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darly

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I don't know if anyone else is nervous about the boards, but I sure am. I don't know how I can retain all the info that I've crammed into my head for the last couple years. I can barely remember the stuff I learned this past semester! Are there effective ways to study for this test? I am currently reviewing what I've learned in pharm, path, and clinical systems this semester, but I don't know how far that would get me. If anyone has any useful advice, I would really appreciate it. Thanks. Also, is it necessary to take the USMLE? If I do, should I take it right after the COMLEX or wait a while?
 

OldManDave

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Darly,

First & foremost -- RELAX! Stress & anxiety only make retention harder and recall less efficient.

Second, take it slow and easy. I stated prepping for COMLEX 1 on 1 Feb...I spent 2 hours/day M~Th (Fri was date night with the wife & 0 studying) and 4 hrs either Sat or Sun until 6 weeks prior to the exam. The last 6 weeks, I kicked it up to 3 hrs/day with 4+ hrs both Sat & Sun. And, I probably peaked too early! I ended up ess taking the last week off prior to the exam...burned out!

Third, don't bog down in all those subject specific board review books. They are written in far too much depth for actual review for the test. Focus on First Aid: Step 1 & Step Up to the Boards. If you've read them...read them again & again. Use the subject-specific board prep books as references to look up things that are a little fuzzy (I used the BRS series)

Fourth, quiz yourself frequently. I used Buzzwords for the Boards...my study partner and i would get together about 2x/wk and simply open Buzzwords, 1st Aid or Step Up to a random page and quiz each other. Also, if you prefer to work solo, there are a number of CD-Rom test simulators. I liked Kaplan's and the NMS versions.

When to take the USMLE? Take it SOON after/before the COMLEX. I screwed up, put it off and will only just get to taking the USMLE on 17 Jan. Believe me, once you hit the wards, YOU WILL NOT WANT TO BE PIDDLING AROUND WITH THAT BASIC SCIENCE CRAP, you will want to be reading about diseases and treatments...not freakin BioChem pathways!!!!!!
 

sunny9505

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Old Man Dave,
How did you divide your time between systems/subjects? Did you have a schedule prior to starting or just see how things went with each topic? And do you know what differences there are between the COMLEX and the USMLE? Thanks for your help.
 

DrQuinn

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I studied differently for the boards...

I didn't start studying for the COMLEX until our systems were over... I wanted to do and learn as much as I could in systems... didn't want to have to focus on two different things (systems and COMLEX)... we ended classes I think end of April...

From there I just read and read... full time. I had I think 5 or so weeks, the first two weeks were just gearing up, and I read through micro, immuno, physio, etc... don't know how much I really absorbed, then I read through my Kaplan books... I read them a total of about 5-6 times before the boards. I also used First Aid and Cracking the USMLE. I think people that devoted most of tehir time to First Aid got destroyed on COMLEX 1 (that is, they used it as their main study tool). Kaplan books are great... i would highly recommend them.

I also did as many practice questions as I could. The Board Simulator or whatever, series was good but very hard, don't get too discouraged...

Q
 
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OldManDave

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Originally posted by sunny9505:
•Old Man Dave,
How did you divide your time between systems/subjects? Did you have a schedule prior to starting or just see how things went with each topic? And do you know what differences there are between the COMLEX and the USMLE? Thanks for your help.•••

I did not treat/review for them separately...it wasn't necessary. Of the books I mentioned above, First Aid is more or less a subject-specific style book and Step Up is more clinical/systems based. Buzzwords is purely recall and trigger words.

Read, reread and know the materials from both First Aid and Step Up. The questions tend to resemble Step Up more -- but there are a ton of Qs that require factoid recall, like that emphasized in First Aid. So, utilize them both, extensively.

Buzzwords...my study partner and I used it for quizzing purposes only. We got together at least 2x per week and spent and hour or two opening either of the three books to a random page and asking questions. Buzzwords should NOT be used as a solo prep. BUT, knowing some buzzwords came in very handy for the vignettes. Sometimes, just do to lack of memory cells, you could narrow it down to a couple of reasonable choices -- I found I could use those buzzwords to generally pick a single answer. Or, if I was clueless on a Q, I used buzzwords to refine my best guess.

Most nearly all of the subject-specific board prep books are waaaaaay too in depth for the boards. If you spend all of your time pouring over those, your in-class grades will suffer. And, you're likely to suffer from memory block secondary to too much $hit crammed b/t your ears!
 

OldManDave

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Oh...and the only difference in prepping for USMLE and COMLEX, studying the Osteopathic specific stuff. When you start, you will quickly notice that there are essentially ZERO books that are specific to the COMLEX -- you will be using USMLE prep books to study for the COMLEX...need I say more?

Now, for the OMM stuff...all, and I mean ALL you need is the "OMT Review" by R. Savarese, D.O. There will be 15% of your COMLEX questions on OMM & r/t topics. If you read this book 2x in the 7~14 days prior to the COMLEX, you'll virtually 100% of those correct. And, as I understand it...you're supposed to do the same exact thing for Step II's OMM component as well...although I have not taken that Step yet.
 
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