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Old 03-26-2015
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Default My USMLE step 2 ck Experience (251)

MY USMLE Step 2 Experience (251)

Materials used:

- Kaplan Medicine.
- Kaplan Surgery.
- Kaplan Psychiatry.
- Kaplan epidemiology and biostat.
- MTB 2.
- MTB 3 (everything other than the medicine)

Self Assessment Exams:

- NBME 4 (3.5 months prior) : 214
- NBME 6 (3 months prior) : 235
- NBME 3 (1 month prior) : 223
- NBME 7 (9 days prior) : 244
- UWSA 1 (7 days prior) : 261
- FRED 131q (3 days prior) : 88 %

Real Deal (26\2\2015) : 251

I am writing my experience to encourage you all and tell you that nothing is impossible, Just aim high and do your best, be prepared to sacrifice a lot but be sure that it will be fruitful at the end.

I am an IMG from Palestine, working full time job as service resident with 12 on-calls per month. I started my USMLE Journey in September 2014. Started studying Kaplan books as mentioned above. I tried watching the videos but I found them useless, they waste a lot of time and they just repeat what I already have read, so I skipped them. I read MTB 2 and MTB 3 chapter by chapter and was doing UWORLD offline after each subject ( This was a mistake Ė donít do Offline UWORLD especially if you donít have enough time) . MTB 2 is excellent in IM but donít focus on the management guidelines because most of them are outdated. MTB 3 is excellent in Psychiatry, pediatrics, gyne & Obs, and Emergency medicine. I finished my first read with the whole UWORLD offline within 2 months and my exam was intended to be on 3\11\2014, I did the NBME 4 and got 214, so I postponed my exam to 29\11 and revised my UWORLD notes and MTB 2 and MTB 3 and did another NBME, which was NBME 6 and got 235, It didnít reach my aim, so I decided to extend the eligibility period for another 3 months. At this point I was depressed and totally frustrated.

This time I decided to study Online qbanks, I was hesitant about buying Kaplan qbank or USMLERx, I read a lot of reviews and found that Kaplan is full of low yield info, and usually the cumulative scores are lower than the other qbanks, and I donít want anything to down my spirit again, so I subscribed USMLERx for one month (and it was the other mistake in my plan). The question style is totally different from the others and it only builds up your medical knowledge, it doesnít help you with the MCQ skills and time management skills. I finished only 40 % of it with 76 % cumulative score and I regret doing it. I did NBME 3 and got 223, I was depressed again but I tried to convince myself that my mistakes were due to bad MCQ and time management skills. I subscribed UWORLD online for one month and scheduled my exam on 23\2\2014 (The last available date on my eligibility period). 9 days prior to the exam date and with only 40% percent finished of UW I did NBME 7 and got 244. My weakest points were (immunology and hematology). I spend the following day studying the immunology from the Kaplan Pediatric book and the hematology from my previous notes in addition the MTB 2, I revised several things that day.

During my study at my laptop I kept a running browser extension looking for any seat availability changes, it really worked and 26 Feb became available, so I postponed my exam and paid again for the postpone  . 7 days prior to the exam day I did UWSA and got 261. It was much different than the NBMEs, it was that kind of question that you either know the answer or not, there was no much space for thinking, and the questions were direct and not tricky. 3 days prior to the exam I did the FRED 131q, itís a free software from the USMLE.org website as a practice material. It is useful to do the tutorial as it is the same tutorial you will find on the exam, so you can check your headphones on the second slide and skip the remaining to gain additional 14 minutes for your break time. The software used is the exactly same as the exam software, I found it useful to be familiar with what you will face during your exam day. I noticed one thing while doing these free questions, the questions are full of irrelevant data that you have to recognize and ignore while reading the question. They were soooo much easy in comparison to the exam questions but with the same style.
The last 2 days of my study, I decided to simulate the exam day and do 8 blocks of UW each day with only one hour break time in between exactly like the exam day. I was trying to find what best suits me regarding scheduling the break time. At my first attempt, I took a break between each 2 consecutive blocks, but I found that my concentration and my scores are going down with each second consecutive block. So, the next day I took a break after each block and it worked better, I completed the set comfortably without any score drops from my average. And that was my plan for the exam day.

I finished 70% of the UW with cumulative score of 86%, and the day before the exam I travelled to Amman, Jordan where the exam center is. I booked a hotel and tried to exhaust myself that day in order to be able to sleep well early without any sleeping pills. My friend visited me to cheer me up before the exam and brought me a delicious ďHardeesĒ dinner; we spent a joyful time chatting about the exam. He encouraged me and told me several tips for the exam as he already aced the exam with brilliant score, May Allah blesses and guides him, he deserves the best. I fell asleep at 11 pm and woke up at 6:30 am.

Exam day:

I went to the prometric early, at 7:20. At 8 am I checked in and started my marathon. At first I was anxious but after the first 3-4 questions I felt exactly like doing my simulation exams at home. The questions are a little bit longer, but not that much. Everybody feel it longer because it takes time not because the stem is longer. I used to highlight the last sentence of the question in the lengthy questions before reading the question stem and it helped a lot. (e.g: what is the most likely cause of this patientís hypercalcemia Ö now when I read the question stem, I will focus on the causes of the hypercalcemia and trying to figure out which of these is the really cause. It will be much different than reading the question with a patient having several medical issues and at the end you will notice hypercalcemia at the lab results and you will be asked about the cause at a time you already forgot all issues the patient had, so you will reread the question again trying to find what he asks).

The questions were much different from everything I have read, same concepts but much different style. They try to make even the very easy questions tricky. They love the unusual presentations; everything is unusual with atypical presentation. You will see more than one correct choice but unfortunately you have to pick only one. The timing is a huge problem during the exam, as I said before, not because the question stems are longer, but because you require more time to think about questions. I usually used to have 7-10 min remaining during my Uworld qbank blocks and the other self assessments but at the exam I barely found time to revise my marked questions. Regarding marking questions, make the threshold really high to mark a question, because you will not have enough time to recheck them at the end. Make sure not to leave any question without an answer even if you are not sure about your choice. Mark only the questions that rereading them will make difference (e.g. biostat questions that need more time to check the calculations again or a presentation that u didnít know exactly what the diagnosis is or what they meant by it).

Donít freak out, the exam is doable, Just keep going, do your best, donít be depressed, you will did it exactly like I did it and many many others did it. Always imagine the moments of opening your score report with your aim score printed out there shining. The next shared experience will be your experience so try hard to make it impressive exactly like you are imagining it while reading those sentences.

Best of luck for all of you.
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2015
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congratulations, great score and thanks for inspiring experience

I'm having the exam in 3 days, revising everything like a maniac wrote UWSA 2 days ago and got 247

do u have any suggestions on what else to do during these last 3 days.

thank you
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Old 03-27-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICUinWonderland View Post
congratulations, great score and thanks for inspiring experience

I'm having the exam in 3 days, revising everything like a maniac wrote UWSA 2 days ago and got 247

do u have any suggestions on what else to do during these last 3 days.

thank you
I wish you the best

Try to revise the weakest points on your self assessment exams .. I scored the highest in these topics on the real exam. they turned my strongest subjects.

Another important thing is to focus on other things that raise your score, other than the pure knowledge, such as, the time management skills and how to manage the stress during the exam, and how to schedule your breaks with what best suit your personality and stamina. Those things will earn you more points than what you think.

wish you all the luck I hope to hear good news from you in the near future.
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Old 03-27-2015
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Default Thanks!

Congrats the great score!
I'm quite literally in the same position. Working and trying to study and my UWSA and NMBE 7 (only one I did) was the exact same numbers as you and have my test on monday.
quick question for you - I find imm/haem/micro my weakest too, do you think its worth goin back to FA step 1 for them?
and I was under the impression doing a long 2x8 hour tests just before the exam would tire me out for the next day, sounds like you didn't have that problem - would you recommend especially for time management sake?
Thanks for the great advice and wishing you well for the rest of them!
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Old 03-27-2015
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Originally Posted by ir308 View Post
Congrats the great score!
I'm quite literally in the same position. Working and trying to study and my UWSA and NMBE 7 (only one I did) was the exact same numbers as you and have my test on monday.
quick question for you - I find imm/haem/micro my weakest too, do you think its worth goin back to FA step 1 for them?
and I was under the impression doing a long 2x8 hour tests just before the exam would tire me out for the next day, sounds like you didn't have that problem - would you recommend especially for time management sake?
Thanks for the great advice and wishing you well for the rest of them!
mmmm .. No I don't think so .. I only studied the immunodeficiency chapter from kaplan Pediatrics ... and revised my hematology notes and MTB 2 and 3 .. and Yoppeee .. they were the highest areas in my real score report

Regarding the simulation days .. I struggled during the first day .. and the second one was tough too but easier than the first one .. and during the exam it was really useful and managed the stress well .. and I didn't find any difficulty setting for whole 8 hours in front of the monitor solving mysterious questions

The most important thing is ... get a good sleep the night before the exam
keep up going and trust your preparation .. you will ace the exam
Good luck
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Old 03-27-2015
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Many congratulations...great score...
& thank u for sharing ur experience.

regarding UW notes,what was ur strategy?
Im planning to start annotating when i start online UW, I found a pdf of someone who took the notes & it looks good, im thinking of adding my notes on the pdf to save time! what do u think of this?

Thank u.
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Old 03-27-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by excellence View Post
Many congratulations...great score...
& thank u for sharing ur experience.

regarding UW notes,what was ur strategy?
Im planning to start annotating when i start online UW, I found a pdf of someone who took the notes & it looks good, im thinking of adding my notes on the pdf to save time! what do u think of this?

Thank u.
mmm regarding the notes ... I used the highlighting instead of taking notes in the UW .. I took notes while doing the USNLERx .. but i regret doing so .. because I didn't find time to revise them

My friend of mine advise me not to take notes if I don't have enough time to do so ... taking the note give you some relief that it doesn't matter if I didn't remember this piece of info .. its here in my notes and I will revise it later on ... But if your plan not to take notes ... your brain will focus on each piece of info because it knows that this the last time it will encounter it and it has to master it ...

finally, it depends on your schedule, your time, your study style and preference.

Good luck for you
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Old 03-27-2015
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Hey congrats on your success (:
Can you please tell did you do MTB2 for all the subjects or just for IM? Is it ok if i do MTB2 only for IM? & rest all subjects from MTB3?
Also kindly tell did you get time to revise kaplan? Because i did kaplan for surgery & i can't seem to revise it
Thanks alot..Enjoyy !!
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Old 03-27-2015
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Hey congratulations on your amazing score !
I am doing uworld first round and I will be done in 10 days. I will then have a month until my exam date. What is your advice for that last one month?
Uworld seems pretty lengthy and has lots of information to remember. What is the best way to make the best out of doing uworld? Because right now it feels like I will need to revise it many times to retain the information, but I have very less time.
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Old 03-29-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faith255 View Post
Hey congrats on your success (:
Can you please tell did you do MTB2 for all the subjects or just for IM? Is it ok if i do MTB2 only for IM? & rest all subjects from MTB3?
Also kindly tell did you get time to revise kaplan? Because i did kaplan for surgery & i can't seem to revise it
Thanks alot..Enjoyy !!
Thanks ...

I did MTB 2 for everything but I tink its only important for IM while the other subjects are much much deficient in MTB 2 ... u can study the other subjects from MTB 3 only ...
Regarding Kaplan .. I read it only once ... But to be clear .. I studied my college classes from Kaplan books so they are not the first time ever .. but for the USMLE I read them only once ...

The most important thing is the UW ... the concepts of the exam are UW, UW and UW. when u find yourself weak at one subject, you have to revise it from the books, other than that... continue your UW study ..

Good luck
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Old 03-29-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zh3298 View Post
Hey congratulations on your amazing score !
I am doing uworld first round and I will be done in 10 days. I will then have a month until my exam date. What is your advice for that last one month?
Uworld seems pretty lengthy and has lots of information to remember. What is the best way to make the best out of doing uworld? Because right now it feels like I will need to revise it many times to retain the information, but I have very less time.
I advise you to do a self assessment after u finish your first round of UW ... after that do self assessment exam every week ... and then study the weak points from a book like MTB or whatever you want and continue revising the UW .. regarding revising UW .. there are several opinions .. some prefer to do the whole qbank again .. others do only the marked and wrong questions again .. and others don't repeat the questions ever.. they only revise the highlighted explanations again for all questions ... do what u believe is the best method for you ..

wish u the best
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  #12  
Old 03-30-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amoms View Post
I advise you to do a self assessment after u finish your first round of UW ... after that do self assessment exam every week ... and then study the weak points from a book like MTB or whatever you want and continue revising the UW .. regarding revising UW .. there are several opinions .. some prefer to do the whole qbank again .. others do only the marked and wrong questions again .. and others don't repeat the questions ever.. they only revise the highlighted explanations again for all questions ... do what u believe is the best method for you ..

wish u the best
Okay.. Thank you!
All the best ahead
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