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  #1  
Old 01-28-2011
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Planning Complete USMLE Study Plan and Strategy

Update: April 20th, 2011: Got My score 241/99

I graduated from an Indian Medical School 2 years ago.. I was all confused about how to go about the USMLE.. here's what I can tell you from the experience I have gathered..

First and foremost.. do not go ahead and book an eligibility period or an exam date.. it's a common practice in India..your seniors will often tell you.. "book a date 3-4 months from now and prepare accordingly, booking a date creates a pressure which will help u stay focused ...etc".. though booking an exam date etc does help create a pressure and streamline you towards a prep but not before you know you are ready for the exam..

The Indian syllabus varies much from the USMLE syllabus.. the diseases which are important and we focus on etc are totally different here .. to tune and accustom yourself to what is followed in the American colleges, you need Kaplan. it well help you create basic concepts which can be applied to a wide variety of questions.. but these are not the absolute textbooks for the USMLE.. kaplan gives you a broader picture of things..but you need FA to focus on the high yields and key points which you certainly need to know line by line to ace the exam..

Listening to the kaplan videos is quite resourceful.. I especially recommend pharm by raymon, biochem by turco and raymon, physiology by kudrath, anatomy by david..

I'm not a great fan of the path KLN or the videos.. for that you need to have Goljan RR and his audio.. although his audio is old I highly recommend you listen to them at least once.. I don't think its necessary to go through all of Goljan RR as it's a very exhaustive review of pathology, focusing on just the high yield that he points out in the lecture should suffice..

BRS behavioral science, MRS microbiology are some other books which you may need

So I suggest begin by listening to the Kaplan videos and reading KLN.. that took me approx 3 months.. once you are done with that subscribe to u world..

Apart from being the best Qbank UW is also a great resource.. so as you do questions start annotating your FA from both UW and Kaplan.. and give FA a first read.. this should take you between 2-3 months. (UW timed mode random ques)

Once done it's now time to take an NBME.. I would suggest NBME form 1..
It's relatively easy but this NBME tests whether or not you have covered the syllabus required for USMLE.. depending on your score you need to book an eligibility period and date..

The last bit of prep will involve you revising your FA which is annotated both from UW.. so you don't have to go through the whole bulk of UW again.. and at the same time focus on the HY.. and after that take NBMEs to make sure you are getting the score that you want in the exam.

FA alone is not a complete resource but when combined with UW should be sufficient to get you in the mid to high nineties.. of course NBME is the best predictor of it..

I will also enumerate the common mistakes that I can see myself making in hindsight..

1. not starting FA soon enough
2. not annotating my FA instead taking notes elsewhere..
3. booking an exam date before taking NBME
4. spending too much time and money on Kaplan
5. preparing longer than 6-7 months.. putting in long hours without taking breaks.. I would highly recommend taking at least one day off in the week.. and on that day don't even think about USMLE.
6. eat sleep exercise

Well I hope you find my advice of some use.. and i ll gladly reply to any of your queries..

tc..Shice (a 240 aspirant)

I have 4 weeks to go before I take my Step 1..
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2011
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Thumbs Up Great plan

This is the best simple Step 1 study plan I've ever seen so far.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience with all current and future student.
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Default What about Q bank?

You have given a very simple study plan. Thanks for sharing.

But I do not see Kaplan Q Bank mentioned any where. Is it not important?
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  #4  
Old 01-29-2011
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Unhappy Problems with Pharmacology and Neuropathology!!!!

Hey....thanks for your advice.....and you know, actually I'm doing the same thing like you and my exam is on march! Only difference is, I didn't take any NBME forms yet! My problem is, I'm constantly getting low scores on UWORLD (hardly >50%), but still taking notes on my FA! Do you have any idea what I can do to improve? And also, I'm very weak in Pharma, just can't remember the drugs' name, their mechanism of action or side effects! Are you following any particular rules to remember them?? And also, neuropathology is another subject, in which, while doing UWORLD, I couldn't find the topics in FA or Goljan RR! Did you find the same problem? Or it's only me??

Hope I didn't bother you too much with my questions....

Thanks...
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  #5  
Old 01-29-2011
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hey...thnx for the help..
can u tell hw much tim should we spend subjectwise...i would say i m pretty weak in biochem and immuno...
also starting wid FA after finishin of wid a subject is a gud idea, or should i finish off wid all the subjects nd then pick up FA.?

Thanx in advance
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  #6  
Old 01-29-2011
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Hi my friend.
I'm an IMG.I graduated 4 months ago from Iran and I'm planning to study for USMLE.I was really confused about the schedule of studying for this exam and your note is very useful for me.thanks.
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  #7  
Old 01-29-2011
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i guess this i need to kn i have started with kaplan q bank and scoring less than 50 but i feel iam get to kn more knowlege that kaplan notes doesnt apply ill thinking to give in june havent fill form do u think first i must practice kaplan for month give nbme then apply which forum u think i must take test of
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  #8  
Old 01-29-2011
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Hello everyone..
I am quite happy to see such an overwhelming response to my post, as this is my first post ever and i am new to this forum. I want to thank all of you who have appreciated my post.

i will try to answer your queries based on my opinions and personal experience and to the best of my knowledge.

@ Chow
kaplan q bank is not as high rated as UW qbank is.. Kaplan Q bank will be useful to people who have used the videos and the KLN extensively for their preparation as much of the explanations is a repition and reinforcement of the text. they have a very innovative feature of video explanations of certain question and some great refernces at the end of the explanation.. but all said and done it does not match UW. UW is an unambigous, superior literature with such clarity and precision that nothing beats it. Those of you who are doing kap qbank should also use UW as i dont think you want to miss out on one of the best qban and resources for step 1..

@drnirajmavani
As regards the time devotion to each subject.. i think it really matters on whether its your first read or revisions. A good startegy that i used was to listen to 4 hrs of Kaplan videos everyday and follow the text. This should set a good pace. A good practice would be to listen to the videos and to note down and highlight important stuff in the text.. that done when you start your second read you will know exactly what to focus on. In broader terms.. i think first read should be done with an intent to just get the general picture.. the following reads should be for rote memorization of the HY facts.
Reading FA along with first read of kaplan or later, i would argue is really a subjective issue. FA serves the purpose of knowing exactly what is needed to be stressed upon. If read alongwith your 1st read of KLN it will lengthen the time you take to finish your first review, the advantage that i see you can have is you will be able to nail UW head-on if you plan to subscribe to it alongwith your second read. But at the same time the best thing to be done alongwith with KLN are the videos, as they are meant to be done together..they both complement each other.

@Dr Tareeq
I know how frustrating it can get to not do well on UW. The reason why you re getting a low score is because you need to know your subject in greater depth. Since you have your exam so close by.. i would suggest that before going on to the questions of a particular topic/section read and memorize FA before. Tackling questions after you are thorough with the subject should help you pull up your score. The best thing about step 1 pharm is you dont have to kno individual drugs so much as the prototype for that particular class of drugs.. for eg fluconazole is as good as any othe conazole drug or nifidipine and other dipines.. so try to learn the group as a whole and then you will only have to kno some specifics which are important to some drugs in a particular class.. eg long acting BZDs against the shorter acting ones.
i kno its easier said then done..but thats how it is. All i can say is repetition and no. of revisions is vital to consolidating memory.. Hope you can improve your UW scores

@ Priya.. nbme 1 is the easiest of all others, has the strongest score correlation. i would recommend it to you. make sure you do an online timed test, any other wil decrease its correlation

Well i will want to be of any use that i can in helping and guiding people attempting Step 1 but i cant promise to be very regular as my exam is close by. I ll try to login whenver i can.

Thanks once again to everyone else who have appreciated my post. Its a great feeling to be of help to someone..

Hope you all have a good time studying.. tc
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2011
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Default So nice of you

Thanks for responding,

Can u please tell us when to do Kaplan Q bank like before or after U world?

Have you got your score?

Best of luck
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  #10  
Old 04-20-2011
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Default got my step 1 score!

241 and a 99!!
totally overjoyed!
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  #11  
Old 04-20-2011
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Default Congratulations!!

CONGRATULATIONS!! It all paid off in the end!!!

Good luck with the next steps!!! You should be proud of yourself... you did very good!!!

Keep it up!!!
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  #12  
Old 04-20-2011
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Congrats Shice...you got your target score !!!!..... iam pmed u.....do reply


Thanks and CONGRATS AGAIN !!!
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  #13  
Old 04-21-2011
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hello.

well for starters i was planning to start my preperations from june, for i got semester exams round the corner now(6th semester ending, early june). and i guess i would like to keep two months(oct, nov) to study for my 3rd MB part 1(dec). i intend to appear for the STEP 1 in march.

in all i got june jul aug sept '11 and jan n feb '12

again i wont be able to dedicate the full day to usmle prep (working days..sigh)

so these are my Qs:
1) do you think this time that i got is enough or should i think of postponing my exam date? (but then i'd again have problem with the 8th semester ending exams(june '12))
2) how many hours should i think of putting in /day? (i wont have the whole day for just usmle prep..(()


i am absolute in the fact i got to get myself a clerkship/elective by the time i start my internship (jan/feb '13)
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  #14  
Old 05-04-2011
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Hi Avinash

heres what my advice to you will be..
breaking up your prep time will not b a good idea.. u atleast need consistent 3-4 months study time before exam.. the content is very volatile and u dont want to risk being underprepared.

Also, when you take the exam, or how soon you take your step 1 has less impact on your resume than a good score.. so dont be in a hurry to take the exam.. the best predictor of your preparedness is an online nbme.. do use it to assess yourself before you even decide to go ahead with a date.

A clerkship definitely is a good idea but let me emphasize again the importance of a good score.. you can strengthen your CV by clerkships and the rest of it later.. but what a PD will b most interested in is your score..the rest is secondary

GL
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  #15  
Old 09-28-2011
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Thank you shice for all your efforts with us.
However I had a question do u really think kl videos and lecture notes are important? Or could I just watch the videos and proceed to fa right away with plenty of practice questionS???
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  #16  
Old 09-30-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramzi View Post
Thank you shice for all your efforts with us.
However I had a question do u really think kl videos and lecture notes are important? Or could I just watch the videos and proceed to fa right away with plenty of practice questionS???
s

Well I think it will be easier to follow Kaplan videos with KLN because the 2 complement each other. They are meant to be done together. So even if you dont want to read KLN in totality, u can use it to follow the lectures. What i would advise is tht the Profs point out a lot of stuff as HY.. So while u follow the lectures anything HY pointed out by the profs, you should put it in yr FA.
Ultimately it will be your FA and UW tht will be most useful in your prep especially towards the end. I will highly recommend supplementing the following areas from KLN : Biochemistry, Immunology, Cardiac Function curves etc. I also preferred to read Pharm from KLN..!

Lemme know if you have further questions

Ps- my advice is based on my personal opinion and experience.. Please use your own judjement to decide what works best for u
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  #17  
Old 10-01-2011
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Default Shice

Thank you very much for ur time and effort
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  #18  
Old 10-02-2011
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Default Are the Kaplan Videos a MUST?

SHICE, first of all a big thanks for such a simple & straightforward advice!

I had two questions: are the Kaplan Videos a must watch? Can we just go through the lecture notes alone and move on to Qbanks or are the videos quite essential? The thing is I don't have the videos and I don't know how purchase them, do you order them online or from a specific place? Secondly, can we substitute the Kaplan Lecture Notes with other review books such as BRS Physiology by Costanzo, Lippincott's Pharmacology, High-yield Cell & Molecular Biology, etc.?
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Old 10-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeesan View Post
SHICE, first of all a big thanks for such a simple & straightforward advice!

I had two questions: are the Kaplan Videos a must watch? Can we just go through the lecture notes alone and move on to Qbanks or are the videos quite essential? The thing is I don't have the videos and I don't know how purchase them, do you order them online or from a specific place? Secondly, can we substitute the Kaplan Lecture Notes with other review books such as BRS Physiology by Costanzo, Lippincott's Pharmacology, High-yield Cell & Molecular Biology, etc.?
Hey Jeesan
I am happy to help.. I wont say Kaplan videos are an absolute must.. but they are certainly very helpful. If your base is good and you are already accustomed to whats required for the USMLE then perhaps Kaplan may not be needed by you. I would emphasize however that a review book is more useful than going for textbooks..as review books are very exam specific.
I have read great reviews about Costanzo's Physiology..although I cannot be certain whether or not its a review book.. Lipincotts are good too but again they are textbooks. For Pharm i would highly recommed KLN and in this case even the Lecture, as Raymon is superb.. not only does he cover Pharm but he spends a great deal of time explaning the pathophys too..
TBH, i wasnt a great fan of Kaplan microbiology..and i relied heavily on FA and UW.. I am not in a very good position to rate HY Micro since i havent used it..but overall HY series are a good review source. I would definitely recommend Kaplan Immunology however as its literature is excellent and the diagrams/illustrations are great. Infact for my revisions.. i only went through the diagrams since they are so self explanatory. Also, there has been an increasing trend for a lot Immuno to appear on the exams so i would suggest a thorough preparation in that area..

I hope i have been able to answer your questions..
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  #20  
Old 10-05-2011
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Hi..I need ur help too..I graduated 3 yrs ago...I started my studies last yr by starting with kaplan..then had to take a break for few mons..then started again wit FA and UW..took a date for Oct 24...Took a nbme 2 days back and was shocked to get a 175....Postponed my exam to dec..And started watchin kaplan again...My nbme shows a poor perfomance in biochem and molecular bio..Can u give me a advice about how to go further...??
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  #21  
Old 10-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr s View Post
Hi..I need ur help too..I graduated 3 yrs ago...I started my studies last yr by starting with kaplan..then had to take a break for few mons..then started again wit FA and UW..took a date for Oct 24...Took a nbme 2 days back and was shocked to get a 175....Postponed my exam to dec..And started watchin kaplan again...My nbme shows a poor perfomance in biochem and molecular bio..Can u give me a advice about how to go further...??
Hi Dr S

Your story is quite like mine.. my first nbme had a horrendous correlation too, and it was few days before i was to take my exam. I had to postpone..and i took a months extra time.. but my estimation was incorrect and i eventually cancelled my exam altogether.
I started afresh a month after and after 5 months of slogging, i finally took step 1 and got a score of 241. I am writing about my personal experience, hoping you can find an inspiration in it.

Reading Kaplan once is not enough. You need to know your subject thoroughly, inside out. You need to have complete mastery of it. And once you feel you have reached there, its only then that you are ready for step 1.
At the cost of being repetitive i want to emphasize thatKapla is very base building. You need it to build your concepts. and it certainly it should not be your choice of prep material when your exam is a months time away. Infact a month into your exam you should be revising your review book, spending time on your qbank.

Here's what i would do if i were you, i would continue to study with the target of taking my exam in December. I would re-do my entire UW all over again, spending time especially on the weaker areas and keep going back to FA. Its ok to fall back on Kaplan incase there are areas which need special attention, but beyond that use UW and FA as your main review source.

I would take an nbme sometime in November and see where i stand. A month into the exam if my predicted score is not close to what i am aiming for i wud cancel it altogether, because there is no point extending it further as you will risk burning your self out... And perhaps start all over again as i did.

So lets play it safe right now and use only the highest yield material (FA+UW) and hope that you are ready for the exam by December.
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  #22  
Old 11-11-2011
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Default step 1,2 ck and cs

Here are usmle step 1 2010 videos from 2 best institutions, + step 2 ck and also cs videos + many pdf books all combined for sale.
plz email me -
cb115891@gmail.com
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  #23  
Old 11-11-2011
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I am so happy for your score, congratulation..
Please I have a question, do I need to read the whole RR book of Goljan with audio or just he blue margin of the book?? beside I am annonating too much from UW Q bank( using it as learning tool)in a seperate notebook which takes so much time from me, do you think this is a waste of time???

I agree with you, I regret paying too much for Kaplan and spend too much time at Kaplan courses...it just give you a picture and the whole thing is by your own..
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  #24  
Old 01-28-2012
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Default its my starting of USMLE..!!

ok tell/add if i m wrong..

i need kaplan material n videos, KLN, FA, U question bank, goljan.. wat r the sources to get this??

tell me if i need anything more...
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  #25  
Old 01-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhavesh kaswala View Post
ok tell/add if i m wrong..

i need kaplan material n videos, KLN, FA, U question bank, goljan.. wat r the sources to get this??

tell me if i need anything more...

You can get kaplan LN, FA, golgian RR from amazon.
Uworld question bank from usmleworld.com
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  #26  
Old 01-31-2012
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Default can help me wid da booklist ??

plz help me wid da booklist i mean subject wise ..it will be helpful for me as i am a newbie
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  #27  
Old 02-02-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asaad View Post
plz help me wid da booklist i mean subject wise ..it will be helpful for me as i am a newbie
I think if you look at this thread (top) and the rest of the threads in this forum and you will get the entire list..
But basically its... Kaplan LN, Golgian RR for golgian, FA.
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  #28  
Old 03-12-2013
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Default Alternatives for annotation

Quote:
Originally Posted by medicalsection View Post
I am so happy for your score, congratulation..
Please I have a question, do I need to read the whole RR book of Goljan with audio or just he blue margin of the book?? beside I am annonating too much from UW Q bank( using it as learning tool)in a seperate notebook which takes so much time from me, do you think this is a waste of time???

I agree with you, I regret paying too much for Kaplan and spend too much time at Kaplan courses...it just give you a picture and the whole thing is by your own..
Hi, thanks for your compliments. I guess this reply is coming in too late and I you are probably done with your exams. It's been 2 years since I started this thread and have been very busy in the years that followed. I participated in this years match, and by the grace of god I Have matched to an Internal Medicine progrgam.
I will answer you anyway, while just reading the blue margin in Goljan, in my opinion is will cover most of the high yield I will recommend following his audio and paying attention to material he draws attention to. I have come across transliteration of his audio during my prep, but honestly I didn't like it too much.

I agree, annotating UW into FA is very tedious and time consuming. It worked for me because I feel writing is such a great way to commit things to memory. It helped me consolidate my memory. It puts everything in one place alongside your FA and revision becomes easy. It will save you the effort of looking up questions and reading the entire length of UW answers again. I found a better alternative for my Step 3. I made use of the voice recording app on my iPhone and instead of writing, I recorded my own voice while I read the HY in UW material out loud. It will require you to organize your audio notes, but if done efficiently,it's a great alternative to writing. I would listen to my notes before bed, while on the go, the lastly few days before the exam. Hope this helps
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The above post was thanked by:
maryjoseph (01-10-2014)



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