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  #1  
Old 10-01-2013
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Experiences Step 2 CK exam experience 24th September

Been meaning to write this for the last few days, but didnt have the time thanks to a lot of travelling and other post exam revelries

Brief introduction- IMG, graduate of 2012, from India, Step 1 taken in January with a score of 243. Pending CS. Planning on applying for 2015 match.

Preparation- Started proper prep around March 2013, with a lot of distractions that popped up here and there that dragged me away from my preparation schedule for a few days.

Did all KLN notes once along with the videos (except for BS and ethics where i just read my step 1 KLN again). Medicine is useful in a lot of places, especially for people who aren't strong with their concepts, and for people who like learning and tend to retain information better by listening instead of plain reading. If anything atleast Conrad Fischer's videos must be seen. I'm a huge fan of his teaching methodology!

Along with my KLN read, i did MTB 2 and 3. (for all subjects), annotating the MTBs with points from kaplan i found MTB deficient in. In fact MTB has some topics completely missing when compared to KLN, especially in Paeds and Surgery.

It may seem in a lot of places that the MTBs are just a rip off from KLN, structured in a more condensed, board review friendly form. That might be true, but i'd suggest people to still stick with the reading of KLN and MTB at the same time because every single extra point you come across in KLN could be vital. Also this double reading helps reinforce facts.

The Surgery videos can be given a pass. The latter half of the surgery KLN contains a verbatim reproduction of his lecture videos rendering the watching of his videos pointless and boring. The Q&A format of the last half of KLN was useful though, and contained quite a bit of info lacking in the MTBs. Especially in orthopedics.

For OB/GYN i made an exception and used KLN as my primary source through and through. It might seem daunting because of the size, but its definitely worth it, especially when its accompanied by the videos, because that guy is good. MTB 3 is a very close reproduction of OB GYN KLN though, so substituting that with MTB 3 should suffice too.

For paeds, the videos are a must avoid!! The KLN is ok, but seemed highly vague and lengthy (i dont know if i truly felt that or if i was influenced by other posters here!). But i stuck through KLN for paeds and annotated my MTBs as always.

Psychiatry videos are decent, but can be skipped if you're having a lack of time. The KLN for psych is a must read and contains info not seen in MTB.

BS and ethics i stuck to step 1 notes. Once glance at the step 2 notes told me it was the exact same thing, so i moved on.

After i did one read of all subjects from KLN and MTB i took NBME 4 (2.5 months before my exam) and scored 234, which i thought was decent, and knew that after tackling UW my scores will rise (similar experience to step 1 for me)

So after 2 months of doing UW painstakingly (which involved extensive note taking, further annotating of my primary resources and re-reading topics i felt iffy with), it was already less than 10 days to my exam.

Stats-

UW cumulative 77% (note to people who might not know, UW performances per block can fluctuate phenomenally. I ranged from a high of 89% to a low of 66% once. My advice is dont take it to heart, but just learn from it)

NBME 4 (2.5 months before exam)- 234

UWSA (week before exam)- 260

NBME 6 (5 days before exam)- 265

NBME 2 (3 days before exam)- 250 (still kinda worries me!)


Exam day-

I had to travel to a different city for my exam, and was taking advantage of the hospitality of a couple of friends who lived in the area. Disadvantage of staying with friends right before an exam of this kind is, from the moment i landed and met them, i was guaranteed i wasnt going to touch my books again. End result was that my last 2 days i did not read a word from my books or notes.

I managed to get a good nights sleep the night before. I had stocked up on biscuits, power bars, redbull, sandwiches to gorge on in between breaks (i'm not much of a tea/coffee person, but if you are, do take a flask of the beverage of your choice!)

The exam per se was a mixed bag. Being a week after my exam, the memories are kinda murky. My block divisions were mostly 44 questions when there wasnt a drug abstract or advertisement question, but when there were drug abstract/ad questions with 2 questions the block length reduced to 43, and if it was 3 questions then block length reduced to 42. I got abstract questions in 4 blocks overall.

My first block was relatively easy till around the 25th question, following which it was tricky. 2nd and 3rd block was tricky and hard, 4th, 5th and 6th seemed easier while 7th and 8th were hard as well.

To address a common fear, the drug questions are definitely doable and not out of this world. It just requires good time management and the ability to scan through the question and the drug abstract fast to get a general overview of what info you need to get. My advice would be leave such questions for the last, making sure you have 10 minutes on the clock for those questions. Read the questions first before going to the abstract so that you know what to look for. And the questions are just testing your biostats knowledge, nothing else. Keep that in mind! The drug ad questions on UW are definitely the best exposure you can get to tackling such questions.

Its hard for me right now to really pinpoint a certain distribution with respect to the topics or even subjects tested. There were a fair share of image questions, right from derm to Xrays, CTs and MRIs and a few EKGs. Most of which is covered by UW i feel. (i have prior clinical experience of some sort, so that helped i assume). The EKGs weren't out of this world either. The auscultation questions were actually really easy and straightforward. I had a video question too (Not sure if i can divulge what the video was about or not here)

Final thoughts- The exam is hard, but do-able. Do not go in to the exam thinking you'll be familiar with all the questions, or even half of them. Most of the questions require educated guess work.

The exam is a real test of stamina and time management. Stamina can only be built up by practising multiple block testing at home recreating testing conditions. (do not overdo it risking burn out)

Time management is crucial. Someone mentioned in their exam experience here a few weeks back that step 2 CK is a test of your intuitive and reflexive answering skills, and i couldnt have put it better myself! There is no time on the exam to re-read questions, second guess your instincts etc. Mark the answer as you see fit, if you are unsure, mark it, and move on. If you have time at the end, get back to those mark questions for a 2nd go.

Do not do blocks simultaneously (my experience here), you might feel fresh enough for starting another block straightaway, but thats the time when the risk of errors are high i believe. Take a break at your seat if you feel like it (avoid the time wasting in signing in and out and getting magic wand-ed).

Thats all i can really think of now. Questions, as always, are welcome.

Lets hope i get a good score on october 16th (when i predict my score will come ; 3rd wednesday). At the end of it all, i could score a 190-260 on the exam and i wouldnt be surprised because its hard to judge your performance on such exams.

Now i'm off to take a little break before i tackle CS!
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2013
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Appreciate ur effort of writing it down and good luck !

Did u use kaplan q bank ?
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Old 10-01-2013
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Default thanks mate

thanks rohit for the elaborative and indeapth experiences of yours.

i am from india did my radiology residency and now going to take ck in dec or jan..

there are a few qtns which i thought u can help and guide me

1. does the videos you described above are sufficient r do u thing any other videos are necessary listening?

2. how do u rate kln, mtb 2 and mtb 3?

3. did u go through anything else like wiki, images from net r so? r exclusively the information contained in u world?

4. what timing u suggest to take nbme n which part of nbme?, timing i mean after 1st read... after u world like that..

my situation is like job in the mrng frm 9 to 8pm, n i do get a pretty good time to read during my working hours.. n my main prob is a radiology residency or a fellowship.. so i need a good score in step 2.. so plz do help..

thanks in advance..

good luck abt ur score.. everyone knws u wud rock with 260 +...
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  #4  
Old 10-01-2013
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Default Gave on sept 24

I gave it on the same day as u did. But i found it really harder. Especially abstract n drug adds. No way to understand those. Believe me i did u world n biostatistics review books too. Whenever i saw a drug add i found that im running out of my time. Finally i disappointed. Questions were long, vague n hard. This is what i found on all blocks.
Uwsa 255
Nbme 2 253
bro can u tell me when i gonna expect my results????
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Old 10-01-2013
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Chrisabdur- I hope you aren't comparing the difficulty level to the NBMEs or UWSA. They are infinite times more easier. I felt the exam was around UW difficulty level, with a little lengthier questions and little vaguer answer choices. I'm not saying the exam was easy! No way at all. Its a hard exam man. But then i've read exam experiences where people claim the exam is impossible to even pass and all the questions are out of this world and stuff. I just wanted to dispel that notion. The exam is doable. Do not expect to be sure of most questions you answer, unlike step 1. I went in to the exam with that expectation, hence my shock level post exam is much lower i suppose.

Drug ads are a very subjective perception i guess. Assuming one has acquired the art of tackling such questions. It might be the case i found them doable where in reality i could have got them horribly wrong, because again, i repeat, i'm not sure of most of my answers.

I'm anticipating the result on october 16th, wednesday? thats the 3rd wednesday. Your NBME and UWSA scores are good, so lets hope we get through it with 250+ scores!


dr_shyambitla- 1) To my knowledge, the only videos i'm aware about are the kaplan videos. There is a new thing called kaplan high yield videos about, but i don't know how good or useful that is. So either do some research and make some enquiries about its usefulness, or stick to the tried and tested kaplan videos.

2) Its hard to put a rating on the material i used. But i'd say the MTBs are a great book to start with to get your bearings right, accompanied by KLN for missing points and topics. But UW was by and far the best resource. No matter how much book reading you do, there's no substitute to solving UW like questions to get you oriented to that kind of thinking. I should maybe add that to my experience above!

3) I did read up some wiki pages, some images from google search and added them to my notes, especially when i came across stuff i havent heard from UW, for example, there was a question about rosacea in there, and another one about cyclical vomiting. So for further info about out of the blue topics like that i read up on the internet.

4) According to me, take your first NBME after your first complete read to see where you stand. Then after you finish UW and are <2 weeks from your exam date, you can do another NBME (maybe 2) and UWSA to check your progress and evaluate your preparedness before the big day. But many people do it differently, so whatever suits you the best i suppose!

I understand how difficult it must be to be working as a radiology resident and studying for the USMLE. But remember you aren't alone! Best of luck



MedicalExaminer- No i did not use kaplan qbank. I've heard and read online that its not particularly useful (I could be wrong)
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Old 10-01-2013
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thanks rohit for your informative reply

good luck.
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Old 10-02-2013
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well i was counting 9 th oct as 3rd wednesday....had my exam on 23
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Old 10-02-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rg99 View Post
well i was counting 9 th oct as 3rd wednesday....had my exam on 23
USMLE Exam Results; Third or Fourth Wednesday?



According to that link, its 4th Wednesday for us. Hence October 16th!
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Old 10-03-2013
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Best of luck my friend!
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Old 10-16-2013
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To update, final score 261!
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  #11  
Old 10-16-2013
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Hi Rohit39. Congrats!! Nice score. I have a question - what was the source of your study for drug ads and abstracts? Did you do them only from uworld? I found it defficient to built up my knowledge. Can you advice anything.
Thanks man.
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Old 10-16-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gikson View Post
Hi Rohit39. Congrats!! Nice score. I have a question - what was the source of your study for drug ads and abstracts? Did you do them only from uworld? I found it defficient to built up my knowledge. Can you advice anything.
Thanks man.
I did it only from UW. I found it quite adequate actually. From my experience, drug abstract questions are all about your ability to manage time, read quickly, and zero down on what they're asking you to find. Also knowing your biostats concepts. UW was sufficient according to me.

Also, save those drug abstract questions for the last in every block!
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Old 10-16-2013
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which edition of Kaplan lecture notes u used , pls reply
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Old 10-16-2013
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2011-2012 versions for all except psych for which I used 2008. Not too much of a difference if you ask me.
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Old 10-16-2013
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I got 250 in step 2 ck. is it good ?
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Old 10-16-2013
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Default Congrats!

Hi, I'd like to know your opinion on FA for CK. So far I'm using the same materials you've mentioned.
Thanks and congratulations again
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Old 10-16-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prtysha View Post
Hi, I'd like to know your opinion on FA for CK. So far I'm using the same materials you've mentioned.
Thanks and congratulations again
I haven't seen the FA book for CK, so take whatever I say with a pinch of salt. But I've heard from numerous sources, on the forum and personally, that FA for CK isn't that good. MTB seems to be book of choice.


And saikat- yes its a good score! 238 is the current mean. So go figure.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohit39 View Post
I haven't seen the FA book for CK, so take whatever I say with a pinch of salt. But I've heard from numerous sources, on the forum and personally, that FA for CK isn't that good. MTB seems to be book of choice.


And saikat- yes its a good score! 238 is the current mean. So go figure.
Alright, I'll stick to MTB. Thanks!
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Old 10-16-2013
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where did u buy 2011-12 version, is it much different then 2008-2009 version
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  #20  
Old 10-17-2013
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Smile

Congratulations on an awesome score!!
Thank u so much for posting ur experience
Just want to know, does MTB contain additional info compared to Kaplan notes?
If so, is it MTB 2 or 3 or both?
Please reply..
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  #21  
Old 10-17-2013
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I think MTB 2 and 3 has more relevant board related info than Kaplan. Plus its layout is really good for quick review. And you'll need MTB 2 AND 3 for all subjects. Kaplan can be used as a supplement. For any extra info. Or if your concepts are a bit screwed up.
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Old 10-17-2013
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Thank u soooo much
Good luck with d rest of the journey!! U'l do great!
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  #23  
Old 10-22-2013
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Default Tell us more about duration

How many months exactly?.how many hours per day?
Did you have a background in internal medicine that helped in the exam??
Thank you.
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  #24  
Old 10-22-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahmed2660 View Post
How many months exactly?.how many hours per day?
Did you have a background in internal medicine that helped in the exam??
Thank you.
Took me around 6 months. But could have done it earlier. I just wasted a lot of time in the middle. Hours was very variable' on a good day 8-10 hours, on a bad day 0!

I don't have a background in IM particularly, no, but in my med school I had some great IM profs, and great exposure during my internship, which did help out a bit.
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Old 10-22-2013
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So if i am done with step1 and have only 5 and a half month...is it enough with 8 hours daily.
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Old 10-22-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahmed2660 View Post
So if i am done with step1 and have only 5 and a half month...is it enough with 8 hours daily.
Yes it should. Depends on a lot of variables though. Your prior knowledge and grasp of concepts, your target score, your concentration levels, your personal life, and many more. Its definitely possible though. Achievable even!
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  #27  
Old 10-22-2013
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Regarding my knowledge i am done with step1
Dedicated to step2 ....and grasping is according to difficulty of the material.
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Old 10-22-2013
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Regarding my knowledge i am done with step1
Dedicated to step2 ....and grasping is according to difficulty of the material.
Target is 240+
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  #29  
Old 10-23-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahmed2660 View Post
Regarding my knowledge i am done with step1
Dedicated to step2 ....and grasping is according to difficulty of the material.
Target is 240+
It should be enough. Its up to you though!
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  #30  
Old 03-01-2014
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Isnt the cardio section from Kaplan notes too detailed? How did you tackle this/ECGs
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  #31  
Old 03-02-2014
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Default Help needed!

I am an IMG like you.Got a slightly poor to avg score of 232 in step one.

I wish you can help me out somehow...
I did uworld once with 69pcent total and kaplan and mtb twice.I did my uwsa today and still only scoring 236.My exam is three weeks from now.What can i do ...can you suggest me anything...I really dont want a low score...I wish you can help me out somehow.
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  #32  
Old 03-02-2014
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Psammoma body- Yes the cardio section in Kaplan is a little too much, and can be overwhelming, but remember that a lot of it is just to build your concepts and guide your thought process. You aren't expected to remember every line printed in the Kaplan book. This goes for all the topics in Kaplan IM. EKGs I just did whatever was there in uworld, Kaplan, MTB followed by Google.

Truthseeker- the major resources are MTB, uworld and Kaplan. Nothing else is needed to score 250+ if you ask me. Its about how you do the material, how thorough you are with it, whether you've got your concepts straight etc. And after that you need a lot of practice solving questions.

If you have a set target score in mind maybe you could postpone your exam a little bit. But don't set unrealistic expectations. Base it on a true perception of your potential. Scores aren't everything.
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Old 03-02-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohit39 View Post
Psammoma body- Yes the cardio section in Kaplan is a little too much, and can be overwhelming, but remember that a lot of it is just to build your concepts and guide your thought process. You aren't expected to remember every line printed in the Kaplan book. This goes for all the topics in Kaplan IM. EKGs I just did whatever was there in uworld, Kaplan, MTB followed by Google.

Truthseeker- the major resources are MTB, uworld and Kaplan. Nothing else is needed to score 250+ if you ask me. Its about how you do the material, how thorough you are with it, whether you've got your concepts straight etc. And after that you need a lot of practice solving questions.

If you have a set target score in mind maybe you could postpone your exam a little bit. But don't set unrealistic expectations. Base it on a true perception of your potential. Scores aren't everything.
Thank you so much for your reply. I will try and work hard and do whatever I can. I wish you luck in your future. Thank you once again. Unfortunately I can't postpone my exam but I will work hard till the end.
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Old 11-27-2014
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To update, final score 261!
Congratulations. Do you think KLN are vital for a 260 score? I will have time to go through them. or watching the videos and annotating into MTB is a better idea?
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  #35  
Old 11-27-2014
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Congratulations. Do you think KLN are vital for a 260 score? I will have time to go through them. or watching the videos and annotating into MTB is a better idea?
Watching the videos and reading KLN followed by annotating extra points on to MTB will suffice. That makes your MTBs the one stop shop for all your info.
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Watching the videos and reading KLN followed by annotating extra points on to MTB will suffice. That makes your MTBs the one stop shop for all your info.
Thanks for responding. Where did you annotate UWorld? Did you write on a separate notebook?

Best of wishes for the MATCH
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Old 11-27-2014
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Thanks for responding. Where did you annotate UWorld? Did you write on a separate notebook?

Best of wishes for the MATCH
Thanks!

And yes I annotated Uworld on to a separate notebook (it ended spanning 2 notebooks eventually!). I did try to squeeze in little nuggets of info on to my MTB if I had the space around the margins to.

Doesn't matter where you annotate as long as you do it right and know where to find it.
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Old 11-27-2014
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Originally Posted by rohit39 View Post
Thanks!

And yes I annotated Uworld on to a separate notebook (it ended spanning 2 notebooks eventually!). I did try to squeeze in little nuggets of info on to my MTB if I had the space around the margins to.

Doesn't matter where you annotate as long as you do it right and know where to find it.
Thanks for coming back and giving advices. hahah yeah surely. One idea I have is annotating Uworld into CK and KLN into step 3. But I'll see what I decide.
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Hi there! In light of your experience, how would you compare the nbme type questions to the actual exam in terms of difficulty level, length of questions and way of description?
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Hi there! In light of your experience, how would you compare the nbme type questions to the actual exam in terms of difficulty level, length of questions and way of description?
The NBME questions were definitely not as lengthy as the real thing, and I found the NBME to be slightly easier in difficulty level also. It was still a reasonably accurate predictor in spite of all that (Keep in mind this was September 2013).

Back when i gave CK there was no NBME 7. I've heard that NBME 7 has been out for some time and it's quite hard.
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  #41  
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Originally Posted by rohit39 View Post
The NBME questions were definitely not as lengthy as the real thing, and I found the NBME to be slightly easier in difficulty level also. It was still a reasonably accurate predictor in spite of all that (Keep in mind this was September 2013).

Back when i gave CK there was no NBME 7. I've heard that NBME 7 has been out for some time and it's quite hard.
So UWSA keeps being the best predictor for performance on real exam?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohit39 View Post
The NBME questions were definitely not as lengthy as the real thing, and I found the NBME to be slightly easier in difficulty level also. It was still a reasonably accurate predictor in spite of all that (Keep in mind this was September 2013).

Back when i gave CK there was no NBME 7. I've heard that NBME 7 has been out for some time and it's quite hard.
hi there.
congratulations.

how many time to go over KLN?
only one time along with videos is ok and then depend totally on MTB and UWorld?
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