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Jalby

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Hey guys. This is a thread to post individual step 1 experiences. Like what was on it, how you felt going into it, what books you used, what was helpfull, what was not. Basically anything you think would be helpfull to other students. Post your own thread so that you can get the congratulations you deserve and answer any questions, but please just cut and paste that experience onto this thread so it will be around for years. Thank you very much.
 
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12R34Y

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awesome idea! i'd love to hear experiences. at least until june 4th.............then i'm DONE!
 

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I could not believe how much Kaplan Q Bank was like the real exam. The questions on Q-bank were slightly more detail oriented, but overall the best preparation for the real thing. The allocation of questions in each 50 question block was just like my exam.

Don't bother memorizing little details of obscure diseases. Just try to focus on major disease processes.

My exam had very little anatomy, which pissed me off considering I spent the day before the exam reviewing because it was always my weakest subject.
 
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jed2023

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Originally posted by jkin
Overall is qbank harder, easier, same as the real thing?

If you search through the posts from last summer (may-july '03), you'll find a few threads addressing this question, specifically. People were all over the place, though. Some thought it was harder, some, easier, and some, about the same. Most people probably voted that Q-bank was somewhat more difficult, though. And the most common reason given was that Q-bank is more detailed oriented and had a fewer proportion of give-aways as Step I (the real step I seems to have a wider variation in difficulty of questions, some being relatively easy for nearly everyone, most in the middle, and some being terribly difficult). Another interesting fact is that Q-bank uses more buzzwords and eponyms than the boards does (something I've heard reported by many people at my school), something which the NMBE has recently been moving away from.
 

Goofyone

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Originally posted by jed2023
Another interesting fact is that Q-bank uses more buzzwords and eponyms than the boards does (something I've heard reported by many people at my school), something which the NMBE has recently been moving away from.

You've just given me an obscene idea
 

jed2023

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Originally posted by Stinger86
Care to share? Obscenity can be a good thing.

I don't know if this was the obscenity refered to earlier but one way smart folks use this to their advantage is to turn things around. That is, every time you read or come across a buzzword in studying, convert it verbally into a description (physiologic, anatomic, histologic, whatever). That way you won't get thrown for a loop when they explain common pathology with uncommon wording.
 

Jalby

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This is meant to be a thread just about step one experiences so people can read through it easily. If you have something else to say, please post a new thread. I wouldn't want a future person to have to read one page of other stuff per one post of step one experiences.
 

Jalby

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from a different thread:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=108319

Meg... Phew!!! finally it is over!!!

I gave step 1 today (Febr 12 '04) , finished just an hour back. It was not bad. Not too terrific, but not terrible either.
Basically, I found my exam very similar to Kaplan online qbank and NMS qbank.

I studied for about 5 and half months. The materials I used:-
Kaplan notes
First aid 2004 (the recent one is really good- I had used 2000 and 2003 but I found 2004 really stand out esp with HLA information, some additional concepts in physio, biochem(genetics), behavioral. If you already have an older FA, try getting the new one at some bookstore and add the new concepts into the book you already have )
Step Up (by Samir Mehta)- real good system based approach. Great for neuro.
BRS Patho, Physio, Behavioral, Cell bio
NMS Genetics
HY Anat, but Kaplan anat and FA anat are more than enough
Online Kaplan qbank (I had few questions so much directly from it! I must say, take the current online version, it will help)
NMS qbank (though the questions are tough, they help you understand key concepts)
Goljan 100 pages (I got from a friend, real good)
Goljan audio lectures (terrific one, he is a great teacher)

I also did Blackwell online (blackwellmedstudent.com) score:81%, Kaplan simulated CD was 79%. Kaplan qbank I was getting about 75-78% initially. I will know how reflective they are of USMLE scores only after 4 weeks

Though there are so many materials /books, finally, I had to use First Aid as the main book and added all extra concepts into it and used it and Step up finally for the last month.

I want to thank alll the contributors of this forum (asmi, mjl1717, maty, yulia, mahendra, kalibonite, alice8 and so many others ) because I found a lot of questions similar to what we had discussed. One major recommendation I would give is to be active in the subjects-questions forums( I mean like anatomy, patho, behavioral etc..). It really helps in knowing what to focus on. And best of all, you will remember what you discuss.

Thanks to all and wish you all the very best. Take lots of eats (esp bananas I took breaks after every block). Now I am mentally exhausted and am going to chill out and keep praying for the scores

Take care all,

meg

Now Results....
March 6 '04

Post subject: 257/99!!
Praise God!

I got my score today. It was quite a joy to get it. It was 257/99
I cannot tell you how much I have to thank all in this forum, esp the folks with whom I used to regularly study/share/discuss. Honestly guys, I got a lot of questions just similar to the ones we had discussed.

Also I want to thank the authors and contributors to FA, Kaplan(notes and qbank), NMS, and last but never the least Dr. Goljan! And above all, God Almighty for His abundant love and Grace and guidance.

Some advice to share set your mind and keep it set. Be disciplined. study as much as you can. If you have a choice between studying and playing, STUDY. Many like to know how to organise time. It totally depends on your schedule of things. But just to sketch a bit of how my days were during those preparation.... My day began at about 5:30 AM and ended 11PM. I made it a point to get at least 6 hours sleep as it helps us register in our memory the facts we learnt that day (Kaplan advice). Initially I started studying by sitting at my school library( I am doing masters). Then I studied more at home. I kept adjusting schedule according to whether I had classes that day or work, but basically my number 1 priority was to study. I was also determined and enjoyed being active on several usmle forums. If I was walking on the road(on the way to school or morning walk sometimes), then I would be listening to goljan audio( I bought an MP3 player just for this). If I were at home, I would be reading. If I am cooking, then I am listening to goljan audio or webprep audio. And also I had taken print outs of the exam experiences and advice mentioned by those who had scored in high 90s and would read them whenever I needed some encouragement or motivation. Basically, I think it helps to remain focussed and set the distractions behind your mind.

all the best to all the others. Step 1 is not difficult as long as we remain on track.
God bless you all,
Meg
 
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Goofyone

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Originally posted by jed2023
I don't know if this was the obscenity refered to earlier but one way smart folks use this to their advantage is to turn things around. That is, every time you read or come across a buzzword in studying, convert it verbally into a description (physiologic, anatomic, histologic, whatever). That way you won't get thrown for a loop when they explain common pathology with uncommon wording.


THis was exactly the obscenity I was referring to. Maybe we should make an anti-buzzword thread.
 

Jalby

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For a difference of opinion: I got the exact same score, my study habits were completely different. I couldn't pass up commenting on this because of the same score.

I did not use Kaplan, QBank, or any other test-preparation service. I didn't buy ANY review books. I did, actually, buy a couple of review books during 2nd year when the lecture notes weren't that helpful (a pharm book, a microbiology book, and an immunology book).

I bought the Appleton and Lange practice questions book, and the NMS practice questions CD (same ?'s as their book). I also bought First Aid. I also went to the webpath website and went through all of their practice questions (put "webpath" in google). That was it. So I guess I spent maybe $100 on step I preparation.

I started going over these questions around beginning of May. During my second year, I went to almost every class and went through every lecture the day I attended it to make sure I understood everything. Before the tests for each topic I reread (or at least reviewed) most of the lecture notes pertaining to that topic. I also read in some textbooks relevant to what we were studying, but a lot of the time the class lecture notes were sufficient. (I went through some of Robbins and Cecil's medicine textbook). In truth, this prepared me quite well for 2nd year tests and I probably spent much less time studying than many others in my class.

Once classes ended, I had about a month before I took step one. I studied a few hours each day, mostly going through the above question books that I mentioned. I carefully read the responses to the questions to find out why each answer was incorrect or correct (lots of information in these answers). When I didn't understand something or realized I wasn't sure what was going on, I went back to my lecture notes or to first aid. I went through the blue boxes in the Moore textbook and first aid but other than this I reviewed nothing of first year lecture handouts or texts. In truth, many of the important things you hear about first year that are relevant for step one you will hear again 2nd year.

That's it. No 8 hour study days, no other review materials other than what I listed above. I didn't make myself a specific study schedule, didn't set my alarm every morning or anything like that.

This formula also worked for step II. I got a similar score, slightly higher. I didn't even use first aid for this one. Just used question books.

Not trying to brag (anonymous forum, nobody cares anyway). Just trying to point out that you can do well on step I and II by being a good student, paying attention in class, and studying your own way. Some people need the extra motivation or ways of studying that come from things like Qbank, dense review books, etc. Some don't. You don't have to use them, is my point. The information you need is there.

I do suggest doing lots of practice questions, in whatever form, be it Kaplan (i can't evaluate kaplan because I didn't use it), books, webpath, whatever. I fear that when many people study, they get bogged down in what is basically an endless supply of review materials and information. You can get lost quite easily, and spend far too much time "reviewing" things you probably already know or gaining knowledge that might not translate to a multiple choice test. It may have worked for Meg though, so I don't discount it. Remember though that you are preparing for a test, it doesn't matter how much knowledge you have reviewed if you can't put it in the right context.

Good luck to everyone!


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Originally posted by Jalby
from a different thread:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=108319

....I also did Blackwell online (blackwellmedstudent.com) score:81%, Kaplan simulated CD was 79%. Kaplan qbank I was getting about 75-78% initially. I will know how reflective they are of USMLE scores only after 4 weeks


first off, congrats on your awesome scores. You rock. I was just wondering what you thought of the Blackwell online questions. I did them and got about a 75%. Do you think they were tough or comparable to the actual thing?
 
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"... gave step 1 today (Febr 12 '04) , finished just an hour back. It was not bad. Not too terrific, but not terrible either.

You have to wonder about anyone who studies that much and doesn't get a 99!
 

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Can someone tell me how they were doing right before Boards on Qbank (Percentage) and actual results? I have heard that a 70-75% on the Qbank is about a 230.
 

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I heard from one of my friend who took the step 1 recently about 2 months ago that step 1 is now asking lots of MRI, CT , slides without any description, ECG . One of her friend also got the same kind of questions with different graphs [ don't know from where ] , CT, MRI and ECG .

They were saying that USMLE has come up with this new trend since Jan 2004 . Also that the questions that appear on USMLE is not like kaplan Qbank .

I'll be taking my step I soon in 2 weeks time . Please share your latest experiences as I am really panicking now . Although I have done Qbank, Kaplan notes , Qbook, IV bank , Goljan , webpath , I'm still worried .
 

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Just gone done with the test today (May 27) and I'm two beers in so I should still be comprehendable. Here's what I did to study:

School let out for us on April 30 although that last week of finals in Pharmacology and Pathophysiology was the real beginning of Step 1 studying...so a total of about 5-6 weeks. I studied anywhere from 4-14 hours per day depending on how I felt that day. I took short breaks whenever I felt like I needed them. Didn't really take any full days off but those 4 hour days weren't much. This was easily 10X more than I studied during the school year. I studied in the library most of the time (although towards the end my dog started having seizures everyday so I had to study at home so I could watch him and make sure he didn't keel over).

School had us take the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Exam a couple of weeks before school let out which did not count for any grade...it was just to help us guide our studying. I scored 76 (national mean 70, standard deviation 8).

Study aids I would recommend (in order of usefulness to me):

First Aid (of course). Know this well. Know the figures and tables well. It's great in most areas. Can't really say that it is lacking in any particular area but if I had to pick some 'bad' areas it would be Microbiology and Biochemistry...but even so maybe there were a few questions that First Aid couldn't answer. I went through one section of that book (i.e., anatomy, biochemistry, behavior science, etc.) reading and writing out the tables and figures, etc., every day. This was my main source of study material. I would pull out other references from the library (as I did my studying in the library so that other references were around) when I didn't understand something or felt that I could use more clarification. In this way I went through First Aid very thoroughly about 5 times.

QBank - Excellent set of questions that were very much like the real thing...i.e., similar level of difficulty, similar mix of "that's an easy one" and "what the heck are they talking about" feelings when I took the test. If anything, the behavioral sciecne types "what would you say now" type questions were much much harder in QBank than on the real thing. I would use QBank by taking random 50 block sections (usually first thing in the morning) then going through every answer, one at a time, even on the ones I got right to read what QBank had to teach me. If I didn't understand something or I felt like I need to learn that better, I'd pull out some reference text or the internet or whatever to look up more about that topic. I did two days of full 7 blocks of questions on two mornings just get up my stamina and then went through the answers in the afternoon. When I finished QBank I went back and did every question that I got wrong again. My overall average in QBank was 75% with a range of 54% - 88%.

Although I read some other books like BRS Physiology, BRS Pathology, etc., I'm not sure that was nearly as helpful as First Aid and QBank which really, combined, had everything...not that I remembered it all and could answer everything on Step 1, just that I felt like almost everytime a question came up I knew that it had been covered in one of those two sources. Very few questions are not covered in those two.

Other than that, I just did lots of qustions. I did both NBME Self Assessment Tests (first one 3 weeks before test day and scored 610, then one 2 days before test day and scored 640.....mean is 500 with SD of 100). I did the 150 released items 2 weeks before test day and scored 83%. I also did many questions from the Robbins Question book, the Aplpleton & Lange USMLE Step I review, QBook, BSS, NMS USMLE Review, NMS Physiology and any other question books I could check out of the library. I like doing quesitons so I did many thousands of questions before test day.

Just so everybody knows, I'm one of the cheapest bastards on the planet so I didn't buy all these books. I did buy QBank (although I work for Kaplan so they gave me the deep discount) and I did buy BRS Pathology but the rest I either checked out of the library (our school has every Step 1 review book imaginable...what they don't have you just ask and they'll buy it and many times multiple copies...and since its a small school, there's plenty for everybody), bought used or got from our library's free shelf, or just used in the library when I needed it. However, this is stupid. Spend what you need. This is an important test.

Final score on Step 1 (got scores from my school on June 30, 1 month after the test: 239/97 (about what I expected...hoping for more and praying it wouldn't be less but happy none the less)

Good luck everyone!
 
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EMDrMoe

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Thanks, mpp! Hope you're not feeling too poorly today but I DO hope you had a great holy-crap-I'm-done time last night!
 

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here's my bit...
(went through the boards experience a few days ago.)

pharm: lost in a sea of random drug facts?

1) check out "pharm recall" at the bookshop/online. i felt it was really good at organizing stuff. also i memorized first aid pharm any way i could.
this totally saved me. crammed in six weeks, used first aid, and made LOTS AND LOTS OF mnemonics on advice from a 4th year (can you name the 8 drugs that cause hemolysis in G6PD?! or how about the disparate drugs which induce p450?! well you will need to know them for the boards. serious. it's that ridiculous). with this i blasted through the pharm on the boards (mine happened to have lots of it.)
in the end, i now know a crap load of more pharm studying in 6 weeks than in 2 years.


2) try your best memorize/know BRS PATH (some more advice i got from another 4th year): i had 5-10 questions straight from the basic pathology sections. i read quickly through the first 7 chapters a few days before and lo and behold, it showed up. like randome stuff such as "fibrinoid necrosis of vascular walls in autoimmune vasculitis" and "balanced robertsonian translocations."

3) as many people have noted as well, i also did Q-bank up the wazzooo: again very high yield. and surprisingly you learn lots of new stuff that semi helpful as well. i found it to be a little more difficult than the exam itself, overall. (some questions you will never get, but that's how the boards are designed)

anyway if you're interested,
answer to the above (also see first aid):
G6PD hemolysis = pyramethamine, sulfonamide, nitrofurantoin, ibuprofen, isoniazid, primaquine, chloramphenicol, aspirin.
"the PYRAMID SELLFONE of the nitroFURRED PROfessor was lost IN PRIMARY CHLORINE ASPHALT"

inducers of p450 = quinidine, carbamazepine, rifampin, barbiturates, phenytoin, griseofulvin
"QUEEN CARBA RIFFed the Barf en' Grease (BAR Phen' GREASE)".

there are heaps more where that came from! *wink*
 

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Those are some great pneumonics would you mind sharing some others in the group effort thread?
I would like to know you pneumonic for the inhibitors of the p450 enzymes
 

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everybody on this freakin website has over a 250 on step 1

wake up people. nobody knows who you are, or even more importantly ives a crap.
 

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wassup all,

i've received a few emails these last few weeks on the amount of pharm found within my experience with the USMLE Step 1 (i say "my exp." b/c some people i know didn't get a lot of questions on this important but cursed subject).

however, if you're interested, this is what worked for me:

off the back i realized that i would never fully know all of Pharm. NEVER. EVER.
but, i also knew that if i didn't come up with some system to review & recall (on a continual basis) the material i had studied for hours and days already, i'd end up friggin' forgetting most of the stuff. this was 23 days before the exam.

i got so frustrated on this day -23, that i decided to go thru once and for all, each page of 1st aid pharm in 3 days: most importantly, as i went thru it, i made a point to :

1) come up with study sheets for rapid review that contained important topics (and their page #'s) that i knew were prone to being forgotten by me. e.g. i'd see a topic asking for "what drugs caused nephro and ototoxicity" and then i'd try to recall what was associated with this topic.

2) i tried to make mnemonics to almost all of these topics as they came up. i grouped these mnemonics by the major sections as they appeared in first aid.

after i went thru it, the material didn't seem so daunting: i felt i had my core database of easily forgotten facts & correlations, and that now it was a matter of continually testing the recall of them using my study sheets.

in the end, i felt comfortable with really knowing 90-95% of 1st aid pharm, and supplemented my knowlege by
a) looking over key tables & charts in pharm cards (i found those pretty helpful! i.e diff types of vasodilators, comparisons btw cardiac antiarrhythmics, etc),
b) info from pharm recall (really good too: lipid drugs, diabetic drugs: short and sweet).
c) learning from kaplan qbank questions (of course)
i feel that if one does this, they should be just fine.
1st aid is key however!


of note:
especially hi-yield in pharm: KNOW COLD the cumulative adverse drug reactions on pgs 339, 340 in this year's 1st aid!

as stated by the authors in the 1st aid intro to pharm, also know the mechanism and effects of alpha1/2, beta 1/2, muscarinic blockers, etc, etc. cuz' you'll probably be faced w/ multiple problems that have you trying to work through some type of drug sfx comparisons btwn ANS class drugs.

again, MAKE LOTS OF PHARM MNEMONICS (it's like my friggin' mantra or something) and be prepared to have a quick way to test your RECALL (not just simple understanding) b/c there is no other way to remember some of that stuff on test day.

finally: pharm is important, but don't study it to the detriment of other topics:
VERY HI-YIELD: something to take note of that is NOT pharm related:
HORMONES ARE KEY!!!! (see the physiology part of 1st aid. really know both their regulation and actions & this will help you out big time). see also BRS little blue costanzo, etc. this topic was hi-yield for everyone i've spoken to.

alright, that's it for now,


good luck, yo!


tidbit:
"just say N.O. to FURIOUS CIS-PLATED AMINOGLYOCSIDES"

N.O. = neprho and oto-toxicity = furosemide, cisplatin, aminoglycosides.

---------------

here is a mnemonic for p450 inhibitors

(if you want to melt p450, do it...)
IN SULFUR KETTLES, by CEMENTing GRAPEFRUIT & ERYTHROMYCIN.

INH, Sulfonamides, Ketoconazole, Cimetidine, grapefruit, erythromycin

(see first aid 2004 p.339)
 

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I hardly ever post...but it feels so good to be done i'd thought i'd share my experience with the "beast". As far as the overall questions go, i thought it pretty much matched up with Qbank (like as far as some you know right off, some you probably know and then some that you have to guess on) I did have some repeat Q's...i wasnt expecting them to do that.

Pharm: i would say that first aid was all i needed for my test. i thought the pharm Q's were pretty straight forward. maybe 30 Q's. i also got a half life Q and one about a competitive inhibitor graph. just know first aid

Anatomy (15-20 Q), Neuro (10 Q) and Embryo (5-10 Q): these i thought were all pretty low yeild. For anatomy i would go with first aid and look at some slides/CT's etc. i got some Q's about brachial arches, brachial plexus, know the nerves for wrist drop and foot drop. For neuro i didnt get anything off the wall just the basic pic of spinal cord (know main tracts), pupil reflexes, pic of cranial nerves...just know first aid here too. For embryo i didnt get that many Q's either. Just the major malformations (definitly know the heart malformations)

Path (100+): definitly the biggest section. i felt like i kept getting tons of diabetic patient Q's and women bleeding Q's. with first aid you could probably get most of the Q's. Q's were a little longer than expected...got tired of reading through them. mostly fair Q's.

Phys: (50 Q?) i dont remember too many straight phys Q's, but i thought these were straight forward. if you know and understand all the stuff in the first aid section i would say it was sufficient (for my test at least)

Micro/Immuno: (30 Q) mostly bacterial stuff on mine, just one fungus Q and maybe one parasite Q and hardly any viral Q's. the Q's i got on immuno all could have been answered with first aid.

Behav Sci/Epidem: (40 Q) i thought i got alot of these Q. for behav. sci maybe a 1/3 of the Q's could have been answered with first aid the rest were situational Q's. for epi (5-7 Q) some were basic understanding Q's and the rest were equations stuff.

Biochem/molec bio: ( 20-30 Q) just a few enzyme Q's and like everyone has said...lots of molec bio (such as understanding splicing, frameshift mutations, diff. blots etc)

Know the major in's and out's of the major diseases...diabetes, CHF, etc...i think it was pretty high yeild. Anyway..its over. Good luck to those taking it soon. It will soon be over.
 

EMDrMoe

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Well, I'm not sure how much help this will be to others. It is reassuring, though, to hear that other people felt pretty bad when they left and still got good scores. Right now, I'm praying to pass. I really don't want to do that again.

The posts I've read lately that said that molecular & cell bio is highly tested were NOT kidding. I was shocked to see how many mechanisms were asked. Not just drug toxicities, but why the drug is toxic (ie: what receptor mechanism creates the problem, etc). I also had a lot of questions on bacterial genes and antibacterial resistance. If I never see another bacterial genome question it'll be too soon.

I had a few anatomy questions - circle of willis angiograms (2 of them - which I SUCK at!) and their respective deficits. Some brachial plexus & musculoskeletal questions - presented in odd ways, of course.

All in all, some questions were like Qbank, some were longer, some were shorter. It was a pretty good mix of question types, but there were a lot more pictures & diagrams.

I had at least 12 bacteriology/infectious disease questions, a few fungal ones and one parasite one that I can think of.

There were a few questions that were "gimme's", thank goodness!!!! I also had one repeat from the USMLE website 150 (another moment of gratitude in a sea of WTF?!?).

I studied for 4 weeks, but I'm not sure if it'll be beneficial to post my schedule, as I don't think I did so well. Let's just hope for a few weeks. I'm not sure what I would have studied differently, except I would have done more with DNA and lab stuff (ok, I would have tried to - I hate it) and gone deeper into drug mechanisms and receptor mechanisms.

I felt like they did a good job of tying first year in to second year and sometimes I felt like it was more first year heavy - which was REALLY odd! Almost all of my questions were multi-disciplinary, so I can't divide them by path, pharm, etc... I hope my memory is just focusing on the hard questions and I got more right than I think.

Tough test. It's over. Boy do I hope I don't have to do that again. :confused:
 

IlianaSedai

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Books I would definitely know

1. First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 - Know this book. If you don't have enough time to cover any topic, just cover what this First Aid says about the subject and forget about the review books.

2. BRS Pathology - Know this book too. Start early, because there is no way you can start and finish it in 3-5 days during your last month before the real exam. Read the corresponding chapters as you cover the topics in class.

3. BRS Physiology - I would definitely read this book 1-2 times during your courses. If you go through it once during your first year, then re-read each chapter when you cover the pathophysiology of that organ/system during second year, you should do very well.

I also spent a pretty significant amount of time on BRS Microbiology & Immunology (I love that book, but most people don't like it) and High Yield Neuroanatomy. When studying for your classes, I do not really recommend buying a textbook for micro (immuno is a different story, there aren't really any good review books on immuno), because the texts are too dense to read. Lots of people like Clinical Micro Made Ridiculously Simple.

For all the other subjects, I did just First Aid during the last month.

--------------------------

Practice Questions
How much time you spend on questions depends on your learning style. I learn more by reading than by answering questions, so I did fewer questions and spent more time reading. No matter what, I would definitely do a good amount of questions.

1. Qbank by Kaplan - I think this is a must-have. If you find you can't afford it, you might consider buying this online service for just 1 month instead of 3 months or 6 months, and plowing through it hardcore at 100 questions a day.

2. Robbins Review of Pathology - Not that useful during the last month when you're reviewing everything in every subject, but a very good tool to practice while studying topics in your pathology class. I'd have done this more if I had known about it earlier than 6 months prior to my testing date.

3. NBME assessments - There are two of these, each costing $45 to take. There are no answers online and you can only go through them once. Most students believe these assessments are MORE like the real test than any other question source, including Qbank.

4. USMLE.org released items - This is a free set of "retired" questions. I didn't do more than 1/3 of them, but I wanted to list them here because this confuses many people. These are NOT the "NBME self assessments" I talked about above. Kaplan supplies the answers to these, and you can access them on the Qbank web site.

Note that many students advise that the PAID NBME ASSESSMENTS are a good "predictor" of your eventual real Step 1 score. The NBME self assessments are NOT meant to predict scores. I've read many accounts, usually from people on the high and low extremes of the score spectrum, of now the NBME scores were pretty close to the real scores. I had a high middle-range score (233/94, above average) which did NOT correlate with my NBME self-assessment score (below average). Don't let this discourage you, and don't spend money on the self-assessment if you're not going to LEARN something from it OTHER than to see a "prediction" of your score that may or may not be close to your real score.

---------------------------

Other Tips

1. Unless you have extenuating circumstances, I think 5 weeks is the maximum amount of time anyone should study for it. Leave yourself a week's vacation before the start of your clerkships, if you can. 4 weeks is a decent amount of time for most people, although some panic and push their test date back during the last week. All the people I've talked to who did that, felt dumber and dumber during their last week!

2. Look for a sample schedule online (the publisher Lippincott and Michigan Med have good 28-day schedules; residency.info has a 6-week schedule, but I don't think most people need that long) and tailor it to your own needs.

3. BE WARNED that all of the schedules have you reading BRS Pathology in 4 days, BRS Physiology in 3 days, Micro Made Ridiculously Simple in 3 days, and so on. I'd read these before and even then it took a WEEK to read BRS Physio and more than a week to read BRS Path during the last month. Look at your book list again, and see what you can drop in favor of First Aid. Were I to do it again, I would use only the books listed here and I would not attempt to read HY Gross, Lippincott's Biochem, etc during the last month! The books I'd read during the last month if I were to re-take the exam are:
- First Aid
- BRS Pathology
- BRS Physiology
- High Yield Neuroanatomy (because this was a weak area for me)

and for all else, I'd just read FA. This would be MUCH more manageable than my attempt to read 12 review books plus FA in 30 days.
 
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Howard Roark

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i thought for sure that i failed. ended up with a 235 - not great but good enough to get into anything somewhere

so don?t freak out if you feel like it is going bad during the exam - you will probably be pleasantly surprised
 

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I don't visit this board much (pretty much only 2+ years ago when I was interviewing to get into med school), and I don't know if anyone will particularly find this informative (especially now), but here's my experience.

Throughout the 1st two years, I pretty much did not study regularly and made it through by cramming for 2-3 days before each test...I did pretty well, above the average in all subjects except anatomy and microbiology (got a HP in all except anatomy, which I only passed).

By the time our 2nd year ended, I really felt that I knew very little; because I crammed and never studied regularly, I retained such a small amount. For that reason, I scheduled my test 7 weeks after our classes let out, planning to study everyday for 6-8 hours. I stupidly procrastinated as usual, over-estimating how much I knew and underestimating the amount I needed to learn, and squandered 5 weeks working out, watching playoff basketball, and studying maybe 1 hour a day, if that. A major problem was that I was just basically reading, without highlighting, without writing or re-copying things, and I would forget whatever I did study several days later. Pretty much, in that 5 weeks, all I had accomplished was one casual read through BRS Physiology.

I registered for Qbank 4 weeks before my test date and had been planning to use it extensively when I had finished studying everything once...but that never happened, and I only sparingly used it for behavioral/pathophysiology until I only had 2 weeks left...at which point I did a randomized set of 50 and got a 48%. I knew that was bad, and I started to feel hopeless and panicked. Partly because of all the 'stats' I read here, and partly because I just couldn't fathom learning enough to pass in just 2 weeks...so much of the material was stuff I was learning for the first time. I couldn't reschedule the test due to a trip I needed to take, too.

I decided to just cram as much as I could, in the hope of merely passing...at that point, I didn't care what I scored as long as I passed. I spent the first 4 days going through BRS Pathology...I highlighted what I thought I should remember, and did about 9 chapters a day, going through previous chapters and highlighting what I forgot with a different color...and then a different color for things I kept forgetting. That let me quickly review chapters by only paying attention to things I had repeatedly forgotten.

The next week, I focused on first aid almost entirely. I spent roughly 1-2 hours for each Embryo+Anatomy, Neuroscience, Biochem, and then would spend a couple hours on Pharmacology and microbiology. I used a couple of blank notebooks to write down anything I was learning for the first time...which was quite a lot..pretty much the entire pharm section, half of biochem, most of the micro, etc. If I had any energy left at the end of the day, I would review 3-4 chapters in BRS and 1/2 a chapter in BRS Physiology.

By the time I only had a few days left before the test, I felt I had a decent grasp with everything in first aid (sans Path + Phys, I pretty much only used BRS Path and BRS Phys for those). I started to forget stuff in BRS Path and Phys at this point, so I started to review those more frequently. I completely skipped anti-epileptics, protozoans, and anti-protozoals. I started getting mentally exhausted about 2-3 days before the test, and basically just reviewed what I had written in my notebooks, flipped through first aid, and tried to keep calm. I avoided doing questions (pretty much I did around 500 Qbank questions total in the first 6 weeks, usually doing 1-4 questions at a time. I looked at ones I got wrong, but skipped ones I got correct) because, as pathetic as this sounds, I would get extremely hopeless and depressed if I had less than 60% right.

On test day, I felt surprisingly nonchalant...maybe because I felt like nothing I was going to do would make a difference, that I was going to get a bad score regardless, if I even passed. I am pretty proficient at multiple choice tests, so it felt pretty mechanical. Being familiar with the format (b/c of Qbank) helped. I felt I had a crapload of stupidly pedantic and esoteric biochem and cell biology questions, and not enough path/phys/pharm...out of the 7 sections, there were 3-4 where felt I only got around 40% right, and overall I felt I would be lucky to average 50%.

I was always very accurate at predicting my class grades by keeping track of how many questions I wasn't completely sure of, so all this past month, I felt that I probably just barely passed. I thought I would be lucky to get beyond a 190 or 200. I got my scores today (as I said in the beginning), and it was a -222-. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. I knew so little, had to guess so much, and kept remembering questions I stupidly got wrong after narrowing them down to 2 choices.

Anyhow, that was a long story. My advice is probably just more of the same, but I think it's essential to at least doing as well as I did:


Tips:

1 - START !#[email protected] EARLY!

2 - Set a schedule and follow it. But don't just sit there and scan material without comprehending it, write stuff down/highlight and try to concentrate a bit. And if you can't figure out a good schedule, then at least focus on mastering Path/Phys/Pharm first, then spending whatever time left on the remaining subjects.

3 - Use BRS Path + BRS Phys, and on your first read, highlight what you think you should know (ignore what you already know). On your 2nd read, highlight what you forgot since the 1st read w/ a different color (or underline/checkmark/star etc.). Repeat for your 3rd.

4 - Know first aid -very well-. I skipped the Path/Phys sections, though.

5 - I felt practice questions were an inefficient use of time for me (as I had 2 weeks to cover everything) but if you start early enough (ie, 4+ weeks), they will probably be extremely helpful in strengthening your weak areas. I still wouldn't spend more than 2-3 hours per week on them, though.

6 - maybe this is elementary, or so widely known people don't even talk about it, but my writing things in notebooks helped a great deal. The majority of the pharm I was technically learning for the first time, and writing stuff down (sometimes repeatedly) helped me learn things the first time I covered it.

7 - START EARLY!


----------------------------------------------------------------

Cliffnotes: Stupidly procrastinated 5 weeks, then crammed like a madman using BRS Path, BRS Phys, and First Aid for 2 weeks, freaking out nearly daily. Thought I failed, got a 222.

----------------------------------------------------------------
 

docabi1982

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hello there
this is abhi here,currently doin residency in india.am interested in giving USMLE.but dunno which step to give first and what all books to study.i also dont know how much imp. clinical knowledge is for giving MLE.can any1 pls help me out?and is there an absolute necessity to join KAPLAN to get a good score
 

bethebest

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:) exam was real fun, all the ? directly from the NMSR mcqs.
indirect? like mutation of p53 oncogene which drug still effective ...
meaning cell cycle independent drugs

time no problem

enjoy the analysis all the ? will have clues in the ?itself if it has clinical bits

all the best






Jalby said:
Hey guys. This is a thread to post individual step 1 experiences. Like what was on it, how you felt going into it, what books you used, what was helpfull, what was not. Basically anything you think would be helpfull to other students. Post your own thread so that you can get the congratulations you deserve and answer any questions, but please just cut and paste that experience onto this thread so it will be around for years. Thank you very much.
 

Back34

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Mage said:
I don't visit this board much (pretty much only 2+ years ago when I was interviewing to get into med school), and I don't know if anyone will particularly find this informative (especially now), but here's my experience.

Throughout the 1st two years, I pretty much did not study regularly and made it through by cramming for 2-3 days before each test...I did pretty well, above the average in all subjects except anatomy and microbiology (got a HP in all except anatomy, which I only passed).

By the time our 2nd year ended, I really felt that I knew very little; because I crammed and never studied regularly, I retained such a small amount. For that reason, I scheduled my test 7 weeks after our classes let out, planning to study everyday for 6-8 hours. I stupidly procrastinated as usual, over-estimating how much I knew and underestimating the amount I needed to learn, and squandered 5 weeks working out, watching playoff basketball, and studying maybe 1 hour a day, if that. A major problem was that I was just basically reading, without highlighting, without writing or re-copying things, and I would forget whatever I did study several days later. Pretty much, in that 5 weeks, all I had accomplished was one casual read through BRS Physiology.

I registered for Qbank 4 weeks before my test date and had been planning to use it extensively when I had finished studying everything once...but that never happened, and I only sparingly used it for behavioral/pathophysiology until I only had 2 weeks left...at which point I did a randomized set of 50 and got a 48%. I knew that was bad, and I started to feel hopeless and panicked. Partly because of all the 'stats' I read here, and partly because I just couldn't fathom learning enough to pass in just 2 weeks...so much of the material was stuff I was learning for the first time. I couldn't reschedule the test due to a trip I needed to take, too.

I decided to just cram as much as I could, in the hope of merely passing...at that point, I didn't care what I scored as long as I passed. I spent the first 4 days going through BRS Pathology...I highlighted what I thought I should remember, and did about 9 chapters a day, going through previous chapters and highlighting what I forgot with a different color...and then a different color for things I kept forgetting. That let me quickly review chapters by only paying attention to things I had repeatedly forgotten.

The next week, I focused on first aid almost entirely. I spent roughly 1-2 hours for each Embryo+Anatomy, Neuroscience, Biochem, and then would spend a couple hours on Pharmacology and microbiology. I used a couple of blank notebooks to write down anything I was learning for the first time...which was quite a lot..pretty much the entire pharm section, half of biochem, most of the micro, etc. If I had any energy left at the end of the day, I would review 3-4 chapters in BRS and 1/2 a chapter in BRS Physiology.

By the time I only had a few days left before the test, I felt I had a decent grasp with everything in first aid (sans Path + Phys, I pretty much only used BRS Path and BRS Phys for those). I started to forget stuff in BRS Path and Phys at this point, so I started to review those more frequently. I completely skipped anti-epileptics, protozoans, and anti-protozoals. I started getting mentally exhausted about 2-3 days before the test, and basically just reviewed what I had written in my notebooks, flipped through first aid, and tried to keep calm. I avoided doing questions (pretty much I did around 500 Qbank questions total in the first 6 weeks, usually doing 1-4 questions at a time. I looked at ones I got wrong, but skipped ones I got correct) because, as pathetic as this sounds, I would get extremely hopeless and depressed if I had less than 60% right.

On test day, I felt surprisingly nonchalant...maybe because I felt like nothing I was going to do would make a difference, that I was going to get a bad score regardless, if I even passed. I am pretty proficient at multiple choice tests, so it felt pretty mechanical. Being familiar with the format (b/c of Qbank) helped. I felt I had a crapload of stupidly pedantic and esoteric biochem and cell biology questions, and not enough path/phys/pharm...out of the 7 sections, there were 3-4 where felt I only got around 40% right, and overall I felt I would be lucky to average 50%.

I was always very accurate at predicting my class grades by keeping track of how many questions I wasn't completely sure of, so all this past month, I felt that I probably just barely passed. I thought I would be lucky to get beyond a 190 or 200. I got my scores today (as I said in the beginning), and it was a -222-. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. I knew so little, had to guess so much, and kept remembering questions I stupidly got wrong after narrowing them down to 2 choices.

Anyhow, that was a long story. My advice is probably just more of the same, but I think it's essential to at least doing as well as I did:


Tips:

1 - START !#[email protected] EARLY!

2 - Set a schedule and follow it. But don't just sit there and scan material without comprehending it, write stuff down/highlight and try to concentrate a bit. And if you can't figure out a good schedule, then at least focus on mastering Path/Phys/Pharm first, then spending whatever time left on the remaining subjects.

3 - Use BRS Path + BRS Phys, and on your first read, highlight what you think you should know (ignore what you already know). On your 2nd read, highlight what you forgot since the 1st read w/ a different color (or underline/checkmark/star etc.). Repeat for your 3rd.

4 - Know first aid -very well-. I skipped the Path/Phys sections, though.

5 - I felt practice questions were an inefficient use of time for me (as I had 2 weeks to cover everything) but if you start early enough (ie, 4+ weeks), they will probably be extremely helpful in strengthening your weak areas. I still wouldn't spend more than 2-3 hours per week on them, though.

6 - maybe this is elementary, or so widely known people don't even talk about it, but my writing things in notebooks helped a great deal. The majority of the pharm I was technically learning for the first time, and writing stuff down (sometimes repeatedly) helped me learn things the first time I covered it.

7 - START EARLY!


----------------------------------------------------------------

Cliffnotes: Stupidly procrastinated 5 weeks, then crammed like a madman using BRS Path, BRS Phys, and First Aid for 2 weeks, freaking out nearly daily. Thought I failed, got a 222.

----------------------------------------------------------------


Congrats on the great score given the circumstances. I feel some kinship here because my experiences with school and Step I were pretty much identical, i.e., had a really difficult time with things (mostly because of procrastination and personal issues) the first two years, scheduled step I later than my classmates, procrastinated for a good while, and didn't get the quality studying in that I should have. I did 50% of the qbank questions and averaged 66%, took the NBME self - assessments a few days before the exam and got a whopping 500 and 480. At this point I felt pretty hopeless, which, like yourself, might have worked in my favor because I really didn't give two sh!ts when I got to the real thing and was, thus, totally relaxed. There were easy, impossible, and narrowed it down to 2 or so choice - type questions. I couldn't believe how many nit - picky anatomy and neuro questions there were (both of which I skimmed through in First Aid the day before because I was told by those I considered in the "know," the subjects weren't too heavily tested and really won't make a difference in the end).

I left the exam thinking that a pass would be a godsend (forget about the national average) and was pretty bummed out the rest of the day.

I haven't gotten my scores yet and at this point, I'm praying for a pass.

Anyway, I just thought I'd say congrats because I know what you went through.
 

nsh_00

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just took it. they do ask repeat questions. Many topics are not covered on the exam, yet they'll pick something and ask you 3 times. I didn't feel my test was like qbank or nbme. Nbme was alot easier. the 150 cd q's were also alot easier than this. this exam takes alot of guessing and i don't know if I'll pass or not but I had a 440 on nbme 2, and 73% on the 150 q cd. Qbank was like 55-60%. . Tons of Neurantomy.,,,the answer being to pick the sp. cord section...god I got sick of seeing those, got at least 8 of them.
 

uclacrewdude

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is it better to do Qbank throughout the 2nd semester of 2nd yr, or just wait until its cramming time? if you do start before cram time, how many ?s should you leave available, like half or so?
 

Lara

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uclacrewdude said:
is it better to do Qbank throughout the 2nd semester of 2nd yr, or just wait until its cramming time? if you do start before cram time, how many ?s should you leave available, like half or so?

I'd say half is definitely enough to leave for cram time, just so you have an idea how you're doing post-studying (and hopefully see improvement). But whatever you do, my best advice is to take enough time to truly process and remember the explanations...something I could have done a heck of a lot better. :rolleyes: I was also too much of a crammer/procastinator in my first two years, and I seriously think if you can avoid that pittfall you should be able to score above the national average.
 

eda

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you have taken Step 1 and good luck on Step 2 and other.
i am a new arrival and i have a question .Plz if somebody can answer me. So i am applying online for step1 and i would like to know where i can find Form 183 ?Ihave been looking but i cant find it .Thnx
 

piggy14

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hallo
I'm not a U.S medical student and i just got my score report yesterday.My score is 213/87.I'm so curious that do i have a chance to get in any programme here? Actually i wanna be a Derm but i know it's impossible.If i wanna go to IM or PM&R do i have a chance?
Thanks a lot :)
 

Joe Joe on da Radio

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i took my exam last week and it was not as difficult as i had anticipated it to be. i don't know about other versions out there, but i really felt that the exam i took served up to its billing as a competency exam. they're not trying to trick you, but see if you have the basics down, and if you do, there isn't much that they can hurt you with. i used the following resources over 6 weeks (3 weeks of which were completely off from classes):

1) BRS Path (it is essential to understand everything in this book; used WebPath along with it)
2) BRS Physio (i felt the exam was much more about pathophysiology than pure physiology)
3) First Aid (sufficient for biochem, behavior, anatomy, pharm)
4) Appleton & Lange Micro & Immuno (a high-yield condensed version of clinical micro made ridiculously simple; i would highly recommend this book instead)
5) BRS Neuroanatomy (chapters on spinal cord tracts/lesions and brainstem lesions only; reviewed a neuro atlas on brainstem sections)
6) HY Molecular Bio (made me less anxious about the subject matter after reading it)
7) Q Bank
8) Goljan Rapid Review USLME Step 1 Question Book (much more in line with the real exam than Q bank in my opinion; and it was only $40 with a CD of 1050 additional questions with 350 in the book itself; i wish i had knew about this book before i spent >$300 on Q bank b/c it would have been more than sufficient!)

as for the exam, i found it helpful to read the question stem first before i read the vignette's as some of them were quite long. i could focus on what to pick out of the vignette knowing what the question was asking for already.

good luck and study hard!

--joe
 

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Thanks Joe for sharing. I am trying to study for boards and wonder what kind of micro questions appear in Step 1. I have BRS micro which groups the bugs in terms of systems that they affect. Ridiculously simple is more like straight facts about each bug. Therefore, I like to know if the micro questions in Step 1 are more towards clinical application or facts about bugs, etc.

I have almost finished reading the Anatomy section in Frist Aid (with looking up materials using atlas, etc.) I am surprised how little coverage it is for Anatomy. Do you really think that is enough?

Anymore suggestions on how to attack micro and pharm are helpful.

Thank you so much. Good luck to all those trying to tackle the Boards now :eek:
 

Joe Joe on da Radio

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my exam was micro heavy and the majority of questions i received were definitely clinically oriented, such as "your patient has symptoms X, Y, Z with lab results X, Y, Z, what organism is most likely responsible?" with that said, there were a few questions that required some defining general knowledge of an organism in order to answer the question, such as encapsulated vs. non-encapsulated, mechanisms of pathogenicity/virulence, and specific endotoxins/exotoxins.

i had much more neuroanatomy on my exam than regular anatomy/embryo, and both were in my opinion, very straight-forward. they didn't stray away from the major tracts/nerves/innervations/function/loss of function type of questions. you can read HY anatomy in 1 day if you're uneasy with first aid, as i did, although, i don't recall having to use any information from that specific text on my exam that wasn't in first aid. be that as it may, it did help with my psyche, which in the end, may have been the more important thing!

pharm was another major component of my exam as well, including the basic principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. they seemed to harp on those type of questions along with the autonomic drugs. i'd also know at least 1 other drug option to treat the commmon disorders/infections as the vignette would invariably have the patient allergic/not able to take the drug of choice.

also, there's a lot of interpreting from graphs/charts/data for micro, pharm, and molecular bio questions, so get practice with those types of questions.

-j

Flintstone said:
Thanks Joe for sharing. I am trying to study for boards and wonder what kind of micro questions appear in Step 1. I have BRS micro which groups the bugs in terms of systems that they affect. Ridiculously simple is more like straight facts about each bug. Therefore, I like to know if the micro questions in Step 1 are more towards clinical application or facts about bugs, etc.

I have almost finished reading the Anatomy section in Frist Aid (with looking up materials using atlas, etc.) I am surprised how little coverage it is for Anatomy. Do you really think that is enough?

Anymore suggestions on how to attack micro and pharm are helpful.

Thank you so much. Good luck to all those trying to tackle the Boards now :eek:
 

sweet n sour

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joe

thanks for sharing ur experience..I was wondering about the goljan rapid review u mentioned..the one i bought is a book by goljan that came out in 2004..it has 100 questions in the end n it comes with a CD with 350 questions! can u please tell me where u got this other book or CD from?
 
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