View Full Version : For you guys that have taken Step I.....
05-30-2002, 12:36 PM
How much are the Step 1 questions like the questions on Q-bank? If I go through all the Q-bank questions and learn the correct answers will I have a good grasp of what will be on Step 1? I only have 2 weeks left to study for the big test and have almost made it through the Kaplan lecture notes. Help!
05-31-2002, 04:59 PM
I am also wondering about how Qbank compares to the real thing. I have been doing 50Q (1-hr) blocks on Qbank, usually finishing w/15-20 min to spare. Are the real Step 1 questions longer than Qbank's, harder, or both?
Thanks & Good Luck :rolleyes:
05-31-2002, 10:03 PM
I took my boards about 3 weeks ago, and I thought the "real thing" was much harder than the Qbank questions. However, I have classmates who thought just the opposite(although there is always the possibility that we had different tests). I thought Qbank was good for getting you used to the test format, though, and because I'd done ~1/2 of the questions using timed tests, I found I didn't have any problems finishing the sections on the "real thing" in time.
05-31-2002, 10:04 PM
One other thing...although I finished all of my blocks on the "real thing" with time to spare (15 minutes on average, which I used to review tough questions), I did feel that overall the questions were MUCH longer than Qbank. Not all of them, but enough so that you noticed a difference.
06-13-2002, 09:37 AM
I thought Q-bank was very representative of the style of the actual exam and was a little more picky than actual test questions. With one exception, the general consensus among my classmates is that Q-bank was harder. I can't tell you yet from experience how Q-bank scores correlate to board scores, but I've heard that if you get 55-60%+ on Q-bank, passing is no problem but I'm not sure what the correlation is for scoring 220 or 240 or whatever.
06-14-2002, 06:05 PM
I took the real deal today, and to me, it felt like doing sample questions from Qbank.
I would say that Qbank is about equal with the difficulty of Step I. Some questions were harder, some easier, some longer, some shorter.
The one thing I found significantly different with Step I as compared to Qbank is the number of choices given for the micro questions.
Sorry I can't give you any score correlations. Speaking of which, we were informed it will take 6 weeks to get our scores. Suddenly I'm having flashbacks of waiting for my MedCAT scores! Some people just love to torture others.
06-14-2002, 09:29 PM
hi Geek Medic,
how was your exam.iam new to this forum.what books did you study?
06-14-2002, 11:09 PM
I used the Kaplan home study program, BRS Path, BRS Phys, BRS Pharm, and Clinical Neuroanatomy Made Ridiculously Simple (adequate enough for the neuroanatomy portion of the test!).
My exam was pretty typical of what others have stated. Gross anatomy was fairly obvious, neuroanatomy wasn't bad, physiology could be tough sometimes, and the biostatistics absolutely were horrific!! I had some biostats questions that we never covered in epidemiology, biostatistics, or evidence-based medicine courses. Then again, I attend a problem-based school, so one could argue it's just my fault for not learning it!
Now I get to play the wait game until I get my scores. By the way, go to the NBME website, click on USMLE, and then click on the link for applicant status. You can check to see when your scores were reported so you will know when to anticipate them in the mail. (Too bad they won't report the scores online!)
06-15-2002, 04:21 AM
What sorts of biostatistics questions did you have? Do you remember if the biostatistics you had were covered in First Aid or high yield behavioral science? Thanks for all the info on the test. One more week for me before I go out in front of the firing squad :( .
06-15-2002, 04:55 PM
took the exam today. finished in 6 hrs. did 4 blocks, took a break, then finished the last 3. yes, 30 q's were supposed to be "experimental" and don't count toward your score out of 300; however, you have no idea which ones they are, so you gotta do your best on all of 'em.
anatomy and biochem were easy. i agree with geek medic: behavioral (biostats and what-would-you-say-to-patient-in-such-and-such-situation but not the psychpath stuff) was simply intentional malevolence. also, there were a few very nebulous clinical vignettes that were only like 3 sentences long, had nothing salient in the prompt, and yet you had to come up with a diagnosis. i think all subject matter was equally distributed among the 7 blocks, but it seemed that i got a lot of molecular bio-type q's...maybe that's just because i took forever on those! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
i'd say it was a balance of really decent q's and really hard ones...i guess they have to make it that way. i hope i passed...
good luck to future step one takers. now the waiting begins for scores. yup, they said 6 weeks on the print-out you get (your "certificate" for having completed the torture...er...exam), but i've heard it takes only about 4 weeks. nevertheless, looks like we won't hear anything till mid-late july.
-s. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
Hey, Sanfilippo and Geek Medic, thanks for posting! It's always good to hear non-panic-inducing stories from people who've just taken it :p My exam is Thursday, and the biggest thing I'm worried about now is fatigue during the test. I tried to do 7 blocks of QBank yesterday and I was so burned out by the end I barely glanced at all the options before choosing an answer. Did you guys have trouble focusing at all, or was the adrenaline of "test day" enough to keep you alert to the end? Thanks :)
I also took step 1 today. For those that have not taken the test, a lot of the behavioral science questions are unlike those in qbank. Do yourselves a favor and read through hi yield behavioral science, and you will have no problems with them. Do not just rely on FA! You'll miss out on some easy points and then be kicking yourself in the butt. Other than that, I feel it was a fair test.
My advice is this: If you are scoring in the upper 60's / low 70's you'll do fine, do NOT freak out and reschedule like a lot of my friends did. The items you are going to miss on the test are such minutiae that there's no way you'd study them with your extra time anyway. Either you picked them up over the past two years or you didn't.
Do not worry about endurance, either. You'll have plenty of break time, should you need it. I finished in about 6 1/2 hours, after taking a 20 minute lunch and two 10 minute breaks. Honestly, the test goes by so quickly it shouldn't even be a factor.
06-15-2002, 08:44 PM
I don't even remember most of the biostats questions I had. I do remember the ones I felt comfortable with... Number needed to treat and predictive values. The others have slipped my mind.
My time management was like some of the other people here. I did 4 blocks with only a 1 minute or so break between each. I then took a 10-minute break to go outside, walk around, drink (water folks, water!), and just relax for a few minutes. I then did the remaining blocks. I started at 8:30 and was finished at 2:15.
I've heard that if you're scoring >55% on Kaplan that you'll pass. Hopefully that is true. The USMLE bulletin states that 55-70% is a passing score. Since Kaplan questions seemed more difficult to me than the real USMLE questions, then I would say that if you're doing >60% then you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
I was spastic about the test until I actually started it. The questions weren't as difficult as I had made it out to be. We all stress out over being asked minutia, but in reality only about 10-20% of the questions were minutia.
Get comfortable with double and triple jump questions. I had a lot of those. For instance, description of symptoms requiring you to make a diagnosis, and then asking what genetic defect is responsible for it, what protein is dysfunctional, etc.
GOOD LUCK! You'll do fine, I'm sure. Be sure to post your experiences for the rest of the people who haven't taken it yet.
06-15-2002, 08:56 PM
thanks Geek medic.where to study molecular biology, is it enough if we study from lippincotts.
how is BSS?is it worth doing,other than Q bank.
06-15-2002, 09:12 PM
one more questions to you guys who have taken the exam recently, please be prompt..
can you answer most of the questions just by reading kaplan notes and doing q bank, what other books has to be read along with this.i take exam in another 2 months and at present doing only kaplan live lecture notes, so what is your opinion.
thanks in advance.please guide me.
06-15-2002, 11:53 PM
Rajal, I think Kaplan's home study program was adequate for the exam with exception to a few areas. Renal physiology and biostatistics were inadequate in my opinion.
I can't comment on how the home study books compare with the live lecture notes.
You asked about Lippincott's molecular biology. Do you mean Lippincott's biochem? We used it as a secondary reference in school. It's a great review book, but probably unnecessary if your Kaplan notes covered biochem as well as the Kaplan home study books.
06-16-2002, 06:41 AM
I took it Friday - I agree with a previous poster who said the stems were longer and there were often more choices than on Qbank. Definitely a lot of double- and triple-jumps. It was do-able, overall.
As I worked through the first two sections I developed a strategy that I really liked - that I hadn't felt the need for in Qbank - so I'll offer it here FWIW. Because the questions were a little longer, I could tell right away that my pace was slower and I got a teeny bit worried. So instead of plodding through each question, I initially did those questions where I could get the answer pretty quickly, leaving blank the ones where I'd have to think through more than two of the options, or where you needed to reason stuff out (you know those graphs about what happens to BP if you give drug X, then drug Y, then drug X again). Using this pace, I finished sets of 25 questions in a little under 20 minutes - so with more than 20 minutes left to go, I had seen, if not done, all 50 questions. Then I went back to the incomplete questions - usually about 10 - and I knew that I had a lot more time to really think about them and figure out the answer. (oh - the ones where I had no idea - just marked my favorite letter and went on, I did NOT put them into the deferred pool.) Not only did I have time to complete all the questions, but I had a good five minutes to go over all my answers too. I felt soooo much calmer once I had this figured out during the second block! This saved my sanity - I felt a lot more in control with this system. YMMV of course; hope this helps somebody.
06-16-2002, 06:44 AM
I took it yesterday. I did qbank and qbook. I thought the questions in the book were a little harder than the real deal. My test was a little different than some of the others I talked to. I would say mine consisted of 30%pharm, 20%phys, and 20%path. For some reason pharm made up the bulk of the test. I thought the questions were conceptual rather than straight up memorization.
06-16-2002, 07:50 AM
Thanks to all the people posting Step I advice! Hope that you all are pleased with your scores in 6 weeks.
06-16-2002, 12:46 PM
I have just heard that one of my classmates had a free energy calculation on the test <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> :confused: , another one had a lot of neuroanatomy (CT scans), and of course a lot of them said that they had a lot of behavioral science questions.
06-16-2002, 02:24 PM
Unfortunately the behavioral science questions are difficult to study for. They ask you those "what would you say" type questions? Basically I've come to the conclusion that whatever makes your patient feel good or causes them to chat the most (read that as takes up the most of your appointment time) is what's best.
I had a few calculations, but no free energy calculations. I've talked to some that have went through without a single calculation, then there are people like me who had about 5 or 6 calculations.
06-16-2002, 03:46 PM
To Sanfilippo & others,
Thank you kindly for contributing your experiences! Hope you hear great news in 6 wks. Just finished Qbank today (yippee!), and will be facing the music on 6/24. Regarding Behav Sci, I am flipping thru HY Behav Sci now and Ch. 20 is the chapter on Dr-Pt relatonship w/some good tables on USMLE "Quote Questions" (ie, what should the dr say when...). It's something worth looking at, based on what the recent test-takers have mentioned.
Good luck everyone & stay cool :cool:
06-17-2002, 10:49 AM
Well, it?s over. I took the Beast on Friday, and thank god its done. My general impressions were kind of worse than I had hoped. I felt very confident about how much I had studied, and I was at a 75% ave on Q bank after all 2000 questions. So I expected to feel a lot better coming out if the real thing. But I didn?t. I felt like it was a lot more Biochem than any one test should cover! And that is a weak subject for me. And there was some stuff on there that I have no idea what they were looking for.
Behavioral was also hit hard, as was endocrinology. And Path/Phys of course. Pharm was very light, mostly those drug X and Y questions as somebody else mentioned. I felt that the Q bank did a poor job of replicating what the actual pharm questions were like. The same goes for the behavioral. Q bank also had a lot less ?arrow? questions, and the USMLE had tons of them. By arrow questions, I mean the stem asks about a condition, and you have to state its effect on several parameters like serum Ca level, phosphate level and urine Na clearance (or whatever). And then the answers are all arrows saying whether the level went up/down/or didn?t change. Those questions were a bitch. It seems to me (and to several of my friends) that the Q bank needs to be updated to reflect the current style of USMLE questions.
Overall, I feel pretty confident that I passed, but I didn?t walk out with a smile on my face as I?d hoped I would. We?ll see in 6 weeks what the result of all that studying was?
06-18-2002, 11:36 AM
goodluck for your results.
i have a question, are you telling that arrow q's were from pharmac or physio or both.
how was statistics, were there lot of calculations to do?
what do you mean by molecular basis questions, are they molecular biology questions
sorry, too many questions.
06-18-2002, 01:39 PM
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> My advice is this: If you are scoring in the upper 60's / low 70's you'll do fine, do NOT freak out and reschedule like a lot of my friends did. The items you are going to miss on the test are such minutiae that there's no way you'd study them with your extra time anyway. Either you picked them up over the past two years or you didn't.
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I would have to agree with Ephesian here. I brought my FA along with me to keep in my locker in case I felt like the test was pointing out something I needed to brush up on-I didn't use it; I feel like the majority of questions I missed I would have missed even if I had another week to study.
I was very tempted to postpone my test, but I'm so glad I just got it over with. Do what you can with the time you have left and then just take it - you won't regret it.
06-18-2002, 02:01 PM
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Burton:
<strong>I would have to agree with Ephesian here. I brought my FA along with me to keep in my locker in case I felt like the test was pointing out something I needed to brush up on-I didn't use it; I feel like the majority of questions I missed I would have missed even if I had another week to study.
I was very tempted to postpone my test, but I'm so glad I just got it over with. Do what you can with the time you have left and then just take it - you won't regret it.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">g'luck on your scores. I'll in El Paso in...a couple years. :p
06-18-2002, 07:20 PM
To answer your question rajal, the "arrow" questions were mainly path/phys. And as for calculations, I had very few. Know the stats in First aid, and you should be ok.
06-18-2002, 07:29 PM
<img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
Just finished today!!! Mannseeeee!!!! (did you see who won today at the world cup??!!!)
Wow, step 1 was pretty rough. But it's over!
Here's my general and specific impressions of the test.
I felt like it had a good mix of questions. No amount of studying could have prepared me for several questions so don't sweat it. I recommend taking frequent breaks because if you take a short lunch, you'll have plenty of time for 5-8 minute break in between every block.
One thing that stuck in my mind is- know your heart murmurs, stenosis, regurgitations--all that cold. I had at least 3-4 questions on my first block. I didn't memorize those cold and it showed under pressure.
also, don't get to your test site too early. I got there one hour early and sat around for 45 mintues with my stress level increasing by the minute.
Good luck guys! I'm off to by myself a PDA for the wards.
06-18-2002, 08:58 PM
I took it today, here's my take on it...Q-bank was very close to the difficulty level of the actual exam (with a few exceptions). I finished Q-bank with a 75. Lots of arrow questions (which are similar to the arrow questions in Board Similator Series and MedRevu). Most of the arrow questions involved the RAA system (25 questions), CV phys, or the HPA axis. I had very little genetics. Biochemistry was very straight forward (First Aid was more than enough for this). I did have lots of Neuroanatomy, which was based on what I consider very poor quality images (angios, CT, MRI). I Will answers questions and may post more tomorrow. Good luck to you all.
06-18-2002, 09:26 PM
where to study CT/MRI from, webpath doesn't have much of it.should we do high yield for neuroanat or is kaplan notes enough, kaplan has so much details should we know it all.
how are the questions actually asked.
06-19-2002, 06:22 AM
Rajal- High Yield Neuroanatomy is a very good review book for Step 1. Don't get bogged down in the details of neuro, just know the basic anatomy. I would really know the blood supply of the various lobes. If you are in Medical library grab a neuroradiology book and look at a basic Angio. I had two questions about blood supply to the brain with lettered arrows pointing at various structures on an angio.
06-19-2002, 07:13 AM
took it yesterday. I felt prepared from BSS and First Aid (hindsight, I was real nervous before). Some ct of the head may help, had some epi/subdural stuff, blood supply is good to know. the whole high yield book would be way too much. FA is also adequate for the biochem. Seemed like I had a fair bit of histo type ?'s but they were not bad. overall, the test was easier than BSS, how much easier we will see in 6wks. don't postpone to those who are considering, grass is much greener on _this_ side. Vamos a la playa....
Can somebody clarify this for me ..
What are these arrow questions like ?
Do they point arrows for identification/
or like "reaction" type (can't think of the real word)
thank you :)
06-19-2002, 08:55 AM
it would ask what is changed, ex would be pth and serum/urine calcium in chronic renal pt vs. normal pt.
uCa++ SErum Ca++ Pth
a up up down
b dn up dn
c up dn up
d dn up up
anyone wanna answer? is this ? good enough to earn me 500 bucks?
06-19-2002, 09:06 AM
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by jason952:
<strong>it would ask what is changed, ex would be pth and serum/urine calcium in chronic renal pt vs. normal pt.
uCa++ SErum Ca++ Pth
a up up down
b dn up dn
c up dn up
d dn up up
anyone wanna answer? is this ? good enough to earn me 500 bucks?
jason</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Answer c. I'm not paying you 500 bucks for that question though.
06-19-2002, 11:24 AM
are you telling you read only BSS and FA without doing anyother books.how did you feel the exam was, how long have you been graduated.
about the brain pictures is it hand written ones,what is exactly asked like, to point out the structures in brain or what.
06-19-2002, 02:45 PM
Thanks for all the great advice!!! Just curious, what were you scoring on QBank or Qbook before you took the exam?
Do you think that if we know everything in the First Aid we will pass?
06-19-2002, 05:10 PM
Rajal, the MRI images that I got were VERY basic. There weren't any nitpicky questions. Know your major landmarks and where major diseases (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, etc.) affect.
06-19-2002, 08:54 PM
thanks Geek Medic.
I took the exam today, and I feel pretty good about it. It was a LOT like QBank, and actually, I thought it was a bit easier (none of those stupid HLA questions that QBank seemed to love :rolleyes: ). As other posters said, there are some weird cell bio/histo questions, but only a few and there's really no way to study for those. Two days before the exam (I took the day before off and was glad I did), I went to the bookstore and crammed HY Behav Sci, which was really helpful. The "what would you say?" questions aren't THAT tough, but HY covered them well so I was able to pick the right one fairly easily (I think!).
There weren't really any surprises. I had several pharm questions that weren't from First Aid, but I vaguely remembered the drugs from class and was able to make a decent guess -- you'll be surprised at what comes back to you :D
I wouldn't spend any time on path pics -- for my exam, I could answer all of them before even looking at the picture. On the other hand, I had several questions based on CTs and MRIs that were more challenging and I actually did need to know what I was looking at (and didn't, unfortunately <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> ). Biochem, anatomy and embryo were minimal on my exam. I had a lot of path and phys, a good amount of pharm, and a lot less micro than I had expected. But everyone's experience is different... seems like the only safe advice is to know those behav sci scenarios!
06-20-2002, 09:01 PM
Just to show you that everyone's test is different, I had several Path pictures WITHOUT a vignette, asking you to make a diagnosis. Not only were they nit-picky answers, but they were things not listed in First-Aid. And unfortunately, I had a lot of biochemistry (which is my weakest subject). But a lot of pathphys also (which is my strongest :)
I had alot of arrow questions also, except my answers considered every possible application (i.e. 12 answer choices for three variables). Unfortunately, I didn't get anything as simple as PTH does what? Or Estrogen would cause this? All of mine had some twisted vignette with a special situation, on top of a preexisting condition, and one variable that was slightly strange. (OK, there were only three of these really tough arrow questions, the rest were fairly easy).
Most of the CTs are so simple, any brain-dead medical student would get them.
If I had to do it all over again, I think I would step back two years and try to learn everything right the first time :)
06-21-2002, 10:02 AM
i agree. i felt that there was a significant no. of q's that really tested how much you learned during the 1st two years, q's whose answers were nowhere to be found in first aid. i also had pharm i had to recall from my book like the newer anti-rheumatic agents (not the cox-2's...), monoclonal antibodies, and the aromatase inhibitors.
i still hope i passed, though, although feeling pretty positive once it was over...maybe that's just elation after having actually completed the entire thing......
<img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> -s.