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Old 01-02-2011
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Planning What do you think of my plan?

Hi guys,

I plan to start studying for the boards some time during the middle of this month and am scheduled to take the exam 3rd week of June. I was really stuck between using Kaplan lecture books and going through the golden four (UWorld, First Aid, Goljan RR, BRS Phys). I'm a little hesitant because I question my foundations even though I've done well in all of my classes. I plan on reading through Goljan (3rd edition) rapid review page to page along with the subjects in First Aid, and BRS phys. This will be my first pass. I'm not sure how long this will realistically take me but I hope to be done with first pass by early April. I'll also be using UWorld for question bank and hopefully be complete by early may. I will then cap it off by taking DIT course for 15-20 days. Will this formula help me get a 240-260?

I also have Cases for the USMLE First Aid and First aid Q&A book. I haven't heard much about these books but I was wondering if any one that used them can give me feedback on their effectiveness.

I'm taking a practice NBME some time in January. Is there a minimum score that I should be getting on my first practice (before my studying begins) that would tell me my foundation is sufficient enough that I won't need a commercial course like Kaplan (which I heard is overkill but good for people who lack foundation) and be successful using the golden four mentioned above?

Thanks guys, I know that was a lot of questions but any advice/feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2011
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Thumbs Up Nice Prep Plan

Your plan seems to be very realistic and I think you'll do very well.

As far as using NBME to pre-check your preparedness for the USMLE, I don't think that's a good idea. Because usually we tend to need some sort of triggering to recall the knowledge that is already there in our brains, so if you do an NBME so early in your prep it may significantly underestimate your potential. I suggest you start your prep for a month or so and then do an NBME which would then steer you into the right direction (continuing what you are doing or taking a drastic move toward Kaplan course).

As for the FA question books you mentioned I refer you to the following threads:
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Old 01-02-2011
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I agree with rasheed. I took NBME 1 ( supposed to be the easiest one) very early in my prep and failed. This scared me off NBME's for a while. I took my last NBME a few days ago (after locking myself away and going through FA and goljan for two weeks) and scored significantly higher. My take is if you take the NBME early and fail/ score low, this will be pretty discouraging and if you score very well, you might be tempted to study less for the rest of your prep so it's a double edged sword.

In terms of path, I also started off on listening to Goljan and going through RR but a lot of it went over my head and I felt like it was a waste of time. I listened to Goljan again after reading BRS pathololgy and felt like I retained a lot more because he was explaining concepts that I already half knew instead of this huge amount of information being thrown at me. So I would recommend BRS pathology first. It's a relatively thin book but contains a lot of high yield info that comes up in uworld and nbme questions.
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thanks for the reply guys. goljan pathology seem like a beast, and im not sure how i'm going to go through it while trying to retain a lot of the material. BRS pathology seemed like a good choice and I was learning towards it until some one recently told me that it had too little information and left out ssome important pathology that was covered in goljan. Did you use rapid review goljan at all besides the audio? BRS path does seem more approachable and less intimidating. but im afraid of short cutting myself if i go with it. especially since im only going to be using 4 books to prepare. it seemed like goljan integrates path, physio, anatomy, and biochem.
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I am using Rapid Review along with the audio but I haven't sat down and read it from page to page. I 'm using the Goljan high yield 100 pages which contains some really good stuff. I did do the Kaplan live lecture course so that helped a lot as well as I had Barone for path.

BRS does leave out some important stuff but I find this is mostly covered when you do UWorld. I found NBME 6 really difficult in terms of path and when I went back and checked the answers most of them seem to be written in BRS. The chapters on inflammation and cellular injury are very good and I found it easier to read than Goljan. You probably need another resource for some of the systems pathology but even things like progression of MI, I found were really well written in BRS.

From asking around, it seems most US students prefer BRS and most IMG's prefer goljan because it gives a wider picture.

Btw DIT is really good. I find First Aid a rather boring read and DIT really kicked me into going through it.
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