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Old 03-12-2014
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Default debunking myths of the 265 score

I can only speak for myself, but this my experience leading to a score of 265. My reason for posting, besides being very proud, is to make people not feel so intimidated by all the resources people are using.

I looked through these forums before I started studying and got really freaked out by the amount of time and resources others were using. I am a US Med student, but I only had 5.5 weeks to study, so I really had to limit my resources.

I was NOT an all-start first and second year student to begin with. Never failed any test, but consistently fell middle-of the pack in terms of test averages, sometimes slightly above.

I scored a 265 with the following prep only:
-Read FA 2x (really slowed down my reading to ingest it)
-Did 90% UWorld Questions (tried to do all of it but ran out of time)
-Re-read 1x my UWorld notes that I took after most UWorld question (within the program)
-Listened to all 30-something Goljan lectures 1x, no review.

I must also add that I am TERRIBLE with anatomy and biochemistry, and I ONLY used the biochemistry and anatomy of FA and found even that to be overkill. Anatomy and Biochemistry on my test was 100% covered by FA/ UWorld, but in less detail than was presented in FA/ UWorld.

I will say and say again, it is MUCH better to know 2 sources well than it is to know a dozen sources OK. At least it worked for me. Good luck to you all!
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2014
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thats very encouraging of you, thank you so much!!
Good luck for CK
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Old 03-12-2014
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congratulations on your great score!

it is comforting to hear your story. I definitely am intimidated with all these resources I am currently using (kaplan, brs, usmlerx, etc.)

quick question, what's your opinion on prep for path? I see you only used goljan audio.

Also, was most of the information covered in uworld and First Aid?

thank you in advance

Last edited by doctor2k14; 03-12-2014 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 03-12-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctor2k14 View Post
congratulations on your great score!

it is encouraging to hear your story. I definitely am intimidated with all these resources I am currently using.

quick question, what's your opinion on prep for path?

thank you in advance
I think Pathoma is fantastic prep for pathology, and I would have loved to use it if I had more time. I started off trying to do Pathoma as well, but by my 3rd day of studying it became clear that I would not have enough time for Pathoma. So I had to choose between Goljan and Pathoma for my 3rd and final source (in addition to the essential FA and UWorld).

The reason I chose Goljan instead of Pathoma (I am a HUGE pathoma fan, btw), is that Goljan I feel is better for the big concepts. Not to get too preachy, but I think that Step 1 is more of a thinking test than most people give it credit for, and that while there are crazy amounts of detail, those details mean next to nothing if you do not have a solid framework of concepts. Goljan audio lectures were HUGELY helpful for me to understand some of the more challenging concepts (ie Hematology, Jaundice, heart sounds). I used those audio lectures as study breaks in my day, closing my eyes and just listening to them at 1x speed, one lecture per day, in roughly 20 minute blocks.

Finally, a disclaimer, Path was one of my weaker areas of step 1, and one of the few areas I did not get an asterisk* next to on my score report. I likely would have done better on it if I had time for Pathoma, but with the limited time I had I am very happy with the 3 resources I used.
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2014
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thank you for the detailed response.

I will try to follow your advice. I agree that pathoma is an amazing resource. I tried starting off with goljan rapid review path and then after reading the book, forgot most of it, but I did enjoy the audio lectures and found them useful (as you stated).

So now I will try pathoma and audio goljan then and see how this combo works out.

Amazing how your rational thinking helped you out on the step. The sheer amount of detail to know is quite daunting and I think it throws people off at times and leads to memorization not logical reasoning and medical application (myself included).

Your input is very important. thank you.

Again congrats on the score, I can only dream to score that high.

Enjoy your time off and party/relax & ace that step 2 later on.
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Old 03-12-2014
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hey,, thanks a lot for the post.

It does makes me feel more confident on the way I am going right now.
I just wanted to know,if I would be correct in assuming that,you never read the KLN ? Nor did u watch the Kaplan Videos ?? Is it so?

Coz I feel more confident, and also retain the concepts well, by just studying with the combo of FA & uworld , than spending hours on the KLN/ Videos and feeling less confident in the end !!!
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Old 03-12-2014
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problem is my friend that you are american student and you probably studied hard and did good in school where the ciriculum is designed for usmle

most of posters here are foreign where our ciriculum is designed to practice in our countries not for us and usmle. also many are years removed from clinical sciences (i am in 5.5 yr program where only first 2 years are preclinical). so for us we need other resources like kaplan and other qbanks and courses because we didnt learn the stuff in ciriculum or we learned but forgot after many years.

so while what you are saying is true it does not apply to many of us here.
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Old 03-12-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neutrino View Post
hey,, thanks a lot for the post.

It does makes me feel more confident on the way I am going right now.
I just wanted to know,if I would be correct in assuming that,you never read the KLN ? Nor did u watch the Kaplan Videos ?? Is it so?

Coz I feel more confident, and also retain the concepts well, by just studying with the combo of FA & uworld , than spending hours on the KLN/ Videos and feeling less confident in the end !!!
Thanks for the positive feedback, I'm glad I could help!

I have never opened a page of any review book besides FA (so no KLN or anything else). I did not watch any Kaplan or any other videos. As I wrote before, I did watch a handful of Pathoma videos, but stopped by day 3 of studying as there was not enough time to regularly integrate them into my schedule. That being said, I would have loved to integrate Pathoma into my studying.

Different people learn in different ways and I am in no way arguing that everybody should do as I did. However, what you describe yourself sounds more like me - just doing UWorld and FA helped me to feel like I "got" concepts and diseases. For me, it was better to review the 3 resources I used than to learn more.

I completely realize that I am a sample size of 1, but this worked for me. I should also write that I have always been this type of student for tests - I do MUCH better when I have a few resources well-understood than when I stretch myself too thin. I did well on the MCAT (38), by only doing 2 review books and a bunch of practice tests, no courses or additional audio/ texts/ or videos. I did the books over and over until I knew them cold.
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Old 03-12-2014
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Congratulations on your score!!
and as jadej_a said, the thing is american education prepare you for this which is a huge advantage
others like me have poor basic sciences due to not so good tutors at our medical school , so we have to struggle very hard for this.
anyways we are all in the same pathway, thanks for your input, as i realize each day this test is about understanding rather than memorizing.
good luck on your next steps.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadej_a View Post
problem is my friend that you are american student and you probably studied hard and did good in school where the ciriculum is designed for usmle

most of posters here are foreign where our ciriculum is designed to practice in our countries not for us and usmle. also many are years removed from clinical sciences (i am in 5.5 yr program where only first 2 years are preclinical). so for us we need other resources like kaplan and other qbanks and courses because we didnt learn the stuff in ciriculum or we learned but forgot after many years.

so while what you are saying is true it does not apply to many of us here.
I agree with your sentiments totally. I only know my experience, and do not know what different medical schools (both in the US and abroad) are like. That being said, I should caution you against envying the pre-clinical courses at American medical schools. Far too many of our lectures were given by PhD researchers that wasted hours of our time on superfluous details and contentious minutiae-driven topics. For example, instead of really understanding kidney disease, we had 4 hours of lecture about the different cytokine theories of Membranous Nephropathy without ANY context or introductory kidney lectures. The lecturer was famous, so it didn't matter that he gave no background. I did not know what a nephrotic syndrome was, so learning the disputed pathophysiology was completely useless.

My main point is that more resources are not necessarily better. If you need more resources to understand a concept, by all means use them. I certainly dug into wikipedia or any internet search when I did not understand something in FA/ UWorld. However, I see a lot of people using separate anatomy and embryology books, which is insane. The amount of anatomy/ embryology on the test is minimal (maybe 10 questions total), and the material is well-covered by FA/ UWorld.

I think people use their time inefficiently while studying for Step 1, and would benefit more from conceptual learning than from excess facts. Not that facts are not important, but they are useless without a proper context.

Edit: I don't even remember if it was Membranous Nephropathy or a different kidney disease, but that is the exact point! Detail without context gives you nothing.

Last edited by Medguy123; 03-12-2014 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Edit listed at bottom of post
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medguy123 View Post
Thanks for the positive feedback, I'm glad I could help!

I have never opened a page of any review book besides FA (so no KLN or anything else). I did not watch any Kaplan or any other videos. As I wrote before, I did watch a handful of Pathoma videos, but stopped by day 3 of studying as there was not enough time to regularly integrate them into my schedule. That being said, I would have loved to integrate Pathoma into my studying.

Different people learn in different ways and I am in no way arguing that everybody should do as I did. However, what you describe yourself sounds more like me - just doing UWorld and FA helped me to feel like I "got" concepts and diseases. For me, it was better to review the 3 resources I used than to learn more.

I completely realize that I am a sample size of 1, but this worked for me. I should also write that I have always been this type of student for tests - I do MUCH better when I have a few resources well-understood than when I stretch myself too thin. I did well on the MCAT (38), by only doing 2 review books and a bunch of practice tests, no courses or additional audio/ texts/ or videos. I did the books over and over until I knew them cold.
Yup,, exactly the way I deal with stuffs.. I tried to learn the stuffs in med school , by trying to get to the logic behind it. I am not trying to boast ,, but as jadeja says that medguy is an AMG and we are IMG. I wanted to highlight one thing which we all have common is getting the concepts well,, for some that maybe acheived by using vast number of resources and for some just a few books suffice.
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Old 04-23-2014
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Congratulations on your score...because i did one month observership during medical school in the US i met many AMG and med students so i realsed which is the difference...most of the people here are IMGs having decided to take the steps maybe at the end of their med studies or after many years from graduation...
most of the european and middle east med school have a six year med programme...i think just 4 years are more than enough,anyway...we start studying 2 years basic sciences that have nothing relevant with clinical practice...i mean i was great at biochemistry BUT we had to study from Stryer(1-2000pages)...anatomy skeletal-muscles,anatomy(organ system),neuroanatomy....each subject was tested to every detail...afterwards, the clinical subjects came...orthopedics(we had to know study everything in a term as if we were residents),the same with all the other cources....HARRISSON for pathology
If you don't study in such detail you fail your term exam...so, you study HUGE material with a lot of details and of course you forget everything afterwards
AMG in 2 years know that they have to take the step1 so you have to study more high yield topics for every subject even though they teach you during the lectures many details...i think the steps and the american medical education is much smarter...a middle mind can handle it...steps check the BASIC knowledge you should have as a doctor...
Now, IMGs that have studied with a different way of thinking must GO OVER all the subjects and kaplan is just a simple review course to remember everything, but you need time to listen and study all of it...
this is just my opinion....good luck to everybody...(sorry for the long respnse)...
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