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  #1  
Old 07-24-2014
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Default 253 - old IMG full time worker's experience

Hi guys.
I've used this forum very extensively as a silent reader for a long time and now I have something to say as a feedback.
Background: I'm an old IMG (2006), full time job in a very busy hospital (10-12+ hour work day). This means that I have only 2-4 hours a day in the evening for exam preparation. Also I have a family and a child.
Prep duration: 1 year, started in May 2013.
Materials used:
1. Kaplan lecture notes 2010, Kaplan anatomy even older (2006), Kaplan videos 2010 (with green background).
2. Pathoma - the best IMHO! Tried to read Goljan Rapid Review Pathology - awful book, a lot of low yield stuff, plenty of details that are not tested on real exam.
3. HY Neuroanatomy - used instead of Kaplan Neuro chapter. Good book.
4. UW on-line - the only q-bank I used and the closest to real exam. Did it only once but with very careful reading of ALL explanations and annotating into FA. Kaplan QB and Rx IMHO - low yield. My advice - use ONLY on-line UW cause they adjust their question pool all the time according to recent exam changes.
5. FA 2014 - essential but has a lot of gaps. Filled them from Kaplan and UW. Read it only once including all annotations.
6. MTB 100 ethic cases with Conrad Fischer - good small 200 pages book regarding hard ethic questions. Did it in 1 day, very easy to read. I personally think this is a must for IMGs who are not familiar with American health care system features.
7. Goljan audio - listened 2 times while going to/from work. Very old stuff but funny. Optional in general.
My exam was on June the 3rd. It was doable, guys, but in some blocks I almost ran out of time due to very VERY LONG question stems. By the way, previously in Qbank and NBMEs I didn't have problems with time management. So be careful and learn to manage ur time ASAP in QBs. You will see very few 2-3 line questions in this test.
As a general feeling I think that 60 to 70% of questions were easy and medium hard and were exactly as in UW and NBMEs, 20% were really tough but doable and about 10% were WTF-type questions and tested unknown facts with no clues in KLN,UW and FA. And honestly I don't know what sources to recommend to cover this stuff(((


My statistics:
UW timed, mixed, unused, 1 time only - 82% cumulative
NMBE 15 (1 month before) - 256
NBME 13 - 254
NBME 12 - 256
NBME 11 - 254
NBME 16 - 251
NBME 7 - 249 (3 days before)
Real deal 253)))

I'm satisfied with my result cause my score is exactly the mean from my NBME scores)).

In conclusion I'd like to say that this test is a fair game, guys, and you receive exactly what you deserve and your score is proportional to your investments in preparation process.
For old grads I can add: you must "eat USMLE, sleep USMLE, breathe USMLE", live powered by your aim! This is the only way for you to kill this beast. And of course you will!

Best of luck!
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  #2  
Old 07-25-2014
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Hello Dr. Roman,
I am in same situation,its too hard to study with work and family but your experience and score is very inspiring .Thank you for sharing your score.my exam is in dec. 2014 any tips please share.
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  #3  
Old 07-25-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drevr View Post
Hello Dr. Roman,
I am in same situation,its too hard to study with work and family but your experience and score is very inspiring .Thank you for sharing your score.my exam is in dec. 2014 any tips please share.
I personally think that ur preparedness depends a lot on ur background. If u are a fresh year graduate or a medical student the concepts in ur head are still clear and this will definitely help u on exam to solve difficult cases. If u are an old grad like me then u need to refresh thoroughly these concepts and here the #1 mistake is to rely on FA and UW only. FA has to many gaps and doesn't explain the concepts. Here u need Kaplan + videos. And it doesn't matter how old is ur Kaplan. It is more important how fresh is ur FA (recommend 2014, much better than 2013; I have both and in new edition there are far more pictures, CTs etc.) and how fresh is ur UW (on-line I mean). But if u are an old grad u MUST go thru Kaplan first.
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  #4  
Old 07-25-2014
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congrat for your great score.
What did you study for the last 2-3 month? How many hours? what did you use for slides and xray , ct?

Tnx
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  #5  
Old 07-26-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azadeh2222 View Post
congrat for your great score.
What did you study for the last 2-3 month? How many hours? what did you use for slides and xray , ct?

Tnx
Last 2-3 months did UW 1-2 blocks per day with reading of all explanations (correct and incorrect questions). It helped me a lot to reinforce my knowledges. Studied 2-4 hours a day, last month (my vacation) studied 10-12 hours a day. During last month skimmed thru FA+UW notes, did all NBMEs.
For CTs, x-Ray, MRI and other pictures used only FA and UW. It is more than enough for exam. Don't waste ur time on googling pictures. Save this time for UW or FA and it will be more productive.
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  #6  
Old 07-26-2014
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congratulations on your score and thank you for sharing your experience with us. I wish you the best of luck for the rest of your preparation....
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  #7  
Old 07-26-2014
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Many many congratulations,dr. Roman.really inspiring.
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  #8  
Old 07-26-2014
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Congratulations
Thanks for sharing
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  #9  
Old 07-26-2014
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congratulations & good luck on the rest...Thank you for sharing such an inspiring experience
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Old 07-27-2014
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Thank you, guys for these reassuring words.
Good luck to all of you!!!
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  #11  
Old 07-31-2014
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Hi, dr. Roman. Congrats! Did u use any UWSA?
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  #12  
Old 08-01-2014
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Hello Dr. Roman, I have a few questions regarding IMG's presenting the Step 1 and chances of making a match, I was wondering if you got information in a certain site... I know more than the necessary about the Steps and all but what else is there to match resume-wise? Social service? Electives in the USA? Observerships? Is there any website that can give me the info regarding electives? I found a site with the list of hospitals that accpet IMG's but NONE of the ones I checked specify a Step 1 score minimum to apply or anything required... It only states fees and so... Please help I would very very VERY much appreciate it THANKS!
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2014
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Default DSM-V

Hi Dr..
I wanted to ask you about DSM-5.... How was it in the exam? or did they keep DSM-IV questions? ...Thanks a lot
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2014
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Default Good job!

Dear Dr.Roman,
Congratulations with ur score. For me it was really inspiring; I'm also an IMG and work at the same time that I'm studying. My exam is in 3 months, I've gone through Kaplan LNs and DVDs but feel like I don't remember anything!! I'm almost done with first round of FA. Do u recommend I review Kaplan or it's enough if I do FA and UW and refer to Kaplan whenever I need?
Thanks you
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Old 08-03-2014
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Dear Dr.Roman,
First of all, thank you for sharing your experiences. I am, too, a full-time worker-cardiology fellow actually- and USMLE has been my primary dream since I got to the medical school. Finally, I am about to start my preparation for USMLE. I will have approximately the same studying hours as you. I hope I will succeed like you.
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  #16  
Old 08-03-2014
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Default Big congrats!!! Awesome job!

Thank you so much for sharing, as you I have a full time job and am finally starting prepping for real for the steps! And again, big congrats with your step 1

If you don't mind i as well have a few questions. My problem honestly is to know what I should start with of the Kaplan material. My weak areas are basic farma (not the meds and toxicity, but more the graphs and stuff), stats and anatomy. Do you have any recommendations of what is the best start and what material to study later on?

Again, congrats with awesome score!
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  #17  
Old 08-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expelius View Post
Hi Dr..
I wanted to ask you about DSM-5.... How was it in the exam? or did they keep DSM-IV questions? ...Thanks a lot
Check the offal usmle questions for stuff like that... It's there that they have updated their material and will ask about dsmv
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  #18  
Old 08-03-2014
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Hi,
Also an old grad (2010) Your post makes it feel doable!
I am solving UWorld now. If you don't mind me asking, what's the correlation? I am aiming to get at least 240, so what's the score I need to look at in UWorld?
Thank u!
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  #19  
Old 08-03-2014
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is the ethics book youre talking about master the board conrad fischer, or the older book that has 100 cases in the title?
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Old 08-03-2014
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Hi guys.
Didn't use any UWSAs because of overprediction of this test. NBMEs are just like the real exam.
About ethic book - used the latest edition of Fischer's MTB 100 cases. Available on Amazon.
About DSM V - didn't have any questions directly testing this stuff. All the psychiatry questions were general and quite straightforward.

Last edited by Dr.Roman; 08-03-2014 at 07:11 PM.
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  #21  
Old 08-03-2014
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I was wondering if you think doing all the NBMEs would do better than doing just 5?? I wanna subscribe now and don't really know which exams to choose?
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  #22  
Old 08-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoey. View Post
Hello Dr. Roman, I have a few questions regarding IMG's presenting the Step 1 and chances of making a match, I was wondering if you got information in a certain site... I know more than the necessary about the Steps and all but what else is there to match resume-wise? Social service? Electives in the USA? Observerships? Is there any website that can give me the info regarding electives? I found a site with the list of hospitals that accpet IMG's but NONE of the ones I checked specify a Step 1 score minimum to apply or anything required... It only states fees and so... Please help I would very very VERY much appreciate it THANKS!
I personally think that u should start to invest in your future match even before step1. Think about ur observership/externship/research/publications today. There is no such website where u can find all the secrets. Try to search in match threades of this forum, try to contact those who matched and ask them, may be they have right connections or e-mails of hospitals that provide good LORs. Be flexible! This will help u to survive...
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  #23  
Old 08-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peacefulmind View Post
I was wondering if you think doing all the NBMEs would do better than doing just 5?? I wanna subscribe now and don't really know which exams to choose?
Think it's better to do all of them coz they prepare u to manage ur time. Also some forms (e.g. 16) are very close to format of real exam. I've done all of them in extended feedback mode and don't regret.
About ur forgetfulness - it's normal. I've had the same feeling after Kaplan 1st reading. Recommend to skim thru KLNs once again very quickly and then switch to FA and UW
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Old 08-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meenaxi View Post
Hi,
Also an old grad (2010) Your post makes it feel doable!
I am solving UWorld now. If you don't mind me asking, what's the correlation? I am aiming to get at least 240, so what's the score I need to look at in UWorld?
Thank u!
I think that correlation is weak. Mine cumulative was 82% and I scored 253. I saw guys in this forum who had the same 80+ and scored 230-260+. Ver wide range as u see. So my conclusion - learn from UW and don't be upset about ur average %. NBMEs - is ur best judge!

Last edited by Dr.Roman; 08-03-2014 at 10:24 PM.
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  #25  
Old 08-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MzLizMD View Post
Thank you so much for sharing, as you I have a full time job and am finally starting prepping for real for the steps! And again, big congrats with your step 1

If you don't mind i as well have a few questions. My problem honestly is to know what I should start with of the Kaplan material. My weak areas are basic farma (not the meds and toxicity, but more the graphs and stuff), stats and anatomy. Do you have any recommendations of what is the best start and what material to study later on?

Again, congrats with awesome score!
My recommendation - start with Kaplan LN + videos. It's very good in explanation concepts. Use videos, only LNs are useless coz they contain too many gaps. Try to go thru this as fast as possible. Don't stick to something too long coz u'll forget what was in the beginning))). Remember that ur long term memory won't retain this info too long and u will start to forget these concepts. To avoid this u need to read really quickly and stay very very focused. After Kaplan is done - go thru FA/UW. These sources will help u to reinforce ur knowledges while repeating facts again and again. UW is very helpful coz u remember especially those questions u've done wrong and thus u become stronger from day to day.
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  #26  
Old 08-03-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Proxery View Post
Dear Dr.Roman,
First of all, thank you for sharing your experiences. I am, too, a full-time worker-cardiology fellow actually- and USMLE has been my primary dream since I got to the medical school. Finally, I am about to start my preparation for USMLE. I will have approximately the same studying hours as you. I hope I will succeed like you.
Best of luck, proxery!!!
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  #27  
Old 08-06-2014
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  1. Congratulations! You did really well and put a lot effort into it. Why little question is WHAT to annotate into first aid from kaplan notes and WHEN to do it. Same goes from Uwold ? Best of wishes to you!
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Old 08-06-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Profe10P View Post
  1. Congratulations! You did really well and put a lot effort into it. Why little question is WHAT to annotate into first aid from kaplan notes and WHEN to do it. Same goes from Uwold ? Best of wishes to you!
My recommendation - start to annotate ASAP, i.e. From the very beginning. What to annotate - everything that u think is HY and especially the facts that are hard to remember for u. Don't forget that u learn from this process. UW - I personally made little notes from every single question explanation. I know it's time consuming process, but u'll benefit from it later.
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  #29  
Old 08-08-2014
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ok. thanks. and how did you approach the Kaplan videos with the lectura notes? did you read the notes a long as watching the videos or how?
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Old 08-10-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Profe10P View Post
ok. thanks. and how did you approach the Kaplan videos with the lectura notes? did you read the notes a long as watching the videos or how?
I was watching video along with reading notes and annotating to save time. Reading-watching-rereading as they recommend is too time consuming
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  #31  
Old 03-11-2015
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Hey..congratulations!
so you studied a year only 4 hours daily..can you give me some advices on what to do during each phase of prep?
thanks! Hope you share yor CK experience.
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