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Old 05-09-2011
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Star Step 1 Study Tips by Kaplan Expert

I would like to share this study tips as advised by the kaplan experts
here is a brief list of step 1 high yield topics

Anatomy Embryology: Major milestones of embryological development, common defects like Tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of the great heart vessels, cleft palate, important teratogens. Gross: landmarks for physical exam maneuvers and common procedures like spinal tap, sites of frequent injury like carpal tunnel, rotator cuff, ACL. Neuro: UMN and LMN, cranial nerves, layers affected in cranial hemorrhages--basically you need to be able to think backward so you can deal with Where is the lesion items that just present symptoms, and Neuro is pretty high yield overall. Histology items aren't too frequent, but instead, items hit Cell Biology mostly now.

Physiology; is high yield, period. But really key to understand underlying mechanisms, especially for the big organ systems including cardiovascular, renal, endocrine, pulmonary, special senses, and to know receptors as these get hit from both Physio and Pharm perspectives.

Biochemistry; has fewer items than Physio, Micro, Path or Pharm, but try to focus on knowing the key regulatory enzymes, where energy is produced or used in big pathways, how pathways link up to each other, and what enzyme defects lead to clinical diseases.

Microbiology ; Focus mainly on the Clinical Microbiology section of the Notes. It is excellent and all high yield.

Immunology; Anything here is high yield.

Pathology; Highest yield in systemic Path are the diseases hitting CVS, renal, pulmonary, endocrine, but this whole subject is hit with lots of questions, so it's hard to narrow down very much.

Pharmacology; Much like Path, this is all pretty high yield, but expect plenty of questions that require you to know what group a drug is in, in order to know what its mechanism of action is, the contraindications for drugs of choice in initial treatments, and be able to work basic problems in pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.

Behavioral ; The Notes on this are relatively short and every page is high yield. This subject hurts IMG performance often, so it's worth spending time on knowing it very well.
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Old 05-09-2011
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Smile Error analysis direction[compatibility mode]

Sometimes test performance doesn't improve despite greater study efforts to learn the material. This can be frustrating and often leaves one uncertain as to what changes to make in order to solve the problem. One technique that may yield insights is called error analysis. Here is a step by step explanation for how to analyze test errors in order to fine tune study methods and test-day strategies, followed by a list describing some rather common error patterns.

O Using lined paper, draw vertical lines to form 4 columns. Label the columns as shown:

Item # Item Format Item Descriptor Item Task

O Use column 1 to record the test/Item # for each item you missed on a recent exam or group of exams.

O Use Column 2 to record your abbreviation for the format of each item. For example, a typical, straightforward multiple choice question could simply be noted as SBA, for single best answer. A negatively phrased item of similar style could be noted as Neg-SBA, and so forth.

O In column 3, log in a brief phrase describing the topic that item was assessing, such as "fetal alcohol syndrome."

O In column 4, record what you needed to do mentally to answer that item. For example, the item may have required you to compare and contrast 2 disorders and to identify the lab test which would allow you to differentiate them. This might be noted as C&C, for compare and contrast, because that's the task required in order to answer the question.

Once you have made notations for all the errors, you are ready to scan your data to see if there are patterns in the kinds of errors you tend to make. There are many potential patterns you might find, but then again, there is no guarantee that you will find a pattern at all. However, here is a list of some of the more common patterns of errors to help you get the idea.

Format Problem:
If the exams you are taking contain several different styles or formats of questions, then it may be worth doing some simple math to see if format is a problem for you. You need to calculate an error rate for each format. To do this:
1. Count the total # of items in each format on the exam
2. Count the # of items missed within each format group.
3. Divide the # missed by the total # in that format to give the error rate for that format.
4. Compare this format error rate to your overall error rate on the exam. For example, if you scored 62% correct on an exam, then your overall error rate for that exam would be 100 minus 62, or 38%.
5. Problem formats would be those whose error rates are much higher than your overall error rate. Negatively phrased items are a common culprit for many students.

Possible Test Anxiety Problem:
If many of your errors occurred on items early in the exam, this may either reflect the fact that difficult content happened to be asked early in the test, or it may be an indicator of test anxiety, since this problem is often felt most strongly during the early stages of taking an exam.

Possible Pacing/Fatigue Problem:
If many errors occurred on the final pages of the exam, and you answered the items in numerical order, then pacing or mental fatigue may be a problem for you. How much sleep did you get the night before the exam? Did you run short of time near the end of the exam, causing you to have to rush through answering the final items? Was the most difficult material asked about mainly in the final portion of the exam?

Reading Problems:
Reading mistakes are more common during exams than most people think. After all, people feel nervous, rushed, or simply get tired toward the end of the exam, making it easy to mis-read a word or key phrase, or even to answer the question that you expected to be asked, rather than one that merely looks similar but actually asks something quite different. How can you tell if an error was due to a reading mistake? Read the item and note the correct answer as well as what you selected as an answer. If your choice makes no sense, given what was asked, then it is highly likely that you mis-read it at the time. Often only a few letters in a prefix or suffix can change the entire meaning of a question (e.g., hypo-, hyper-).

Anger Problems:
Were there any items on the exam that at the time made you very upset, frustrated. Students often describe such questions as "tricky," or "picky," if not downright "unfair" things to ask. Perhaps a professor during lecture assured the class that while what s/he was describing sounded quite complex, s/he only wanted you to get the concept and therefore not to worry as the details wouldn't be tested. Then, on the exam, items assessing the details of that lecture appeared. The reason to check for these "anger-triggering" items is that test-takers frequently make silly mistake on items following the ones that made them upset. So the test taker pays the price for the tricky, unfair, or frustrating item because their strong emotions interfered with their concentration for subsequent items.

Directionality Problems:
When a test question asks about information from an unexpected direction, then performance on the item tends to decrease. For example, a physiology question might ask what effect living at high elevation might have on variables of the respiratory system. If in studying, students reviewed notes that presented such unusual conditions (high latitude, deep sea diving, etc) followed by a discussion of the effects such environments have on the lung, then the item would not cause much trouble. However, the test writer might instead choose to create a description of a patient with pulmonary function test results, chief complaint, and results of history and physical exam, then ask what might account for the patient's respiratory findings. Simply changing the task of the item from [state cause--> ask about effects] to [describe effects --> ask about cause] affects performance.

Another problem test takers sometimes struggle with during exams is determining what the item writer is actually asking when the question involves a series of steps. For example, if a certain mechanism proceeds A --> B --> C --> D --> E, a test question might ask what causes E but list answer choices that include both A and D. Which answer is correct?

Delineation Problems:
Question may require knowing how a specific member of a group that shares features is different from the other group members. Such questions are commonly asked in subjects like pharmacology, microbiology, and disease groups such as the anemias. Questions can ask either for what is unique to a member of one of these groups, or require the test taker to know what the shared or common features are in that group.

Answer Changing Problems:
Before you get all riled up about the topic, insisting that when you change answers, you invariably change it from correct to incorrect, do the math... Make a mark (such as a delta or triangle in the margin) so that you will be able to spot all items where you changed your initial answer . Now tally the 3 possibilities:
1. wrong to wrong
2. wrong to right
3. right to wrong
Don't be surprised if you discover that most changed answers end up in Column 1. These reflect knowledge gaps, not a problem with whether you do or don't change answers! Next, if the sum of Column 2 is greater than Column 3, then you are using good judgment and don't have a problem with answer changing. Only in the relatively rare cases where the sum of Column 3 is greater than Column 2, is there evidence of an answer changing problem. The solution? Simple...adopt a rule based on the data you've collected and analyzed that you will NEVER change an answer.

Knowledge Gaps:
Are many of the errors you are making asking about a common topic or similar kind of material? For example, you might notice that test after test, if items ask you to calculate an answer, you tend to miss them. This pattern clearly signals its own must spend more time working with calculations and memorize a few formulas if you want to improve. Perhaps you notice that you tend to miss items that present an image, such as a photomicrograph, and require you to recognize structures within the picture, then again, you need to do more visual review in preparing for future exams. Failing to note how rare or common diseases are, understudying appropriate lab tests and interpreting lab results--all of these are common problems when students tend to study material without thinking about HOW they might be asked about what they're studying. The solution is to adjust study efforts accordingly, putting more time into and practicing more dynamically with the problematic aspects identified in their error analysis.

Other Problems:
The potential patterns identified in error analyses can't be all be described here. Some will be unique to an individual while others might be related to which professor taught a particular topic. Not every test error will fall into a pattern. But the process of scanning one's performance for patterns is extremely worthwhile if you have adopted active, sound study strategies, try to anticipate what you might be asked, and your test performance is still not improving
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