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USMLE Step 3 Forum USMLE Step 3 Discussion Forum: Let's talk about anything related to USMLE Step 3 exam


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  #1  
Old 05-30-2013
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Smile Step 3! The final chapter

Being an IMG, giving Step 3 prior to the Residency application was high up on my agenda. Step 3 is a “tough nut” especially considering the fact that you can’t sit down to study for it, without doing any clinical attachment/research/residency with it simultaneously. But as every exam, it can be mastered. This post is only intended to motivate people and share my experiences with those who plan on giving the exam soon. I am a student of medicine, who genuinely struggled in coming to terms with the exam, despite IM internship and residency experience from back home (Pakistan).

I started my exam prep in Jan 13’ and started a clinical externship (9 to 5) in Detroit with it. I gave a read to MTB 3 (which I had not used in the past for CK). For people who have already done it, its a head start. Then, I went through the online pool of UWorld MCQ’s (timed, unused, random) and I ended up with an average of 73 %. Most MCQ’s tested avenues that are difficult to find out plainly in MTB or any other review book. Good background knowledge acquired during internship or residency really does pay off. I annotated my MTB 3 alongwith the UWorld, so it was a little time consuming, but it totally paid off. Then I went through the first 3 hours of Archer videos for CCS to get some orientation regarding the software. I followed it with the readouts and simulated cases of UWorld CCS cases. I returned to my MTB 3 and gave it a second read which was quicker and better due to the annotations. I then decided to gauge myself before booking a date (I am a little obsessive about it), and I gave online NBME form 3 and got a 670 (the same as my Step 1 and Step 2 CK), but I wasn’t too sure, given the negative feedback about the accuracy of Step 3 assessments. I did UWSA, the very next day and got a 660 (250), and it helped a lot in giving me some confidence. But again, for scores as high as 250, the CCS part becomes a tie breaker. I tried to make a mnemonic for CCS cases so that I don’t miss out the basic stuff like activity, diet, dispo and that helped as well during the exam.

As for the exam experience itself, I found that the first day was pretty rough. The stems were long and all 7 blocks had either an abstract or a drug ad. But UWorld definitely helped, especially the annotated points on MTB. The UWorld really lacked in EKG’s and imaging, because it was heavily tested on the original exam. But I came out satisfied after the first day. I had a break in between because of a local holiday on campus at University of Toledo. But I would definitely NOT recommend a day off on between the exam days because it makes you really anxious, and you can not study anyway. I decided to practice sme CCS cases but they were getting pretty monotonous. As for the second day, the MCQ’s were a lot shorter and easier than the second day. The CCS cases were a little more complex than the ones in UWorld. The consult answers were definitely better and more focussed than in UWorld. Timing was not an issue, and I followed my routine on not missing out basic stuff. But I did mess up the first two cases really badly (In fact, in one I thought I killed the patient, and it ended abruptly in 5 minutes). But after this bad start, I guess I did quite well alhamdolillah in the rest of the cases. I came out with more than an hour of break time in store. I was very very nervous due to the 2 bad CCS cases. And as I got the result last night, I was really happy to get a 237 (alhamdolillah).

Here is what I think, are the main points that I came to know after the exam:

1) Your MCQ practice definitely needs to be timed from day 1... Timing is key!!
2) CCS though only 20 % of the total score, can mess up your score if your MCQ part is good. A good CCS can not compensate for a poor MCQ because of its percentage.
3) Get a good amount of practice for Xrays and EKG’s. It pays off!
4) A good observership/externship definitely helps you in understanding the approach to CCS cases.
5) Self assessment exams are a decent predictor of the MCQ portion of the exam, but CCS can spice things up a bit.
6) At the end of the day, most questions test your background working knowledge that you have learnt from the previous boards and your clinical experiences in hospital. These clinical “knee jerk responses” can not be changed to a big extent.

All the best guys. I hope that you people do well...
Will be happy to be of any help out and answer questions, if anyone has them.
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The above post was thanked by:
aaru20 (05-30-2013), add1 (06-04-2013), appu (07-22-2013), biyaa (09-27-2013), blueangel (04-05-2014), Cairo (04-05-2014), Dr.NickRiviera (04-27-2014), dr.Zh (04-04-2014), drzamzam (03-03-2017), K06100 (05-30-2013), marina99 (05-30-2013), nancynaguib (04-30-2014), nishaa (09-12-2013), observe (06-26-2013), oraiby (05-30-2013), samreen154 (07-12-2013), stepdoc1 (05-30-2013), sumedha (04-07-2014), XpaezX (05-30-2013)



  #2  
Old 05-30-2013
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hey..congratulations on your score..that's an excellent score for step 3..my question is how much time should one devote to step 3 preparation right after giving step 2 ck..is 1.5-2 months enough or more is required..? thanks in advance
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  #3  
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Yeah 1.5 to 2 months would be enough because most of your clinical knowledge would be fresh. You would just need to get a hold of CCS and do the MCQ's..
Good luck!!
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  #4  
Old 05-30-2013
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Addendum:
As a CCS prep tip, I also wrote down my basic steps for CCS on the laminated sheet before starting my CCS. That helped me to make sure that I had done the essentials in every case
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asad8723 View Post
Addendum:
As a CCS prep tip, I also wrote down my basic steps for CCS on the laminated sheet before starting my CCS. That helped me to make sure that I had done the essentials in every case
I was about to write you regarding this: what exactly did you write down on the laminated sheet? Can you pls. give me an example?

Congrats on your score and for being done with USMLE! all the best in your career!
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Old 05-30-2013
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I made these points (pardon my bad memory now because I gave the exam more than 2 months ago) for myself, based on what I observed in UWorld and Archer. Everyone has his/her own points. I had the following general points in mind:

Activity (bed rest etc.)
Consult
Control of symptoms (nausea, pain etc.)
Diet
Dispo (Home, outpatient, ER, ICU)
DVT prophylaxis
Followup of disease process (CBC in infection, Chem panel in metabolic issues etc)
Healthcare maintenance (pap, colono, mammo etc.)
Vaccination

And then I had several points for pre op and post op management of patients....
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2013
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Default When to start CCS prep

Addendum # 2:
I did CCS at a relatively later stage of my exam prep, when I was done with UWorld MCQ's.
But I think that the best way to do CCS is with the MCQ's because it helps you mature yourself in the software. You can make better sequences for yourself and when you annotate your MTB3, you can always add CCS tips as well.
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2013
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WOW, what a wonderful post and experience, congratulations! that is a MONSTER of a score and you will match in whatever you want im sure !

Thanks for sharing your tips
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  #9  
Old 05-30-2013
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Default My pleasure

Its all His Mercy and Grace!!
Its my pleasure to be of any help if I could.
Wishing the best for you all
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2014
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asad you and your brains..
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  #11  
Old 04-06-2014
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Default hi

hi...thanks for posting ur exp and congrats.... i am planning to start my step 3 preparation soon...i am planing to do MTB3 and usmle world....is that enough?....i want to finish my preparation in one month...thanks in advance...
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  #12  
Old 04-07-2014
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Default congrats bro

any chance you can tell us exact total study time. how many hours and how many days for your total preparation time....thanks
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Old 04-23-2014
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I like the thread and it is wonderful.
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  #14  
Old 04-30-2014
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Thank you so mush for writing such a detailed experience. Your post shows us how much hard work you have put for this "last chapte"r and it definitely paid you off really well. Congratulations!! I wish you all the luck for your future endeavors.
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