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Break Scheduling Question

Discussion in 'Step I' started by DMBFan, May 28, 2008.

  1. DMBFan

    DMBFan Senior Member
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    2 questions about the exam:
    1. Does anyone have a proposed schedule of when to take breaks and lunch in the 8 block period? Also, I've heard that if you skip the tutorial you get back that time. I'm really not sure what that means - does that mean you get more break time than usual? Or you will have more time to do the 7 blocks?

    2. If there is no scratch paper provided to you on the day of the exam, then how do you guys do the biostat problems? It's kind of hard to use the annotate function to write out calculations and stuff...
     
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  3. Keg

    Keg
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    2. I think they give you a whiteboard type thing with a dry erase marker.
     
  4. Rogue Synapse

    Rogue Synapse The Dude Has Got No Mercy
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    The tutorial time actually comes out of your break time, so if you skip it, you're basically just keeping your original allotment of break time. As for when to plan my breaks, I think I'm just going to take a few minutes after each section to clear my head, and then maybe a nice leisurely lunch. I don't like planning things out too much in advance because then I start focusing unnecessarily on the plan instead of relaxing.
     
  5. tfom08

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    Really? I spent two days coming up with a method of doing biostats problems using my fingers because I thought there was no writing allowed.
     
  6. DwyaneWade

    DwyaneWade Reiging *** Cynic
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    More important to us hypoglycemics, what does everyone plan to EAT? I eat a ton, what sort of food options will keep me going?
     
  7. tulane06

    tulane06 Private Joker
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    Besides lunch, you might want to eat a couple of power bars during the shorter breaks.
     
  8. MSKalltheway

    MSKalltheway I got the magic stick
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    I was told bananas and PBJ are money for test day. I plan on stealing that one, esp cause I love bananas and PBJ...mmmmmm...
     
  9. alpha06

    alpha06 Senior Member
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    Yeah....heard this too. I would have to second this idea. I would eat something high in protein, and low in carbs...nothing to heavy, just something to keep my brain and stomach in harmony.
     
  10. osli

    osli Senior Member
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    PBJ sounds perfect to me. Jelly for the pure sugar and immediate glucose to fuel your brain, starches for intermediate term energy demands, and peanut butter is a great source of fats and protein for the long haul. Throw in something like a banana or apple and avoid sugar/caffeine that is out of line with your normal routine, and you should be in good shape. If you're hypoglycemic you'd probably need a few more breaktime snacks than the average person, but I'm sure you already know how to deal with that!
     
  11. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member
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    You get total 1 hour allotted for break. The tutorial that starts off right when you log in to the exam is fifteen minutes in duration. Whatever time you take on the tutorial (anywhere from a couple of minutes to the full 15) comes out of your hour of break time. So in theory if you take the full tutorial you only have 45 minutes of break once you start block #1. If you finish any block early, the time you didn't use in that block gets added to your remaining break, but you cannot take more than an hour for any of the 7 blocks. Ex: if you have 39 minutes of break left by block #3 but only take 50 minutes to do block #3, when you click done you now have 49 minutes of break left.

    I highly recommend in my opinion everyone sign up for the on-site practice exam. It's a well-spent $40 or so. Not so much for the "testing yourself" purpose, but to see what the site is like, explore it, check parking and traffic, get a feel for the computers, logging in and managing time, and this is the perfect time to do the tutorial in length because it's only a practice test. That would allow you a full hour of break on the real thing.

    I'm bringing lots of food and probably only eating half, but because I like options :D. I eat a lot too and will probably snack on something small at least during almost every break.

    My plan:
    between block #1 and #2 = 3-4 minutes
    b/w #2 and #3 = 7-8 min., snack and mandatory pee break (I'm voiding whether I feel I have to or not :laugh:)
    b/w #3 and #4 = 3-4 min.
    after #4 = lunch = 25 minutes or so
    b/w #5 and #6 = 2 minute stretch break
    b/w #6 and #7 = 10 minutes or so

    After exam: extended break with a bottle of jack daniels. :D

    for snacks im bringing a couple of bananas, juice, a few snickers marathon bars (they're not candy bars, actually healthy with protein and some fiber), and a few south beach diet bars (again, loaded with like 12g protein), and maybe a couple of those 100 calorie snack packs for the sweet tooth.
    For lunch = a couple of loaded PBJ sandwiches and juice, maybe ONE cookie...I cant help it, I need dessert.

    This is not the time to try new foods by the way people...if you don't normally eat lots of fiber and protein, don't start now by eating a huge bowl of kashi protein and fiber crunch for breakfast on test day or you may surprise yourself in a very bad way during block #3-#4 :laugh:
     
  12. myrtle

    myrtle Junior Member
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    How do you find out about that?
     
  13. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member
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    Check the NBME site. Look at the same place where you sign up to take the actual test and there is an option there to sign up for a practice test. You register for it through prometric in exactly the same way as you signed up for the actual test (pick a date and time, location, etc. )

    I think it's $42 if I recall correctly. You also need to print out a testing permit and take it with you to the practice test.

    The practice exam is 150 Q and it's the same ones that are in the USMLE practice cd (I don't know which one they're referring to, I didn't know there WAS a practice cd). But anyhow....when you finish you get a printout with % correct and that's it. You can check to estimate your predicted score on www.medfriends.org.
     
  14. myrtle

    myrtle Junior Member
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    Great, thanks!
     
  15. myrtle

    myrtle Junior Member
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    Great, thanks!
     
  16. DwyaneWade

    DwyaneWade Reiging *** Cynic
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    I wound up taking a 5-10 min break after each block (no lunch break). Ate something, got water, and used the restroom. Except for the last block, where I probably should have taken a break, since I struggled. Finished in 5.5 hrs.
     

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