USMLE Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ooook - a thousand things in my head and even though it'd make more sense if I were to wait till my result came in, I know I'm able to recall a whole lot more right now. I sat for the exam yesterday. Like the title here says, I'm not looking at a 90s, of course I've dreamed of it and fantasized about it, but I'm keeping it real, and still have worked hard enough to maybe say I couldn't have done more.

I was an average medical student, never failed and never aced anything. I graduated in June 2009. I was bad at pharmacology and biochemistry, bad enough to not want to take step one first. I have always studied with a a partner and thankfully found an excellent one for this exam as well, she will be taking hers in May. My experience of the exam here is specially for those of us who have other unwanted drama going on in their lives that they must sadly juggle simultaneously, for whom its more than just the passion of a residency.

Skipping all the heart thumping palms sweating forgetting to breathe drama..
It's very very um, proper. You're fingerprinted each time you take a break. You cant take your sweatshirt off half way thru a block, pockets emptied each time. You all know that already.

Time management is key - I've always had 15 minutes at the end at least to review, and I was pressed for time each block except the first. I'd been expecting long long questions because that's what all the recent test takers had experienced, but my test had one liners, yes actual one liners much more than anything above 7 lines. UW questions are on average much longer I felt.

Endocrinology and Reproductive are underrated.
Cardiology and Neurology are overrated.
3 audio questions, none really required the audio.
Waaay too many psych questions, I was always stuck between 2 choices.
**** loads of pharma, never straight forward. Less micro than I expected.

I regret to inform you, specially if like me you suck at biochem yet spent too many days learning the metabolism etc - there was ONE question asking about an enzyme. I felt like kicking myself thinking of the days I spent trying to ''understand" or hell even memorize those pathways. So yes, biochem, not so much.

Genetics - lots. Molecular, lots. Very few straightforward memory type questions. They don't ask you about confidence intervals, they ask you what it means if the value of 1 falls within. No calculation of PPV or specificity etc, they give you 4 tables ask you to compare. They asked about Rett's, Tourette's, Turner's and Klinefilter without ONCE using any syndrome name. You know what I mean?
Defects of Elastin Fibrillin Collagen - many times. Yes, vitamins. No ECGs. Nothing on IHD, lots of anti-anginals. The amount of pharm on there was a nightmare - I thought of sitting thru pharm lectures in college back home and wondering if this would really matter. Well - sigh, it did.

Before you ask, yes First Aid covered a lot. But no, you cannot expect to pass on it alone because they don't teach you how to really read and answer a question. You know what I mean?

I took a break after each block, I don't know how people are able to do two in a row. I wasn't able to eat, quick smoke, sip coke MNMs hug my friend run back in fingerprint and start. I recommend a helpful soul go along, mine loved me enough to wait out the 8 hours, sitting in her car exhaling when I'd run out.

I want to say a lot more but given how volatile my studying has been, I don't want to mislead anyone. I can only wait till my result is in and then share more of how it was. It was a good feeling knowing there was not a single question to which I thought Dammit I shoulda revised this, or that. Yet there wasn't a single question to which I said aaaallright. Well, there was one that made me smile - ALA synthase> glycine and succinyl coA. I almost cried with joy One line! Thats all that was.

I'd done webpath for neuro cardio GI resp and nephro and hemat. That was enough. Few MRIs and CTs, few slides.
Mostly, a question started with a very clinical scenario give you all the readings but ask you a question about the defect. YOU need to read between the lines and the numbers - a chick who's 6'3'' and thin with chest pain? defect? possible complication?

heteroplasmy? ID the pattern? that kind of stuff.

Reading questions has to be half the art. USE the strike out and highlighter option. I did, SOO helps you focus. Easier to review as well. Time management I cannot stress enough.

Everyone here says pray pray pray. I wish I'd started earlier, and I know I'm doing it till the result. Please don't waste time trying to get people around you to cooperate, most just don't get it. And before you get awed by other people's success, know your limitations, work WITH them and ON them. I should have worked more on my pharm, my denial continued...

One more thing - I kid you not, I have a stack of stuff I printed out off the internet, High Yield this and High Yield that - 80% of which I never got time to go thru. Please stick to Kaplan and First Aid and UW or Rx or one question source. I'm telling you, my stack of stuff? Its like 3 printer cartridges and 4 stacks of paper. Don't

I'm sure people could have aced this same exam, I just gave it all I had and I hope and pray I pass. I wish you all luck and hope to share a decent score with you.

Please don't ask me about NBME's - I sucked miserably and don't want to talk about it :}


47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you - now if only the men controlling our scores would be that generous: We're handing out 90's for a, you deserve a sticky :)
I'm going to admit - its been VERRRRY hard being able to do anything at all since the exam. I've been reminded of a question every few hours that I got wrong. I tried catching up on sleep but when all you dream/nightmare about is getting the score, well - it sucks.
I owe plenty to this forum. I wanted to give back by sharing how my exam went, and I'm hoping to have more to say once I get a good score.
But in the meanwhile, yes - I wrote something that became a sticky!! That IS something to smile about :}

919 Posts
thx for yr awesome post.

read the whole thing twice. felt my heart race. can almost feel how u felt. can definitely understand how u can't sleep well now. i think about it too sometimes. doing the exam and all is nerve wrecking enough, but how the HEY am i supposed to go out and enjoy myself after the exam?? what with the 326 questions running in yr mind.:)

anyways, wishing u best of luck dude. hope u sleep well soon.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.