lahvisx

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Hi, this post is kinda long and I apologize if this is repetitive. I don't really post on here but any advice would be appreciated. I have seen similar threads like this, but nothing answering the question I am looking for specifically.

I have my COMLEX level 1 in 2 months. I have been watching a few DIT videos and have done most of UWorld. But, my percentage has been abysmal. my average is about a 55% on there. I have also recently started doing COMBank and fairing much better, I am either at or above the average. But I haven't done a lot of questions on there. I still have yet to go through first aid once and it's really overwhelming me. Especially after I realize I am not retaining a lot from there. And it's taking forever to finish. Also everyone keeps saying to get through uworld but the explanations are so detailed, and a lot of them I don't really understand that well because my base is lacking. Especially in pathology and biochem.

from what I have seen on sdn, many people seem to be preparing for the comlex in 4-5 weeks and doing just fine. They are getting through first aid, uworld, and other review books in all that time. My question is how did people get through everything so quickly and manage to retain most of if? I think burn out from the year has a lot to do with why I am not retaining a lot. But I was just curious to see how other people made their studying so effective to get through it all and really make it count.

I have felt so completely overwhelmed for the last few days. It's taken me a few days to get through micro, and I am still not done. And my knowledge of biochem and pathology is lacking along with a few other subjects. I decided I need a few days to just refresh because I haven't really had much of a break since the school year ended. But I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to organize my studying to make it effective. I am looking to go into neurology or something internal, so I don't necessarily want the top score on the comlex. But advice on how to maximize my score would definitely help. Thanks so much.

In case it helps, I did pretty decently M2 year. As and Bs. Thought I was more prepared for boards than I actually was, and it's kinda freaking me out...
 

dfib slim

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Get Pathoma for pathology. Seriously.

If you are comparing your biochem knowledge to UWorld questions don't stress out too much. UW goes a little overboard with the biochem, I'd focus on the clinical implications of enzyme deficiencies and rate limiting step regulation found in First Aid.

I can't comment on DIT, having not used it.

I honestly felt doing UWorld was the best thing I did to prepare. Haven't looked at Combank. I'm taking COMLEX 3 weeks from today.
 
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lahvisx

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Get Pathoma for pathology. Seriously.

If you are comparing your biochem knowledge to UWorld questions don't stress out too much. UW goes a little overboard with the biochem, I'd focus on the clinical implications of enzyme deficiencies and rate limiting step regulation found in First Aid.

I can't comment on DIT, having not used it.

I honestly felt doing UWorld was the best thing I did to prepare. Haven't looked at Combank. I'm taking COMLEX 3 weeks from today.

Thanks for the response. Would you say that even though I am really weak in a lot of subjects, 2 months is a doable time? Pacing has been an issue for me as well, especially since I am just now really starting. Hoping that as I keep going a natural routine will develop. it's been hard to stick to the schedule I have set for myself.
 
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dfib slim

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Is studying your only commitment right now?

2 months is plenty of time to prepare. Your UW percentage isn't bad either, some of my friends were getting in the 40s one month out. Use it more like a learning module and make sure to read everything including the wrong answer explanations and annotate into first aid. It is time consuming, was taking me 3 hours per block, but worth it.
 

lahvisx

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Is studying your only commitment right now?

2 months is plenty of time to prepare. Your UW percentage isn't bad either, some of my friends were getting in the 40s one month out. Use it more like a learning module and make sure to read everything including the wrong answer explanations and annotate into first aid. It is time consuming, was taking me 3 hours per block, but worth it.

Thanks, guess what I needed was a little reassurance. This is my only commitment, so I am hoping that the nerves die down soon. Good luck to you on your exam in a few weeks!
 
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JustPlainBill

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You've got 2 months? and you're at 55%? Negative perspiration -- you got this:

1) Expect to be overwhelmed. Remember how you eat an elephant? 1 bite at a time.

2) Get a resource that works for you -- if you like FA, great; if not, bag it -- quickly. Most people use FA as a skeleton.

3) DIT -- it's a decent fast paced review and he's a good doc. it was a little too fast for me, and I felt like I was "point sniping" rather than reviewing the topics to prepare. But hey, DIT has worked for a lot of people. I wouldn't use it again for the COMLEX though -- they added a review section for OMM with the thin grey book but that's it.

4) Nothing can get you the "Can I buy a vowel please, Pat?" flavor like Comquest (can't comment on Combank). I used them for Step 3, studied less and increased my score by about 25 points overall. I swear some of the questions were direct from the ComQuest QBank.

5) So -- I would take a half-day or so and do the following:

-- Do a set of general practice questions to simulate an exam -- make them random, 50 question blocks and do at least 100 of them. This is to find out where you really suck at vs your perception of where you suck.
-- I would then look at the COMLEX breakdown of what makes up the largest percentage of the exam subject matter wise.
-- Then set up a schedule to get through FA in the next 3 weeks -- you can review videos, work your way through board review books (BRS, pathoma, whatever) over the topics -- annotate FA with the stuff YOU DON'T KNOW -- do not rewrite what you already know or like. Go down to Kinko's and have them remove the cover and 3 hole punch the pages of FA. Drop that thing into a 3 ring binder so you can add extra pages over topics for notes if you need to.

After that --
-- I would chill with going through questions during the next 3 weeks. Maybe do 25 per half day over the areas you are studying to see how the material can be asked.
-- Once you're through FA once time, then put away the review books and focus solely on FA -- get through your new found, self made resource as many times as possible until the exam.
-- Gradually increase the number of questions over the remaining 5 weeks -- do something like 2 hours of FA review, 2 hours of questions (or whatever your burnout rate is)
-- What should happen is that it will take you less time to review FA (repetition is the mother of skill) and your question percentage will increase.
-- during this time, do some practice exams with 200 questions broken into 50 question blocks to work on your mental stamina.
-- eat well, sleep well, maintain hydration.
-- during the last week, get plenty of rest. I would take the last day off and maybe do a light review.
-- Don't try to cram review the day of the exam.
-- Go into the exam and kick some ass. --

and ultimately remember -- of all the people who have taken the exam 50% were a whole lot dumber than you and in a worse position and still passed the thing well enough to get into the residency of their choice....
 
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lahvisx

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Thank you so much!! This advice is definitely helpful! Definitely try to incorporate it into my studying plan. Just hoping nerves don't get the best of me for this exam. That seems to be the biggest challenge so far. Wish me luck!
 
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I have my COMLEX level 1 in 2 months. I have been watching a few DIT videos and have done most of UWorld. But, my percentage has been abysmal. my average is about a 55% on there. I have also recently started doing COMBank and fairing much better, I am either at or above the average. But I haven't done a lot of questions on there. I still have yet to go through first aid once and it's really overwhelming me. Especially after I realize I am not retaining a lot from there. And it's taking forever to finish. Also everyone keeps saying to get through uworld but the explanations are so detailed, and a lot of them I don't really understand that well because my base is lacking. Especially in pathology and biochem.

from what I have seen on sdn, many people seem to be preparing for the comlex in 4-5 weeks and doing just fine. They are getting through first aid, uworld, and other review books in all that time. My question is how did people get through everything so quickly and manage to retain most of if? I think burn out from the year has a lot to do with why I am not retaining a lot. But I was just curious to see how other people made their studying so effective to get through it all and really make it count.

I have felt so completely overwhelmed for the last few days. It's taken me a few days to get through micro, and I am still not done. And my knowledge of biochem and pathology is lacking along with a few other subjects. I decided I need a few days to just refresh because I haven't really had much of a break since the school year ended. But I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to organize my studying to make it effective. I am looking to go into neurology or something internal, so I don't necessarily want the top score on the comlex. But advice on how to maximize my score would definitely help. Thanks so much.

In case it helps, I did pretty decently M2 year. As and Bs. Thought I was more prepared for boards than I actually was, and it's kinda freaking me out...

Two months is a lot of time to prepare! Also, a 55% UWorld average is perfectly fine for this point in the game! It sounds like you're using all the right resources (you're using Pathoma too, right?).

I think many, many students find out they're less prepared for boards than they thought (myself included). Also, I think many students vastly underestimate the time/effort it takes to do well on COMLEX and/or USMLE. I don't think there's any "secret" to getting through the material quickly... if someone's board-prep time is only 4-5 weeks total, and they plan on doing well (better than average), they're putting in LONG days... like 14+ hr days. I'm not saying they're studying that whole time (maybe some are), but a typical study schedule might look something like this (these are the hours I put in and all of the people I know who did well... with the exception of one genius, who's an outlier haha):

8 am - noon = studying, with minimal to zero breaks
noon - 1 pm = lunch break, socialize with friends in same study area
1 pm - 4 pm= studying, again with minimal to zero breaks
4 pm -7 pm = dinner/real break
7 pm -10 or 11 pm = studying

Basically, the above schedule is 10+ hrs a day of actual studying. I never did anywhere near as much studying (other than maybe 3-4 days leading up to a big test) during my 1st/2nd yr. This study schedule was very, very difficult to maintain, but I only had a month of dedicated study time and had to make the most out of each day. I was also taking both the USMLE and COMLEX (but even if I was only taking the COMLEX, I'd probably only be studying 1-2 hrs less per day). I truly believe that the most "efficient" way to study is to just study... all day, every day, until you take the test. The study time should be with high quality material (UWorld, First Aid, Pathoma) ONLY. Doing well on boards is kind of like a study marathon. Unfortunately, there aren't any shortcuts.

As a side note, I'm not sure that I'd be using DIT at point unless I was strictly following the DIT "method"... answering all the questions, filling out the workbook, etc. I'm not sure that just watching the videos is the most efficient use of your time. (I did DIT, but just watched the videos during 2nd semester of 2nd year, finished about 2 months before my "real" studying began... used it as a "refresher" course). DIT has a lot of extraneous information and just takes up so much of your time (and detracts from better resources... First Aid, UWorld, and Pathoma).
 
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Dharma

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I had about 4.5 weeks. Studied monday- saturday. Sundays COMPLETELY OFF. 10 hours days. But that included an hour lunch and 10-15 breaks scattered here and there. I never studied past 7pm, but I held off for dinner until study time ended (and ate small caloric dense "meals" during some snacks, e.g. Bulletproof Coffee). I don't think it's necessary to get too crazy. Be efficient. Stick to the big 3 mentioned above, but MAD QUESTIONS is where it's at. Worked for me. Did really well on COMLEX and this is coming from someone who considers himself of average medical student intelligence.
 
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dfib slim

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I had about 4.5 weeks. Studied monday- saturday. Sundays COMPLETELY OFF. 10 hours days. But that included an hour lunch and 10-15 breaks scattered here and there. I never studied past 7pm, but I held off for dinner until study time ended (and ate small caloric dense "meals" during some snacks, e.g. Bulletproof Coffee). I don't think it's necessary to get too crazy. Be efficient. Stick to the big 3 mentioned above, but MAD QUESTIONS is where it's at. Worked for me. Did really well on COMLEX and this is coming from someone who considers himself of average medical student intelligence.
Man, I'd feel super guilty taking Sundays completely off. I've been using all my Sundays as an NBME day, cross-referencing the questions I got incorrect and then just take the rest of the day off.
 

lahvisx

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Thank you everyone for the encouragement :) pushing forward and trying not to let yourself get too overwhelmed I think is the biggest problem. I decided since the question banks, though helpful, are causing me a lot of anxiety, I am just gonna stop doing them for now. I am doing maybe a set every other day just to keep up with it. But I think I need to focus on getting base knowledge down first. I am focusing on watching pathoma and getting through all the videos, then I will read the booklet. I really am loving pathoma. It's gonna take me a few read throughs a for it to really stick. But it really breaks it down well. Then after I watch pathoma, I'll see if I want to continue using DIT. It's helpful for me to get through First Aid, but does take a long time. Once I have gone through everything at least once, I am gonna take a Comsae (I would do nbme, but since I am not taking usmle, getting used to the format doesn't seem wise) then Combank/uworld all day while I go through first aid and pathoma. I hope this sounds like a good plan!
 
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It's absurd how test prep companies have capitalized on med students board prep. I think DIT is just a waste, personally.
 
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