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APMLE PART 1 - 2020

outofstep

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First testing date is tomorrow. Whether you’re taking it tomorrow or at a later date, good luck! We’ve got this! Feel free to discuss general (please remember that we do sign a legal agreement prior to taking the test) feelings about the exam as we await our scores.
 
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DexterMorganSK

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Good luck to those who took it today and those that will take it in the coming weeks. Please share your study resources and prep overall once you receive the passing score. Refrain from talking about actual exam questions, as stated above. Thanks!
 
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med2345

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Everyone in my class found it pretty to extremely difficult. Even the gunners. A whole lot of wtf mixed with terminology I’ve never seen. Lots of wtf biochem, physio, immuno. Lower was pretty fair besides some terminology.
 
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outofstep

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Everyone in my class found it pretty to extremely difficult. Even the gunners. A whole lot of wtf mixed with terminology I’ve never seen. Lots of wtf biochem, physio, immuno. Lower was pretty fair besides some terminology.
Yooooooo! The exact same feeling here. There were so many little details and things that I don’t even recall ever seeing. It’s gonna be a long few weeks. Original score release date was 07/29. Don’t know if that’s changed since the administration window’s been extended for two weeks.
 
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astragalustalus

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Yooooooo! The exact same feeling here. There were so many little details and things that I don’t even recall ever seeing. It’s gonna be a long few weeks. Original score release date was 07/29. Don’t know if that’s changed since the administration window’s been extended for two weeks.
any tips for someone testing in 2 weeks?
 
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de Ribas

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I didn't expect it to be so challenging. I hope I passed, but there were some detailed questions of the things I never heard before. I thought I knew lower limb like back of my hand. Didn't expect I would see questions that are vague and that I didn't know. There is just no way to study for them. Read whole Pathoma book and did Anki Pathoma and still there were Path questions I didnt know.

I am still confused how it is graded. So there are 205 questions. Do we need to get like 155 out of 205 to get 75% and pass? Or how does scoring work?
 
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PTPuser

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I didn't expect it to be so challenging. I hope I passed, but there were many detailed questions of the things I never heard before. I thought I knew lower limb like back of my hand. Didn't expect I would see questions that are vague and that I didnt know. There is just no way to study for them. Read whole Pathoma book and did Anki Pathoma and still there were Path questions I didnt know.

I am still confused how it is graded. So there are 205 questions. Do we need to get like 155 out of 205 to get 75% and pass? Or how does scoring work?

Rooting for you!!
 
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xoxo111

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I am a second-year who's gonna take boards next year but this scares me to see that people thought it was extremely difficult! I am already in the bottom 30% of my class and according to my school, the bottom 40% always have a good chance of not passing (major eye roll) so this is like a horror movie for me lol
 
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OblivionGD

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Just took the exam today, I must admit it was on the more difficult side. Lots of tertiary style questions for the "hard" ones. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say what my exam was heavy on since it is different for everyone, but the only thing that may have slightly helped me do better was simply doing more practice questions. Otherwise, I feel what was stated before applies to me as well. Only difference is that I am one of those "gunners" and I can tell you it was difficult for sure.

Definitely got a lot of POORLY worded questions/answer choices that should be thrown out 100%.

I also think its funny that board vitals gives us access to the "labs value" reference sheet but on the actual exam, it's not available.

I hope we all pass!
 
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OblivionGD

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I didn't expect it to be so challenging. I hope I passed, but there were many detailed questions of the things I never heard before. I thought I knew lower limb like back of my hand. Didn't expect I would see questions that are vague and that I didnt know. There is just no way to study for them. Read whole Pathoma book and did Anki Pathoma and still there were Path questions I didnt know.

I am still confused how it is graded. So there are 205 questions. Do we need to get like 155 out of 205 to get 75% and pass? Or how does scoring work?


There is a post by the guy who has a picture is of Bernie Sanders (sorry I forgot your username and I'm too lazy to find it right now) about the breakdown of the exam scoring. Search APMLE Step 1 or something of this nature and it'll pop up or Dexter will be as amazing as he always is and give you the direct link.
 
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DexterMorganSK

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I didn't expect it to be so challenging. I hope I passed, but there were some detailed questions of the things I never heard before. I thought I knew lower limb like back of my hand. Didn't expect I would see questions that are vague and that I didn't know. There is just no way to study for them. Read whole Pathoma book and did Anki Pathoma and still there were Path questions I didnt know.

I am still confused how it is graded. So there are 205 questions. Do we need to get like 155 out of 205 to get 75% and pass? Or how does scoring work?

The grading part is very confusing but I believe it follows the method listed in the link below...very difficult to know the passing % for the exam taken at a particular day. However, don't worry too much about it for now...the majority do pass it.

 
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med2345

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I personally thought the questions were harder than APMLE but somewhat easier than BV.
I also completely agree with this statement. Somewhere between the harder BV questions and the APMLE questions is overall what the test felt like. Not counting the give me’s that no one should get wrong
 
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de Ribas

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The grading part is very confusing but I believe it follows the method listed in the link below...very difficult to know the passing % for the exam taken at a particular day. However, don't worry too much about it for now...the majority do pass it.

The "majority" part really brings peace of mind. :)
 
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de Ribas

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I personally thought the questions were harder than APMLE but somewhat easier than BV.
Same here. BV are too broad and detailed with long question blocks. Doing BV will not directly help with boards, but seeing what you still don't know, and even reading their explanations provides additional knowledge for you to make an educated guess on exam. I feel like for about 1/4 you use your general knowledge and make educated guesses after eliminating 1-2 other obviously wrong answers choices. It's not your school exams where they directly ask you questions from PPTs or handouts. If you miss those, you can always go back to your notes and find direct answer you missed. For this exam you will need to be strategic and use your general knowledge about topics and often make educated guesses.

APMLE practice exams are good to give you more realistic idea of what to expect and to build some confidence as well as tell you what you still don't know.

If you are sure about 130 questions, eliminated down to 2 options on 50, and completely guessed on other 20, even then you should pass.
 
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futuredr305

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Congrats to all who took the test. The odds are in your favor (statistically) so try not to worry about it til the results are out. I say that, but I also set up a retake study schedule soon after I took part 1 cause I also didn't feel too great. It's normal.


I am still confused how it is graded. So there are 205 questions. Do we need to get like 155 out of 205 to get 75% and pass? Or how does scoring work?


Regarding the scoring, this post did an excellent job breaking it all down.

 
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de Ribas

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Congrats to all who took the test. The odds are in your favor (statistically) so try not to worry about it til the results are out. I say that, but I also set up a retake study schedule soon after I took part 1 cause I also didn't feel too great. It's normal.





Regarding the scoring, this post did an excellent job breaking it all down.

Thank you
 
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MA1978

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Hi Guys, I took the exam on the first. While taking the exam, I was pretty confident on most. I flagged like 50, of which I confirmed I got like 25 wrong for sure. Anxiety is killing me. Now that I see fellow reflections of the exam, I agree that the exam was very random and difficult. Some questions were a joke, and others were like WTF is this? I don't think the study method will affect your exam performance, it is pure luck. What questions you get are random, and one should hope for questions that relate to the stuff they covered. I believe like 10 questions were things I never had seen before. Good luck to everyone, let's see what happens.
 
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outofstep

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any tips for someone testing in 2 weeks?
Sorry for the late response. Honestly, I don’t really have any tips. I feel like no amount of extra studying would have made me feel confident about this test. One thing though: trust your gut. There were so many questions I almost talked myself into changing my answer last minute, but I’m really glad I stuck with it.
 
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ConsciousCalc

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Sorry for the late response. Honestly, I don’t really have any tips. I feel like no amount of extra studying would have made me feel confident about this test. One thing though: trust your gut. There were so many questions I almost talked myself into changing my answer last minute, but I’m really glad I stuck with it.

I agree with this. Changed a few questions myself that I shouldn't have.
 
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DexterMorganSK

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Agree the exam was harder than I was expecting. I don't know how I could have studied differently to better prepare

I don't think anyone feels 100% ready for any board exam..we just do our best and make educated guesses on wtf questions and move on.
And by that, the majority pass. Be positive and enjoy clinicals.
 
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Schrodinger's Dog

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Edit: Passed

Thanks to everyone in previous years who has spent time contributing to study tips for the exam. Particularly, @bobtheweazel 's insight into using the curricular guide to determine if something was worth studying or not (only studying 3.0+ for high yield subjects, and only 3.5-4.0 for low yield things like biochem).

Impressions: I thought the exam was challenging but I was confident that I passed walking out of there. I marked about 10 questions and checked those questions after I left and got 8/10 correct, which goes along with the "go with your gut" sentiment mentioned above.

Resources: I used sketchy micro, sketchy pharm, pathoma, (and the sultanpepper anki decks that accompany those, found on Reddit), anki cards made from LEA last year during my school's class, did not study physiology or biochem or immuno. I used the "Dorian anatomy" anki deck found on reddit for general anatomy. I thought that Dorian deck was INCREDIBLY high yield. Only 230 cards and it basically covered every single general anatomy question I got on the exam. Pathoma covered a lot of the high yield physiolgy, biochem, and immuno when Dr. Sattar would explain the "normal" before explaining the "abnormal", so I didn't feel like I had to study those subjects.

Schedule / study strategy: Here's (below) the study schedule I made for myself. Yellow highlights were just notes to myself that I had completed that "assignment". As you can see on there, I had phys listed (was going to use BRS) but then after doing board vitals questions, decided not do continue with BRS physiology. The schedule may look a little weird, that is because this is how it actually went, i.e. I adjusted the schedule daily-weekly to adjust to if I had worked ahead or got behind. For instance I originally had stuff scheduled to study June 3-5 but something came up and so I just had to push those days elsewhere. I used that curricular guide to decide which chapters of pathoma to do. For anatomy and LEA, I just divided the number of Anki cards I had by 100 (for LEA) or 50 (gen anatomy) and then assigned that.

For pharm, micro and pathology, after I would watch the video (the sketch or the pathoma), I would do the corresponding anki cards. The number of review cards really started to add up during the last two weeks of studying, but it ensured that every single detail I had studied thus far was still remembered. All the sultanpepper anki decks can be found here or on reddit with a quick search.

Practice Questions: I only went through Board Vitals once, contrary to popular belief that one should do it 2 or 3 times. After the 1st time through all the Q's, I did a practice test of all the questions I had missed, and the % correct was high enough, that I felt like I wasn't being tested on my understanding anymore, just my ability to recall a question I had seen before. The AMPLE practice tests were great and quick.

Before I started studying each subject, I would do 20-50 Board vitals questions for that subject to see what types of things I should be keying in on while studying. I didn't touch that BV subject again till after I had completely finished the subject.

Day before the exam I just looked at the pictures for most sketchy's, glanced at my pathoma notes, did a few of my Anki reviews that were due that day, but mostly relaxed.

I hope this can help someone a year from now when it is the class of 2023's turn!

1594999336913.png
 

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OblivionGD

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Thanks to everyone in previous years who has spent time contributing to study tips for the exam. Particularly, @bobtheweazel 's insight into using the curricular guide to determine if something was worth studying or not (only studying 3.0+ for high yield subjects, and only 3.5-4.0 for low yield things like biochem).

Impressions: I thought the exam was challenging but I was confident that I passed walking out of there. I marked about 10 questions and checked those questions after I left and got 8/10 correct, which goes along with the "go with your gut" sentiment mentioned above.

Resources: I used sketchy micro, sketchy pharm, pathoma, (and the sultanpepper anki decks that accompany those, found on Reddit), anki cards made from LEA last year during my school's class, did not study physiology or biochem or immuno. I used the "Dorian anatomy" anki deck found on reddit for general anatomy. I thought that Dorian deck was INCREDIBLY high yield. Only 230 cards and it basically covered every single general anatomy question I got on the exam. Pathoma covered a lot of the high yield physiolgy, biochem, and immuno when Dr. Sattar would explain the "normal" before explaining the "abnormal", so I didn't feel like I had to study those subjects.

Schedule / study strategy: Here's (below) the study schedule I made for myself. Yellow highlights were just notes to myself that I had completed that "assignment". As you can see on there, I had phys listed (was going to use BRS) but then after doing board vitals questions, decided not do continue with BRS physiology. The schedule may look a little weird, that is because this is how it actually went, i.e. I adjusted the schedule daily-weekly to adjust to if I had worked ahead or got behind. For instance I originally had stuff scheduled to study June 3-5 but something came up and so I just had to push those days elsewhere. I used that curricular guide to decide which chapters of pathoma to do. For anatomy and LEA, I just divided the number of Anki cards I had by 100 (for LEA) or 50 (gen anatomy) and then assigned that.

For pharm, micro and pathology, after I would watch the video (the sketch or the pathoma), I would do the corresponding anki cards. The number of review cards really started to add up during the last two weeks of studying, but it ensured that every single detail I had studied thus far was still remembered. All the sultanpepper anki decks can be found here or on reddit with a quick search.

Practice Questions: I only went through Board Vitals once, contrary to popular belief that one should do it 2 or 3 times. After the 1st time through all the Q's, I did a practice test of all the questions I had missed, and the % correct was high enough, that I felt like I wasn't being tested on my understanding anymore, just my ability to recall a question I had seen before. The AMPLE practice tests were great and quick.

Before I started studying each subject, I would do 20-50 Board vitals questions for that subject to see what types of things I should be keying in on while studying. I didn't touch that BV subject again till after I had completely finished the subject.

Day before the exam I just looked at the pictures for most sketchy's, glanced at my pathoma notes, did a few of my Anki reviews that were due that day, but mostly relaxed.

I hope this can help someone a year from now when it is the class of 2023's turn!

View attachment 313087


This sounds really good, I wish I had that general anatomy resource. I am impressed you only marked 10. I think I marked around 50 and felt intermediate in my confidence walking out given that there were a few WTF questions. I do agree on the board vitals claim 100%. I must ask, how well are you doing academically?
 
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MidnightSun32

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Do we get email or we have to login somewhere to see the scores? I do not even know where to look for them. :)

You can login to prometric (no idea what time they will be posted)-- I think under test history. I could be wrong about that. My school emails us to let us know scores are available and we can find out via email from them or we can login to prometric. I don't know if all schools do that though.
 
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MidnightSun32

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I passed!!!!! -- My school emailed me.

I used USMLERx videos/worksheets, + first aid. I also did a lot of UWorld questions which I thought were helpful because 1) I learn best by just doing tons of questions and 2) it made me think about things a little more conceptually (also just another way I learn). UWorld probably went too in-depth some of the time but it really helped me with physiology, biochem, pharm, and pathology. I would personally use it again but it was kind of pricey.

I saved board vitals for the last few weeks, but I personally didn't think the questions were very representative. Some were good, but overall I just didn't think they were as hard as the questions on my exam. I went through BV twice. The last week and a half I did about 150 questions a day, 2 days before= 200 questions per day. Before that, I was doing about 50-100 UWorld questions a day, sometimes more.

LE = class notes + 2 passes thru LEA flashcards.
General Anatomy = 1st aid + tons of UWorld questions.

I only did a few sketchy pharm videos and only did the antibiotic sketchy micro videos. APMLE practice tests the week before.

When I was burned out, I took a break or the day off. There was a lot of chatter about what is the best study plan among my peers and people criticized my plan, but I wouldn't change the resources I used. I would've changed a few things about timing/schedule set up but not the resources themselves :)
 
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Dr. Little Foot

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Strategy...

Micro: Sketchy

LEA: LEA flashcards, Ohio LEA

Pharm: notes following Sketchy Pharm's organization but didn't actually watch the videos (friends did and I read their notes)

Gen Anatomy: 100 Concepts

Biochem: just memorized the rate-limiting enzymes for the big metabolic pathways. They're all in First Aid

Physio: I read the anatomy/physio sections in First Aid and then did the questions in BRS Physio

Path: First Aid Rapid Review...but mostly just remembering stuff from class the last two years

I did the first Prometric practice exam early to get a baseline for myself, then did the second one a week before the real thing. Board Vitals in the meantime. I read all answer explanations, probably got through about 90% of the total questions.

I also made a list as I went through questions and discovered things I knew I didn't understand well. Then after I'd gone through all the other stuff, I had the last week or so to just hit that list and make sure I had everything.

Most importantly...I didn't go crazy. Don't goof off, but take it easy. Enjoy life. You can't just study 10 hours a day for 60 days straight.
 
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DR Pod

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LEA: Ohio

Micro: Sketchy. Sketchy actually made it bearable to learn all the microbes. I highly recommend going this route. As far as Immuno went, there was summary of class notes that worked well. Although First Aid would have probably worked also.

Biochem: First Aid

GA: 100 GA Concepts, but I also reviewed old notes on bigger topics. (Ie. Brachial Plexus, Cranial Nerves, etc)

Path: Tbh, not much time was spent here. Quite frankly, I was not asked many difficult path questions. But, there was a quick review that circulated around my class that I was fortunate to get my hands on.

Physio: While I used BRS, I certainly felt it was overkill. Maybe it was just my exam, but, based on my questions, The Bible would have been sufficient enough.

Pharm: A former TUSPM graduate was kind enough to give us a crash course in Pharm with notes on the major drugs and it worked out fantastic. It also helped a bit for physio (ie. autonomics). I heard sketchy pharm was overkill but I cant not attest to that.

I saved my Board Vitals and Practice Exams for the last two weeks to keep it fresh. Maybe a bit risky but I felt confident.

A few months out I made it a point to review some of the lighter material, given we still had a decent course load. Maybe two months prior I tried my best to get it up to 8 hours a day. Then a month out I was doing maybe 12-14 hours a day.
 
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