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  #1  
Old 06-25-2014
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Smile My step 1 experience;260

Hey guys, I got my results around 4 weeks ago and thankfully it was a 260. Sorry I couldn't post my experience sooner as I needed some time away from the whole thing I think. During my preparation I learned a lot from people in this forum so now it is time to give back..

I am an IMG and I started my preparation around 11 months ago. My basic knowledge was quite average so I knew if I wanted to get a high score, It was gonna take me some time to build the concepts in my mind. So I started with Kaplan lecture notes and videos. They are long and sometimes really tiring but at the end of the day, they really helped me get the big picture (which is actually very important in exams like USMLE) and also taught me the concepts well. I mainly focused on the important parts that videos were stressing and took some notes on the concepts that I did not know or was weak at (it really helped me when I got closer to the exam. I could basically review the whole thing in a short amount of time). The only book that I did not read and did not watch was Pathology. I read Pathoma and some parts of Goljan Rapid Review. Both of these books do a fantastic job of teaching you the must-know concepts for the exam. But for me Rapid Review was too long so I went for Pathoma with videos which was absolutely beautiful!! The author made it so simple that I really felt good about myself after finishing each chapter !!! It took me around 5 months to finish the first read of these materials.

After my first read of lecture notes, I started doing Uworld questions along with FA which could really consolidate the concepts in my mind. I added many parts from UW to FA (which I think is absolutely helpful to have a SINGLE source to read in the final month). I got many questions wrong in UW ( first try )and I was freaked out!!! but the most important thing that I learned at the end was that UW is not for evaluating, its for learning and it the single most important weapon you have to slay this dragon!! During this period I reinforced my weak areas by reviewing the notes I took from the lecture notes.

It took me 3 months to finish the first read of UW and adding the concepts to FA. It was really hard, but trust me, you will thank yourself in the final weeks !! Next two months I started the second read of first aid and doing some blocks of Qmax (FA Qbank) and Kaplan Qbank per day. I also went over the questions I marked or got wrong in UW. Doing more questions raised my confidence and it is really helpful.

5 weeks to my exam I finally decided to do and NBME (I was really freaked out!!!!). I took form 7 and I got 239. I really expected more because It was not even close to my desired score ( which btw was 260+)!! Surely I was disappointed. I was really tired.. I had only 5 weeks to go and I wanted to add 20 points to my score!! I told myself just give it your all. The results don't matter as long as you give it every ounce of your heart and soul..SO here we go again.. reading and reading.. Some nights I didn't sleep. I kept telling myself that the pain is not here to stay, it is here to go.. I was reading FA and doing questions over and over again. I took another NBME (11) after 2 weeks and it was 249. I was glad but still not what I wanted. I took 12 in a week and it was again 249. Now I had 2 weeks to go and 10 more points to improve. Next week I took 13 and it was 256!! and 4 days after that NBME 15 which again was 256. I knew that I was ready..

The exam was not easy. I mean 75% to 80% of questions were doable by FA and Uworld. 10 to 15% were quite tricky and needed real rationalization!!! the remaining 5 to 10% are really out of this world ( aka WTF!!!). My exam was heavy on genetics and neuroanatomy. Genetics was really hard and I had many questions. For neuro there were a lot of MRI,CT. know them well. Other subjects were fair game..

There are several things that I would like to recommend for slaying this beast;

1. Set a goal for yourself. and set a big one!!! If I could reach my goal, so can you. This exam is not as scary as it seems. it is just a challenge for you to overcome. So write your dream score big on the wall of your room and your heart and make sure to think about it everyday.. and really ask for it..


2.Concepts, Concepts, Concepts.. whatever source you use make sure you get the concepts right. Always ask why and try to answer yourself. the exam is designed in a way that if you somehow know the concept, you can chose the right answer.

3.Tests, Tests, Tests. The more you do, the more likely to get a higher score. UW does a wonderful job of testing but other question bank (Qbank. Qmax.. ) are really great if you have time.

4.
and Work your butt off !! leave no stone unturned.. there is no way around it.. I know it might be hard and sometimes impossible... But it is doable.. so do it..

I hope it helps !! If you have any questions, don't hesitate.

Good luck!
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2014
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What a great score and a very well-deserved one at that! Congratulations =)

Just a question. Why did you start off with NBME 7? They say it's not really predictive now? Some told me starting off with NBME 11 was better, do you agree?

I would ideally like to do NBME 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16 (which I hear is that latest and toughest one.)

Congrats once again!
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Old 06-25-2014
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congratulations
you give us strength to move on...
good luck to the rest of your preparation
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2014
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hey what is your kaplan q bank score? and befor how many month from youe exam you began using uworld?
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  #5  
Old 06-26-2014
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wonderful congrats..
concept from uworld/kaplan is enuf ?? or do u think we need extra reading
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  #6  
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congrats!!

At least someone thinks exam is doable. Whoever ı ve talked recently told me how insanely hard the exam is.
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2014
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What do u think can we do usmle world question simultaneously with our first read?
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  #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qirkergaard View Post
What a great score and a very well-deserved one at that! Congratulations =)

Just a question. Why did you start off with NBME 7? They say it's not really predictive now? Some told me starting off with NBME 11 was better, do you agree?

I would ideally like to do NBME 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16 (which I hear is that latest and toughest one.)

Congrats once again!
Thank you

I had no specific reason starting NBMEs from 7. But I found it quite challenging and more difficult than other NBMEs. I've not heard about it being less predictive but of course NBME 16 is more recent and so more predictive. Unfortunately I had no time left to do NBME 16 but I have heard the questions are really similar to the exam. If you have time do them all and based on your feedback, work on your weak areas. My feedback for the exam were quite close to NBMEs. hope it helps. good luck!
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  #9  
Old 06-26-2014
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Originally Posted by usmlerun View Post
congratulations
you give us strength to move on...
good luck to the rest of your preparation
Thank you usmlerun, good luck to you too..
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  #10  
Old 06-26-2014
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hey what is your kaplan q bank score? and befor how many month from youe exam you began using uworld?
Hey, I began Qbank around 2 months before my exam and could complete around 800 questions/83% correct. I started U world 5 months before my exam and could go through it 2 times. hope it helps.
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  #11  
Old 06-26-2014
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Originally Posted by amygdala17 View Post
wonderful congrats..
concept from uworld/kaplan is enuf ?? or do u think we need extra reading
Thanks! I think it is enough. except for pathology ( since many many questions are from this subject) I think either Pathoma or Goljan Rapid Review are good choices. As for ethics, I read fischer's book which was quite helpful and it took me like 2 days to read. So if you have time, its worth it. hope it helps, good luck
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  #12  
Old 06-26-2014
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Originally Posted by Barıs Olten View Post
congrats!!

At least someone thinks exam is doable. Whoever ı ve talked recently told me how insanely hard the exam is.
Thanks Baris, it is because after the exam, we only remember the hard questions and the ones we got wrong. So fight on
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Old 06-26-2014
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Originally Posted by DrAmygdala View Post
What do u think can we do usmle world question simultaneously with our first read?
Hey, I think you can do Uworld questions subject-wise if it is your first read and make sure you add the lacking concepts from Uworld to whatever your main source of study is. Good luck!
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  #14  
Old 06-26-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retina View Post
Thanks! I think it is enough. except for pathology ( since many many questions are from this subject) I think either Pathoma or Goljan Rapid Review are good choices. As for ethics, I read fischer's book which was quite helpful and it took me like 2 days to read. So if you have time, its worth it. hope it helps, good luck
congratulations...

did u read fischer's whole book or just did the questions??
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  #15  
Old 06-26-2014
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congratulations...

did u read fischer's whole book or just did the questions??
Thanks! I only read the cases. They pretty much cover all the notes before them. Good luck!
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  #16  
Old 06-27-2014
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Thumbs Up Congratulations

Congrats on awesome score.....I want to post ur experience in another forum, I hope u do not mind.....So that others get to see ur experience......

Thanks and congrats for a well deserved score again......

Im doing the same thing tht u have done, but I dint make any notes from kaplan LN+videos....thts the one thing missing, I dont know if Im going to lose on it or....lets see wht happens....

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  #17  
Old 06-27-2014
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Cheers, this is just my dream. I can't wait to slay this dragon too.
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  #18  
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Originally Posted by ashwini_mahadev View Post
Congrats on awesome score.....I want to post ur experience in another forum, I hope u do not mind.....So that others get to see ur experience......

Thanks and congrats for a well deserved score again......

Im doing the same thing tht u have done, but I dint make any notes from kaplan LN+videos....thts the one thing missing, I dont know if Im going to lose on it or....lets see wht happens....

Thanks! Of course I don't mind If you learned the concepts then you are all set, don't worry. Doing more tests will help much more. best of luck!
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Old 06-27-2014
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Cheers, this is just my dream. I can't wait to slay this dragon too.
You can and you will! keep pushing. Good luck!
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  #20  
Old 06-27-2014
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now THAT'S the attitude <3

YOU deserve it and I thank you for sharing your beautiful side with all of us, encouraging us, and helping us knowing how to perceive and deal with this exam

Go treat yourself before next steps my and our respects
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  #21  
Old 06-27-2014
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Default congrats!

congratulations on an amazing score... guys like you give me inspiration
by the way, you said neuroanat and genetics was hard in your exam, do you think FA + UW is enough for both of them?
and did kaplan Qbank help?

again, congratulations! cheers
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  #22  
Old 06-27-2014
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Originally Posted by ahmadu90 View Post
now THAT'S the attitude <3

YOU deserve it and I thank you for sharing your beautiful side with all of us, encouraging us, and helping us knowing how to perceive and deal with this exam

Go treat yourself before next steps my and our respects
Thanks ahmadu90! my pleasure
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  #23  
Old 06-27-2014
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Originally Posted by Sahil.R View Post
congratulations on an amazing score... guys like you give me inspiration
by the way, you said neuroanat and genetics was hard in your exam, do you think FA + UW is enough for both of them?
and did kaplan Qbank help?

again, congratulations! cheers
Thank you! I think for genetics, Kaplan lecture notes can give you the edge if you are aiming for a high score. So I fully recommend it ( every exam is different, mine was really heavy on genetics!). As for neuro, yes, they will do but make sure to find a source that provides you with additional CT/MRI. Best of luck!
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  #24  
Old 06-28-2014
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Hey congratulations on your success!
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  #25  
Old 06-28-2014
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Hey congratulations on your success!
Hi bestshot, Thank you very much
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Old 06-29-2014
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Hi bestshot, Thank you very much
Can you please elaborate on your study plan and how did you go about managing each day! Only if its not too much trouble! Because I have 12 months now for my exams now and it all seems very hectic!
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Hi! Congratulations on your score!! And thank you for sharing all this information with us! Could you please tell me what resources you used for pharmacology? Is kaplan lecture notes along with first aid enough? Or do I need a stack of flash cards?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retina View Post
Hey guys, I got my results around 4 weeks ago and thankfully it was a 260. Sorry I couldn't post my experience sooner as I needed some time away from the whole thing I think. During my preparation I learned a lot from people in this forum so now it is time to give back..

I am an IMG and I started my preparation around 11 months ago. My basic knowledge was quite average so I knew if I wanted to get a high score, It was gonna take me some time to build the concepts in my mind. So I started with Kaplan lecture notes and videos. They are long and sometimes really tiring but at the end of the day, they really helped me get the big picture (which is actually very important in exams like USMLE) and also taught me the concepts well. I mainly focused on the important parts that videos were stressing and took some notes on the concepts that I did not know or was weak at (it really helped me when I got closer to the exam. I could basically review the whole thing in a short amount of time). The only book that I did not read and did not watch was Pathology. I read Pathoma and some parts of Goljan Rapid Review. Both of these books do a fantastic job of teaching you the must-know concepts for the exam. But for me Rapid Review was too long so I went for Pathoma with videos which was absolutely beautiful!! The author made it so simple that I really felt good about myself after finishing each chapter !!! It took me around 5 months to finish the first read of these materials.

After my first read of lecture notes, I started doing Uworld questions along with FA which could really consolidate the concepts in my mind. I added many parts from UW to FA (which I think is absolutely helpful to have a SINGLE source to read in the final month). I got many questions wrong in UW ( first try )and I was freaked out!!! but the most important thing that I learned at the end was that UW is not for evaluating, its for learning and it the single most important weapon you have to slay this dragon!! During this period I reinforced my weak areas by reviewing the notes I took from the lecture notes.

It took me 3 months to finish the first read of UW and adding the concepts to FA. It was really hard, but trust me, you will thank yourself in the final weeks !! Next two months I started the second read of first aid and doing some blocks of Qmax (FA Qbank) and Kaplan Qbank per day. I also went over the questions I marked or got wrong in UW. Doing more questions raised my confidence and it is really helpful.

5 weeks to my exam I finally decided to do and NBME (I was really freaked out!!!!). I took form 7 and I got 239. I really expected more because It was not even close to my desired score ( which btw was 260+)!! Surely I was disappointed. I was really tired.. I had only 5 weeks to go and I wanted to add 20 points to my score!! I told myself just give it your all. The results don't matter as long as you give it every ounce of your heart and soul..SO here we go again.. reading and reading.. Some nights I didn't sleep. I kept telling myself that the pain is not here to stay, it is here to go.. I was reading FA and doing questions over and over again. I took another NBME (11) after 2 weeks and it was 249. I was glad but still not what I wanted. I took 12 in a week and it was again 249. Now I had 2 weeks to go and 10 more points to improve. Next week I took 13 and it was 256!! and 4 days after that NBME 15 which again was 256. I knew that I was ready..

The exam was not easy. I mean 75% to 80% of questions were doable by FA and Uworld. 10 to 15% were quite tricky and needed real rationalization!!! the remaining 5 to 10% are really out of this world ( aka WTF!!!). My exam was heavy on genetics and neuroanatomy. Genetics was really hard and I had many questions. For neuro there were a lot of MRI,CT. know them well. Other subjects were fair game..

There are several things that I would like to recommend for slaying this beast;

1. Set a goal for yourself. and set a big one!!! If I could reach my goal, so can you. This exam is not as scary as it seems. it is just a challenge for you to overcome. So write your dream score big on the wall of your room and your heart and make sure to think about it everyday.. and really ask for it..


2.Concepts, Concepts, Concepts.. whatever source you use make sure you get the concepts right. Always ask why and try to answer yourself. the exam is designed in a way that if you somehow know the concept, you can chose the right answer.

3.Tests, Tests, Tests. The more you do, the more likely to get a higher score. UW does a wonderful job of testing but other question bank (Qbank. Qmax.. ) are really great if you have time.

4.
and Work your butt off !! leave no stone unturned.. there is no way around it.. I know it might be hard and sometimes impossible... But it is doable.. so do it..

I hope it helps !! If you have any questions, don't hesitate.

Good luck!
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  #28  
Old 06-30-2014
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Congratulations! And thanks for sharing.
I am wondering whether you did the 150 free Qs USMLE CD in the prometric center? What do you think of the difficulty?
Thanks a lot.
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  #29  
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CONGRATS RETINA...... IT S REALLY AN AMAZING SCORE....... .......
IT S A INSPIRING POST TO MANY ASPIRANTS OVER HERE......

I HAVE FEW DOUBTS......

IAM PLANNING TO SKIP KAPLAN LN HISTOLOGY...... AND JUST DO FROM FA......is that ok?? what do you feel about histo part of your exam. Also for gross anatomy .... i dint do kaplan notes ..... but watched kaplan videos thoroughly twice.

for micro .... i tried studying kaplan .... but t was very volatile n time taking ..... so i shifted to FA along with qmax and uworld... will this be enough or do u suggest to go back to kaplan ln
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Old 07-01-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bestshot View Post
Can you please elaborate on your study plan and how did you go about managing each day! Only if its not too much trouble! Because I have 12 months now for my exams now and it all seems very hectic!
Basically each day I started with the videos. After the video was over for a particular topic I read the notes to see if something important was missing from the videos and at the end I made a summary of the important concepts of that particular topic. (I used this strategy for both Pathoma and Kaplan).

For the next part of my preparation, I started each morning with doing 2 to 3 blocks of Uworld and added the important parts to FA.

After I was done with it, my focus was mainly on FA and basically whenever I found time, I did a block or two of Qbank/Qmax (only checked my wrong answers). as for NBMEs, The days that I took it, I had the rest of the day off ( generally one day per week I was completely off). Hope it helps
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  #31  
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Congratulations! And thanks for sharing.
I am wondering whether you did the 150 free Qs USMLE CD in the prometric center? What do you think of the difficulty?
Thanks a lot.
Hi,thanks. Yeah I took that in a prometric center and I got 95%. It was pretty much straight forward ( couple of question were super hard and also important. make sure to find the right answers since you may see the exact question in you exam. hope it helps, good luck!
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  #32  
Old 07-01-2014
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CONGRATS RETINA...... IT S REALLY AN AMAZING SCORE....... .......
IT S A INSPIRING POST TO MANY ASPIRANTS OVER HERE......

I HAVE FEW DOUBTS......

IAM PLANNING TO SKIP KAPLAN LN HISTOLOGY...... AND JUST DO FROM FA......is that ok?? what do you feel about histo part of your exam. Also for gross anatomy .... i dint do kaplan notes ..... but watched kaplan videos thoroughly twice.

for micro .... i tried studying kaplan .... but t was very volatile n time taking ..... so i shifted to FA along with qmax and uworld... will this be enough or do u suggest to go back to kaplan ln
Hi, Thanks NRNR. FA is more than enough for histology (in my exam at least). watch out for anatomy, some exams are really heavy on Gross+Neuro ( including mine). Not only I don't advise to skip Kaplan but also if you have time, read some sections ( specially CT/MRI for neuro ) from other sources (like high yield). Again, every exam is different but if you are aiming for a high score, don't take any chances, take the bull by its horns ! As for Micro, I think FA does a wonderful job explaining different bugs and stuff ! FA+Uworld should be enough. Good luck
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  #33  
Old 07-01-2014
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Hi, Thanks NRNR. FA is more than enough for histology (in my exam at least). watch out for anatomy, some exams are really heavy on Gross+Neuro ( including mine). Not only I don't advise to skip Kaplan but also if you have time, read some sections ( specially CT/MRI for neuro ) from other sources (like high yield). Again, every exam is different but if you are aiming for a high score, don't take any chances, take the bull by its horns ! As for Micro, I think FA does a wonderful job explaining different bugs and stuff ! FA+Uworld should be enough. Good luck
Hey Retina! ı am scoring around 80% in uworld anatomy but i am pretty weak in interpreting MRI CT and x-rays. I barely recognize aorta in MRI for example. Will it cost me in the exam or will i able to figure out the answer from question stem? I dont wanna really waste my time much with these MRI CTs.

Thanks
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Thank you again for the kind response. Good luck with the rest Steps!
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  #35  
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Hey Retina! ı am scoring around 80% in uworld anatomy but i am pretty weak in interpreting MRI CT and x-rays. I barely recognize aorta in MRI for example. Will it cost me in the exam or will i able to figure out the answer from question stem? I dont wanna really waste my time much with these MRI CTs.

Thanks
Hey Baris, CT/MRI is really important to learn, specially of the brain. if you don't have time, only take a look at brain CT/MRI.There may be a lot of questions (like my exam). it will help a lot. best
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Thank you again for the kind response. Good luck with the rest Steps!
Welcome, good luck!
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Old 07-04-2014
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Hi awesome score.. How did u improve on ur score in last few months ? I am getting 230 in Nbme.. I have done uw once.. Want to get great score.
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Congrats Retina on ur awesome score. It's very very encouraging and I wish u all d best in ur other steps.
I noticed u have been stressing to master CT/MRIs esp if ur aiming for a high score. I am but I'm weak in these areas. What material do u advise that I use to supplement these areas in addition to the usual FA +UW?
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Hi awesome score.. How did u improve on ur score in last few months ? I am getting 230 in Nbme.. I have done uw once.. Want to get great score.
Hi, thanks. Look at your feedback from your NBMEs and work on the subjects that seem not good. I did the same, and read FA over and over again and did as many questions as possible. Hope it helps. good luck!
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Congrats Retina on ur awesome score. It's very very encouraging and I wish u all d best in ur other steps.
I noticed u have been stressing to master CT/MRIs esp if ur aiming for a high score. I am but I'm weak in these areas. What material do u advise that I use to supplement these areas in addition to the usual FA +UW?
Hey, thanks you very much I think High Yield neuro has many important CT/MRI of the brain that are really good for the brain part. For Thorax, CT is more important ( specially Aorta problems and Thymus ) ( chest x-ray is also important, know which is where). As for abdomen also CT is more important and basically know the vessels in there. You can find thorax+abdomen CT on the web ( I used w-radiology.com ) ( and of course wikipedia) hope it helps, best of luck
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Hi! Congratulations on your score!! And thank you for sharing all this information with us! Could you please tell me what resources you used for pharmacology? Is kaplan lecture notes along with first aid enough? Or do I need a stack of flash cards?
Congrats on the amazing score!

Would you say the exam questions were different in comparison to the questions from UW qbank? Also, did you encounter many anatomy type questions, and were they doable?

Last one, should we focus more on NBME questions like from 16 rather than from UW?
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Old 07-06-2014
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Dear Retina
Congrats on your amazing score and thank you for you encouraging posts (just before reading yours I had read a disappointing post.)
It has been said that the format of questions is fundamentally changed, do you think likewise? Since I'm also an IMG and gone through a same schedule (finished first read Kaplan Notes and DVDs, Pathoma), I feel like I remember nothing from Kaplan!! do you think that I should only go over FA and UW and get back to weak points from Kaplan?
I also have tried some DIT videos and they really seem to be helpful, do you think It's time consuming if I go over FA with the videos?
Really thank you and Congratulations again!
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Hi Retina..i also aim for a score atleast above 240..but very hard to consistently study..i m just with the first read..going very slow coz i writing down my own notes by hearing kaplan video...is it necessary to do an updated qbank?or 1-2 year old version will do..?which qbank should i go for..kaplan or FA?pls suggest
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Hey.... I am going through this forums for the first time, and just planning to take USMLE. Your such detailed exam review is really inspiring me to take the exam.... But i am planning to do it all in 6 months... So thank you again ... Good luck for future exams... And pls share any advise for me...
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Hi, thanks. Look at your feedback from your NBMEs and work on the subjects that seem not good. I did the same, and read FA over and over again and did as many questions as possible. Hope it helps. good luck!


my nbme seems all over the place.. should i go to kaplan videos again for those topics? n pls chk ur inbox... thank u sooo much for replying.i really appreciate.
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