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Official 2012 Step 1 Experiences and Scores Thread

Discussion in 'Step I' started by amavir281, 02.15.12.

  1. Schmee

    Schmee

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    Did well in basic sciences, didn't use other resources because all of the info that you need is in FA/Uworld. They certainly explain it in enough depth and the key is UNDERSTANDING everything in those texts. That being said, I looked up tricky concepts on wiki which I honestly think is a better use of time than additional textbooks. Too much verbiage in those books, you need to have TWO resources max and know them cold.
  2. Schmee

    Schmee

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    Reviewed no basic science during rotations, just did Uworld and whichever book was helpful during that rotation (i.e. step up to medicine on IM). I likewise was not one of those people who read first aid during basic sciences, I do not feel that it is necessary to do that. I had basically flipped through it once but didn't study it hardcore until the step.

    I do believe rotations gives you a solid edge in terms of understanding clinical vignettes. That being said, so much of basic sciences had trickled out of my head that I'm not sure it gives you much of an edge overall. Pros and cons to each, personally I would rather be able to recognize the clinical vignettes easier and try to relearn basic sciences than do the opposite.
  3. JackShephard MD

    JackShephard MD

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    It's interesting to hear people who only use FA, while others swear that you need to back it up with RR Path, BRS physio, HY Neuro, or some extra anatomy source.

    Is it that everything you need to know is in FA and these other resources just flesh the ideas out more, or is there extra content in these books?
  4. Schmee

    Schmee

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    The VAST majority of what you need to know for the exam is covered in FA/Uworld. The rest of the stuff comes down to you as an individual in my experience. Your ability to think critically about answer choices and weed out the distractors and make educated guesses is FAR more important than combing through textbooks in order to get you 1-2 extra questions. No one ever talks about it, but if people focused more on test taking strategies and higher level thinking as opposed to cramming minutia from 6 resources they would do a lot better in my opinion. The problem is, it takes months to years of practice to learn how to properly take tests and some people unfortunately may never get it. The thing we need to remember is that the real world is not a multiple choice test and although your ceiling on the USMLE may not be that high, don't get too discouraged. That being said, the best advice I can give is to think about the purpose of each question and what you think is trying to be tested. Then try to figure out whether or not this is a straightforward question or tricky (the vast majority are straightforward).

    Not sure if what I said makes sense, but I strongly believe that you only need FA/UW. I have testaments from many of my classmates who scored in the 260s that this is all they used.
  5. JackShephard MD

    JackShephard MD

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    So in honing your skills for the exam, do you mean using Qbanks like UWorld, USMLERx, and Kaplan or more along the lines of multiple practice exams?

    How would one systematically approach improving the test taking skills and what resources would be optimum?
  6. Chirurg

    Chirurg

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    This is a good question.
    Any ideas Schmee? (and congrats on that amazing score!)
  7. COdoubleMO2theN

    COdoubleMO2theN

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    I think Qbanks are by far the best prep. I did Rx/Kaplan and now am on Uworld. Using Uworld along with FA/RR during dedicated time. I am averaging in the 80s in Uworld on timed/random = questions are the best source hands down.
  8. auburnO5

    auburnO5

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    Averaging in the 80's? That seems crazy. I'm averaging about 60% or a little less and I think I'm doing pretty well.
  9. COdoubleMO2theN

    COdoubleMO2theN

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    I have done the majority of studying throughout the year with Qbanks - keeps things fresh so I don't have much to relearn. Rx is great to get down FA, but Kaplan is a great prep just before Uworld - makes Uworld seem much more straight forward.
  10. auburnO5

    auburnO5

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    I'm pretty much just going hard with FA, UWorld, and Goljan. A little extra for biochem. I was thinking about getting Rx, do you think that is necessary at this point? I have about 5 weeks left.
  11. Schmee

    Schmee

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    This is the part that kind of sucks. I can swear up and down that test taking skills are super important but unfortunately I'm not sure there is a systematic way to improve your test taking simply by doing questions alone. To really improve you have to kind of battle with the questions and think critically about why you missed something each time. Look back at the passage and see what made you trip up vs what you did right. See what types of things trick you and don't make the same mistake twice.
  12. Doctopus

    Doctopus

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    Ultimately, your test-taking ability will be limited by your IQ--your 'smarts,' as it were. Low or high IQ, though, the best way to increase your test-taking ability/score is to take lots of tests/do lots of ?s.
  13. SteinUmStein

    SteinUmStein

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    Wouldn't you want to just focus on UWorld for the last 5 weeks? I've got about that much time and I was planning on just using UWorld as my QBank for the final stretch. Maybe someone who has already taken it can answer for us definitively.
  14. COdoubleMO2theN

    COdoubleMO2theN

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    I agree uworld should be your #1 source at this time but if you happen to run out of questions then I don't see why not grab Rx. They will ask you questions on info that you will never pick up on your own by reading through FA - at least that was my experience.
  15. Bernoull

    Bernoull

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    I think IQ, "smarts" (whatever that means) is different from "test-taking IQ" and I think Schmee (not to put words in his/her mouth) is referring to the latter. Better test-taking strategies will definitely increase one's score and post-test analyses coupled with appropriate remediation (in both critical thinking skills and knowledge deficits) also help.

    I think everyone who's in med school most likely has the requisite IQ/smarts (whatever that means) to do well on this exam. I think test-taking IQ is what's relevant, given the appropriate knowledge base.

    I agree that doing tons of questions (Qbanks) (and the appropriate post-test analysis) is the best way to improve one's test-taking IQ.
  16. kaleerkalut

    kaleerkalut

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    Would you mind elaborating some more on why you thought DIT was a waste of time? I have about 7 weeks before I take Step 1 and I'm wondering if I should use 15 days of it for DIT? Thanks again.
  17. gravitywave

    gravitywave fourth year

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    at five weeks out there is still plenty of time to be looking at "new" (read "haven't seen this since we had it in class, if ever") stuff, although at this point you should have taken at least one NBME to assess your weaknesses and budget your time accordingly. yes you need to be doing questions, but you also need to be targeting your content deficiencies if you still have any. odds are the NBMEs are telling you more or less what you already know.

    edit: oops, misunderstood your question. my experience was that once you got into UWorld, going back to any other qbank felt like a waste of time. but my point still stands.
  18. msbbc833

    msbbc833

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    Hi all. I got a 260 on the CBSE our school made us take last week. I got high scores in everything except behavioral science, heme/onc, and MSK which we haven't covered yet. I still have 7 weeks of class/finals left and then about 5 weeks of dedicated step studying time. My test is scheduled for June 11th. Not sure what to do because now I am worried I might start forgetting stuff. I still have to finish UW, Kaplan, RX but should be finished by the time dedicated step time comes. Not sure what to do during dedicated study time or if I should move up the test? I just plan to read FA once more (only read it ~1x thru) and do all the NBMEs and UWSAs. Does that sound reasonable?
  19. Zenfudge

    Zenfudge

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    People are going to hate you, lol. Seriously though, I had a similar "problem" that I couldn't talk to any of my friends at school about. I hit a > 260 (99) on our school's test right after finals and was stoked. I had scheduled my test for 6 weeks later and then started freaking out for the same reason you are.

    Fast forward 2 weeks after the CBSE and I took an NBME and dropped 5 points after studying for that 2 weeks! I panicked and moved up my test for fear of "peaking". Now my test is in a week. I am hitting blocks of UW day after day (1st pass) and in the mid 80s.

    Bottom line: This is a "quality problem" you have on your hands. I was you (3 weeks ago), and I can tell you that if I could have done anything different, I would have walked out directly after school, taken an NBME to be for sure that the CBSE wasn't a fluke and then taken the damn test. My advice: take an NBME, and if you hit 260 again, take the damn thing.

    BTW, I hadn't done UW (maybe a couple hundred questions) when I took the CBSE. All I had done was GT and some Kaplan questions. Fearing reprisal, I dare say that you don't need UW to hit high scores. Just my 2 cents...take another test and consider moving that f*&*er up. Burnout and "peaking" are very real.

    Good luck!
  20. Bernoull

    Bernoull

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    Great performance on ur CBSE and I definitely envy the "quality problem" you guys have :D!

    In the scheme of things, how important would you GT have been in ur overall prep and UW performance? Have u completed GT?

    thx!
  21. Zenfudge

    Zenfudge

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    Hey, thanks for the congrats, but it is still early and I don't want to count my chickens/points before they hatch. GT has been pretty invaluable for me, honestly. I think it allows you to get the "low hanging fruit" that would otherwise throw you off during the test. Some of the questions will become reflexive and since you don't have to waste time on remembering trivia (and they DO ask trivia) you can trudge through the more difficult "graph and thinking" questions with time to spare. I had a question on what the function of CCR5 was - and "chemokine receptor" shot out of my brain without having to think. No way in hell I would have known that from class.

    Also, answer choices on the exam are in the form of definitions. For example, a GT card might say, "failure of fusion of the lateral palatine shelves", when describing a palate defect. Well, on the test, the answer choice "palate defect" won't be there, but "failure of fusion of such and such" will be. So, in that regard I think it is money. There is always stuff they ask, however, that seems unsolvable.

    Anyway, I've hijacked. I'll poke my head into the GT forum as soon as this thing is done with. Also, I haven't actually taken the real deal yet so please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
  22. Gannador

    Gannador

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    Score today, took it three weeks ago. 256/88. Very happy with the score. I was averaging about 80 on USMLE World. NBME 6 I scored 630/251. USMLE World 2 I got a 236 ~ 2 weeks before the exam. I studied for seven weeks. 2-3 days per section except biochem and microbio (4 days) and psych and behavioral science (1 day). Spent the last 6 days rereading step 1, tore out important pages and reviewed them again. I had about 3 left by the day of the exam, read them on the way to the testing site. Finished about an hour early even with breaks. I took the clinical year prior to this and found that it REALLY helped me both in terms of test taking (because of the shelves) and because of my clinical diagnosis experience.

    I used first aid 2011, usmle world, goljan, costanzo's BRS physio, and the Kaplan focused review course lectures. I did ~20% of Kaplan's Qbank, but the decided to just review all of my missed and marked questions on USMLE World instead.
  23. DavidVZ

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    Here's my study story:
    5 weeks before the test I took the CBSE: 205
    3 weeks before the test I took USMLEWorld Self Assessment 1: 204
    2 weeks before the test I took NBME form 12: 214
    1 week before the test I took USMLEWorld Self Assessment 2: 242

    Final Step 1 score: 228/83

    I'm a little disappointed because my Uworld scores were doing really well during the last 2 weeks of studying. I went through FA 1.5 times, thoroughly went through Uworld random timed tutor 1 time and was getting consistently around 70% correct. I only did around a third of the Kaplan qbank and was getting high 70s on those.

    I actually felt pretty good after the test. It seemed fairly representative of what I had studied. If I had to do it again, I would probably take more NBME forms rather than the two UWorld SAs, and try to finish Kaplan.

    Hope this helps some.
  24. secants

    secants about:blank

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    I'm sure this has been asked before but what is the optimal way to "analyze" Uworld? I'm going untimed Tutor so I read the big and small explanations and why the other choices are wrong. I also see what the second most chosen answer was and see why that might trick people up. Is there anything else I should be doing aside or is this what most do?
  25. auburnO5

    auburnO5

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    I'm not planning on touching anything Kaplan.... is this a mistake? 5 weeks left.
  26. Gannador

    Gannador

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    not a mistake.
  27. greenpower13

    greenpower13

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    hey just a question, I see that you recieved your scores. I took my exam on March 4th, and still have not...I was just wondering when you took your exam?
  28. Gannador

    Gannador

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    End of February.
  29. futuredoctor10

    futuredoctor10

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    Hey thought I'd join the thread, I'm taking the test in summer 2012 as well. I can't believe it's almost dedicated study time!
  30. futuredoctor10

    futuredoctor10

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    I'm curious to hear answers and thoughts to this question as well. I have been doing a similar review of the questions and doing UW on Untimed > Tutor.
  31. futuredoctor10

    futuredoctor10

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    I'm curious what you all think about the 2 seemingly contradictory viewpoints on this forum:

    "You do not need any resources besides First Aid and UWorld to score well"
    vs.
    "FA + UW is absolutely not enough to score well"

    It probably just comes down to individual preference, and how much those "unknown" questions really affect one's score.
  32. ijn

    ijn

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    When people say all you need is FA+UW is all you need they're coming from a background of probably doing pretty damn well in their first two years of medical school. They don't need to learn day 1 of medical school from ground zero like some students may need. I have no doubt they probably forgot a lot, but it doesn't take nearly as much work to make the same connections they had previously made from studying the material hard and learning it well the first time.
  33. DoctwoB

    DoctwoB

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    Its also a matter of understanding. First aid and Uworld won't allow you to memorize and regurgitate every answer on your exam. There will be things you haven't seen before. Thats just a given.

    However, Uworld and first aid (and a solid education in your first 2 years) can give you a sufficient background of knowledge and understanding to work through questions when you don't have all the details memorized.
  34. DoctwoB

    DoctwoB

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    And on another note. T-10 days for me.
  35. futuredoctor10

    futuredoctor10

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    Thanks for the replies... that makes sense! And obviously there will be things not covered by UW/FA and I think different people probably interpret that in different ways.

    Good luck! So exciting you will be done soon!
  36. Pharmacol90

    Pharmacol90

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    Those of you who have already taken the STEP1 this year, could you provide your estimation of the spread of questions? What % were Anatomy, Pathology, Embryology, and Biochem etc? Thanks.
  37. gravitywave

    gravitywave fourth year

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    this is going to be variable for every individual test form. in the aggregate, Path and Physio are going to be the two most important subjects, but anyone's could be different on test day. take Embryo for example. normally a pretty low yield subject. but someone was saying a while ago that they got hurt because their test had like 30 Embryo questions. it can happen. So you need to know something about everything. But some things come up more often than others, and that distribution is well-known, predictable, and should guide your study time.
  38. DoctwoB

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    I haven't taken it yet, but I've heard that the highest yield subjects are Path, physio, pharm, and micro. However, they can and will ask you about everything, so you're really rolling the dice if you have a weak subject, even if its a traditionally lower yield one like embryo, histo, immuno, or anatomy.
  39. rashy

    rashy

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    Ok guys, thought I would share my experience with you. A few days after my exam and I STILL FEEL LIKE CRAP. Why? Because my exam was so fç%"ing easy, probably the easiest exam there can be! But I just couldn't remember everything that I had learned. I knew that I did learn it, I knew which book, which page, but I simply didn't remember.

    Background: IMG, started to study in october for 2-3months because I had planned to go the US. There were a few difficulties from my school and my trip was cancelled. I wasn't done studying anyway and I needed a good score, so I cancelled my exam. After that, my rotations began and I was really exhausted in the evening, but I kept studying for 1-2h a day. And then BAM, suddenly my school got everything right and I was set to go in 4 weeks!!! Problem: I wasn't even done going through all the stuff ONCE. So I started turbo mode and finished everything with 2 weeks out. Then I started repeating everything. But I couldn't finish... I tried everything, slept for 5h/day, drank every legal stimulant drink there is on the market for nearly 2 weeks, but still.. way to much stuff. I got to finish repeating everything except Biochemistry, Pharm and Pathology. I had a good night sleep before the exam (who wouldn't after 2 weeks of 5h/d), but of course I still felt very tired the next morning.

    Exam: Very easy, very straightforward. 80% of the questions were just "what's the diagnosis, what's the mechanism". Rarely you would have to think more than 1 Step. The mix of questions was quite balanced. There was 1 WTF question on my exam and maybe a few that took me long to figure out.

    Pathology: Of course the most important topic. I had learned a lot of the stuff 3-4 months ago, therefore it took me quite a while to remember and put the stuff together during the exam. Because of that I got into time trouble, but I looked a few thing up after the exam and they were the very classic presentation (e.g. I had forgotten that you get splenomegaly in ET, but still got it right, yay ;)). Goljan + FA = 100% of the questions.

    Physiology: Not a lot, in my exam quite underrepresented. BRS will do the thing.

    Pharm: Straight forward, except for 1 questions where I hadn't heard of the drug that was asked about. Really, FA is the ONLY thing you need for that. Unfortunately I didn't get to repeat everything, so I got only 50% of the questions right. I'm still mad about that.

    Behav.Science: Very very easy. BRS will do the thing.

    Biochemistry: A few vitamins here and a few pathways there. There were 2-3 questions about storage diseases, but nothing too fancy. FA is the way to go.

    Anatomy: Got quite a lot here, good mix of Ana/Neuro/Embryo. But the neuro questions were quite hard. They asked for a specific region that was lettered, but the letters were all next to eachother and I couldn't really remember the pinpoint exact locations of them. FA definitely comes up short here. HY neuro helped a bit, but there were still a few weeeiird questions.

    Microbiology: Quite a lot there, FA + UW will do the thing. Nothing fancy. In fact, I could swear I had seen a few questions in UW.

    So all in all, a really fair exam. I swear to God, if I had finished repeating everything I would have gotten a 290 in this exam. No kidding. My original goal was to get 260+ because I wanted to apply for a surgery residency, but now I think I can be happy if I get 230. It's just so depressing... (No offense to you guys, but an IMG needs a higher score)

    A few hints for you guys:

    1. Once you have gone through the stuff and Uworld, you will see that FA has 90% of the content that's on the exam. If you can "feel" what FA wants to tell you and you can tie in the connections (instead of just studying useless facts), then you're more than ready to go. For the rest use Goljan RR and a few supplements for your weaknesses.

    2. I had the Goljan audio, but rarely listened to it. Mainly when I was bored. I listened to 4-5 lectures, but honestly, there were about 5 questions that I remembered straight out of the audio file!! Asked exactly the way he presented it! I would listen to it guys... That stuff isn't outdated.

    3. Take a break after each block. Go to the toilet even if you don't have to necessarily. It sucks when it's urgent and you are in the middle of a block.

    So the message is: FA + UW = 95% of the stuff. I didn't believe it either... but it's very true. I went through UW (100%). End% was 80+. In the last few weeks I was hitting between 85 and 95%. If I didn't have to keep a deadline I would have postponed the exam for 1-2 weeks. DON'T TAKE THE EXAM WHEN YOU ARE NOT READY. It sucks to realize that you you've learned everything but can't recall it. Take 1 more week and revise if necessary. I hope you guys do well, you can take Step1 only once in your life.... (And btw if this was a question stem in your exam, it would be time to assess whether I'm delusional or suicidal ;))
    Last edited: 03.26.12
  40. Hitman1187

    Hitman1187

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    thanks alot buddy , relieved me alot before the exam ...
    goodluck , it will be great ........
  41. bennybrak

    bennybrak

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    Thanks so much!! I'll surely keep ur advice. Still stuck to FA and Uworld. Annotating into FA..going so slowly, and it's taking all my energy. Congrats...wish you a great score!
  42. justd0it87

    justd0it87

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    Thought I'd might join the thread and support the "UW + FA" camp. I've been constantly reading up on SDN threads and talking to residents and senior students at our school and it seems the majority, if not all, have supported going through as many questions as you can in UWorld (not even other qbanks) and covering FA. A minority have even vowed by Uworld solely. Supplements can be used to augment important topics in depth but should not be relied on heavily (wish I knew that before I invested in some of these review books). Would like to hear from you guys about your study plans so far in terms of covering first year material, though. Still on the fence about how much review I should do from supplements regarding 1st year material.
  43. medulla465

    medulla465

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    has anyone that has gotten results back since using pathoma? there's so many conflicting opinions and i'm a little nervous about using it at the moment
  44. islandCrazy

    islandCrazy

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    Go to the experience thread of 2011 and you will find plenty of people used Pathoma, even before half the videos were finish.
  45. Robot Skeleton

    Robot Skeleton

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    I used it. Can't quantify how many extra points it earned me, but I think it served its purpose well. At the very least it won't hurt you, so no reason to be nervous.
  46. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    Yeah, I don't see any reason to wonder about it. It's a concise resource that can help you if you use it... probably won't help you as much as some of the more comprehensive resources (Goljan lectures + RR Path), but it'll give you more than FA alone. Just make sure it's not your only path resource... at least spend some time with FA if you can, and if you have the time to listen to the Goljan lectures, he has some pearls in there.
  47. medulla465

    medulla465

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    03.27.12
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    i guess im only nervous since everyone else around me seems to be using rapid review path. i just wasn't sure how much extra material id be missing by using pathoma instead.

    im using a combo of FA + UWorld + Pathoma at the moment and might listen to goljan audio if i get a chance later on. just wasn't sure if using pathoma would end up hindering me from getting a higher score in the end.
  48. shan564

    shan564 Below the fray

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    Well, Pathoma won't "hinder" you... but I think your real question is whether it'll help you as much as RR. And the answer to that is definitely "no."

    On the other hand, the question you probably should be asking is whether you can justify spending the extra time on RR. It's definitely the more comprehensive text of the two, but if you're pressed for time, you're better off doing all of Pathoma rather than half of RR. And it seems like you might not even have time for the Goljan audio, which suggests to me that you definitely don't have time for RR.

    Plenty of people say that FA + UW covers almost everything you need to know, but only you know your own weaknesses. Personally, I'm using Pathoma to supplement First Aid in the areas that I don't know too well. RR is just too big for me to cover in its entirety before my exam.
  49. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels Moderator Gold Donor

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    Good luck to those waiting to hear!
  50. djquickfingers

    djquickfingers Member

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    Agree..RR looks great, and I've dabbled in the audios, but pressed for time, its just too much...Pathoma will do for me...I think if you can make the connections in your head like Goljan does, you'll be good...just keep asking the questions "what's next" or "how"

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