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Old 04-23-2014
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Default Starting with 158 score NBME - what to do for 3 months?

So I see a lot of people doing amazing scores on exam results days. Can you help me with a plan?

I'm an IMG and took Step 1 before (more than 2.5 years before) that and got a 195 3 digit score then on 2nd attempt.

I purchased NBME form 4 timed and got a score of 158 (3 digit) and nbme score of 230. I have not begun my CK prep and have been away from clinic science for over 2.5 years now.

Other background, have to plan on taking care of kids/spouse but will get some family support in meantime.

I read some exam experiences (with Kaplan Lecture Notes & MTB & UW) here and not sure if that same approach is good for someone with weak scores already. Looks like a lot of people had strong or recent step 1 backgrounds too.

Should I review step 1 again? I took the NBME form 4 for CK without any prep and just going with my lucky guess. I had no clue about most of the questions and it seemed like a lot of it was from basic sciences and that was a long time ago.

I have 3 months and then will take Step 2CS but don't know how to squeeze step 1 & ck prep together. I want to apply for residency this year in September but I can't fail but pass with something better than step 1 would be better.

How realistic is it to get over passing with a 158 to start with? The score is now 203 yes to pass? So that is over 45-50 points improvement needed JUST to pass but sounds scary if I am hoping to improve by 70 points to be safe.

Should I buy Step 1 UW online with the new First Aid Step 1 or maybe use Goljan or just join a real live Kaplan or Online course for Step 2? I will spend whatever needed to not take any shortcut because already spent this much with school and exams and I can't quit but I need something realistic to plan and study for the next 3 months starting now.

I feel out of touch with the medical community these years and could use some motivation and advice. Thanks for any ideas!

Last edited by jasha; 04-23-2014 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 04-23-2014
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What you need to do:

1) believe in yourself. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

2) kaplan lecture notes and kaplan Qbank +/- Videos

3) MTB 2 for IM and 3 for OBGYN, PEDS, SURGERY, PSYCH.

4) Uworld

i'm no expert but i think if you stick to these sources you can get your target score. Read every single word in UW and Kaplan q bank.

Also 3 months is not a lot of time. having kids is tough but you have to use whatever time you have wisely.

2) can be done in a month. take a NBME 2 or 3 then. if you get to at least 180-190 (smile and tell yourself you got this.), i'd skip Kaplan videos and go straight to MTB2/3.

Finish one read of MTB and review wrong questions From Kaplan Qbank (3 weeks tops). Take another NBME 2 or 3, you'll probably improve a couple more points (smile some more)

Then jump straight to UW which can be done in another month if you do 2 blocks a day (10hours a day). Remember READ every sentence of UW. Then take NBME 6 when you're at 50% of UW. by this time you should be able to pass the nbme.

No the most important thing in your last weeks is to fix you weakness. and paying attention to the questions your get wrong and figure out if you're not understand the concept or just lack of memory or reading comprehension or whatever.. FIX that

Take your last assessment UWSA.

and just like that. you can get at least 210.

Good luck..
2015 grad , Step 1-[X], Step 2CK [X], Step 2 CS [X] , Step 3 [X], MATCHED IM 2015. PGY-1 to Infinity.

Last edited by mdsoon; 04-23-2014 at 02:17 PM.
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jasha (04-23-2014)
Old 04-23-2014
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Thanks for the encouragement and for writing back! Luckily, my family is going to give me some major slack but don't want to ignore the kids too much. I think I will buy UW and Kaplan Q bank like you said and purchase the other self assessments = that much will be for certain. Now the basic theory part

So like 1/4 or 1/2 day of reading books/videos and the remainder with step 1/2ck questions?

Do the Lecture Notes or MTB books give good basic science background? I have to check kaplan's schedule with when the next live course is and I know there is an online ready to start option there also. I know I will not learn everything all at once but how much reading vs questions? I was considering to maybe set aside the lecture notes to rest my eyes and save that for questions and maybe watch the videos instead? I'm not sure if I can do videos and all the books and 2 question banks (maybe 3 if I choose to do step 1 UW) in 3 months. Unless the lecture note is more complete than the videos. I saw a poll and most said the videos are not helpful but if you are far behind then that is something else maybe.

To me at least with NBME 4, still had me guessing on old Step 1 pathophysiology and other subjects from step 1 and I'm sure I could have done some things better if I remembered some of the key points of each disease. 2 years of nonmedical exposure made me forget a lot. Most of the time my mind was wandering back to how much I forgot. I think my low step 1 foundation is coming to bite me again.

I am wondering if I should just buy and read the Step 1 explanations from UW (just to read the explanations in the subject or system) mode to maybe refresh my mind and skip anything that is too Step 1 focused. I don't know if I could do that and then use UW by subject and add onto what I was reading from basic sciences.

3 months doesn't seem like a lot as you said to put 2 or 3 revisions of UW if it is going to take 10 hours/day to do 100? I forgot to even figue that in perspective when counting the days ahead and that is kind of scary! I might need to drop a resource if this could be the case and I know questions are absolutely important. Sorry for my babbling. I hope to come with a good plan soon and then stick to it. This kind of talk helps. Thanks for the suggestions!

My goal and I'll be happy with a 220 but like you said a 210 is okay too but so close to that passing mark!
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Old 04-24-2014
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Humble request for a little more feedback before I start my serious studying
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