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  #1  
Old 02-28-2014
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Experiences Fenzo Step 1 Experience

Hello All,

I appreciated others taking the time out to share their experiences when I was in need, so here is a little bit of my experience.

I am an IMG who did basic sciences in the Caribbean. After finishing med 4 I went thru DIT 1 x and took NBME 15 and got a 186, at that time 188 was passing so I was motivated to get more points! I then went thru UWORLD 1x (CAREFULLY READING EVERY WORD AND MAKING DETAILED NOTES) and did NBME #11 and got a 191, then I went back and went over the incorrect uworld questions..... I then went thru DIT for the 2nd time (much quicker) and went thru UWORLD a 2nd time also (ALWAYS WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON FA!!!!!!); i then took my 3rd NBME (#12 which I found HARD!) and got a 193, at which point I realized the passing grade got bumped up to 192.


I didn't have too much time left because of deadlines for self study was coming close. Next I tried to breeze thru UWORLD for a 3rd time (only got ~ half way done), then I did NBME #7 (my 4th and final NBME) and got a lousy 196 (I was freaking out a little ); Next, with about 10 days left (couldn't postpone) I pointed out my weaknesses in FA and made up a list of about 50 pages I needed to spend extra time on. I decided not to take another NBME because I knew that I pretty much had to take the test no matter what and I knew it would take up a whole day writing it and chasing down incorrect answers. So I went thru my FA list, and did a very few more questions.

I was told to keep resources to a minimum that is why I focused on FA/DIT, and UWORLD so that is what I did (it may have been a mistake).

2 nights before the exam I was thinking about all the work and sacrafice that I had made for the previous 5 long and lonely years to get to this point and I was EXTREMELY STRESSED. Everytime I closed my eyes I saw FA pages! So I didn't sleep a wink 2 nights before the exam. I said to myself, 'I heard of ppl not being able to sleep the night before STEP, but I never heard of anyone not being able to sleep 2 nights before'. I was scared! But that crazy night ended up being a blessing because I ended up being very tired the day / night before the exam I even went to the gym / sauna and tried to get my stress down.

Night before the exam I got a good nights' sleep ~ 6.5 hrs.... Ate some breakfast of toast and almond butter, showered packed up and drove to the prometric center. I had a ton of snacks (nice granola bars & BANANNA's), water, and even energy shots packed just in case.

The prometric center peope were very nice and so was the facility itself. I decided to take ~ 10 minute break btw each block to avoid burnout. I would step outside and jump around a little. I was expecting that I would get very hungry and need a proper lunch break but TRUST me once your adrenaline / cortisol gets pumping you lose your appetite. Generally I have a biig appetite but during my exams small breaks eating half a bannana was plenty satisfying.

The STEP itself felt good. There were a bunch of 'gimme' questions, some you had to think about, and some where I was like WTF! I tried to limit the amount of Q's that I marked to questions I was on the verge of solving but were eating up too much time. The questions I was like WTF I tried to eliminate options guess and move on. I remeber leaving thinking that I most likely passed, if it was a conventional 'shelf' exam that I had in basic sciences I would have been very confident i passed but bc it was STEP I was semi optimistic in the beginning but really had no idea.

The waiting period was a little tough. Ofcourse I talked to classmates who told me they scored 10 points lower on step than nbme's, I thought about a couple foolish mistakes etc....

20 days after my exam I got my results of 207 (the exams average was 227 SD 22) I was (and still am) relieved that I passed and happy I got 11 points higher than my last NBME and 15 points above passing, and was in the US / Canadian medical school 1 SD!. I know a lot of ppl would jump off a bridge if they got this but I am trying to look on the bright side. I do believe if I had a few more months I could've brought my grade up more. I had a few major bumps in my journey while I did independent studying (which is kinda expected when you take ~ a year).

I KNOW MY SCORE ISN'T good. But maybe someone who struggles will see this and say to themselves, "if Fenzo could do it so can I"! And maybe those who need a 240 + can read this can learn from my mistakes and score higher. I am now hoping to do well on STEP 2 and maybe I will get lucky with connections that I have and or will make in the future.

If anyone has questions please feel free to ask me, private msg me, ask me for my skype name, etc.... Good luck to everyone, remember if I could get thru it so can U.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2014
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I also wanted to but forgot to say that the 'lab values' set up on STEP are VERY, VERY, similar UWORLD's... just a heads up.

The reason why I wanted to say that is bc before the exam I had a million small questions....
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  #3  
Old 02-28-2014
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2 other things....

1) I was allowed to bring in soft foam ear plugs (& they had basic kinda like lawn mowing noise canceling headphones) At times I used both the ear plugs and the noise cancelling headphones in other words I wrote the exam in peace and quiet

2) You guys prob know this but if you finish a block with time to spare, that spare time gets added onto your total break time.

- I spoke to my friends who took step before me and I came up with 2 missions for STEP. I #1 I wanted to stay calm (i.e. not 'blank out' or panic). & #2 I wanted to manage the break time properly (i.e. I wanted to make sure the main timer didn't shorten my last block)
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2014
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Congratulations and good luck in ur further steps

I wanted to ask u plz

you said regarding uworld
|"CAREFULLY READING EVERY WORD AND MAKING DETAILED NOTES)"

may I ask you how many hours did you spend in doing in one block ?
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  #5  
Old 02-28-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seliac View Post
Congratulations and good luck in ur further steps

I wanted to ask u plz

you said regarding uworld
|"CAREFULLY READING EVERY WORD AND MAKING DETAILED NOTES)"

may I ask you how many hours did you spend in doing in one block ?
Good question. I moved embarrassingly slow with UWORLD I definitely used it as a study tool.

1st time around I would make those detailed notes (average of over 10 pages of hand written notes each day) which I would make sure I read @ the beginning of the next day (i.e. I would make sure I read these notes at least 1x)

To answer your question...

1st time It would take me ~ 10 hours a block (sometimes I wouldn't even complete an entire block in 1 day with all the reading and writing inside notebooks that I burned thru).

2nd time around I filled in FA with Educational Objectives in the relavant section or even drew out figures in the free spaces of FA, and I would complete a block in about 6 hours making sure I took MUCH less notes

The third time around if I got the question right I would only read the educational objective and if I got it wrong I would read the educational objective and the brief description (but I would try to avoid reading the explanations for the other answer choices); and I could complete a block in 2-3 hrs (i believe). Also in the 3rd time I would NOT right away look up the answer in FA when I did a question, I didn't want to become too dependent on flipping to the section and looking up the answer.

I pretty much always used tutor mode. Towards the end of my studies I would pay careful attention to the amount of time it took to answer each question but I DIDN'T put it on timed mode. I didn't feel the need to do 46 questions at a time, because I wanted to take 1 question at a time reading the explanation. I figured if a block of 15 questions took me 1.5 hours and I made sure each time I answered a question (before reading explanation / refrencing in FA) it was under a minute my stamina would be okay for STEP's 1 hour blocks.

My analogy for doing less than 46 questions a block was > I was training for a 26 mile marathon by wearing weights around my ankles and running up hill for only 10 miles at a time.....


I apologize if this post doesn't make sense I will gladly clarify if you need me to. And once again I didn't do very well, I am just being 100% honest with you. I am happy for ur and any1 elses questions...

Thank u....
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  #6  
Old 02-28-2014
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appreciate ur honest advice!
good luck for CK!
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Old 02-28-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenzo View Post
.
You are so kind, wish you the best
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  #8  
Old 02-28-2014
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Congrats dear fr passing.....I wrote my test on 25 but hav no idea hw it went,seems lik I dint well did lot f guess work...m really depressed....
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Old 02-28-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenzo View Post
I also wanted to but forgot to say that the 'lab values' set up on STEP are VERY, VERY, similar UWORLD's... just a heads up.

The reason why I wanted to say that is bc before the exam I had a million small questions....
Congratulations Fenzo! As you said connections are very important getting in residency. good luck with CK.
Do you remember your NBME score and the time before exam you went through?
Thx very much
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Old 03-01-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by collin24dr View Post
Congratulations Fenzo! As you said connections are very important getting in residency. good luck with CK.
Do you remember your NBME score and the time before exam you went through?
Thx very much

Hope this answers your question.....

My independent study time offically started on Feb. 18 2013

1) NBME #15 - 186 (April 24 2013)
2) NBME #11 - 191 (Aug. 09, 2013)
3) NBME #12 - 193 (Jan. 14, 2014)
4) NBME # 7 - 196 (Jan 24, 2014)
5) STEP 1 - 207 (Feb. 06 2014)

I was tentatively planning to fit NBME #13 in but as stated above I choose not to (didn't want to spend the entire day on it, i knew I was taking STEP regardless, didn't want to have a bad result that messed with my head)....
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Old 03-04-2014
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Default Hard work and realism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenzo View Post
Hope this answers your question.....

My independent study time offically started on Feb. 18 2013

1) NBME #15 - 186 (April 24 2013)
2) NBME #11 - 191 (Aug. 09, 2013)
3) NBME #12 - 193 (Jan. 14, 2014)
4) NBME # 7 - 196 (Jan 24, 2014)
5) STEP 1 - 207 (Feb. 06 2014)

I was tentatively planning to fit NBME #13 in but as stated above I choose not to (didn't want to spend the entire day on it, i knew I was taking STEP regardless, didn't want to have a bad result that messed with my head)....
Thank you so much for being real. YOu have inspired me to continue studying and give this gosh darn it test. You are truly an inspiration. Which exam (CK or CS) do you plan on giving next?
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalasseziaFurFur View Post
Thank you so much for being real. YOu have inspired me to continue studying and give this gosh darn it test. You are truly an inspiration. Which exam (CK or CS) do you plan on giving next?
Not sure which part of STEP 2 I'll do 1st. Right now in the process of re-certifying for BLS then ACLS funnnnnnn! ha I am honored and happy that I was able to inspire you. It feels good to know that some people can relate to my struggle. All the best. U CAN DO IT! I am nothing special just take it 1 day at a time.
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Old 03-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenzo View Post
Not sure which part of STEP 2 I'll do 1st. Right now in the process of re-certifying for BLS then ACLS funnnnnnn! ha I am honored and happy that I was able to inspire you. It feels good to know that some people can relate to my struggle. All the best. U CAN DO IT! I am nothing special just take it 1 day at a time.
Also have to tell ya that I like your name!
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Old 03-09-2014
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Hi
Could you please tell, how did you managed the time throughout. Is one hours sufficient per block to do all question comfortably?

What if someone finishes a block 5 or so minutes earlier, would this time be added to the next block. Or every block count as one hour no matter how early you finished the block?

Thansk
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Old 03-09-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nasser788 View Post
Hi
Could you please tell, how did you managed the time throughout. Is one hours sufficient per block to do all question comfortably?

What if someone finishes a block 5 or so minutes earlier, would this time be added to the next block. Or every block count as one hour no matter how early you finished the block?

Thansk
I managed my time pretty well. There was 1 block where i almost ran out of time and had to literally guess without even reading the question ONCE (for only 1 question). The other blocks I finished fairly comfortably. You have to read the question very fast and as soon as I clicked the answer I rushed the mouse as fast as possible to click for the next question to save time. As stated above I tried to mark a minimun amount of questions because time was tight, and if I had spare time I wanted to use it on questions I thought I had the chance of answering correctly.

If you finish a block early that extra time gets added to the total BREAK TIME; NOT the indivdual block time. The BLOCKS are always 1 hour. At the end of STEP 1 for me I had about 7 minutes extra of un used break time. I could've taken a minute longer breaks in between each block. I talked to a friend who didn't manage break time wisely and his final #7 question block was cut short.

The timing isn't that complicated.... You have 8 hours to perform 7 one hour blocks, but if for example you throughout your exam take 2 hours of break then you would have 6 hours for 7 blocks (you would be screwed!)...

I am kinda in a rush; hope I answered clear enough for ya....
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Old 03-16-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nasser788 View Post
Hi
Could you please tell, how did you managed the time throughout. Is one hours sufficient per block to do all question comfortably?

What if someone finishes a block 5 or so minutes earlier, would this time be added to the next block. Or every block count as one hour no matter how early you finished the block?

Thansk
Try to think about the timing of the exam as follows: there are 2 main timers; a 'main timer' = 8 hrs and your 'current block' timer = 60 mins. You have 8 hours to complete 7, one hour blocks so, there is 1 extra hour alotted for breaks. NOTE: the 'main timer' trumps in importance over your 'current block timer'; meaning if you mis-handle your 1 hour of break you can end up with LESS than 1 full hour to complete your block #7 (7 of 7).

Each time you finish a 1 hour block before the one hour expires, the remainder time gets added to that 1 hour of total break; it will NOT add to the one hour (you only get) for each block.


Best of luck.....
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