Lothric

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Hi,

USMLE is not an IQ-test, but the IQ plays a major part as that will determine the roof of mastered knowledge.

Can a person with a lower than average IQ still get a score within the 262-265 interval with hard work or will the low IQ prevent this?
 
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Lothric

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If it's impossible to answer, that means that a person with a lower than average IQ could achieve scores within the 262-265 interval, no? I just don't want to see IQ as a limiting factor when it comes to such step 1 scores as that would mean that the effort I put down at one point will be worthless.

There is an old thread in this forum where somebody wrote: "People with low IQs NEVER score high on Step 1." and "A person with an average intelligence won't be able to score above a 260 regardless of work ethic and/or a photographic memory." Ever since I read that I've been reflecting a bit, hence this thread's question.
 
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bashwell

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If it's impossible to answer, that means that a person with a lower than average IQ could achieve scores within the 262-265 interval, no? I just don't want to see IQ as a limiting factor when it comes to such step 1 scores as that would mean that the effort I put down at one point will be worthless.

There is an old thread in this forum where somebody wrote: "People with low IQs NEVER score high on Step 1." and "A person with an average intelligence won't be able to score above a 260 regardless of work ethic and/or a photographic memory." Ever since I read that I've been reflecting a bit, hence this thread's question.
I don't understand all the concern over IQ. Regardless of your IQ, aren't you just going to try to do your very best on Step 1/2?
 

Foot Fetish

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IQ is overrated. Step 1 is a glorified memorization test. Kim Peek was legally mentally ******ed (IQ ~88), and he would have crushed Step 1. It's not rocket science. We like to pretend it involves more critical thinking than it actually does. For the most part, encyclopedic knowledge reigns supreme in medicine.
 

el_duderino

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What a bizarre question.
 

A$AP

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IQ is overrated. Step 1 is a glorified memorization test. Kim Peek was legally mentally ******ed (IQ ~88), and he would have crushed Step 1. It's not rocket science. We like to pretend it involves more critical thinking than it actually does. For the most part, encyclopedic knowledge reigns supreme in medicine.
There is critical thinking at every juncture. At the Step 1 level not as much, and it's often a different type of "critical" thinking which leans more on the side of application of basic science topics rather than clinical reasoning (which there is still a good deal of). "Encyclopedic knowledge" reigning supreme could not be more false.

I do agree, however, that IQ is overrated. I really think this kind of "smarts vs natural intelligence" argument is complete BS. How the hell would you even define these things?
 

Eithz H

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I'm kind of new to the whole SDN world but I think I could provide some insight to this specific topic.

I'm currently a 4th year going into gen surg. I never took an IQ test but I would imagine I probably wouldn't do that well. I scored in the 35th percentile on the SAT, got a 32 on the MCAT, and never really did that well as an undergrad (science GPA 3.6 at an average FL state school).

But when it came time that I started medical school I identified that the step 1 really is a glorified memorization test (as was described Foot Fetish). I started from the first year doing Firecracker and practice questions on USMLE Rx, Kaplan, UWORLD. During organ system blocks I would be constantly reviewing old material from 1st year in a ratio that was about 60/40 (60% directed toward current organ system/40% directed toward reviewing previous material) I only did average on all my school's exams (which were NBME). But when it came time to take step 1, I ended up scoring a 261. I did the same kind of thing for Step 2 CK and got a 264.

I think the ultimate lesson is that if a bonehead like myself can do it then I am confident that literally anyone can do it. You just have to accept the fact that success of Step 1 is based on two things: memorization and testing strategy.

There are those people who will score >260 because they are naturally good test takers. But then there are those people who can grind it out and make it happen. Identify which person you are and do what you need to do to succeed.
 
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I think the ultimate lesson is that if a bonehead like myself can do it then I am confident that literally anyone can do it. You just have to accept the fact that success of Step 1 is based on two things: memorization and testing strategy.
Would you suggest literally memorizing FA ?
 

Newyawk

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The SAT doesnt measure IQ either, but kudos anyway thats probably very rare.
Most people who score 900s on the SATs dont even get into 4 year schools.

Memorizing FA is the best way to screw yourself over. Do yourself a favor and actually learn the material. In my opinion, most people who claim step 1 is a memorization based exam are just ignoring the fact that theres a difference between: "which of these diseases matches this exact description" (with nothing left out and nothing added in) and "which of the following is the best answer when considering the given information" (with some things deliberately left out and others put in as distractors).

Sure, there are some Qs that ask basically for definitions (some pharm Qs, biostats, etc). To do well, however, you need more than that.

In summary, step 1 is not a memorization test, rather it is an application test that requires you to have memorized many things... theres a difference.
 
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68PGunner

On a serious note, I have been UFAPS-ing about 6-8 hrs a day 5-6 days/wk since the start of this year. Can I break at least 240 if I keep this pace all the way to June?
 

Eithz H

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Would you suggest literally memorizing FA ?
Your question is valid. I can't necessarily answer in a yes/no fashion so I will explain further...

I am currently a M4 so it's been sometime since I've been in Step 1 mode but the one rule that governed my study strategy was that the foundation of the knowledge has to be composed of knowledge of facts that will be tested on Step 1. We know exactly what these facts will be since they have been codified in a variety of resources (most obviously First Aid but I used Firecracker since I like the flashcard form). The more of these facts you know the more successful you are likely to be. But there is a problem with this...there are so many damn facts how can one possibly know all of it?

The answer to that question is you can't necessarily know all of it but you can try. I began preparing for Step 1 by focusing on high-yield topics and blowing off anything else that didn't seem pertinent. In this way I only chose those "high-yield" facts to commit to memory. But there also lies another problem....how can I retain all these facts until step 1 comes around?

The answer to that question is simple: review a little bit everyday. For example, when I was on cardio/pulm in the beginning of M2 I would take 15 minutes everyday to review something from M1 (i.e. biochem, biostats, etc). When it came time for Step 1 I had reviewed everything so often that even if I didn't remember it off the top of my head I would be able to immediately perceive the answer because it had been buried somewhere in my subconscious because of all the reviewing.

But it's also important to consider another possible problem....should doing well on Step 1 really be all about memorizing facts? The answer to that is absolutely not. Memorizing facts will only get you so far. The facts have to come together in a way that creates a greater picture (facts are the trees and the "greater picture" is the forest...ultimately you have to know both). You also have to find some way to give them value. I did this by thinking about the long-term: the more I knew these facts=the better I would understand medicine=the more effective doctor I would=the better I could take care of my patients. When studying for Step 1 is approached in this way I realized that it was much easier to memorize a vast number of facts.

So memorizing First Aid is probably a fools game. Try to understand the facts and how they can be incorporated into a greater picture. That will allow you to be successful on Step 1 but also during your third year.

Hope this helps.
 

Mad Jack

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IQ is overrated. Step 1 is a glorified memorization test. Kim Peek was legally mentally ******ed (IQ ~88), and he would have crushed Step 1. It's not rocket science. We like to pretend it involves more critical thinking than it actually does. For the most part, encyclopedic knowledge reigns supreme in medicine.
Highly disagree. There are enough experimental design and biostatistics questions that will trip up a person that is simply good at memorizing. The test is really about 50/50 recall versus conceptual, as questions tend to be three orders removed from the answer.

But here's the real issue- a big part of IQ testing is measuring intellectual processing time, not just conceptual processing and memory capacity. Because speed is important in both IQ testing and the USMLE, I'd venture to say it is almost impossible of someone with <100 IQ to score equal to or greater than 262, with the exception being dumb luck (money with a typewriter levels of dumb luck). Autistic savants would likely be unable to tackle the USMLE, as they tend to have issues with abstraction that would make conceptual problems impossible.
 
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Mad Jack

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I'm kind of new to the whole SDN world but I think I could provide some insight to this specific topic.

I'm currently a 4th year going into gen surg. I never took an IQ test but I would imagine I probably wouldn't do that well. I scored in the 35th percentile on the SAT, got a 32 on the MCAT, and never really did that well as an undergrad (science GPA 3.6 at an average FL state school).

But when it came time that I started medical school I identified that the step 1 really is a glorified memorization test (as was described Foot Fetish). I started from the first year doing Firecracker and practice questions on USMLE Rx, Kaplan, UWORLD. During organ system blocks I would be constantly reviewing old material from 1st year in a ratio that was about 60/40 (60% directed toward current organ system/40% directed toward reviewing previous material) I only did average on all my school's exams (which were NBME). But when it came time to take step 1, I ended up scoring a 261. I did the same kind of thing for Step 2 CK and got a 264.

I think the ultimate lesson is that if a bonehead like myself can do it then I am confident that literally anyone can do it. You just have to accept the fact that success of Step 1 is based on two things: memorization and testing strategy.

There are those people who will score >260 because they are naturally good test takers. But then there are those people who can grind it out and make it happen. Identify which person you are and do what you need to do to succeed.
I'd still bet you test above average. IQ tests aren't what most people imagine, they're much more about processing than anything else, and clearly you do not have any processing deficiencies if you can memorize and recall that much information.
 
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Eithz H

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I'd still bet you test above average. IQ tests aren't what most people imagine, they're much more about processing than anything else, and clearly you do not have any processing deficiencies if you can memorize and recall that much information.
Very good point. Would be interesting to see what modern IQ tests are really like. I appreciate your confidence in my possible IQ testing skills (it's the small things in life right).
 
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68PGunner

I'm kind of new to the whole SDN world but I think I could provide some insight to this specific topic.

I'm currently a 4th year going into gen surg. I never took an IQ test but I would imagine I probably wouldn't do that well. I scored in the 35th percentile on the SAT, got a 32 on the MCAT, and never really did that well as an undergrad (science GPA 3.6 at an average FL state school).

But when it came time that I started medical school I identified that the step 1 really is a glorified memorization test (as was described Foot Fetish). I started from the first year doing Firecracker and practice questions on USMLE Rx, Kaplan, UWORLD. During organ system blocks I would be constantly reviewing old material from 1st year in a ratio that was about 60/40 (60% directed toward current organ system/40% directed toward reviewing previous material) I only did average on all my school's exams (which were NBME). But when it came time to take step 1, I ended up scoring a 261. I did the same kind of thing for Step 2 CK and got a 264.

I think the ultimate lesson is that if a bonehead like myself can do it then I am confident that literally anyone can do it. You just have to accept the fact that success of Step 1 is based on two things: memorization and testing strategy.

There are those people who will score >260 because they are naturally good test takers. But then there are those people who can grind it out and make it happen. Identify which person you are and do what you need to do to succeed.
I want to say that this post is inspiring. My study schedule has been very similar to yours with similar results in term of preclinical grades. However, on the qbank, I am beating my school average by a wide margin and am above average in term of the national average by the #s from USMLE-Rx. It's good to hear stories like this in order to confirm whether I'm on the right path or not.
 

IslandStyle808

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I'm kind of new to the whole SDN world but I think I could provide some insight to this specific topic.

I'm currently a 4th year going into gen surg. I never took an IQ test but I would imagine I probably wouldn't do that well. I scored in the 35th percentile on the SAT, got a 32 on the MCAT, and never really did that well as an undergrad (science GPA 3.6 at an average FL state school).

But when it came time that I started medical school I identified that the step 1 really is a glorified memorization test (as was described Foot Fetish). I started from the first year doing Firecracker and practice questions on USMLE Rx, Kaplan, UWORLD. During organ system blocks I would be constantly reviewing old material from 1st year in a ratio that was about 60/40 (60% directed toward current organ system/40% directed toward reviewing previous material) I only did average on all my school's exams (which were NBME). But when it came time to take step 1, I ended up scoring a 261. I did the same kind of thing for Step 2 CK and got a 264.

I think the ultimate lesson is that if a bonehead like myself can do it then I am confident that literally anyone can do it. You just have to accept the fact that success of Step 1 is based on two things: memorization and testing strategy.

There are those people who will score >260 because they are naturally good test takers. But then there are those people who can grind it out and make it happen. Identify which person you are and do what you need to do to succeed.
You're not a bone head, especially with a 32 MCAT. You have really good critical thinking.
 

Foot Fetish

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Highly disagree. There are enough experimental design and biostatistics questions that will trip up a person that is simply good at memorizing. The test is really about 50/50 recall versus conceptual, as questions tend to be three orders removed from the answer.

But here's the real issue- a big part of IQ testing is measuring intellectual processing time, not just conceptual processing and memory capacity. Because speed is important in both IQ testing and the USMLE, I'd venture to say it is almost impossible of someone with <100 IQ to score equal to or greater than 262, with the exception being dumb luck (money with a typewriter levels of dumb luck). Autistic savants would likely be unable to tackle the USMLE, as they tend to have issues with abstraction that would make conceptual problems impossible.
OK, you're right in that my conjecture regarding Kim Peek was a hyperbole. But I still think it is primarily a memorization test. Even those third order questions simply require you to have memorized a series of facts. I guess knowing when it is appropriate to recall those facts and string them together is what constitutes "critical thinking", so you're right in that sense. I just don't like it when people try to make "critical thinking" out to be this nebulous thing. Basically we can summarize the requirements for a high step 1 score as a ton of memorization plus "pattern recognition" /context based recall a.k.a. critical thinking. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it really hinges on verbal reasoning like the MCAT did. It doesn't try to trick you in that sense. It's only tricky by virtue of requiring multiple layers of fact recall to arrive at the right answer.
 

FindMeOnTheLinks

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IQ is overrated. Step 1 is a glorified memorization test. Kim Peek was legally mentally ******ed (IQ ~88), and he would have crushed Step 1. It's not rocket science. We like to pretend it involves more critical thinking than it actually does. For the most part, encyclopedic knowledge reigns supreme in medicine.
Dude, you're way off on this. You've barely started M2 and are still like 9 months away from even taking the test. Step 1 is not anki in multiple choice format.

There is some aspect of memorization on the test but it really requires you to apply knowledge, recognize extremely complex patterns, and distinguish between certain things where the difference is razor thin. It is very integrative - it will test you on concepts that I guarantee have never been explained to you and you will not find in any review book and you will have to rely on your understanding of processes to answer the question.

I will never understand how people can try to make these blanket judgments on Step 1 when they just started second year.
 
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Mad Jack

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OK, you're right in that my conjecture regarding Kim Peek was a hyperbole. But I still think it is primarily a memorization test. Even those third order questions simply require you to have memorized a series of facts. I guess knowing when it is appropriate to recall those facts and string them together is what constitutes "critical thinking", so you're right in that sense. I just don't like it when people try to make "critical thinking" out to be this nebulous thing. Basically we can summarize the requirements for a high step 1 score as a ton of memorization plus "pattern recognition" /context based recall a.k.a. critical thinking. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it really hinges on verbal reasoning like the MCAT did. It doesn't try to trick you in that sense. It's only tricky by virtue of requiring multiple layers of fact recall to arrive at the right answer.
I disagree, as someone who has actually taken the test. It is not the same as UW, which is much more fact-based and involves less critical thinking.
 
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IslandStyle808

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I disagree, as someone who has actually taken the test. It is not the same as UW, which is much more fact-based and involves less critical thinking.
Do you think NMBEs are more representative of the critical thinking seen on the actual exam? I've been doing vignettes from firecracker and kaplan and I can see why people say it has some element of critical thinking (even though I know those vignettes are not as difficult as UWorld or NBME exams).
 

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I think Step 1 was more or less a memorization test. You need some test-taking skills and critical thinking ability, but pretty much every question boils down to being given a list of symptoms, perhaps with a complicating factor, and determining either the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, or side effect of treatment. Most of the questions I wasn't sure about were because I wasn't sure what the MOA or SE of a medication was, or which diagnosis included which symptom.
 
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Mad Jack

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Do you think NMBEs are more representative of the critical thinking seen on the actual exam? I've been doing vignettes from firecracker and kaplan and I can see why people say it has some element of critical thinking (even though I know those vignettes are not as difficult as UWorld or NBME exams).
Not really. They're kind of watered down.
 

Foot Fetish

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Dude, you're way off on this. You've barely started M2 and are still like 9 months away from even taking the test. Step 1 is not anki in multiple choice format.

There is some aspect of memorization on the test but it really requires you to apply knowledge, recognize extremely complex patterns, and distinguish between certain things where the difference is razor thin. It is very integrative - it will test you on concepts that I guarantee have never been explained to you and you will not find in any review book and you will have to rely on your understanding of processes to answer the question.

I will never understand how people can try to make these blanket judgments on Step 1 when they just started second year.
Your argument presupposes that the average test taker will have absolute knowledge of the material, implying that the bottle-neck to high achievement is critical thinking.
In reality, most Step 1 test-takers have sufficient baseline critical thinking skills (they made it all the way to med school after all) but lack the knowledge. Critical thinking without knowledge is like a gun without bullets. It's just like what @jonnythan said, most questions, no matter how convoluted and tricky to decipher, will come down to not knowing some fact. Sure, it might be a really tricky 3rd order question with a vaguely described atypical presentation, but even genius-level critical reasoning won't save you if, after determining the disease and treatment, you simply don't know the random side effect it's asking for because you never memorized it.

No one is arguing that critical reasoning isn't important. However, it is only really relevant at the extremes of the bell curve. In other words, if you have really poor critical thinking skills (again, super uncommon for someone who made it all the way to medical school), you will have a very hard time with Step 1, and your IQ may mean the difference between passing and failing. At the other extreme, critical thinking becomes the limiting factor for a tiny fraction of test-takers, those students who essentially memorized everything in UFAP cold. For these people, differences in IQ separate the 260's from the 270's.

...But for the people in between the extremes (i.e. the vast majority of medical students), critical reasoning is not the limiting factor. Indeed, the majority of variation in scores comes down to differences in preparation, namely how much time you took to really memorize the insanely massive amount of testable information. Extremely few even approach complete mastery of the facts in UFAP. Let's face it. It's a ****load of material. I may have just started M2, but it doesn't take a genius to take one look at the super-condensed, 798 page textbook of "high-yield" facts that is First Aid and conclude "Yep, it's a memorization test." It's common sense, really.
 

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Your argument presupposes that the average test taker will have absolute knowledge of the material, implying that the bottle-neck to high achievement is critical thinking.
In reality, most Step 1 test-takers have sufficient baseline critical thinking skills (they made it all the way to med school after all) but lack the knowledge. Critical thinking without knowledge is like a gun without bullets. It's just like what @jonnythan said, most questions, no matter how convoluted and tricky to decipher, will come down to not knowing some fact. Sure, it might be a really tricky 3rd order question with a vaguely described atypical presentation, but even genius-level critical reasoning won't save you if, after determining the disease and treatment, you simply don't know the random side effect it's asking for because you never memorized it.

No one is arguing that critical reasoning isn't important. However, it is only really relevant at the extremes of the bell curve. In other words, if you have really poor critical thinking skills (again, super uncommon for someone who made it all the way to medical school), you will have a very hard time with Step 1, and your IQ may mean the difference between passing and failing. At the other extreme, critical thinking becomes the limiting factor for a tiny fraction of test-takers, those students who essentially memorized everything in UFAP cold. For these people, differences in IQ separate the 260's from the 270's.

...But for the people in between the extremes (i.e. the vast majority of medical students), critical reasoning is not the limiting factor. Indeed, the majority of variation in scores comes down to differences in preparation, namely how much time you took to really memorize the insanely massive amount of testable information. Extremely few even approach complete mastery of the facts in UFAP. Let's face it. It's a ****load of material. I may have just started M2, but it doesn't take a genius to take one look at the super-condensed, 798 page textbook of "high-yield" facts that is First Aid and conclude "Yep, it's a memorization test." It's common sense, really.
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face."
 
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Mad Jack

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Your argument presupposes that the average test taker will have absolute knowledge of the material, implying that the bottle-neck to high achievement is critical thinking.
In reality, most Step 1 test-takers have sufficient baseline critical thinking skills (they made it all the way to med school after all) but lack the knowledge. Critical thinking without knowledge is like a gun without bullets. It's just like what @jonnythan said, most questions, no matter how convoluted and tricky to decipher, will come down to not knowing some fact. Sure, it might be a really tricky 3rd order question with a vaguely described atypical presentation, but even genius-level critical reasoning won't save you if, after determining the disease and treatment, you simply don't know the random side effect it's asking for because you never memorized it.

No one is arguing that critical reasoning isn't important. However, it is only really relevant at the extremes of the bell curve. In other words, if you have really poor critical thinking skills (again, super uncommon for someone who made it all the way to medical school), you will have a very hard time with Step 1, and your IQ may mean the difference between passing and failing. At the other extreme, critical thinking becomes the limiting factor for a tiny fraction of test-takers, those students who essentially memorized everything in UFAP cold. For these people, differences in IQ separate the 260's from the 270's.

...But for the people in between the extremes (i.e. the vast majority of medical students), critical reasoning is not the limiting factor. Indeed, the majority of variation in scores comes down to differences in preparation, namely how much time you took to really memorize the insanely massive amount of testable information. Extremely few even approach complete mastery of the facts in UFAP. Let's face it. It's a ****load of material. I may have just started M2, but it doesn't take a genius to take one look at the super-condensed, 798 page textbook of "high-yield" facts that is First Aid and conclude "Yep, it's a memorization test." It's common sense, really.
The thing is, you can make due with roughly 70% of the total knowledge on the test if you can critically think your way through the rest. A lot of it is inferences, like, you don't need to know A+B=Z when you know that B=1/3*Z and A=2B. It's like fact algebra past a certain point, and dare I say that you'll do better on the wards if you can utilize concepts rather than just having a slew of facts memorized anyways, so it's just a more useful skill to have in general. The people who crash and burn on the wards are the ones that lack common sense and conceptual thinking, such as my classic MD/PhD dermatology resident that nearly killed one of my patients because he couldn't infer basic things from a physical exam many years back. That sort of thinking is quite important on Step 2 (as much of it is case presentations, and you can't possibly memorize them all), but also on Step 1 to a degree. Again, come back after you've taken the exam and let me know how you feel. I thought similarly to you until I actually took it and realized people weren't ****ing around when they said UW is NOT like the real exam. You are given much less information than on UW questions, and HAVE to be able to think abstractly to get the information needed. UW is a teaching tool, and it's good at that, but it is not Step 1, it is a tool that is designed to demonstrate multiple concepts in each question rather than be fully representative of the questions themselves. That's why so many people come out from test day being like "what the actual **** just happened."
 

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The thing is, you can make due with roughly 70% of the total knowledge on the test if you can critically think your way through the rest.
Not if you want a 262.
 

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I may have just started M2, but it doesn't take a genius to take one look at the super-condensed, 798 page textbook of "high-yield" facts that is First Aid and conclude "Yep, it's a memorization test." It's common sense, really.
Normally I like what you have to say, but the conclusion you've come to here is baffling. You can pass and score average if you memorize. You can't high unless you memorize AND apply. The difference between a 240 and a 250 is being able to take the next step to extrapolate stuff you memorized into something that isn't in the review resources and you likely weren't taught in your classes. It's really hard to understand until you take the test. You'll do well, you're very smart. But I really don't want people to think that they can just memorize first aid without understanding what the material really means and expect to get a 250+.
 

Newyawk

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Your argument presupposes that the average test taker will have absolute knowledge of the material, implying that the bottle-neck to high achievement is critical thinking.
In reality, most Step 1 test-takers have sufficient baseline critical thinking skills (they made it all the way to med school after all) but lack the knowledge. Critical thinking without knowledge is like a gun without bullets. It's just like what @jonnythan said, most questions, no matter how convoluted and tricky to decipher, will come down to not knowing some fact. Sure, it might be a really tricky 3rd order question with a vaguely described atypical presentation, but even genius-level critical reasoning won't save you if, after determining the disease and treatment, you simply don't know the random side effect it's asking for because you never memorized it.

No one is arguing that critical reasoning isn't important. However, it is only really relevant at the extremes of the bell curve. In other words, if you have really poor critical thinking skills (again, super uncommon for someone who made it all the way to medical school), you will have a very hard time with Step 1, and your IQ may mean the difference between passing and failing. At the other extreme, critical thinking becomes the limiting factor for a tiny fraction of test-takers, those students who essentially memorized everything in UFAP cold. For these people, differences in IQ separate the 260's from the 270's.

...But for the people in between the extremes (i.e. the vast majority of medical students), critical reasoning is not the limiting factor. Indeed, the majority of variation in scores comes down to differences in preparation, namely how much time you took to really memorize the insanely massive amount of testable information. Extremely few even approach complete mastery of the facts in UFAP. Let's face it. It's a ****load of material. I may have just started M2, but it doesn't take a genius to take one look at the super-condensed, 798 page textbook of "high-yield" facts that is First Aid and conclude "Yep, it's a memorization test." It's common sense, really.
What evidence do you have to support your claim that only at the very high end of the curve does IQ suddenly become a limiting factor? That one thread a few years back with that narcissistic user? What was his name? Asp?
I got in the mid 260s and i can assure you i did not have ufap memorized cold. I actually only went thru FA once or twice and I barely memorized a quarter of what i didnt know from class (which was a hefty amount). Case in point: I got Pharm Qs wrong on my exam that were from FA.

Sure, everyone memorizes info in med school. critical thinking can just as easily get someone to a 230 from a 220 as it can a 270 from a 260.
 

Mad Jack

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Normally I like what you have to say, but the conclusion you've come to here is baffling. You can pass and score average if you memorize. You can't high unless you memorize AND apply. The difference between a 240 and a 250 is being able to take the next step to extrapolate stuff you memorized into something that isn't in the review resources and you likely weren't taught in your classes. It's really hard to understand until you take the test. You'll do well, you're very smart. But I really don't want people to think that they can just memorize first aid without understanding what the material really means and expect to get a 250+.
There is a LOT of material on the exam that isn't in First Aid as well. First Aid covers 80% of what's on the boards, but if you memorized nothing but FA, you wouldn't break 240, guaranteed. Hell, with poor application, you might not even break 230.
 
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Cura_te_ipsum

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In reality, most Step 1 test-takers have sufficient baseline critical thinking skills (they made it all the way to med school after all) but lack the knowledge.
Step 1 exam involves more critical thinking than you might think

Firstly, UW is much harder than Step 1. Our Assoc Dean of Academic Curriculum told us as such and when I left the exam, I immediately recalled their counsel.

Second, you have 60 secs per question, with people coughing, hacking, sniffling, and your breaks are yours to manage. If you take more time for breaks than allotted, your block exams are shortened. The pressure is brutal and the stress dizzying. The computers are bizarre and the font sizes challenging...nothing like UW on my Mac or campus PC. IOW, until you take Step 1 it is difficult to know what to expect bc NBME and UW pale compared to the real deal

Thirdly, I found many of my Step 1 exams idiotic but that is bc I think abstractly. There was a question that involved Aldolase B, an infant with failure to thrive. But none of the answers were Fructose. I panicked until I saw Sucrose. I had to think and then I laughed out loud and said, "how sneaky!"

I had many questions that were sneaky that required thinking through them as opposed to rote recall. I had about a dozen MSM questions and some of them had nothing to do with HIV or STDs. But they wanted you to think they were. you had to stop, think about the presentation, and respond critically.

I had a blast with my Step 1 Exam and left in good spirits. UW is far harder. But if you crush UW, you should do better on Step 1. NB: I did not use FA so I did not memorize, I sought understanding
 
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IslandStyle808

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Could someone explain the whole concept side to step 1 versus the memorization side? My school exams make me feel like because I forgot a certain factoid that I didn't know the concept, but it appears this isn't exactly true. I've done firecracker and kaplan vignettes, but I wonder if I am understanding the conceptual side to this exam?
 

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Could someone explain the whole concept side to step 1 versus the memorization side? My school exams make me feel like because I forgot a certain factoid that I didn't know the concept, but it appears this isn't exactly true. I've done firecracker and kaplan vignettes, but I wonder if I am understanding the conceptual side to this exam?
I think there's a good deal of memorizing vignettes, rules, genes, biochem on the usmle. So memorizing that 2 yo boys w/abd problems are probably Meckel's or 2 yo girls with regression -> retts or bleeding teeth -> Von Will. The rest is very conceptual knowledge such as knowing that a dullness to percussion probably means you've got fluid or mass instead of air and then applying that to a chart of findings and picking everything that you would expect to see in that patient.
 
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Drrrrrr. Celty

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Step 1 exam involves more critical thinking than you might think

Firstly, UW is much harder than Step 1. Our Assoc Dean of Academic Curriculum told us as such and when I left the exam, I immediately recalled their counsel.

Second, you have 60 secs per question, with people coughing, hacking, sniffling, and your breaks are yours to manage. If you take more time for breaks than allotted, your block exams are shortened. The pressure is brutal and the stress dizzying. The computers are bizarre and the font sizes challenging...nothing like UW on my Mac or campus PC. IOW, until you take Step 1 it is difficult to know what to expect bc NBME and UW pale compared to the real deal

Thirdly, I found many of my Step 1 exams idiotic but that is bc I think abstractly. There was a question that involved Aldolase B, an infant with failure to thrive. But none of the answers were Fructose. I panicked until I saw Sucrose. I had to think and then I laughed out loud and said, "how sneaky!"

I had many questions that were sneaky that required thinking through them as opposed to rote recall. I had about a dozen MSM questions and some of them had nothing to do with HIV or STDs. But they wanted you to think they were. you had to stop, think about the presentation, and respond critically.

I had a blast with my Step 1 Exam and left in good spirits. UW is far harder. But if you crush UW, you should do better on Step 1. NB: I did not use FA so I did not memorize, I sought understanding
UW isn't harder than Step 1. Step 1 is without a doubt far more vague and difficult. I usually marked 10 questions per 40 on Uworld, on the USMLE up to 20.
But yah, the USMLE makes you think critically. There aren't many gimme questions like Uworld.
 
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Drrrrrr. Celty

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There is a LOT of material on the exam that isn't in First Aid as well. First Aid covers 80% of what's on the boards, but if you memorized nothing but FA, you wouldn't break 240, guaranteed. Hell, with poor application, you might not even break 230.
It does an excellent job explaining basic physiology, embryo, and genetics. But pathology is weak, pathoma only does so much, so you really need to read the explanations on Uworld and do things like looking up stuff online.
 
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Mad Jack

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It does an excellent job explaining basic physiology, embryo, and genetics. But pathology is weak, pathoma only does so much, so you really need to read the explanations on Uworld and do things like looking up stuff online.
It's also pretty weak on pharm and micro.
 
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Cura_te_ipsum

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I'm a Sketchy guy, myself.
Notebook of plain paper, pen, ruler, writing concepts over and over till you can write them in your sleep

It's also pretty weak on pharm and micro.
Pathoma is awful on ID. Next to nothing on Hep B, Hep C, HIV, etc.

UW solutions and alternate answers are part of the learning process.
Best bang for your buck.
 

Mad Jack

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Notebook of plain paper, pen, ruler, writing concepts over and over till you can write them in your sleep



Pathoma is awful on ID. Next to nothing on Hep B, Hep C, HIV, etc.

UW solutions and alternate answers are part of the learning process.
Best bang for your buck.
I learned most of my ID from Goljan. Listen to him when you're in the car every day through MS1-MS2 and you'll have that stuff down cold by the time boards hit.
 

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I'm 10 months out from my exam. I am getting ~80% average on Kaplan Qbank and UWorld on timed, non-tutor blocks. Is this considered good, considering how early I am in my preparation?
 

Cura_te_ipsum

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I'm 10 months out from my exam. I am getting ~80% average on Kaplan Qbank and UWorld on timed, non-tutor blocks. Is this considered good, considering how early I am in my preparation?
I had no use for Kaplan nor USMLE rx videos nor qbanks.
If youre getting 90s on UW under timed conditions, all fresh, unused questions, you are smoking. Take the exam in Feb instead of July (10 months)

The best advice given to me by an MD student ahead of me was to do all of UW 3 times, plus study the explanations and all answers. It was brutal but it paid in spades

I learned most of my ID from Goljan. Listen to him when you're in the car every day through MS1-MS2 and you'll have that stuff down cold by the time boards hit.
i found Goljan to be condescending, arrogant and too flippant.
His audio tapes that we all pirated were over-rated if not somewhat amusing bc of his shrill voice, antics and self-agrandizement.
 

Mad Jack

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I had no use for Kaplan nor USMLE rx videos nor qbanks.
If youre getting 90s on UW under timed conditions, all fresh, unused questions, you are smoking. Take the exam in Feb instead of July (10 months)

The best advice given to me by an MD student ahead of me was to do all of UW 3 times, plus study the explanations and all answers. It was brutal but it paid in spades



i found Goljan to be condescending, arrogant and too flippant.
His audio tapes that we all pirated were over-rated if not somewhat amusing bc of his shrill voice, antics and self-agrandizement.
There are two sets of Goljan, one is not as bad. I got no less than eight questions on the boards that were covered by him and barely touched by other sources.
 

Foot Fetish

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There are two sets of Goljan, one is not as bad. I got no less than eight questions on the boards that were covered by him and barely touched by other sources.
You talking about a Goljan book? You think it's worth learning Goljan rapid review ?
 
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