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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am planning to take 'the exam' in the last week of December. So I have roughly about 3 months to go. I am employed elsewhere so till now have not been able to do much just have glanced through many HY areas once and done about 30% of qbank off and on. I tried my luck at NBME and that burst my balloon big time as I scored 340 :eek: I am an old timer, have self assessed profound weaknesses in newer areas such as cell biology, molecular genetics, biochemistry etc etc. What should I do? I will appreciate any help on this. I feel lost and confused as it seems medical science has left me ashore and set sails to a distant land.
 

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Take it seriously

Dear shade grown,

I hate to tell you that you are definitely on the wrong track. The USMLE Step 1 exam is not to be taken lightly. It requires complete dedication specially for old graduates. It's not a joke to remember all those biochemistry and anatomy details.

You have to allocate a good amount of time for complete closed off studying for this exam. You have to rely on high yield books such as Kaplan Lecture Notes and/or First Aid. Then after finishing the books you have to hit on thousands of questions such as Kaplan Qbank, USMLE World, and USMLE Consult.

I know several friends who have followed your path exactly (busy with a job and fragmented reading) and (hate to say this) they failed the exam.

The proof that you are going to fail is your NBME score.

You have to start reading at least 4 hours per day and 6 hours on the weekends and plan on taking at least one month vacation right before the exam, otherwise it won't work.
 

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It is a tough exam - but we are here for you to help you. Please don't take these suggestions the wrong way - they are meant to be supportive to help you come up with a realistic plan. I know even though I'm still in school even 10-12 hours a day is insufficient for me if its only 1 month, unless your basic principles are rock solid - and like lee-usmle said only an nbme can tell you that - you're going to have to set aside some time.

Decide if it really is something you want to do then, if you're sure, you're looking at about a year or so of torture... but there are good people with good advice here for you if you should ever need it.
 

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I would highly recommend having a study schedule in place. I know it's tough trying to study for step 1 while working, but it's VERY important that you secure a good 3,4 hours per day (weekdays) for step 1 study (not to mention that longer hours are needed during the weekends).

Once you have a study plan going, then I would get the materials asap. The general consensus is to get FA, UW and Goljan. Those 3 are the ones that I used for the majority of my step 1 review and they are GOLD!!! I felt my test had a lot of molecular bio/genetics, so I suppose that you can get a separate book (e.g. HY, BRS) for that. It may help!Also make sure you do more NBMEs as a measure of progression.

I think you're rather pressed for time, so it's going to be tough! Hope you can pull it off!!

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hello and thanks...more info

Thank you Lee, Kabir, and Jerry,

No i am not going to take it the wrong way. You guys are only trying to help and I am really thankful for that. Well, I will get two months off from work so I will be studying hard during that time and this one month or so I think I can definitely devote 5-6 hours a day. My goal is to get around 85th percentile...not a 99er for sure (could not be if given 12 months to do it). I have a built a war chest of books and materials that is more intimidating than helping at this point. I will be really thankful if someone can suggest how to go about it: I am listing stuff available to me.
1. BRS Physio
2. BRS Path
3. Goljan Audio
5. Goljan Audio Transcript
6. Goljan path book
7. Kaplan 2008 : all books
8. Q book/ Q bank online
9. First Aid
10. BRS behavioral science
11. HY Gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, embryology, BS, acid-base etc etc
12. BRS Cell Biology
13. Ridiculous Micro book
14. Lippincolt Pharmacology/Biochemistry
15. Medessentials Kaplan
16. Pharmacology flash cards

As you can see i just went to internet and bought everything people suggested. and now I am drowning in books. Now I have read HY embryology, BRS path and Physio, first four chapters of the BRS cell biology and half of biochem and micro. I want to read biochem and genetics from Kaplan as Lippincolt biochem seems beyond me. Could any of you help me tailor a plan for the upcoming exam. I know I am asking for too much but I am desperate. Thanks a ton.
 

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Thank you Lee, Kabir, and Jerry,

No i am not going to take it the wrong way. You guys are only trying to help and I am really thankful for that. Well, I will get two months off from work so I will be studying hard during that time and this one month or so I think I can definitely devote 5-6 hours a day. My goal is to get around 85th percentile...not a 99er for sure (could not be if given 12 months to do it). I have a built a war chest of books and materials that is more intimidating than helping at this point. I will be really thankful if someone can suggest how to go about it: I am listing stuff available to me.
1. BRS Physio
2. BRS Path
3. Goljan Audio
5. Goljan Audio Transcript
6. Goljan path book
7. Kaplan 2008 : all books
8. Q book/ Q bank online
9. First Aid
10. BRS behavioral science
11. HY Gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, embryology, BS, acid-base etc etc
12. BRS Cell Biology
13. Ridiculous Micro book
14. Lippincolt Pharmacology/Biochemistry
15. Medessentials Kaplan
16. Pharmacology flash cards

As you can see i just went to internet and bought everything people suggested. and now I am drowning in books. Now I have read HY embryology, BRS path and Physio, first four chapters of the BRS cell biology and half of biochem and micro. I want to read biochem and genetics from Kaplan as Lippincolt biochem seems beyond me. Could any of you help me tailor a plan for the upcoming exam. I know I am asking for too much but I am desperate. Thanks a ton.
Here's where'd I'd start:

- Read the Kaplan books and watch the videos and put notes in the books.
- Get First Aid 2010 and start reading that everyday. What you are reading in Kaplan, is what you should be reading in First Aid.
- Buy USMLErx.com step 1 questions. You need to be doing at least 30 questions a night. Pick the questions from the subject that you were stuyding. This helps re-enforce what you are trying to learn. As well, make notes in your first aid from the explanations from the question bank.

Go buy blank flashcards and make your own Pharmacologoy flashcards.
On the front put the drug, on the back but the mechanism it says in first aid and side effects and what it is used for.

You need to study these pharm flashcards every day until you know them cold. There will be plenty of cards so do about 10 a day until you get comfortable and then increase when they start sinking in. There's no trick to pharm, its just plain memorizing.

BRS Physiology- Get book to use. Its the only one to use. If you know this book and do chapter by chapter and do the quesitons after each chapter you will do really well.

Kaplan Anatomy book: You really only need to know a few things. Since thats only what they test on the exam.
- Brachial Plexus (upper body)
- heart
- ct scans of the abdomin
- lower body- as in Nerves (tib, fib, fem, obu, ect.)

For Neuro- buy the book USMLE Roadmap Neuroanatomy.
Best book by far and the pictures in there will be on the exam, so know the parts.

Behavioral sci- just do First Aids. Know the definitions, the rest is common sense.
For math, know Sensitivity, Specificty. odds ratio (the 1st couple pages in first aid)

The main thing... Do questions and lots of them. USMLErx, and once you get through everything, switch to USMLEworld to finish it off.

December will come quick, so you have very little down time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sounds like a plan?

My subject wise plan was this: I need some validation from you guys since you know so much and then I can get back to the business/
PeeWee, thanks for your input_I dont have Kaplan Videos though just the notes..

Embryology+ Neuroanatomy~ High Yield
Gross Anatomy~ FA
BS~BRS
Biochem and Genetics~ Kaplan
Physiology~BRS
Path~BRS
Pharmac~ Confused! Kaplan or Lippincolt?~ Please suggest
Micro~confused ! Ridiculous or Kaplan?

FA+Qbank+Qbook+(UW in last two months)

Thats all I can do I think realistically (my goals is to get anything between 80-90), please let me know if this sounds OK and what can be tweaked. Thanks All. I hope to stay engaged and at some point be able to help other as I am being helped.
 
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