MDpride

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Hii

I am starting this thread to discuss study strategy for boards 2010 while we study for M2.

I currently plan to go with tau's method. I have bought FISTAID2009. Haven't looked at it yet.

Instead of buying review books to transfer to FIRSTAID as per tau's plan, I plan to use library resources to do so while studying for M2.
Maybe give a few hours a week for transferring to FIRSTAID job.
 

DrVanNostran

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Hii

I am starting this thread to discuss study strategy for boards 2010 while we study for M2.

I currently plan to go with tau's method. I have bought FISTAID2009. Haven't looked at it yet.

Instead of buying review books to transfer to FIRSTAID as per tau's plan, I plan to use library resources to do so while studying for M2.
Maybe give a few hours a week for transferring to FIRSTAID job.
Let it Begin...

I'm using FA 2008, until 2010 comes out in December.

Books I plan on using: FA, BRS Phys, BRS Path, and Goljan Audio (and RR Path during organ systems)

Qbanks: Buying either Rx or Kaplan to use throughout the year, Robbins Questions, and Uworld during actual study time. If I have time, I'm going to try to hit BSS during spring break.

I'm going to use CMMRS during micro and focus on the charts. I'm thinking I might use the charts from here during step 1 time also.

Overall, I'm going to try to have a solid understanding of FA throughout the year and supplement it with questions. Hopefully it works out :eek:
 

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If you really want to do well I wouldn't even start thinking about boards until January
 

GAdoc

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If you really want to do well I wouldn't even start thinking about boards until January
That's good advice...I truly think the best prep is doing as well as possible in years 1 and 2. A lot of people at my school got worked up as early as MS-1 worrying about what they needed to do. Its understandable since the test is critical but learning the material is more important.

I also wouldn't worry about all these resources. I think the biggest danger is trying to do too much. I did pretty well on Step 1...if anyone wants to hear my $0.02 please pm me. I'd be happy to talk about my score and how I studied.
 
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MDpride

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i understand that its too early to start and need to focus on course work.

BUT, i'd like to have strategy in place when its time to start.

ALSO, People who study final 5-6 weeks put around 12-15hrs/day of study time.

Max. I have studied is 5 hrs on a weekend and 2 hrs on weekdays.

I have to take that into consideration while planning strategy.
 
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i understand that its too early to start and need to focus on course work.

BUT, i'd like to have strategy in place when its time to start.

ALSO, People who study final 5-6 weeks put around 12-15hrs/day of study time.

Max. I have studied is 5 hrs on a weekend and 2 hrs on weekdays.

I have to take that into consideration while planning strategy.
better change...and study your ass off during the year. you're not really going to remember anything you review early on. the one thing i liked that i did was go over some of the things I was weak on from the first half of the year after winter break. redid some micro and immuno. made the subjects less foreboding come the real study time. also integrating brs physio into second year systems is worth the time. other than that everything seemed useless.
 

McGillGrad

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The best strategy is to look at review material for 30 minutes per day after studying for your classes. You most likely will not appreciate the comprehensive overview without completing a few of your classes (that you have not completed).

The Taus method is meant to be 10 weeks, not one year.
 

jsong812

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Here's some good advice I got as a m2:

Doing well in your courses is the best way to do well on Step 1. Sounds strange, I know, but there are things you learn over the year that you can’t just pick up in the month of studying. But there are some things you should do if you have time AFTER studying for class:

1. Before each organ system, read BRS physiology (or whatever other physiology resources you’re using)
2. After you have finished an organ system (i.e. before a test) read RR or BRS Path and understand his points and the structure of the book. Also, go through the Robbin’s question book.
3. Go through First Aid and feel out the strengths and weaknesses of the book

*I feel like 1&2 are the most crucial but if you have time, go to 3

*CASE IN POINT: do NOT try to learn the Kreb’s cycle and how many ATP’s glycolysis produces when you SHOULD be learning GI pathology.
 

GAdoc

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Here's some good advice I got as a m2:

Doing well in your courses is the best way to do well on Step 1. Sounds strange, I know, but there are things you learn over the year that you can’t just pick up in the month of studying. But there are some things you should do if you have time AFTER studying for class:

1. Before each organ system, read BRS physiology (or whatever other physiology resources you’re using)
2. After you have finished an organ system (i.e. before a test) read RR or BRS Path and understand his points and the structure of the book. Also, go through the Robbin’s question book.
3. Go through First Aid and feel out the strengths and weaknesses of the book

*I feel like 1&2 are the most crucial but if you have time, go to 3

*CASE IN POINT: do NOT try to learn the Kreb’s cycle and how many ATP’s glycolysis produces when you SHOULD be learning GI pathology.


As above, this is really good advice. There's no "silver bullet" for knocking out Step 1. Having watched my entire class go through it and seeing who did well and who didn't I've figured a few things out. Those that do well are level headed. They're not the ones who, in August of their 2nd year start buying up review books and bragging to their class about how much Step 1 review they're doing.

You HAVE to learn the material first. I don't mean you have to be in the top of your class going into Step 1 to do well. But I do mean you really need to have learned the material. You don't need to be LEARNING NEW things during Step 1 review.

What you're after during your first two years is the development of a skill that I can only call intuition. What I mean is this: the day before Step 1 you may overhear some of your buddies popping off facts about bugs you've never heard of. You're thinking "man, I fogot that one, surely that guy's more prepared than me". Then low and behold you score better. Why? You developed an intuitive sense of the correct answers due to your consistent hard work over past two years. Doing lots of Q-bank questions helps with this as well.

I can't over-emphasize this enough. I think the single biggest mistake a person can make is doing too little their first two years and too much during Step 1 review. If you didn't learn it well in years 1 and 2, don't expect to learn it in six weeks of board study.
 

vicinihil

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So I started roughly 2 weeks ago and have since taken both the Free 150 and UWSA #1. I took the Free 150 at the beginning of the prep time and took the UWSA 1 last weekend. I've spent the first two weeks reading 1 chapter out of First Aid daily and reading the corresponding Goljan chapter (if there is one) and listening to the goljan audio. I also do the USMLE Flash Facts online to solidify First Aid. I try to do 24 timed UW questions each morning.

I'm almost done going through the organ systems (by this weekend) and will be transitioning to doing mostly questions all day and re-reading necessary portions of First Aid. Will be doing NBME 6 and 7 as well as UWSA 2 in the coming weeks. Taking my test on the 16th of April.

Any suggestions on modifying or improving the strategy?
 

illixir

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I've got about 6 and a half more weeks, I've been falling a day or two behind on my schedule here and there but my plan for the rest of time is to review micro/pharm then go back over path then go through first aid with DIT while doing UWorld. Then tons and tons of questions and going over other choice areas for the last 2 weeks. I want to try to get around to doing all the NBMEs and the 2 UWSA.
 

badasshairday

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So I started roughly 2 weeks ago and have since taken both the Free 150 and UWSA #1. I took the Free 150 at the beginning of the prep time and took the UWSA 1 last weekend. I've spent the first two weeks reading 1 chapter out of First Aid daily and reading the corresponding Goljan chapter (if there is one) and listening to the goljan audio. I also do the USMLE Flash Facts online to solidify First Aid. I try to do 24 timed UW questions each morning.

I'm almost done going through the organ systems (by this weekend) and will be transitioning to doing mostly questions all day and re-reading necessary portions of First Aid. Will be doing NBME 6 and 7 as well as UWSA 2 in the coming weeks. Taking my test on the 16th of April.

Any suggestions on modifying or improving the strategy?
I don't have any advice, since you are ahead of me, but I do have a question for you.

So you are basically sticking to FA + RR + UWORLD for the win? I think that is going to be my strategy as well. What else, if anything, did you do pre-board study period?

Wish you the best of luck. :luck:
 

vicinihil

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I don't have any advice, since you are ahead of me, but I do have a question for you.

So you are basically sticking to FA + RR + UWORLD for the win? I think that is going to be my strategy as well. What else, if anything, did you do pre-board study period?

Wish you the best of luck. :luck:
RR + FA + UW FTWWWWWWW :xf::xf::xf:

I've also read HY Neuro, HY Mol 1st ed., and use MicroCards and Lange Pharm cards for review...but those are minor compare to the amount of time I spend on the first 3 resources. I've done >90% of Kaplan Qbank throughout the year and my Pharm and Path exams were cumulative as of 2 weeks ago.
 

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RR + FA + UW FTWWWWWWW :xf::xf::xf:

I've also read HY Neuro, HY Mol 1st ed., and use MicroCards and Lange Pharm cards for review...but those are minor compare to the amount of time I spend on the first 3 resources. I've done >90% of Kaplan Qbank throughout the year and my Pharm and Path exams were cumulative as of 2 weeks ago.
hey,

thought i'd share my strategy. started slowly doing my Taus first pass in January. Got through Kaplan biochem and about 2/3 of RR biochem (i felt really weak in biochem lol), HY neuro x2, BRS phys. Started doing 25-50 ?s a day in February (usmlerx and kaplan). Start my 5 weeks of board prep May 15 - gonna do DIT lectures in 2 weeks (well, plan on taking NBME MAY 16 or 17) then another after the first week of DIT to see if it helps.

Captopril sorta pushed me over the edge on the DIT choice and hopefully it works out for me as it works out for him (would LOVE to get his score).

Best of luck to you vincihill - i goto school in the metro DC area so hopefully we can represent the area well!
 

PistolPete

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Vicinihil (or others), what do you think of the Kaplan Qbank? I've been going over some questions as I've been going through First Aid so that I don't "waste" UWorld. What's your opinion on the quality of the questions? A lot of people talk smack, but I actually think it's a very decent qbank.
 

vicinihil

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I agree Pistol...I think it's fairly decent and agree with the A that First Aid Gives it. We know it's not THE BEST but it definitely gets the point across. I found it great to use along with classes and drill in a few high yield points. I wouldn't use it 1 month from the test because I'd focus on UW and doing everything they have to offer, but Qbank is def the 2nd go to source for questions. They have some great teaching points and page references are MONEY.
 

illixir

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I think Qbank is good, you just need a filter sometimes to determine if you want to pay alot of attention to a question. Pharm especially and sometimes micro. There's so many questions in all the different banks I feel it gives a lot of practice and exposure. I've mostly been working on the regular bank and a chunk of the physio while reviewing that which I thought has been good at giving challenging questions in vignettes. Have either of you guys done a fair amount of the IV questions, are those good?
 
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I take my Step 1 on June 30th.

But before I tell my strategy, a little about me. I am a second year allopathic. I'm an average student, really. But I have always been good at standardized tests (SAT and MCAT). I want to go into Internal Medicine, at a good program.

My strategy:

-First Aid 2009
-BRS Path and Phys
-Doctors in Training
-USMLE Questions
-Micro Ridiculously Simple
-Study Partner who I work well with

I plan on going through the DIT stuff they recommend, like going over FA several times. And of course their lectures. I have been reading BRS Path and Phys throughout this school year. I want to read through Micro once again. I plan on going over the Question Bank twice, and meeting with my study partner weekly to go over what we've learned. (and to break up the monotony and keep me sane).

Will this be good enough?
 

kunfu

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On another note although lots of people like DIT its not for everyone and their return policy is crummy. You basically get to watch the first 3 videos before you decide, but in my opinion the first 3 videos are on a subject that makes it hard for you to decide. If you even start the forth video thats $350 down the drain if you decide its not for you and want to return the product.
 

badasshairday

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I am going to have exactly 30 days to study.

Resources

Will complete 100%: FA + RR Path + UWorld

Most likely will complete 100%: HY Behavioral

Refer, or read a good chunk of the following:
BRS Physio/Ganoung Medical Physio
HY Neuro
Kaplan Biochem
1st edition Cell + molecular
Micro cards + the funny pictures in CMMRS

Plan
First week: Do mostly reading, like 8 hours a day. Then do 1 block of UWorld questions + read explanations at night.

Second week: Half the day reading, ~6 hours. Other half, do 2 blocks of UWorld + explanations.

Third week: Read ~ 4hours, then follow with doing 3 blocks of UWorld + explanations.

4th week: Clean up. Mostly review FA. Review micro cards. Redo wrong questions in UWorld.

Is this pretty feasible? I definitely will read through RR, FA, and get through UWORLD 100%. I am pretty familiar with RR since I have been using it throughout the year and have read each chapter a few times. FA is becoming more familiar since I have been doing USMLE RX for about a week now and have previously read through select sections.

Also, how the heck do you guys annotate FA? For instance, would you read through HY neuro, then read through FA neuro and add stuff in there that you remember and think is important from HY neuro?

I also don't want to get too bogged down, I really want to finish UWORLD and get through my wrong answers again. So I don't think I am going to write the explanations into FA, would take too much time flipping through it. Do you think that is a mistake to not write out the explanations? I see many people do that.
 
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vicinihil

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Badass: I too am spending about 30 days

I wondered about annotating First aid before I started studying and I think I've come to the conclusion that the only thing I want to annotate are either

1. Images from outside resources (helpful diagrams/charts)
2. memory tools (some from CMMRS etc etc)
3. Anything I see in UW or any of the question banks (helpful charts, anatomy drawings)

My 2 cents against annotating in stuff from RR and HY books is that it's already a solid medium that you can flip through if you want to look up something. If you're going to annotate RR and all your HY books into FA then you should just read a text book because that's essentially what your FA book will become...LOW yield. Plus annotating takes so much time. I also annotate my RR with Goljan Audio with memory tools and occasionally snippets of his stories that help me remember. Otherwise annotating, I feel, is not a good investment of time but that's my personal opinion.

Also your plan seems solid but I think BRS phys is sufficient...you don't need to tap Ganoug unless you've used it before and it has your notes. I used BRS for school so I had what I needed in that book.
 

badasshairday

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Badass: I too am spending about 30 days

I wondered about annotating First aid before I started studying and I think I've come to the conclusion that the only thing I want to annotate are either

1. Images from outside resources (helpful diagrams/charts)
2. memory tools (some from CMMRS etc etc)
3. Anything I see in UW or any of the question banks (helpful charts, anatomy drawings)

My 2 cents against annotating in stuff from RR and HY books is that it's already a solid medium that you can flip through if you want to look up something. If you're going to annotate RR and all your HY books into FA then you should just read a text book because that's essentially what your FA book will become...LOW yield. Plus annotating takes so much time. I also annotate my RR with Goljan Audio with memory tools and occasionally snippets of his stories that help me remember. Otherwise annotating, I feel, is not a good investment of time but that's my personal opinion.

Also your plan seems solid but I think BRS phys is sufficient...you don't need to tap Ganoug unless you've used it before and it has your notes. I used BRS for school so I had what I needed in that book.
Hey, thanks for the feedback. I also have annotated RR with the audio similar to the way you have done. I was thinking along the same lines that annotating the crap out of FA would make it low yield plus take too long. Definitely will annotate in the style you recommend, seems to be the most efficient way to do so. As for Ganoug, I was only going to read the Resp and Acid/Base because I hear BRS Physio (which I read in full during M1) isn't as good in those subjects.

Let us know how Step 1 goes for you with the full details of how you studied after you take it. I'm really interested in hearing the methods of those who take ~30 days to study, because we have to be super efficient.
 

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As for Ganoug, I was only going to read the Resp and Acid/Base because I hear BRS Physio (which I read in full during M1) isn't as good in those subjects.


Maybe overkill at this point in board prep, but we used this book for our Respiratory Phys block and it did a great job (I thought) at explaining things fairly clearly and succinctly. It's a small book (in page size, and in page number, although perhaps too long a read for boards cramming), and I've heard from upperclassmen that it's a great resource to have when on the wards in M3.

http://www.amazon.com/Respiratory-Physiology-Essentials-John-West/dp/0683307347
 
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I'd like some feedback on my strategy (Post #23) before I finalize it.
 

kryptik

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I take my Step 1 on June 30th.

But before I tell my strategy, a little about me. I am a second year allopathic. I'm an average student, really. But I have always been good at standardized tests (SAT and MCAT). I want to go into Internal Medicine, at a good program.

My strategy:

-First Aid 2009
-BRS Path and Phys
-Doctors in Training
-USMLE Questions
-Micro Ridiculously Simple
-Study Partner who I work well with

I plan on going through the DIT stuff they recommend, like going over FA several times. And of course their lectures. I have been reading BRS Path and Phys throughout this school year. I want to read through Micro once again. I plan on going over the Question Bank twice, and meeting with my study partner weekly to go over what we've learned. (and to break up the monotony and keep me sane).

Will this be good enough?
if "USMLE Questions" means usmleworld then the plan seems solid as long as you stick with it
 

vicinihil

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Not sure if reading through CMMRS is the best strategy. Flipping through it and looking at the charts and images may be more beneficial than reading the text. It's a hefty book (300-400pgs). Depending on the amt of time you have, you're probably better off memorizing the charts, using MicroCards to supplement the micro in FA.
 
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So I am nearing the end of my first week of study.

My school just let us out for the year on Tuesday.

I am scoring 35-40% on Q Bank. The test is in 31 days.

So I am freaking out. The fact that so many people have months to study, while our school only lets us have a few weeks, seems incredibly unfair. And I see people complaining that their 240s and 250s predicted scores aren't good enough. Sigh.
 

vicinihil

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DocDanny...formulate a study plan. That's the first step to a successful board studying month. Use a calendar and write out exactly what you hope you accomplish in a day. Let some friends look it over to see that it's 1. feasible 2. effective. Once you have that set up, stick to it and see if you start to increase in your numbers. A few weeks is more than enough to score well on the boards unless you're a fmg where the curricular differences warrant a longer studying period.
 
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I'm just finishing my MS1 and I had a question about your study material.

I know that you should use the most updated first aid when it comes out, but what about the other board prep material (HY books? CMMRS? etc) A lot of the upperclassmen are selling their books and I don't know if it's a good deal to buy them since they are 1-2 editions old. I don't plan on studying until I get closer to board time, but I want to try to get my books together before then.
 
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also, do the qbanks change from year to year? Should I wait for those too? (I plan on using at least one set to go side by side with my 2nd year course for mini-review)
 

vicinihil

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Only a few books change from year to year like first aid which comes out each jjan. Otherwise very few if any books will change new editions. Rapid review path just came out with a new ed so no worries there...see if brs phys is coming out with somethiing new. Qbanks do not change unless users pick up a blatant error and report it.


I think its a great idea to get rr path and start working at it. Cmmrs is also good to use.
 
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I have heard some people mention to use Kaplan and/or Rx during M2 and then UW during dedicated board prep. What do people think of this? Should we go with Kaplan or Rx and how early should we start? Summer? Beginning of M2?
 

vicinihil

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I used Kaplan Qbank during M2 and saved UW until the month of prep. I think this is the best way to avoid re-using questions. If you're concerned about money, just think about how much you'd pay for a high score on one of the most important tests of your life.
 

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I used Kaplan Qbank during M2 and saved UW until the month of prep. I think this is the best way to avoid re-using questions. If you're concerned about money, just think about how much you'd pay for a high score on one of the most important tests of your life.
Why did you choose Kaplan over Rx? I was thinking about going with Rx because it is cheaper (i think?) and since it's going over first aid which seems to be the most important thing. thanks!
 

vicinihil

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I think Qbank has been time tested longer than Rx. I'm sure there are dissenting views therefore going with either will probably suit you well.
 

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I had both Qbank and Rx and I liked Rx a lot better. Less minutiae and it really helps that they show the page of first aid in the description. It helps you go memorize the stuff in First Aid better b/c you just see it so much. I highly recommend it for sure for use during the year. I wish I had used it more. I mostly used it to study for the shelf exams at the end of the year, and I ended up doing really well (like getting a 100+ on all of them after the curve, except behavioral but F*** behavioral, dumb a** subject). Wish I had more time to finish it before my step 1 exam but oh well
Edit: ok I just read a little further up; I don't think you should start using up the question banks (Kaplan/Rx) until January unless you are going to try to get through all 3 and def. save World till the end. Definitely read and listen to Goljan as many times as possible during the corresponding sections in your path course, same w/ FA. That is the best thing I did by far b/c by the end of the year I already knew RR pretty well and you won't have time to listen to it all in the final month I promise. In fact, if you don't have to go to class don't. Just read RR and FA and listen to Goljan on repeat then cram your syllabi for a couple weeks before each test block.
 
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radiodoc99

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Nice idea. Use a few good sources rather than trying a lot of books. Also your class notes may help from classes like Path or Clinical Medicine because you are familiar with the material.