Scrubs101

5+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2015
1,840
3,776
Status
  1. Medical Student
Sorry for formatting made on phone.

I debated writing this post for a while just because i feel as though im still not in a position to be giving advice on the matter. Imposter syndrome and what not. But i have a few non-material related tips i wanted to give.



So ima start off and say, i wasnt predicted to score this high and i think i had a fair amount of test day luck. My exam felt harder than nbmes and UW. I had lots of novel lab test qs and more embryo than id like. So i felt i had a generous curve in my favor. I recalled 30qs and 14 were wrong, some of which would have been 80% correct on UW.



First off, i went through a harsh breakup with my longterm S/O two weeks before my exam. Which resulted in me moving out and moving elsewhere just prior to my exam. It brought back a lot of anxiety that i used to struggle with at the beginning of med school. Constant panic attacks and an inability to focus (burnout def made it worse) near the end of my studying and during my exam were not fun to deal with. The advice i want to give regarding this is DONT put off your loved ones and things you care about entirely during dedicated. I would leave home either while she was still in bed on the weekend or right after she left for work on the weekday and come home well after she was asleep at night. With the combination of a semester of my hardest class ever in the spring with weekly exams directly into dedicated i probably went 6months with minimal meaningful conversation and interaction with my SO. Which resulted in us drifting apart heavily, while living together. The extra x amount of points i got for stopping studying at midnight instead of 9-10 definitely werent worth it, and while i think things ended for the best as i proved incapable of being there for her, theres not a day that goes by that i dont consider how things would have been if i had done things slightly differently with my schedule.



Next up, burn out. I got less and less efficient as dedicated went on. My reviews became less and less thorough. I was an absolute mess by about half way through my dedicated. For the love of god, please take time off. Plan to do something you enjoy semi regularly with friends, family, loved ones, etcPlease dont push yourself too hard. Im lucky my school gives us a ton of time off for dedicated and i could take 10weeks and still get 5-6 weeks off after (still on break and still recovering), bless those of you who burnt out and jumped straight into rotations.



Take care of yourself. My workouts and diet went to **** during dedicated especially and in med school in general. Its something everyones gonna tell you and youre just gonna be like “yeah of course ill take care of myself”, but seriously make it a god darn priority. Plan for it like you plan for your studying, prioritize it ABOVE whatever extra thing you wanna study that day, you get to the end of the night and tell yourself “i could do another block instead of going to the gym” or mid day go “i could order a pizza to my location and be able to study and save time”. Nah, f that, youre gonna do two UW blocks a day religiously, you can make lunch and workout everyday religiously.



Get a group of friends and hold each other accountable to their plans/goals, and also be there for each other as someone to bring them back down to earth about being realistic in their studying attempts. Going through this shi* storm with friends made it so much more tolerable.





Alright onto the typical standard studying advice/info about me



US DO student, top of class, 4.0 preclinical

Undergrad 3.3gpa 505 MCAT

10 week dedicated

Started board studying in december of MS2, but used a lot of board materials through MS1/MS2



For those MS1s eagerly prowling the step forums this ones for you. STUDYING HARD AND DOING WELL IN PRECLINICAL WAS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING I DID BY FAR. Now im not here to argue there arent people that can Cs get degrees through med school and pull out 260+. There are, and good on those people. But for me, the majority of the HYs for step are easy enough to learn during dedicated (cough pathoma cough). But the low yields that make up the exam came easier to me because i had already made an effort to learn them before while attempting to learn all the minutiae for class exams. Im not saying the minutiae for my class exams was 100% applicable to step either, more like 1-2% of the bs minutiae i learned came up ever again. So overall big amount of time for little pay off, but worth it in the end as the majority of the exam can be learned in dedicated through HY resources and doing questions so wtf else would i do through ms1 (guess i could of had more of a life if anything).



Disclaimer about the above, im not advocating for more minutiae based bs phd written exams in med school. Its absolutely minimal on step, and i got a fair amount of HY topics wrong on my test day. So i could have easily traded getting more HYs right and minutiae wrong. Or i could have just done more zanki/FC to get the small details down, but as i said my dedicated wasnt 100% efficient all the time so doing well in class in the first two years essentially acted as a crutch for me to lean back on.



That reminds me of another thing i want to mention. I CONSTANTLY thought i wasnt doing enough and that theres SO many other things i could be doing. Anytime a friend or online colleague mentioned doing something i wasnt doing it drove me crazy, “should i be doing that? Am i doing this all wrong?”. Nah, do what works best for you! If what youre doing isnt working for you or is working against you is when you can try throwing in new/diff things. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. I 100% know its easier said than done, but please at least try.



Resources:



Cramfighter: 10/10, used this starting in December. Made separate schedules for board stuff i could do during breaks/classes/dedicated. Followed them as best as i could but there were several times i had to adjust due to scheduling too much stuff, and thats OKAY.



Zanki: 10/10 80ish percent matured stopped at beginning of dedicated, rapid review deck before usmle on cram mode. Start this in MS1, do it religiously if you can and youll crush step no questions asked. I started in august MS2 and I started skipping my cards more and more in my last semester. Got to the point in nov/dec i was doing 2k+ cards a day, it was hell and could have been avoided by starting in MS1.



Firecracker: did about half of the cards through first year and a couple hundred qs, used info bank for reference to review UW qs. Another great resource, its just hard to start with IMO. Had i started in MS2 i think i would have stuck with it. But the cards i selected included a lot of info about other subjects/stuff i hadnt learned yet which made doing them v hard IMO. But it was a while ago since i did their cards so i may just be remembering it incorrectly. Totally worth it as a review bank of info alone tho. 10/10 for the info bank alone, wont be applying a rating to the flashcards as its been so long i cant give an honest review atm.



Goljan audio = 8/10 2x passes, would listen to it on every drive which were mostly short 10-15min drives so i slowly tackled this one bit at a time. Enjoyable to listen to, got a few qs right because of this alone for sure. Not entirely up to date, and definitely not an all inclusive path resource anymore.



Pathoma = 10000/10 3x, passes just in dedicated. Best resource by FAR, included 95% of all path on my exam. Know this cover to cover and youll be a path rockstar.



Sketchy 10/10 resource

Sketchy micro = 1x pass in jan ms2, had my first pass in MS1 but not including pre-step studying stuff. This will cover 90% of bugs you’ll encounter

Sketchy pharm = 1x, entirely worth it. Wouldnt know drugs without it. Not all encompassing tho.

Sketchy path = 0x, watched nephrotic/phritic videos in ms1 and my knowledge on the subject is still rooted in those two vids



Bnb = 10/10 50% (excluding videos watched in school year, watched all of them through preclinicals). Use this to brush up on weak points in dedicated, watch all throughout preclinical. Dr ryan is a god.



FA = 6/10 2x, read it for completion sack and to reassure myself i was confident in most of the material. Picked up some tiny details each pass, overall not the best use of time but still worth it.



Rx= 75% at 50% done, solid way to review FA. But overall a wishy washy qbank, just tests if you know the tiny details in FA sometimes. Did throughout ms1/2



Kaplan = 83% at 20% done, first two weeks of dedicated. Good for physio, better than rx IMO.



Kaplan school assessment = 73%



Amboss assessment = 75% = 249 =10weeks out, i like amboss a lot and if it had been more highly recommended by successful peers i probably would have used it over rx and kaplan. Maybe even > than UW because i can copy and paste and use their images for my self made cards.



Uworld = 84% one pass timed random, do UW at least once for sure. This should be an absolute goal.



Do as many practice tests as you can. I HATE that im going to say this but....yes even the nbmes. More practice is what you want, and even though the nbmes are the most low effort for profit BS content ive ever paid for. They were worth it. Id like to say do more qs with explanations over the nbmes if you have them at your disposal though. But first pass > second pass, so more nbmes > a second pass of UW. But id like to say another qbank with explanations> a few more nbmes.



UWSA 1 =262 at 6 weeks out

USWA 2= 264 at 3 days out

Free 120= 84% at 3 days out

NBME 16 = 236 = 8 weeks out

NBME 17 = 252 at 7 weeks out (84%, idk why this is in my notes but for those curious)

NBME 18 = 255 at 5 days out

NBME 19 = 240 = 9 weeks out

NBME 20 = 246 = 5 weeks out

NBME 21 = 259 = 4 weeks out

NBME 22 = 248 = 3 weeks out

NBME 23 = 252 = 2.5 weeks outs

NBME 24 = 250 = 2 weeks out

Comsae 105 = 617 3.5weeks out



Other resources i tried but didnt stick with:

Physeo, honestly great if you struggle with physio. But my school taught it fairly well and BNB had me covered for what i needed to brush up on.

DirtyUSMLE: watched one or two videos, he’s dope to listen to for sure. No complaints here, maybe a good substitute if you dont like goljan.



Finally, your score wont define you as a person. How you act and what you do as a person will be how you are remembered. So do good, and be kind to others and the vast majority of people wont give a sh** how you did on usmle step 1. Youll look back on this process years from now and laugh at how neurotic you were.



Cheers to those about to take the beast/those still in preclinical, y’all keep on keep on. Best of luck!

Feel free to ask qs PM or in the thread

PS: i promise im not a reptilian alien (because this is totally how i viewed people with good scores during preclinicals)

Will probably update this thread with what i did for comlex once i get that score back

Updates: Comlex 787
TBH i felt like i could have failed comlex walking out. It was such a shi* show of repeat qs, BS ethics, out of left field micro, and obscure OMM (my OMM section was by far my lowest). I was def at a low point during comlex and was flipping between not giving a F and straight up guessing on some qs and having panic attacks during other blocks. The timing of the exam is by far the worst part, 400qs, 9hrs, two 10min breaks only every 2hrs. 10mins isnt even enough time to get out of the testing room let alone use the bathroom and drink some water... whatever i hated this exam onto the actual advice
Watched half of onlinemeded before comsae other half after my usmle, then did omgomt video taking notes on hard stuff to remember like chapmans pts (tbh i didnt know these or counterstrain well at all going into my exam, there were some things i just told myself if i get a q on it ill chalk it up. The burn out was real). Then i read all of greenbook and did the qs in it after each chapter.
Looking back on it i def should have taken comlex more seriously, like picking up a comlex qbank or taking more comlex practice tests. But i was just so burnt out by the time my exam came around i couldnt force myself to do anything.
IMO it feels like the CI on these comlex scores is like +/- 100pts, theres no accurate prediction tool from what i can tell and a crap correlation with usmle score just based off observations with classmates and other posters (havent ever looked at data on this but im sure its out there and i may be wrong)
Best advice i can give is to take usmle before comlex, i felt the comlex was a much harder exam and made me feel like crap afterwards. It felt like it had a bunch of "unfair" questions compared to usmle which i felt accurately assessed my knowledge. Studying for the usmle will prepare you for the majority of whats on the comlex (no one can prepare for the out of left field qs tho, so dont beat yourself down about those if you get them. just guess and move on, i did that so many times on my exam its not even funny). OMM takes a week MAX to study for, even a week i think is a recipe for burnout. probs 2-3 full days min IMO.
Overall im very happy with my score, I just have a lot of beef with COMLEX. Sorry for mixing my complaints with advice lol.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
  • Wow
  • Love
Reactions: 10 users

AnatomyGrey12

5+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2015
11,165
26,963
Midwest
Status
  1. Medical Student
For those MS1s eagerly prowling the step forums this ones for you. STUDYING HARD AND DOING WELL IN PRECLINICAL WAS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING I DID BY FAR. Now im not here to argue there arent people that can Cs get degrees through med school and pull out 260+. There are, and good on those people. But for me, the majority of the HYs for step are easy enough to learn during dedicated (cough pathoma cough). But the low yields that make up the exam came easier to me because i had already made an effort to learn them before while attempting to learn all the minutiae for class exams. Im not saying the minutiae for my class exams was 100% applicable to step either, more like 1-2% of the bs minutiae i learned came up ever again. So overall big amount of time for little pay off, but worth it in the end as the majority of the exam can be learned in dedicated through HY resources and doing questions so wtf else would i do through ms1 (guess i could of had more of a life if anything

Just want to come in and second this. I came into medical school under the delusion that "ignore class and focus on boards" was the best way to go. I was wrong. It is, in fact, possible to study hard for class and get great grades while also reviewing and keeping up with board material if you are good at time management. I found this out too late. I ended up doing pretty well on boards, a mere 240s mortal here not a 260 GOD like Scrubs, but I fully believe that if I would have made grades more of a focus that my score would have been higher. The little details you think aren't "board relevant" that come up in class are the items that show up on Step and are what I believe make the difference between solid scores and unseemly ones. I don't regret how I did things, but looking back I could have done things different and been more effective and what Scrub's outlines here is exactly how I would go back and do it.

tldr. Scrubs is the man, listen to his advice and it will carry you far.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 3 users

Scrubs101

5+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2015
1,840
3,776
Status
  1. Medical Student
Just want to come in and second this. I came into medical school under the delusion that "ignore class and focus on boards" was the best way to go. I was wrong. It is, in fact, possible to study hard for class and get great grades while also reviewing and keeping up with board material if you are good at time management. I found this out too late. I ended up doing pretty well on boards, a mere 240s mortal here not a 260 GOD like Scrubs, but I fully believe that if I would have made grades more of a focus that my score would have been higher. The little details you think aren't "board relevant" that come up in class are the items that show up on Step and are what I believe make the difference between solid scores and unseemly ones. I don't regret how I did things, but looking back I could have done things different and been more effective and what Scrub's outlines here is exactly how I would go back and do it.

tldr. Scrubs is the man, listen to his advice and it will carry you far.
Thanks homie!!! But we are all mere mortals as we live in the same plan of existence that the master of both science and bone magic AT still himself once belonged to ;)

But honesty im just glad we both ended up with scores that allow us to do what we wanted to do. Its been a long time coming bro and its great to see the hard word paying off!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
About the Ads

georgia_boy1

5+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2014
1,072
521
Status
  1. Medical Student
First of all, congrats on absolutely crushing Step even with an average MCAT score. This is my biggest fear and it’s good to know it’s possible. So my whole goal when I get to dedicated is to just focus on questions. So how do you go about lightly, but still passively study for boards throughout MS1 so that you’re able to go through board resources multiple times before even getting to dedicated? I know start Zanki day 1. But I’ll have resources like Pathoma, Sketchy, and B&B day one just based on the classes we take for our 18 month curriculum. Should I use those materials to learn the material prior to lecture and then focus on learning lecture material well? Or should I flip that process and watch videos after I’ve done lecture ?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Scrubs101

5+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2015
1,840
3,776
Status
  1. Medical Student
First of all, congrats on absolutely crushing Step even with an average MCAT score. This is my biggest fear and it’s good to know it’s possible. So my whole goal when I get to dedicated is to just focus on questions. So how do you go about lightly, but still passively study for boards throughout MS1 so that you’re able to go through board resources multiple times before even getting to dedicated? I know start Zanki day 1. But I’ll have resources like Pathoma, Sketchy, and B&B day one just based on the classes we take for our 18 month curriculum. Should I use those materials to learn the material prior to lecture and then focus on learning lecture material well? Or should I flip that process and watch videos after I’ve done lecture ?
Thanks!! No worries about the MCAT, step is an entirely different exam. My reading comprehension capabilities are below average and i feel like the MCAT punished me hard for that on all sections. You will also be an entirely different student in med school than you were for undergrad, your MCAT doesnt define you beyond med school apps.

With regards to school, yes use all those resources along side school materials. What id do is go over lectures 1-2 times, go over review materials, then go over lectures 1-2more times. Those review materials were far from all encompassing for my school exams, so itd just use them to make sure i have the major concepts down before taking on the minutiae. You can do it in any order tho, need help understand school lectures before you review them? Use resources before. Having trouble jumping right into using review resources as primary resources? Start with lectures. All depends on what works best for you and kinda how well your school lectures are taught!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Mr. D.O.five

2+ Year Member
Sep 6, 2016
682
591
Status
  1. Medical Student
Congrats man! Love seeing DO students kill USMLE! Hopefully its my turn in 12 days!
 
  • Love
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

cptsam

2+ Year Member
May 25, 2017
91
61
Status
  1. Medical Student
Congrats on the score man!

What was your workflow like during your pre-clinical years before dedicated? Also, what specialty are you aiming for?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Scrubs101

5+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2015
1,840
3,776
Status
  1. Medical Student
Congrats man! Love seeing DO students kill USMLE! Hopefully its my turn in 12 days!
Thanks!!! You crushed it homie no doubt ✊✊✊try not to think about it too much if ya can, the wait def sucked but the farther away i got from the test day the better it got
 

Scrubs101

5+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2015
1,840
3,776
Status
  1. Medical Student
Congrats on the score man!

What was your workflow like during your pre-clinical years before dedicated? Also, what specialty are you aiming for?
Thanks!!

Pre clinicals i didnt have a set daily schedule but i usually had weekly/biweekly exams. So id do 1-2 passes of school material, do board review material thats relevant, then another pass or two of school material crammed before the exam. Anki or FC everyday no matter what (fall of ms2 became pretty much 90% of everyday was anki). I didnt do many practice qs except for occasionally over breaks or ones supplied by my school. Then i also tried to workout everyday!

Im thinking ortho right now, but am also considering ent, IR, rads, gas, EM, and GS! Havent really done much exploring yet, hopefully will find out for sure soon!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

wonko

aspiring lightning bonesetter
2+ Year Member
May 8, 2015
403
843
Status
  1. DO/PhD Student
First of all, I know scrubsie in person, and he's a great dude and the perfect classmate - encouraging, always friendly, willing to share what and how he does it. He is the teamplayer admissions talk about and while we never hung out outside of school, I'll certainly remember his name and hope to bump into him whenever the future allows too. Thanks for the write up, I agree 100% with all of what you said and I think its very true.

One thing I want to point out: People all over the internet **** about their in person classes, how much they hate it, how bad they are, how they don't teach you for boards bla bla bla. People in our class did that all the time. It's probably not true for you, certainly it wasn't true for @Scrubs101 and me. Most instructors care and teach well and the lectures you receive are the very foundation on which you build. People that show up, engage, do better than those "**** it, I just grind anki" kids in both classes and boards in my experience. Are there exceptions? Sure. Are you (Looking at you, M1) the exception? Probably not.

Then i also tried to workout everyday!
We were able to tell, A"DO"nis :kiss: :love:
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 5 users

Scrubs101

5+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2015
1,840
3,776
Status
  1. Medical Student
First of all, I know scrubsie in person, and he's a great dude and the perfect classmate - encouraging, always friendly, willing to share what and how he does it. He is the teamplayer admissions talk about and while we never hung out outside of school, I'll certainly remember his name and hope to bump into him whenever the future allows too. Thanks for the write up, I agree 100% with all of what you said and I think its very true.

One thing I want to point out: People all over the internet **** about their in person classes, how much they hate it, how bad they are, how they don't teach you for boards bla bla bla. People in our class did that all the time. It's probably not true for you, certainly it wasn't true for @Scrubs101 and me. Most instructors care and teach well and the lectures you receive are the very foundation on which you build. People that show up, engage, do better than those "**** it, I just grind anki" kids in both classes and boards in my experience. Are there exceptions? Sure. Are you (Looking at you, M1) the exception? Probably not.


We were able to tell, A"DO"nis :kiss: :love:

Thanks a bunch bb bone setter ❤️, we attacked life with the energy and enthusiasm unknown to man kind!!! Cant fail at anything with that attitude!
 
  • Love
Reactions: 1 user
This thread is more than 1 year old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.
About the Ads