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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm an IMG, graduated in june of last year, and did my Step 1 3 weeks ago after around 8 months of prep.

Score came out today and I'm very pleased to find it's a 246

Below are my practice test results with some comments.

Uworld avg correct: 76% (but I think this is completely irrelevant)
UWSA 1: 240 (5 weeks out); 75% correct
UWSA 2: 250 (4 weeks out); 80% correct (I think both UWSA overestimate)
NBME 11: 232 (3 weeks out); 84.5% correct (31 mistakes out of 200) (i had to guess 2 questions because I only had 10 seconds to answer each, I would've gotten them right if I had the time. Also I made many silly mistakes attributable to over-thinking.)
NBME 12: 241 (3 weeks out, next day); 88% (24 mistakes out of 200)
NBME 13: 239 (2 weeks out); 86% (28 mistakes out of 200)
NBME 15: 249 (2 weeks out, next day); 89.5% (21 mistakes out of 200)
NBME 16: 260 (1 week out); 92% (16 mistakes out of 200)
NBME 17: 245 (1 week out, next day); 89% (22 mistakes out of 200)
USMLE STEP 1 Sample Practice test: 88% correct (3 days out); This was most similar to the actual exam.

All my exams were done online.

Questions on UWSA are tougher than NBMEs, but the grading curve is so much more strict on NBMEs.

To be honest when I did my first NBME I was caught off guard by how easy many of the questions were. I overanswered on many questions and I also had poor time management because I wasn't used to the really long question stems.

Luck is a factor, but more than anything instinct plays a huge role in determining how much your grade can swing.
This is why it's important to be well rested, and confident in your answers.

As far as changing answers goes, I would say 45-50% of the answers I change would be from wrong to right, and 50-55%% from right to wrong, so it doesn't make a huge difference.
More importantly, I found that when I was confused between 2 answers, the assumption that the question is easy lead to more correct answers than assuming there is a really twisted trick in the question.
So what I'm saying is, for the tough questions that can go either way, unless you are sure that there is a trick in the question, you should pick the simpler answer that would be more commonly picked.
Do not assume there is a trick. Either you know there's a trick, and you see it; or there isn't a trick, and you shouldn't be making a silly mistake.

Time management and endurance are critical on the actual exam. Fatigue plays a role in making more mistakes than you otherwise would have. So does rushing questions because you are running short on time.
You should aim to have at least 3 minutes to review each section, even if you don't change any answers.


Long question stems are more frequent on the actual exam than on UWSA's or NBME's, and this is to be expected with the change they've made to the number of questions per section (44q per section instead of 46q).

I prepped for 8 months using First AID (but not religiously memorizing, only multiple readings), Uworld qbank, pathoma and the online exams.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What date did you take your exam on??? When did you get the result.
Congrats on the nice score.... All the best in your future
took it thursday june 25
got the result today.

I thot for sure since it says 3-4 weeks and I know results usually come out on wednesdays that I would get mine next wednesday. But to my pleasant surprise I got the result today (so technically 2 weeks and 6 days since my exam)

I was going to be happy with whatever I got. I was expecting something in the range of 235-245, so I'm pretty happy with the result.
 

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congrats on the brilliant score. it looks like your approach was systematic and efficient.
I'd like to know what you were doing in between nbme's, were you strictly tackling your weak areas in nbmes? or general revisions?
Also, what have you done in the last month? And did you do UW once or twice, and how long before the exam did you revise UW?
thanks a lot and congrats again.
Goodluck with the CK!
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience. This is a very useful one.
Please if you can elaborate a little on what you did during the last 3-4 weeks to improve your NBME scores from early 230s to mid 240s.
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
in my last month, I had a choice of re-reading first aid start to finish, or doing pathoma (I had only done around 10% of it)

I chose to continue pathoma, and focus on expanding what I know. And I also extended my qbank by a month and redid my incorrect questions.

I did not have time to redo marked questions.

Correcting NBMEs is easy, all you need is google and you are bound to find the question and it's solution posted somewhere with an explanation. I recommend you give yourself a second shot at an answer before you look up the question (i.e. try to look up the fact they are testing in your study materials before looking up the question and its answer)

You need to find and fill the gaps in your knowledge and understanding.
Many people focus on strengthening their memory, and I personally think that's a mistake. The exam is not recitation or open answer. It is multiple choice. And sometimes examiners like to use your memory against you to try to trick you into choosing an incorrect answer.

The more questions you solve, the more tricks you see and learn from.
At the same time, questions will expose if you have forgotten or don't know much about a specific topic.

Finally, understand that it is a standardized exam graded against other medical students. If you want to score competitively, you have to do better than them.

So as you can see from my NBMEs, really practically out of 200 questions, 84.5% vs. 88% correct seems like there's not much difference. But it makes a huge difference in score, because the curve is pretty tight. Every question counts so you need to be focused throughout. In my first NBME, I was really very relaxed and mellow especially at the beginning. I made a lot of silly mistakes. I thought I was doing great lol, and was happy with 84.5% correct, but I realized I need to do even better and really bring the silly mistakes down to a minimum. You do NOT want to get questions you should have gotten right, wrong!

The good thing is that, over 7 sections, I believe randomness/luck do get minimized to an extent, especially if you are focused throughout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Congrats ......please tell more about questions lenght as i am generally able to finish uworld block 5 mins before but i think thats not enough
There are more long questions on the actual exam than on UWSA. But a long question doesn't necessary take a lot of time. The tricky questions you need to spend time thinking about, those take time. You need to learn to go with your gut, mark it and come back to it later if you are spending too much time on it.

I think finishing a uworld block 5 minutes in advance is good enough. Practice doing that for several sections in a row though.
 

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new questions

What kind of questions did you get ?
anything new in terms of Xray /Ct scan or heart sounds/audio or photographs.?
Did the ask more questions from a particular topic more ?
And are the questions very similar to uworld ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for ur feed back .....i did uworld timed tutor and mixed and only left with two blocks now , i know i should have done it timed alone but do u think it will effect my speed
I did uworld in subject based, untimed tutor mode. It doesn't matter. I was able to practice my timing with all the self assessments.

You have to be confident to score the best you can. Everyone at some point is vulnerable to feeling like they don't know anything or like they forgot all the material or didn't prepare well enough. Get rid of these thoughts.

Anything goes when it comes to the questions they ask on the exam. They could be really easy, they could be really hard, they could have nothing to do with your prep. Only one thing is certain: your score is relative to other people's scores. Which means your score depends on:
1) How well you've prepped compared to other people, which includes how much you paid attention during medical school lectures not just how many resources you used for this exam
2) How smart/lucky you are at the time of the exam. Which includes how confident you are, how focused you are, and how much you are on your game on exam day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What kind of questions did you get ?
anything new in terms of Xray /Ct scan or heart sounds/audio or photographs.?
Did the ask more questions from a particular topic more ?
And are the questions very similar to uworld ?
You get all kinds of questions (everything you mentioned)

Topics are varied (anything goes, some questions aren't even testing medical knowledge)

Questions are most similar to the step 1 practice exam on the ecfmg website.

Uworld concentrates hard "thinking" questions. The exam has a bit less of those and more easy "recall" questions than uworld but easy questions aren't exactly easy and will also cost you if you get them wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There is nothing scary about the exam. If you want to know what questions are like, they are similar to the free step 1 practice test on the usmle website.

Score interpretation doesn't change. It's still a standardized score regardless of the number of questions. 246 is about 1 standard deviation above the mean. If you don't know what this means u have to study abit more biostatistics before you take the exam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
USMLE STEP 1 Sample Practice test: 88% correct (3 days out); This was most similar to the actual exam.

What do you mean by most similar? Are you talking about the pattern or score prediction?
Most similar in the sense of question difficulty and question style, which probably translates (though there's no way of telling) into similar % correct.
 
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