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Confessions of a Step 1 tester

Discussion in 'Step I' started by caffeinegirl, May 4, 2004.

  1. caffeinegirl

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Hey y'all

    So because I used this forum a ton when preparing for Step 1, and having just taken it 24 hours ago, here goese my take...of course you may take this all with a grain a salt ;)

    I took a month off to study full time, but this turned out to be less than 6 hours a day. I would say around 4 hours a day average, with it being close to 8-10 hours a day the last couple of days before the test (i'm a procrastinator by nature, crammer by choice)

    The stuff I used
    Q Bank: Did all questions in approx 2 weeks, and learned from the answers. did them all by discipline. I think the q's in QBank (I also took the practice full length) are really picky and test rote memorization rather than concepts. Although the topics were similar to what I had on the exam, lots of the q's on the actual exam were easier, in that it took actual thought rather than remembering random facts. The actual exam has a higher proportion of patient cases/vignettes than QBank. Also, the actual exam had q's where you had to know the mechanism of drugs rather than what it does (ie. cell signalling, competitive agonists, etc).

    BRS Path and Physio: Read these and took notes on them around 6 weeks before the test..didn't remember a bit from them 2 weeks before the test :(

    First Aid: The TOME for Step 1. Read this cover to cover, made mini notes of all of the pages for myself and memorized it! The majority of q's on the actual exam came from FA. If I had totally totally memorized it, I would have done much better.

    NMS: Went through about 8 50Q tests and learned from the answers. The format of Step 1 is more similar to NMS than QBank IMO.

    NBME: If you're only going to get q's from one source, THIS is it. Did the 150 Q's the day before the test, and shelled out the moola for the 2 Self Assessments. This is the best indicator of the level of difficulty/depth for the actual thing IMO.

    AND of COURSE the MOST important thing....PAY attention during those basic science years of med school!!!

    Another piece of advice: there's no way you can know every single thing on that exam. There was one question that I only knew because it was a random fact from a neuro class I took in undergrad?!?! So it's a luck of the draw. But if you concentrate on the high yield, you will do well (ie. First Aid, and knowing the background of the topics in first aid).

    Hope it helps!!
    :)
     
  2. Crazed

    Crazed Member
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    This is very helpful - thanks a lot! Great pointers about pharm, and 1st Aid - will definitely keep all of this in mind. Just one question - what's NBME?? :confused: I'm having a brain freeze, I guess.
    Also, I personally like NMS much more than Q bank, but I haven't taken the "real thing" yet, so this is PURELY a personal opinion with absolutely no basis. ;)
     
  3. Doreen

    Doreen Member
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    NBME stands for the National Board of Medical Examiners. Their website is www.nbme.org
     
  4. caffeinegirl

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    NBME is the National Board of Medical Examiners (www.nbme.org) and releases practice Step 1 questions (I think they're old questions from years past?). The 150 questions are free, and answers come with the QBank subscription. The Self Assessment questions ($45 each) don't come with ansewrs though..

    Another add-on..I recommend also if you've got the time, the Underground Clinical Vignettes, skimming those towards the end of your study and focusing on the bold important items really helps zone your diagnosis of many vignettes :)
     
  5. Wednesday

    Wednesday Senior Member
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    It's so nice to know that not everyone actually studies for 12 hours a day for an entire month. This will make me feel better when I'm procrastinating in a couple of weeks. :p
     
  6. LovelyRita

    LovelyRita Blade Slinger
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    Hi!
    Thanks caffeinegirl!

    What's NMS?

    M.
     
  7. Stinger86

    Stinger86 Intern year? Ha!
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    Thanks for the post caffeinegirl.

    Hooray, someone else that agrees with me on Qbank. Boo qbank, yay nbme assessment and subject exams
     
  8. caffeinegirl

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    NMS Review for USMLE Step 1, by John S. Lazo, Bruce R. Pitt, Joseph C., III Glorioso
    It comes with a CD ROM with the same q's as from the book too
     
  9. applicant2002

    applicant2002 Senior Member
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    what are the nbme self assessment exams and how do you access them?
     
  10. caffeinegirl

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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  11. musicman1991

    musicman1991 Senior Member
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    i would get the Appleton & Lange review. It has some questions by subject and some comprehensive tests at the end of the book.

    Memorize First Aid.
     
  12. applicant2002

    applicant2002 Senior Member
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  13. scully

    scully Senior Member
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  14. mountaindew2006

    mountaindew2006 Senior Member
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    no answers or no explanations ? i thought it was the latter..................
     
  15. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    its worth it...i have seen numerous accounts of test-takers getting identical questions on their USMLE's. While recall is often selective, I do believe that many of the questions are similar to the real deal.
     
  16. caffeinegirl

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    True, many students have said that they've gotten extremely similar if not identical questions on the real thing. I think I remember having 1 or 2 of the same format. However, realize that there are no answers, and once you've taken the test, you can't see the questions/review the questions again (unless you want to pay the moola again!)

    I would suggest getting the nontimed version, and spending time figuring out the q's, but then that kind of defeats the purpose of a practice test... :confused:
     
  17. caffeinegirl

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    So got my scores today, and thought I'd post a follow-up, for those who'll search for stuff like this in the future (as I did when I was preparing)

    Actual score: 216/88
    Average for first time takers: around 217

    Q bank: high 60's with repeats
    NBMEfre 150 q's: a tad below mean
    NBME self assessments (1 and 2): 480/410
    NMS: low to mid 70's%

    Hopefully it's off to pathology residency!
    Hope this helps! :)
     
  18. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof
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    Congrats Caffeinegirl!!!! Enjoy the feeling that you are done!!!! :D
     
  19. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made
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    Congratulations Caffeinegirl! IMO pathology residency won't be a problem with your score!!

    I have a question: How did you assess your performance on the FREE 150q NBME test? (what is mean??). I take my test in 6 days and just took the NBME free questions and don't know what to think. Thanks
     
  20. caffeinegirl

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    What's up medpuck
    what i meant by average was 60% of q's right...sorry I don't have the actual results for that test, because the program didn't save them! but I remember I was getting in the lower to mid 60's on it :)
    hope this helps!
     
  21. MedPuck

    MedPuck Made
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    Thanks caffeinegirl, I figured that was the case but saw no distribution for those results. Good luck to you, I look forward to joining the ranks!

    MP :D
     
  22. Stinger86

    Stinger86 Intern year? Ha!
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    If you're one of those people for whom time is not an issue on exams, both course and standarized alike, I highly recommend doing the self-timed and working through the questions with texts. What I did was sign up for the self-timed exams, and then give myself one of the four hours to work through a block (to simulate a real block). Once I finished the block, I went over all the questions before submitting it, and if I missed a question, I left it incorrect (but at least I learned why I missed it). That way, my score and distribution wouldn't be skewed at the end. So basically I was able to get the best of both worlds.
     
  23. kedhegard

    kedhegard Senior Member
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    Is this book any good? It seems like it might be great, but I don't want to waste time if it's not. A decent last minute review, maybe?
     
  24. merlin

    merlin Senior Member
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    I have the same question. I have used it here and there, but it seems as if the only downside of Buzzwords is that it'll help you recognize something, but the questions on the actual tests I assume as the next step which Buzzwords doesn't really address all that well. It helps you figure out what you are dealing with and maybe more depending on what the question is asking. I'd be curious to hear other opinions on this book.
     
  25. EMDrMoe

    EMDrMoe Senior Member
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    VERY nice to hear, although I'm IN the last couple of weeks! :eek:

    13 days to go
     

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