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  #1  
Old 04-16-2014
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Show Teeth Smashingdude experience for CK: An honest review!

PHEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! Finally, done with it!

Materials:
1. MTB2 and MTB3
2. UW CK
3. FA for Step 1
4. Kaplan OBGYN
5. Kaplan Peds now and then, IM occasionally. Not much used.
6. Conrad Fishcer 20 cases. Went over like 10 of them. Not that helpful. Only as a summary and to revise.
7. Kaplan surgery. Just the cases, and the videos

Time:
Well, around 5 and a half month, but the real study was the last 3 months.

Stats:
Step 1: 250
Stratified analysis UW(timed,random,unused):77%
Overall Correct: 84%
Percentile: 94th
USWA: 263/770
NBME(offline 4)= 170/184 : 92.4% +/- 3
Free 150= 89%
Didnt take any NBME
Real score: 250!!! alhumdullilah!

Method:

-I first went over MTB2. Its okay in IM, but lacks in other disciplines highly. In retrospective, so many things are missing from MTB2. Its not enough!

-MTB3 is nothing but a summarized edition of all the Kaplan books. It follows the same organization of the chapters within a discipline. Its a great source for Psych, Peds, OBGYN, Surgery. But dont rely on IM for it.

Having said that, I went over IM of MTB3 as well, and I realized some things are missing from MTB2. In the end I realized what a mess MTB's really are. Some information in 2, some in 3. It became so hard to focus. I just wanted to have one book like Step1 where I can consolidate all the information, but its so hard to do that with MTB's.

What I did was keep MTB2 solely for IM, and copied all the notes from MTB3 over it (Frankly speaking, there arent many things missing, but a few notes now and then). MTB3 I kept for all other disciplines. Here is my breakdown for a better analysis:

For all IM, stick to MTB2
For Peds, Psych, OBGYN, Derma stick to MTB3
For emergency -> MTB2
For Ethics -> Both have almost the same info.
For Surgery -> MTB3, but if you want to review some classical cases, MTB2

You see what I mean. Its such a mess. I don't know why Conrad couldn't just make one book. It would have been so much easier. Also, in retrospective, MTB's lack some information, and aren't clear in some domains. I think we ought to give some other book a try. People dont usually do it causes MTB's are tried and tested, and people have good results with them. I am not saying its a bad book. Its just messy! And it does lack on information.

-Kaplan material. Only OBGYN to "REFER", since MTB3 is quite good, and covers everything except Twin pregnancy, Preterm, and some other minor topics. Topics of the vulva/dating/some other complaints are in MTB2. So you can go over MTB2 OBGYN just as a review. Not a lot, and it wont take you much time either.
Kaplan IM: Well, I didnt use it much. Just to refer. Used it like maybe 3-4 times. Not important.
Kaplan Surgery: Is a good book. I only went over the cases, and followed the videos. It doesnt take much time, around 2 days I guess. But that doctor is quite good. You can do them without the videos, but I was just bored to read myself.
All the other Kaplan books like Peds/Psych you can scrap them out.

-UW: As again, the master of all the topics. What I advise is to take pictures of all the algorithms, and just stick them around. It will reinforce all the major topics. But I think UW lacks a bit in preventive medicine, and principles of care. Its great for OBGYN, many IM topics, Surgery, but some of general health/disciplines, its still missing. It also lacks on the abstract questions. You need to do more of those. I'll come to that in a while.

I organized my UW notes in a better way this time, compared to step 1, which was a mess. This time, I arranged a book with different tags, each with different disciplines. I did blocks with random,unused,timed questions, but then I took notes categorically, pinning the information in the right parts of the book. This is time consuming, but it consolidates all the information into disciplines, and helps you to see similar questions and connect the concepts. Its a great way, and highly advise it.

I didnt take notes over MTB, since its far more time consuming. I.e find the page, in the specific MTB, and then write on the small space!!! So, its better to get a separate notebook, split them into major disciplines. For a few like Preventive/Toxicology, you can only write on separate pages since you dont have many questions. But you need separate segments of the book definitely for Neuro,Cardio,Surgery,GI,OBGYN,Peds,Resp since they are huge! My advise is to split ALL of them into segments. You can get 2 notebook from Walmart, with 180 pages split across 5 subjects. Divide each subject into 2 additional units, so you have like 20 segments overall, which are quite enough I guess.

-Conrad 20 Cases: Are good as a review. They add notihng new. Its just to link all topics, and help you in recall.

-FA. As always. My bible. I referred to it now and then. Is it worth to read all over it? NOPE! Please dont. Its a waste of time. I did go over a few notes of UW for Step 1, but they were just rapid skimming. It didnt help me much.

-Strategy. I did UW till 50%, then revised all of it again. Then continued till 92%, left the 4 blocks, and revised all of it again. Also revised MTB's. Then did those 4 blocks, and after that took the UWSA. My exam was really close, so I didnt want to lower my confidence by taking an NBME. I did offline NBME just to feel how it was. Besides, I really don't know the predictive value of it, and not many people take it. In retrospective, I should have done an NBME. So, I highly advise you all to take at least one NBME.

Exam:

Two words. FREAKING TOUGH! I felt it to be not a walk in the park like Step1. I mean, after Step 1, I walked out with confidence, that I did good, and I was confident of my knowledge. After Step 2, I went out thinking "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!!" It was such a traumatizing experience, shatters your confidence. I felt like crap! I thought I did really really bad!

So many simple classical cases were twisted. I had Abstracts, with 3 questions, in the first block itself. And then 3-4 more Abstract questions in the next few blocks. They are the ones that killed me, since they were quite long, and hard! And I didn't know what they were asking. Also, I didnt have many Step 1 questions. I wanted to have some, but I just didnt get. All my blocks were like 46 questions, with a few like 43.

But....before you get scared, and start panicking while reading my rant, let me calm you down. I realized the feeling I had was not cause the exam was very difficult. Its because so many questions that I saw were out of the blue! Like never heard of! They do this on purpose to break your confidence. And they did succeed, and I screwed up some of the later blocks. And its not only me. I researched online, and asked so many people. 80-90% of them says they felt like this. So, there is something at work here.

Understand this, they want to put you in a corner with the worst questions ever, oh and believe me they will! Your key is not to screw up in the later questions actually. Its not these tough questions you should worry about, since so many are not scored. You shouldn't screw up or change your mind on the simple questions they give you later on. The tough questions should NOT change your judgment, and make you think that maybe this question is also twisted. You should go with your gut feeling, apply the same concept of UW, and just go with it.

Thats actually the whole key to get through this exam. Don't panic on these out of the blue scenarios, and twists and turns. They are just scaring you. And they give you these questions in succession. Its like a spell of 3-4 questions that will force you to curse under your breath (I DID) or maybe punch the screen (was about to). After this spell, you start becoming more relaxed as questions get easier, and you see some familiar concepts. As you are getting yourself up again, here comes again, another spell of 2-3 questions!

Its like a boxing match with 8 rounds. Every round, you will have uppercuts, like 3-4 in succession, and then you will get in control, throw some punches, and feel happy, and in comes again some nasty side punches directly into your guts! Its mostly in the first few blocks. The later blocks were okay, and not that twisted. You felt more in control and was confident.

So, my advice to all of you is simple. Keep standing back up, and dont let these spells drag you down and affect your judgement on the later cases. That is the best advice I can give you. Stick to UW concepts, apply your gut feeling, and dont overthink! Just dont! They actually want you to think in this way, since when you start over-thinking on a simple case, that is where the problem arises.

Some other issues:

-Time wasnt that much of a problem. The length wasnt that long. Only abstracts were quite long.

-Type of questions: Nope, you wont see replicas of UW or the NBME. Some of the FRED type yeah. But both UW and NBME ask question in a different way. The exam, as a whole, ask questions in an entirely different way, though the concepts are the same. So know how the questions of FRED are structured, to know what they want you to go after.

-You need to do something about the abstract questions, and a strategy for them. I was bad in them and I thought I was good in biostats. But, you need to be able to know how to pull information from a chart/data of numbers given to you. I got lost when I saw so many numbers. My advise to you is to do them at the end since they need time. And practice some other Qbanks to know them better.

On the contrary to what I have read on the forums, I found the abstracts to be quite tough. The Drug adds, on the other hand, were simple and straightforward. They are actually a test of comprehension. It reminded me of O'level English/Literature, where they give you a paragraph, and you have to decipher it. Its all about the language actually, since so many answers are DIRECTLY given in the drug add. You should just know how to analyze the language and pick that information out.

-I had a few step 1 questions. Nothing you cant do. Straightforward recall, dont lose points on them.

-Was UW enough? The burning question of the day. Well, UW is great, and there is no way to get through without MASTERING the concepts in UW. But, in retrospective, I think its better to do another Qbank as well. I said for step 1, UW was more than enough. I feel its not the same for CK. It won't hurt to do additional 500 questions from some other Qbank. Kaplan seems good enough.

With that in mind, also note. My friends who did both Qbank, ended up also in the 230-240 range. So I really dont know if it will help you increase your marks, but nonetheless it will give you more confidence. Its a confidence building measure by doing other Qbank, not to directly affect your knowledge. Since, maybe, you may find some similar idea during ur exam, and wont suffer that punch!

Final Words:

Is CK the toughest exam from all the Steps? Well, to me, yeah so far. I havent tried Step 3, so it may change my mind

Will it punch you, and make you bleed, and suffer, and cry? Oh, ROYALLY!

What should I do to counter these punches? You cant! Your job is not the current throws, but to relax, calm down, and get back at the later questions!

Will you triumph? If you felt like me, and went through this crappy phase, I think you did fine. Pat yourself on the back if you felt like this. That means, mostly you survived this exam! Hard work always pays off. Always!!!

How to increase your confidence? Try to master UW concepts. Organize them, and connect them. No point in revising MTB's again and again. PLEASE DONT! You can only raise your confidence, and your guard, by doing some more questions. So give some other Qbank a try. Do like 500-600 additional questions. The more you do, the more you raise your guard.

Get in that ring, and start some punching! The spell of punches will throw you off your feet, but your job is to get back up. Rise!
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Last edited by Smashingdude; 04-16-2014 at 09:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2014
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Default Congrats!

I haven't read anyone put the exam experience in a better or more cheerful way than you did. Congratulations! You knocked the sucker out in the end!

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Old 04-16-2014
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beautiful experience!
just as much as I enjoyed reading and rereading your step 1 experience, this too will be saved to my reading list!

congratulations :-)
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Old 04-16-2014
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Thumbs Up well done

Just like your previous experiences, it was pleasure to read your CK journey as well.

Congrats my friend
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Old 04-16-2014
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amazing experience. thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-17-2014
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Default .

Hello and congratulations on nailing this as well
I have a question hope you can answer that

I have finished medicine gyn/obs and peds books with uworld so its time for surgery and psych .... now about psych there have been some changes DSM 5 (which I have not gone through) so what you think about going through mtb3 will be ok or better stick with uworld since its updated
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Old 04-17-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehtisham View Post
Hello and congratulations on nailing this as well
I have a question hope you can answer that

I have finished medicine gyn/obs and peds books with uworld so its time for surgery and psych .... now about psych there have been some changes DSM 5 (which I have not gone through) so what you think about going through mtb3 will be ok or better stick with uworld since its updated
Well, frankly speaking, you dont have to worry about the changes. (On a personal note, there were so many WTF changes in DSM5, more than a Game of Thrones episode )

UW does have some updated changes, but I dont know how it will affect in the way you diagnose a psychiatry condition. For instance, the exam makes sure to give you all the classical symptoms/signs, and you just recognize the pattern. I didn't memorize a single criteria to diagnose a psych condition, since there are so many, and you will mix them up. No point in doing so, and you shouldnt do them. The way is to have some form of pattern recognition, and know the classic 3-4 symptoms of each. MTB3 is great for Psych, and has most of the information that you need.

With that said, UW has some new disorders not listed in MTB3. Eg Hoarding disorder, and 1 or 2 others. Also, Persistent Bereavement disorder (On a personal note, again thanks to the screwed up DSM. Its such a crappy diagnosis, and difficult to differentiate from normal grief)

So, dont worry about the changes at all. Besides, it will need a few years or so for the question writers to start implementing them. They need to give it time to be absorbed by the medical community, and so many members are already criticizing some of its aspects. Therefore, it doesn't affect the testing strategies that much at this point in time.

Hope that helps.
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Old 04-17-2014
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Thank you for the detailed answer and now enjoy because you deserve every bit of it.
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Old 04-18-2014
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Well done. Congrat with your great score!
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Old 04-20-2014
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CONGRATS..
u should become a writer lol ..beutiful and useful experience !!
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Old 04-20-2014
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Congrats dude

you smashed it
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Old 04-23-2014
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Congrats on your amazing score.
Quick question : did u have a study partner during you preparation and if u did how did u manage it with your personal study?
Also, i am presently reading kaplan IM and MTB 2 simulataneously and doing uworld system -wise after each system reading. This is taking forever and i am getting exhausted. PLS do u think this is a good plan or if not, what do you advice? What do u think REALLY helped you to get a good score?
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Old 04-23-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobi View Post
Quick question : did u have a study partner during you preparation and if u did how did u manage it with your personal study?
Nope. Study partners tend to slow me down. I study well on an individual basis. Not that I am against it, but its just not my preference. The problem is that you and your partner have to be completely in synch with the scheduling, since you cant expect to go forward if your partner is still stuck at the previous topic. Its great in a way that the concepts are reinforced much better when you teach someone, and their recall is much faster. So it has its pros and cons. Decide what suits you best.

Quote:
Also, i am presently reading kaplan IM and MTB 2 simulataneously and doing uworld system -wise after each system reading. This is taking forever and i am getting exhausted. PLS do u think this is a good plan or if not, what do you advice?
I personally don't prefer Kaplan IM. I used it only to refer a few topics here and there, very rarely. I can count the times I opened it, like 5-6 times! Its not arranged properly, and they give you so many crap, you dont know whats important and whats not. So, stick to MTB2, and go the Kaplan IM ONLY if you don't understand something or is confusing.
You should try to finish MTB2 as soon as possible. 2 reads is MORE than enough. Please, dont read it again and again. Its pointless. The key is to do more questions, and understand thoroughly the concepts of UW.

Quote:
What do u think REALLY helped you to get a good score?
I personally have no idea what exactly work! I can just give you a synopsis.

-Being good on Step1 was a plus since so many mechanism and side effects I already knew.
-UW definitely helped a lot. Redoing the wrong questions again and again pin downs the information.
-Having read/watched the videos of Kaplan OBGYN helped me also (I watched them during my medschool years, so it saved me time). That doctor of OBGYN is just amazing!
-On the other hand, Kaplan Peds is just boring, and too much. Dont bother watching the videos. You can skim the book briefly, but I think most information is present in MTB3.
-I made lots of my own mnemonics, and made some of my own charts. These helped.
-Finishing UW faster also helped me alot. I used to do 2 blocks a day in the early morning, and review them till late night, like till 10-11. This also built my stamina.

Finally, family's constant support and endurance, & mom and dad's prayers, since they are among the most important ingredient in any kind of recipe for success!

Oh, also, hard work and perseverance, always pays off!
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  #14  
Old 04-23-2014
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Thank you all for the generous comments. I wish you all the best, and hope my experience can help you all!!!
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Old 04-23-2014
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This is really nice and detailed Thank you so much for all the little points. Can your strategy work for someone like me? (I just made a post here : Starting with 158 score NBME - what to do for 3 months?)

I am starting with a 158 on NBME form I just purchased and did (have not started and this was my baseline, I think it probably should be even lower because of how much I was guessing).

Been out of clinical world for some years now and step 1 was below 200 from then too. I'm not looking for any shortcuts here but I have like 3 months to plan and prepare (have family/spouse/kids but they will be leaving me on lighter duty for this time).
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Old 04-24-2014
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awesome thread man,congrats on being done,just starting my ck prep.picked up a lot of good info for a study plan.
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Old 04-26-2014
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Congrats! Great achievement! Please tell how to deal with 50:50 questions in ck? thanks!
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Old 04-26-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypertension View Post
Congrats! Great achievement! Please tell how to deal with 50:50 questions in ck? thanks!
Thats kinda simple. You go by probability theory, and expect to get 5 questions right from 10. This is by pure chance, and randomness.

You increase your chance of being right by going with the first gut feeling. This tips in your favor, and I think it increases your chances to 60:40.

Finally, re-reading and try to come to the answer is a chance by itself. There is 50:50 chance that you will drift even further from the answer, trying to justify your selection by connecting far away possibilities. Unless you had an epiphany, a moment when the whole case unravels and you say in your head "Of course", then your chances become way higher of getting that right.

So to summarize, in a screwed up way. This is just all theory, and from my personal experience, and I haven't tested it out. But nevertheless, to better orient you:
1: Pure randomness = 50/100
2: Add in gut feeling = 60/100
3. Add in re-reading = Can be 0.5 chance of getting to the right answer or even further away. So, could be 0.5 X 60/100 = 0.3 chance of getting to the right answer or to the wrong answer.
4. Add in an epiphany = 70/100

Simply said, read the question, think of an answer, eliminate, come down to 2 options. That is the place where you stop thinking, and just pick what your gut feeling says. Gut feeling is the first answer choice your mouse pointer inclined to, or you felt it to be right. Then, later on, at the end if you have time, give it a quick re-read. See if you have an epiphany. If not, then leave your answer choice, and hope for the best. Don't change, as the chance of getting to the right answer is only 0.3!!!

Hope it helps. Again, this theory is my own personal that I developed as I did the steps. Didn't accurately test it, but it does hold true in certain aspects.
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  #19  
Old 04-26-2014
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Thank you so much! its indeed a very helpful reply!
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  #20  
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thanks a lot for the lovely review...i enjoyed it and feeling confident the same way i felt after reading ur step 1 exp....and saved it for my step 2 prepgood luck for step 3!
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ConGratz on your awesome score !!!
Thanks a lot for your review about the exam really motivating...
How long did you do the UW qbank ?
What's your opinion in going for a second round... I am planning to do it system-wise
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  #22  
Old 04-28-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmnp View Post
ConGratz on your awesome score !!!
Thanks a lot for your review about the exam really motivating...
How long did you do the UW qbank ?
What's your opinion in going for a second round... I am planning to do it system-wise
Well, it took me around 2 months to get done with UW, and I did it one time. And then review/repeat the wrong/marked questions. Some questions I did 2-3 times, especially neuro. I did always blocks in random/unused/timed format. Thats actually the best way. You build your stamina, and link all regions of medicine, so that you don't have problem in switching from one domain to the other.

Hope that helps!
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Old 11-28-2014
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Congratulations for your score. You used FA step 1? What did you read from it? What can write us about KLN and vídeos?
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  #24  
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Hey congratulations.
so you skipped KLN, well probably because you had taken step 1 recently. So I guess MTB (both) are best the exam.
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Hey congratulations.
so you skipped KLN, well probably because you had taken step 1 recently. So I guess MTB (both) are best the exam.
Yes I skipped most of Kaplan except Obgyn. It doesn't high-yield important stuff. Most of it you can only know by doing questions.
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  #26  
Old 02-21-2015
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I just gave my CK yesterday.though i got 263 in UWSA & 254 in NBME4 ,i m feeling like i have failed.Its so tough than step1.Many ques had 2 right ans.
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Old 02-21-2015
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Can u tell us abt ur step 2 ck experience?

Last edited by shiny_judean; 02-21-2015 at 07:25 PM.
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  #28  
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Quote:
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I just gave my CK yesterday.though i got 263 in UWSA & 254 in NBME4 ,i m feeling like i have failed.Its so tough than step1.Many ques had 2 right ans.
Can u tell us about ur experience?
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  #29  
Old 02-22-2015
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I m totally agreed with above experience.i think only 30% ques were straigt.but most of them r confusing.also many ques were there i had no idae,never seen though i used kaplan note,MTB2& 3,UWQB.i m really worried.
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  #30  
Old 02-22-2015
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I m totally agreed with above experience.i think only 30% ques were straigt.but most of them r confusing.also many ques were there i had no idae,never seen though i used kaplan note,MTB2& 3,UWQB.i m really worried.
Don't be afraid man. Its a normal feeling after CK. Its a nightmare, I know. Worst feeling after the exam. But if you are having this feeling, its a good sign. You will be fine, trust me! This feeling is because of uncertainty, as you haven't seen those questions before. However, it doesn't mean these questions don't use the same concepts as all the other questions in the Qbanks. So if you have applied the same concept that you learnt while doing UW/Assessments, its alright then! The uncertainty is supposed to make you feel like crap. That is what its designed for.

If you came out of the exam and were feeling fine or confident, then there is your problem! That is the feeling that I'll be worried about. Since, that just shows you weren't paying attention and weren't careful. You just answered haphazardly without thinking.

Rest assured. You will tell us a good news after 3 weeks. I can bet on it!
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  #31  
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Yah its nightmare.I could not sleep well last 2 night.I need to start preparation for CS,but i m totally devastated
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  #32  
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Hi, can I ask, the abstracts and drug adds in Uworld for step 3, are they exactly the same as the ones in Uworld for step2? thanks
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