View Full Version : USMLE Board Reviews
08-13-1999, 07:48 PM
I would like recommendations for good USMLE board review books.
Are there any that would better in the context of being a DO student?
'Old Man Dave'
KCOM, Class of '03
08-13-1999, 09:02 PM
I noticed that you are class of 2003, and my question to you is this: why are you worrying about a USMLE board review book if your not going to take the exam for another two years?? The best "review" for you at this point in your early career is to do well in your course work, and to understand the material that is presented. Just relax, enjoy your first year of med school, do well, and learn all you can. While your enthusiasm can be appreciated, board review books should be the last thing on your mind. Trust me, unless your a complete moron, you don't need two years to study for the USLME. A few months of good studying during your second year should be more than enough.
08-13-1999, 09:05 PM
Dave: The following is from a page I wrote on Medicalstudent.net, in the medical student--> board review section. I also have a load of other links to USMLE sites on this particular page.
Board Exams: USMLE Step 1
OK, you've been to college for 4 years and medical school for 2. Now you
put your knowledge to the test... it's time to take USMLE Step 1.
Feared by many medical students, the USMLE stops relatively few in their
tracks. Most pass. Way over 90% do consistently, especially among
students attending US medical schools.
It is hard, though. It was the hardest exam I've ever taken. The MCAT
paled in comparison.
Step 1 barrage of basic science grilling. About half of it is stuff which
everyone should know though the deviant minds of USMLE test writers
make all of the questions difficult to answer. Most questions are straight
multiple choice up to A through K or more). There is often 1 paragraph to
1 question, unlike many of the popular review books which have one case
scenario with many questions referring to it. It is very time pressured, and it
fries the minds of all who take it.
Though there is really no secret to passing it, most US medical students
agree on a few things:
1. Don't wait until the last minute to study, although you can sometimes get
away with it and pass if you are smart. A good strategy is to start reviewing
a little bit every night up to 1 year before you take the test. Try to schedule
it so you have 1 month (or at least 2 weeks) off before the exam.
2. Use "First Aid for the Boards: USMLE Step 1" to study for the test.
Memorize every "high yield fact" in this book. Do not use it as a sole
reference, but as a coordinator and springboard to direct your studies.
3. Do some questions in the weeks or months prior to the test (NMS and
Appleton and Lange have the best books for this).
It takes 6-8 weeks to get your scores back. And that time sucks. Everyone
thinks they flunked the test... you'll inevitably go back and try to do
questions in your mind, and everyone you remember will be wrong. I'd tell
you not to do this, but I and everyone else did. My advice is just to chill as
much as you can. Try not to think about it. If you fail, you can take it again,
and a majority of those who take it a second time PASS!
Hope this helps!
Jim Henderson, MD of Medicalstudent.net
08-13-1999, 09:08 PM
I disagree with a previous post regarding early preparation:
If you get the First Aid For Step 1 now, it will help you focus on relavent topics. THere are critics that say the stuff is too basic... not enough info for your classes...
right... but that's not my point. My point is the book is an excellent nucleus and provides focus to basic science study. It by no means is all you need to know, but if you focus on that stuff now, and make it the little tiny core of the mass of knowledge you will have in two years, you will rock the boards!
Jim Henderson, MD of Medicalstudent.net
08-14-1999, 05:50 AM
Hmmm...you are quite the master of observation! The point of my question was a blatant lead into a discussion...not purely as "advice". I could have EASILY obtained this information privately without inviting criticisms from the floor.
Besides, advanced preparation and planning have served me very well to this point in life. Therefore, I think it most prudent to continue.
'Old Man Dave'
KCOM, Class of '03
08-14-1999, 08:08 AM
Ask upper classmen what are the good board review books for each basic science class and use it conjunction with the assigned text and course notes. For example, I liked BRS for anatomy, psych, physiology, and neuro. BRS is a little too light for path, but is okay. Lippincott's is good for pharm and biochem. Clinical Micro Made Ridiculously Simple for micro is great. Read and outline these books while taking the class; then when board prep time rolls around (you can reasonably prepare in about 1 month) go back through them. Answer all the practice questions in each book...many authors who submit test questions to the boards also write board review books--do you get my drift? If you discover that you're not real big on lecture attendance, don't waste your $$ on a board prep class. One month of 8 hour days will leave you in good stead for the boards and allow you to tailor your studying to your own strengths and weaknesses.
Oh, for OMM: "Except OMT" is a must. Another important OMM book you should try to secure is the pocket version of Easy OMT--great pictures.
Dr. Hendersen is correct: Just studying board review books is not the way to ace the boards. A solid performance in the first two years of medical schools is the absolute best preparation you can get.
[This message has been edited by drusso (edited August 14, 1999).]
08-14-1999, 01:37 PM
The above suggestions are generally sound, integrating board prep during the pre-clinical years can be advantageous.
In addition, I would recommend doing as many practice questions as possible, eg NMS Review For USMLE Step 1 (and 2).
Check out the Underground Clinical Vignettes by the same authors as First Aid. The Family Practice review by Swansen or Swenson (?) were beneficial for Comlex 1 and 2.
With the increased clinical emphasis on 1, it helps to use some of the board prep for 2.
Personally, I think that you are on the right track by looking well ahead.
08-15-1999, 06:13 AM
I opted not to take the USMLE. I decided to stick to the COMLEX. UHS scheduled us three weeks off to study. Prior to that time I attended the school sponsored reviews. Some of the lecturers read to us straight from board review books. During my time off, I memorized "First Aid For The USMLE". I also read the Kaplan review books for the bigger subjects like path., pharm, micro., etc. By the way I didn't spend any money on these books. I got them from an upper classman. This brings us to ODT. If you can find someone who has taken or will take the Northwestern Board Review, see if they will let you study their ODT review. Dr. Dale Pratt-Harrington wrote it. It is about 40 pages long and covers the majority of what you will see on the boards for ODT. This plan of review may not suit everyone, but it worked for me.
08-15-1999, 10:10 AM
I heard of Northwestern review too. Can you give more input regarding the NW review?
Also, does anyone know about Dr Youel's review?
08-15-1999, 01:11 PM
what criteria does one use to decide whether or not to take the USMLE in addition the COMLEX?
08-15-1999, 03:43 PM
If you're interested in ACGME-approved specialty programs or want to compete for residencies in geographically competitive locations such as Boston, SF, etc. consider taking the USMLE in addition to the COMLEX.
08-16-1999, 07:02 PM
I didn't take the Northwestern review class, so I can't comment on the entire course. However, an upper classmen gave me a bag full of board review materials. Included in this was the Northwestern ODT review. It was very helpful in studying for the ODT portion of the COMLEX. Particularly, the chart that covered all of the sympathetic innervations of various organs. I had this chart memorized. The majority of the ODT questions were directly from the chart or were a slight variation of it. Some of the questions also required you to apply some of these innervations to derive the correct answer. Most of the other ODT questions were covered in the other parts of the review. I did very well on the ODT component, but I don't want anyone think it was due completely to this review. I also studied hard during my ODT class and did well. It's my opinion that everything you study your first to years is in effect board preperation material. I worked pretty hard my first two years, and it payed off when I began my board preperation.
08-25-1999, 01:17 PM
Does anyone know whether a newer edition of the First Aid For the USMLE is supposed to come out before the test next year? Thanks.