with this exam due to limits and constraints imposed by nature. Some people do have poor memory, some are poor at standardized testS, some do buckle under pressure!! I mean studying for weeks or months or years is great but what if on test day you cannot differentiate or recall the difference between direct and indirect basal ganglia pathway, after having reviewed in in different formats through difference sources. Worse, what if you could not recall it drink actual patient care when it was needed to restructure or reshuffle management modalities for a PArkinson's patient? Not far-fetched. Fortunately, I do not have this issue (not to say I don't have other ones, financial, emotional, cognitive) but there are some concepts which are so astray that they would boggle Einstein. what do u do then? its a real concern. but your quote sums it up:

"VICTORY BELONGS TO THE MOST PERSEVERING (Napoleon Bonaparte)"

congrats on your score. u persevered. now shoot for 15 more points on step 2! u will get thereby friend.
Can u plzzz give me some guideline acording to my question above?
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Originally Posted by Nazia zafar View Post
Can u plzzz give me some guideline acording to my question above?
I would say start from the fundamentals to mold your brain to think a certain kind of way. Then study study study. Persevere!!

You can also take some memory improvement courses, speed reading classes, procrastination courses, get medical diagnosis for ADHD (many med students suffer from this condition believe it or not!!) good luck!
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But trust me! It's not as bad as u think. U can do it!

Those why say it can't be done are being passed by those doing it!!!
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  #19  
Old 12-20-2013
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Originally Posted by 250orbust View Post
This is a very nice account of your trials and tribulations during prep and I think this should be cataloged under the "INTANGIBLES WHICH NBME/USMLE/ECFMG DO NOT TALK ABOUT AS BEIGN HINDRANCES TO TEST SUCCESS." There are many students who find incessant difficulty with this exam due to limits and constraints imposed by nature. Some people do have poor memory, some are poor at standardized testS, some do buckle under pressure!! I mean studying for weeks or months or years is great but what if on test day you cannot differentiate or recall the difference between direct and indirect basal ganglia pathway, after having reviewed in in different formats through difference sources. Worse, what if you could not recall it drink actual patient care when it was needed to restructure or reshuffle management modalities for a PArkinson's patient? Not far-fetched. Fortunately, I do not have this issue (not to say I don't have other ones, financial, emotional, cognitive) but there are some concepts which are so astray that they would boggle Einstein. what do u do then? its a real concern. but your quote sums it up:

"VICTORY BELONGS TO THE MOST PERSEVERING (Napoleon Bonaparte)"

congrats on your score. u persevered. now shoot for 15 more points on step 2! u will get thereby friend.

Mate.. NBME has loads of ppl coming to them who are capable of retaining n recalling each n everything.. ppl who dont crumble under pressure etc.. so y would they make the test easier and worry about the average ppl when they are not short of brilliant minds??
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Old 12-21-2013
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Originally Posted by Leishmania View Post
Hello friends.. I have not been a very active member of this forum, but today after receiving my score I thought about sharing my experience.

I got between 220 - 225. (Not telling exact score to avoid identity disclosure)

First of all, let me tell you all that I am an AVERAGE/BELOW AVERAGE student with a small memory which is just not big enough to hold all the facts that you need to memorize as a med student. So my experience is directed towards all such people with "low memory + recall problems" and if any 4.0 cGPA holders are reading this, I request them to close this becuase, guys, you already have something that can get you 240s (a good memory), and reading this post will only waste your time.

Being an average student, cramming and retaining the stuff was always my biggest problem. I would study for hours and hours, grab every concept very well, learn that particular thing extremely well, and after 2 days, would have forgotten 50% of that (as I moved onto study next section). I worked hard, kept revising and revising, yet kept forgetting stuff after a while. I still cant recall the differences between Warfarin & Heparin though I have read this about 25 times. Its very simple with me: Read - Retain - Forget (24 hrs later)

I posted on this forums few times previously about how to improve my retaining powers and even tried to follow the advcies, but wasnt much help. So I learnt a bitter fact - I have been given a small memory by God and I have to deal with it.

The thing I would like to tell you guys with similar problems is, unfortunately, the same face:
"You have a smaller memory than required for the medical field, and you must learn how to deal with this".
Sorry guys, but USMLE is, apart from perseverance, all about MEMORY. Yes you do need to have concepts, but a brilliant memory trumps everything. Even concepts can be memorized when it comes to USMLE, and easily high scores can be obtained. But with a short memory, you will always be like... "I have narrowed down the seven choices to 2, have read this topic 20 times, but just cant recall wether its A or D"

I wont talk about the study resources, becasue we all know they are almost the same - Kaplan, Goljan, Pathoma, First Aid, BluePrint, Goljan audio etc.
All I would say is, CHOSE THE BOOKS THAT YOU CAN RETAIN. If you are one of those bigshots who has a 100 Terabytes memory card in his brain, go for all the big books like Kaplan, Goljan, High Yeilds etc

But if you are just another ordinary guy like me with a 64 Megabytes memory, JUST STICK TO WHATEVER YOU CAN RETAIN. People will tell you to go for "really important books" but thats just bullshit if you study them and forget after first read. Avoid such materials at all costs, and TOTALLY RELY on resources which you can retain and recall (for example, First Aid and Pathoma instead of Goljan.). Practice questions, are of course, very very important so dont underestimate the power of good QBanks. I myself read Goljan, took one month for first read, and after finishing it, realized I dont remember **** from other chapters and so replaced it with Pathoma despite everyone telling me not to do so (I should have taken that decision much earlier).

To sum up, USMLE is about PERSEVERANCE and RETAINING KNOWLEDGE. I am not trying to discourage anyone, but just telling you all some bitter realities that I felt during my journey. Its a long road, and you will have to keep yourself focused as many a times, you will start thinking that you have been studying for months and its not working out etc etc. but you will have to cheer yourself up in such times and get back to books. A hundred times you will feel discouraged and demoralized, but you will have to recall "VICTORY BELONGS TO THE MOST PERSEVERING (Napoleon Bonaparte)"

If you are unable to retain stuff (like me), instead of ranting about it, sit down for a while, and recall that has it been always like this with you? If yes, then you probably have a small sized memory and you will have to learn to live with it - there is nothing to be ashamed of here becuase its NOT your fault - God created you like this so stop complaining as it wont lead you anywhere, and start studying with strategies that are helping YOU. If banging yourself with a brick, or studying while hanging upside down from the roof, then DO IT. No matter how much people tell you to avoid it, if this helps you in retaining stuff and you want a good score, YOU WILL HAVE TO DO IT. Stop reading big books no matter how tempting they look because eventually you wont be remembering them and it would be a sheer waste of time. Do First Aid + Thousands of questions instead.

Take my word people, a small-sized brain can easily get between 220-230s with studying less but studing really smart. UWorld averages, UWSA scores, NBMEs are just bullshit... All that matters is WHAT YOU ARE ABLE TO EXTRACT OUT OF YOUR BRAIN ON THE EXAM DAY. You can use various qbanks and UWSA as a learing tool and have averages in 50% and somehow cramp up entire First Aid in the following week - that would definitely get you a very good score despite pathetic performance in the QBANKS.

Lastly, I wish you all Good Luck for this exam. I hope my post really helps some one. USMLE is a long process, so keep geared up guys, and once you pass, DO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF becuase you were able to do something that many many others just can not.

Godspeed, and good luck to all !!
hey need ur guidance..... i got 340 /187 in nbme 13.... i've my exam on 30th
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Old 12-21-2013
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hey need ur guidance..... i got 340 /187 in nbme 13.... i've my exam on 30th
Hello..

Sorry to say but I dint take NBMEs and dint like UWSA so I cant say what does a score of 187 mean in NBMEs..

All I can advice you is if you were scoring 60% or above in the question banks (UW or Kaplan) you may go ahead with the test as you might end up with something around 220s.. Its difficult to judge performance based on JUST ONE SELF ASSESSMENT EXAM... If you are not getting even 60% then I would suggest you to delay ur exam...

Cheers and good luck !
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Originally Posted by Leishmania View Post
Hello..

Sorry to say but I dint take NBMEs and dint like UWSA so I cant say what does a score of 187 mean in NBMEs..

All I can advice you is if you were scoring 60% or above in the question banks (UW or Kaplan) you may go ahead with the test as you might end up with something around 220s.. Its difficult to judge performance based on JUST ONE SELF ASSESSMENT EXAM... If you are not getting even 60% then I would suggest you to delay ur exam...

Cheers and good luck !
Thanks
While doing offline ...i'm scoring around 75 - 80% % on average in kaplan q bank (offline.....Q book we get with kaplan notes and video) in offline uworld 2012 65-75 %, and i gave offline nbme 2, 3, 5 around 70%......but i dontknow online 187 means bad just 56 %.... i 've my exam on 30th .....lost my confidence....
Please guide ...should i do online UWorld self assessment and check or .....?????
Plz guide leishmania
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Old 12-21-2013
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Thanks
While doing offline ...i'm scoring around 75 - 80% % on average in kaplan q bank (offline.....Q book we get with kaplan notes and video) in offline uworld 2012 65-75 %, and i gave offline nbme 2, 3, 5 around 70%......but i dontknow online 187 means bad just 56 %.... i 've my exam on 30th .....lost my confidence....
Please guide ...should i do online UWorld self assessment and check or .....?????
Plz guide leishmania
Hello leishmania ....please guide
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Old 12-21-2013
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Hello leishmania ....please guide
I think u shud do UWSA online.. one NBME cant predict ur performance.. Do another NBME or UWSA and dont lose ur confidence..getting 70% even in offline qbank shows u have the knowledge n now need the confidence for real test..

good luck :-)
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I think u shud do UWSA online.. one NBME cant predict ur performance.. Do another NBME or UWSA and dont lose ur confidence..getting 70% even in offline qbank shows u have the knowledge n now need the confidence for real test..

good luck :-)
Thanks dear
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Old 12-22-2013
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Originally Posted by Leishmania View Post
I think u shud do UWSA online.. one NBME cant predict ur performance.. Do another NBME or UWSA and dont lose ur confidence..getting 70% even in offline qbank shows u have the knowledge n now need the confidence for real test..

good luck :-)
Hey leishmania
i checker my all answer from a key i got online with explanation and i did 144 correct out of 200 question which .....is nearly 72 %.....
And the one i did wrong i knew except 2 or 3 i knew about them ..selected wrong answer may b bcoz of anxiety / time pressure i had and confusion between 2 option......
So what do u suggest
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  #27  
Old 12-22-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tashish View Post
Hey leishmania
i checker my all answer from a key i got online with explanation and i did 144 correct out of 200 question which .....is nearly 72 %.....
And the one i did wrong i knew except 2 or 3 i knew about them ..selected wrong answer may b bcoz of anxiety / time pressure i had and confusion between 2 option......
So what do u suggest
I did not do any NBME so I cant suggest on ur NBME scores..

But 72% sounds a decent score... If I were you, and I was getting above 60% in other QBanks, I would go ahead with my exam and wont delay !

Good luck mate
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  #28  
Old 12-23-2013
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Originally Posted by Leishmania View Post
Yeah man since i ve given Step 1 so even i laugh at the fact that i cant recall warfarin n heparin after reading it 25 times ... but it wasnt funny while i was preparing for step 1 lolz

I know people like u n loads of others have "the exact same problem" and thats why I wrote all this to help
Don't give up. I'm the same as you. "Even if you're going through hell, keep going." W.Ch. This quote always helped me even since my high school
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Old 12-23-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tashish View Post
Hey leishmania
i checker my all answer from a key i got online with explanation and i did 144 correct out of 200 question which .....is nearly 72 %.....
And the one i did wrong i knew except 2 or 3 i knew about them ..selected wrong answer may b bcoz of anxiety / time pressure i had and confusion between 2 option......
So what do u suggest
The NBME is constantly rated as the most predictive of the tests you can do. USWA is said to overpredict by as much as 20 pts!

You scored a 187 on the online NBME? Dude, come on... you must know that's not good. You want to try to be comfortably passing before you take this test.

If I read your stuff right, you have the exam on the 30th? Is there no way you can delay it? 187 will not be passing, they're raising the passing mark to 196 I think. You also said you got 72% offline... those answer keys aren't all accurate, and that still correlates to a 206.

You cannot say "oh, I totally knew it, I would have gotten it right on the test" and just leave it at that! If you're having anxiety now taking these tests offline in the comfort of your own home, how do you think you'll feel in the testing center itself? I can promise you: if you aren't getting these right now, you won't get them right in the heat of the moment.

If I were you, I'd delay. Dealy and re-evaluate why you can't perform on the NBMEs. If you can't perform during a practice test, it doesn't make any sense to try and do the real thing.

Good luck!
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  #30  
Old 12-24-2013
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Originally Posted by TwoStep View Post
The NBME is constantly rated as the most predictive of the tests you can do. USWA is said to overpredict by as much as 20 pts!

You scored a 187 on the online NBME? Dude, come on... you must know that's not good. You want to try to be comfortably passing before you take this test.

If I read your stuff right, you have the exam on the 30th? Is there no way you can delay it? 187 will not be passing, they're raising the passing mark to 196 I think. You also said you got 72% offline... those answer keys aren't all accurate, and that still correlates to a 206.

You cannot say "oh, I totally knew it, I would have gotten it right on the test" and just leave it at that! If you're having anxiety now taking these tests offline in the comfort of your own home, how do you think you'll feel in the testing center itself? I can promise you: if you aren't getting these right now, you won't get them right in the heat of the moment.

If I were you, I'd delay. Dealy and re-evaluate why you can't perform on the NBMEs. If you can't perform during a practice test, it doesn't make any sense to try and do the real thing.

Good luck!
hey,
thanks for all u said...... but i'm gonna give my exam on 30th....'ll b giving my uwsa tomorrow and doing as many offline question under time pressure as possible...... i cant delay....i dont 've option....AND I'M GONNA MAKE IT ....I WILL.....

DON'T DEMOTIVATE ANYONE ...IF U CAN'T MOTIVATE.......
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Old 12-24-2013
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hey,
thanks for all u said...... but i'm gonna give my exam on 30th....'ll b giving my uwsa tomorrow and doing as many offline question under time pressure as possible...... i cant delay....i dont 've option....AND I'M GONNA MAKE IT ....I WILL.....

DON'T DEMOTIVATE ANYONE ...IF U CAN'T MOTIVATE.......
Wasn't trying to demotivate

I hope you make it
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Old 12-24-2013
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Wasn't trying to demotivate

I hope you make it
I WILL .....WAIT FOR MY SCORE .....
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  #33  
Old 12-25-2013
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1777 views in 6 days.. WOW .. even 250+ experience threads dont get so many views so quickly

I guess this can be moved under the "Recommended Threads" category for Step 1 forum by admin
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Old 01-03-2014
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You are ryt memory is everything + u also need to be intelligent....
I started from nov2012
read kaplan books+goljan almost 6 times.
Done with najeeb lectures.
Done with uworld,rx,kaplan qbank.
done with FA 4times.
I even know which topic is present in which page ..yesterday i gave nbme 11 and was expecting atlesat 230+.. and guess what only 178(300) ...very upset :-( .hardwork is NOT everything..i was studing 6-10 hrz daily...

Note: i dont want to discourage anybody..many studends are achieving 250+ also...
Anyways i will NOT quit....
Need prayers
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