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Need Tips on Studying for Comlex Step 1

Discussion in 'Step I' started by ladybuggy, 08.28.08.

  1. ladybuggy

    ladybuggy

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    Hey Guys! I can definitely use your help with this. I am trying to get an assessment on whether or not I have a chance at passing the Comlex Step 1.
    I took the Kaplan Comlex Qbank and right now, have been averaging 56 - 66% (lately, I have been getting 60's). I have 4 weeks left for the exam. Here are my study materials

    Kaplan Step 1 Comlex Qbank
    First Aid USMLE Step 1
    High Yield Neuroanatomy
    High Yield Genetics (not studying for Comlex)
    BRS Pathology
    BRS Physiology
    OMT Review

    Study Goals:
    So far, I have gone through First Aid one time, and part of the BRS Pathology. I am going to be sepdning the next week with the High Yield Neuro, OMT Review, and will probably go throguh the BRS Pathology the week after.

    Does anyone have any tips as of right now? Is getting 60%-66% on the Q bank good enough to possibly pass? I have no idea how these scores work. I am so nervous I can hardly think straight rigyht now!
  2. SukaNeNauka

    SukaNeNauka

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    Honestly I think you are in a very, very good shape to get >>600 on this exam. Keep it simple, there is not a lot of molecular/biochem/genetics/mechanisms on this exam. Memorize the basics from FA, do plenty of practice questiions and read explanations, and memorize basics of OMM. I would also not worry at all about Neuro. Keep it simple for COMLEX!!!
  3. Taus

    Taus . Moderator

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    I'm sorry, but I have to completely disagree w/ the bolded comment. Neuro is traditionally fairly heavy on the comlex and certainly was on my test last year. If your goal is to pass you could probably get by w/o it....but if you want to do well I would spend some time w/ the section in FA and HY Neuro
  4. strawberryfield

    strawberryfield

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    whatever you do, DO NOT, DO NOT skip neuro for the COMLEX! my version was very neuro, psych pharm, and micro heavy. OMM is also something that if you ace it will truly help you, and the book you have, OMT Review is definitley the BEST out there. I recommend you take the COMSAE maybe a week or 2 prior to the exam to get an idea of where you might score. This resource is has the most similiar content and question style to the real test that you can find anywhere, but keep in mind that it UNDERESTIMATED most SDNer's scores (by ~50 pts for many, including myself)

    The Kaplan COMLEX QBank is too easy compared to the real test, IMO, but it's really the only thing out there to practice with. The questions in the back of the Savaresse book are also VERY similar and helpful. to give you some kind of comparison, I ended up with a Kaplan COMLEX QBank score of ~75% overall and got a 589/88 on the real deal.

    You still have 4 weeks and that is tons of time to kill neuro and hit micro and pharm pretty hard, others may have advice on other subjects that were high yield.
  5. DragonWell

    DragonWell Moderator Emeritus

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    :thumbup: I had a ridiculous amount of neuro on my test; in fact, so many similar questions that I almost wondered if there was some kind of error. Most of the questions were very straight forward, but IMHO, the Neuro section of FA may be the weakest in the book, so it's a very good idea to supplement w/ HY, Road Map, etc. I would try to be very solid on cranial nerves, bleeds, blood supply, aphasias, etc. before walking into the test.

    Although it's usefulness as a predictor is questionable, I would also recommend you take the practice NBOME test, COMSAE, just to get some exposure to the format and style of the questions.
  6. SukaNeNauka

    SukaNeNauka

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    Yes, there is Neuro on Comlex, I am not saying that it is not there. Most of it, if not all of it, is straight forward. Is FA Neuro weak? Yes, maybe it is. But, it is enough for COMLEX. You do not want to start recruiting multiple books to assist you in studying for any section of this exam. Pick few resources and know them really well. FA in combination with a good question bank will prepare you very well for everything that you may encounter on COMLEX. This is all I am saying.
  7. FutureInternist

    FutureInternist

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    The BRS physiology is probably overkill for COMLEX.
    As for the Kaplan Qs, just keep in mind that the actual exam does not give you a somatic dysfxn finding w/ every Q (as was my experience w/ Kaplan 2 yrs ago)
    Savarese book covers the dermatomes, reflexes, innervations, fractures etc pretty well. Definitely do the practice exams in the back.
  8. ladybuggy

    ladybuggy

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    Hey everyone! Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I heard that there were a lot of heavy Neuro questions, which is why I bought an extra HY Neuro book and spending almost a week with Neuro and OMT Review.
    Where can I take the COMSAE practice test? I would like to sit down thsi weekend and take one of those exams to see where I stand right now. I have 4 weeks to recover if I am not doing well.
  9. DragonWell

    DragonWell Moderator Emeritus

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  10. FutureInternist

    FutureInternist

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    Keep in mind that you cannot go over your answers nor review Qs at a later time once they have been submitted. As such you may want to use it as a learning tool by doing the untimed mode, going thru 49 Qs of each block writing your answers down on a separate piece of paper, then going back to Q#1 of each block & looking up the actual answers. This way you get a good feel for where you stand (each Q is 4 points) & you actually learn something from the ones you got wrong. Once you submit one block there is no going back.

    And remember no matter how much you study there will be PLENTY of WTF Qs that another 4 weeks of studying could not have prepared you for. It sucks, bbut unfortunately that's the way it is.
  11. ladybuggy

    ladybuggy

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    Well, I just took the prep exam ont he NBOME site and I passed it, although borderline. :scared: But, better than failing. Right?
    Now, 3.5 weeks left and back to studying. Thanks again for all your tips! :)
  12. HunterGatherer

    HunterGatherer HunterGatherer Moderator Emeritus

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    Make sure you know your bugs and drugs, some path, some upper/lower limb anatomy and OMM. If you get those down you should pass. I'm not saying to skip anything but you definitely DON'T want these to be your weaknesses going into the exam.

    DON'T skip nuero. Start it early since some topics need repeat review to sink in.
    Last edited: 09.01.08
  13. scpod

    scpod Moderator Emeritus

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    I disagree. Mine was waaaaaay neuro heavy. I think I had 12 questions on the same brain bleed, and then more on tracts, nuclei, etc.

    My study would be filled with bugs and drugs, anything remotely connected to the autonomic nervous sytem, neuro, OMM (know your levels like the back of your hand!!!!) anatomy of the extremities, and basic path-- probably in that order. FA is a good guide in some ways, but it can fool you because the amount of time and space it dedicates to a topic is not on par with the amount of time you need to spend on the same topics.
  14. Doctorman

    Doctorman TouroCOM-NY 2013,D.O.CTOR

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    there are couple OMM review books..

    1. OMT review (the famous green book)

    2. First Aid Comlex

    3. Comlex Review by LWW


    I saw some good review on FA comlex..
    did any one try that?
    is it better than OMT Review?
  15. sunshine36

    sunshine36 New Member

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    Hi =)
    I was wondering if USMLEworld was useful for Comlex Step 1? I was planning on using that, First AID, and perhaps Comlex Q bank? Is that enough or good enough resources?
  16. rayster

    rayster Chief Resident

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    Has anyone heard anything about the Kaplan comlex books? I haven't really heard anything, but it sounds appealing... thanks!
  17. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    My focus on comlex will be hammering bugs, drugs and omm...with less emphasis on every other subject. I will def not invest a great deal of time in physio, path but neuro/ob-gyn path seem to account for a good deal of points on comlex. So yea don't study it like you would for usmle if you are taking both exams..remember the key is to understand the difference in high yield material tested on both exams. Good luck!
  18. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig

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    When I prepared for COMLEX Level 1 in '07, Kaplan had one extra review book for OMT (which was terrible) and all the other texts were the same for the USMLE prep course.

    I preferred using Simmons (though Savaresse is just as good) to cover OMT. Don't forget to memorize sympathetic/para innervations.

    Each year seems to emphasize different topics. When I took it... micro, pharm (know at least 2-3 drugs for each bug!), ob/gyn and psych were really emphasized. There was a lot of Path, but it was very straight forward. Physio was a joke. I had to interpret at least 2 head CT's (very easy) and 3-4 EKG's (relatively simple, though they were hard to see... pictures on COMLEX are horrible). No biostats. Most people didn't have much biochemistry, but I had at least a dozen questions (all were easy... there is a list floating about of 10 reactions that sum up pretty much every type of biochem question you could possibly be asked on COMLEX). There are also a lot of repeat questions you'll encounter.
  19. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    hehe exactly why i want to take the comlex after 2 weeks of studying..i can't afford to spend my time toward comlex when usmle has so much to cover.
  20. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**

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    Ob-gyn path is high yield? I don't know what's really high yield for COMLEX except for OMT, bugs/drugs, neuro.
  21. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig

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    Lamborghini hasn't even taken it yet. So take his advice with a huge grain of salt. He doesn't know what he's talking about.

    Like I mentioned, the high yield subjects tend to be cyclical every other year.

    Ob/Gyn path (as in images/histology) is NOT high yield. However, the basics of ob/gyn such as: the menstrual cycle, the difference between various contraceptives (especially the OCP's), female development (age of menarche, menopause, tanner staging), physiology of fetal circulation... all of that IS high yield.
  22. Lamborghini1315

    Lamborghini1315 Sleep deprived

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    huh speak for yourself...i may not have taken it but i have friends who have and i get their input as much as you like to give yours to others. I may not have worded my intentions right but the point was the emphasis on ob/gyn, sorry for any confusion.
    Last edited: 12.22.08
  23. AmyO

    AmyO Member

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    I would disagree w/ path and physiology not being high yield on the COMLEX. Although the COMLEX is not as heavy into multi-step path & physio as the USMLE is, they are definitely still on there in a good amt. I had a couple ?s per block that would have a path pic (either gross or microscopic) & if you knew what it was, it saved you a ton of time trying to decipher the pt's signs & symptoms. It was pretty obvious stuff for the most part....Reed-Sternberg cells, etc. I hardly had any OB/GYN path, but I did have a few ?s on hormone levels during menstruation, ovulation, etc. Know your bugs & drugs. I would also know your neuro, especially signs & symptoms correlating w/ what vessel is occluded or what lobe is affected. I even had 2 cerebral angiograms to interpret (but they weren't hard - HY neuro had some good pics for this). They love viscero-somatic reflexes so know all the levels that the major organs correspond to. I would venture to say I had over 20 ?s on viscerosomatics alone - easy points if you memorize them. They also seem to like giving pt signs & symptoms of a pt on a particular drug and then want you to pick out the drug that the pt is on. Remember, the exams are varied as to what gets hit hard (renal heavy vs. cardio heavy etc) but if you know your bugs & drugs plus basic path & phys along w/ viscero-somatics, you'll be golden!
  24. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**

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    Where is this list you speak of below?

  25. AmyO

    AmyO Member

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    I think the list he is referring to was from Kaplan, but the rxns are also all in FA. It's basically the rate-limiting rxn for glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, etc plus knowing maple syrup urine dz (where the block is, what they are missing) & a few other commonly tested genetic dz's like CGD & alkaptonuria.
  26. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig

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    1. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)
    2. HMG-CoA Reductase
    3. Dihydrofolate Reductase
    4. Gamma-Glutamyl Carboxylase (Vitamin K Carboxylase)
    5. Glucuronosyltransferase (Crigler-Najjar)
    6. Methyl-Malonyl CoA Mutase
    7. Homocysteine Methyl Transferase
    8. Hexosaminidase A (Tay-Sachs)
    9. HGPRT (HPRT) (Lesch-Nyhan)
    10. Branched-Chain Ketoacid Dehydrogenase (Maple Syrup Urine)

    Which reminds me. I had at least three questions about Lesch-Nyhan syndrome. Go figure. :shrug:
  27. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**

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    Awesome, thank you Terp and AmyO!

    Is there a running list of HYs for COMLEX I?

    So I know these are HYs:
    -bugs/drugs
    -anatomy: especially peripheral/UE
    -neuro: vascular lesions, anything else?
    -ob/gyn: physiology, hormone regulation and the cycles
    -biochem: know the main enzymes listed above (i.e. diseases due to deficiencies of key enzymes)
    -OMT: techniques, sympathetic innervations/levels, etc
    ------ at this point I'm not sure about the subjects HYs below ------
    -path: ??
    -CMB/Genetics: Know diseases? Not sure either
    -MSK: I'd guess no pathologies/diseases, gout, etc.?
    -Behavioral: biostats and what else?
    -Heme: Know the diseases and causes?
    -Cardio: I'd guess pathologies, EKGs, what else?
    -Pulm: pathologies and what else?
    -GI: ??
    -Derm: ??

    Thanks for the help guys, this should definitely help everyone studying to take this beast in their respective time frame!

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