DO student taking USMLE step 1 during 3rd year: How to go from 188 to 200+?

Jul 22, 2013
191
40
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Medical Student
Hi everyone,

I'm a 3rd year DO student who took the COMLEX level 1 last July and got a 468. I had initially planned on taking both tests, but I decided after receiving consecutive scores of 188-190-192 on three different NBME exams in June, to just not sit for the USMLE as I was not feeling comfortable.

I did about 80% of Uworld question bank (which I had access to for a year) and was feeling like I was getting annihilated most of the time. My weaknesses were with Immunology, Micro lab techniques, Genetics and Biochem metabolism pathways, as well as biostatistics. I felt that there was no way I would be able to pass the test and did not want to risk failing it.

Originally I thought I wanted to do ER, however I have had the opportunity to work closely with an anesthesiologist during my surgery rotation and it seems like another desirable option, especially since I like pharmacology so much. However, that is besides the point. I have a desire to come back to California for residency as I am going through a lot of familial changes right now and it might bee good to be back home.

At heart, I would really like to the take the exam and study as much as I can. However, with rotation hours and other stuff going on, it is a little difficult to memorize first aid and do 100 Uworld questions everyday. Our shelf exams for third year clinicals are also NBME and I feel like I see a fair amount of step 1 material there but sometimes I also remember that theres a lot of basic science minutia like urea cycle, or glycogen storage diseases and biostatistics that is just a pain to revise being away from it so long. That being said, I have tried to reference first aid as much as possible during third year thus far when reviewing pathophysiology of some of the things I have seen in the clinic.

I started our winter vacation by reviewing a little bit of things here and there and I did a uworld self assessment form 1 (got a 200) and then I took NBME form 11 (got 188). I would be happy with anything over a 200 as a realistic goal considering how far I am from the basic sciences. I am just wondering if anyone has any realistic advice as to how I can get from where I am (188) to that range?

I have extended my uworld subscription, but honestly, it takes me forever to get through even one block and I don't feel like I retain a whole lot doing that. However, what I do love is the Pathoma book and the videos. I feel like I gain a lot when he draws things in his videos (I know it is passive learning) but I feel productive as I never have been much of a reader. I feel truly lost when trying to get through First Aid on my own and read it page by page.

When I started studying for COMLEX last May/June I did DIT and got through First Aid once, and then did Pathoma a few days before my test. I feel like Pathoma is pure gold in terms of laying out the framework ("especially when he says this is particularly high yield" examiners love to go after this"). I felt that Pharmacology is particularly my strong point for the basic sciences with pathology as a second.

I realize that this post makes me seem "lazy" or an underacheiver by some standards, however I just need a clear practical resource given my circumstances that can get me to the area I need to be. I know that this test is getting harder with the passing score raised but I don't think it is impossible.

As a side note, I think our school gives us about 2 months off at the end of April to start our audition rotations and prepare for COMLEX Level 2 CE and PE but I'm not so sure I can distribute that time to prepare for this test. I know I made a big blunder by not requesting time off originally (which I may or may not have been granted), but what's done is done and I really would appreciate any feedback you guys have.

I truly thank you for any advice you guys can give me.
 
Jul 21, 2013
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This exam is about how much u can dedicate time for .... I believe every person can do very well in the exam if u give it the appropriate amount of hard work ... Also its important to be positive and believe in ur self


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MrBeauregard

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Taking the USMLE at this point, and potentially scoring a 200, will do absolutely nothing but hurt you in the end.
 

primadonna22274

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A 468 COMLEX does not bode well for a strong USMLE. IMO it can only hurt you to take it now. You have some glaring weaknesses as you've said and you are now 6-8 mos removed from M2 material so that stuff has atrophied bigtime. Why not focus on level 2 material, bump that COMLEX up a hundred points or more and apply both AOA and ACGME for anesthesia if you want?
Good luck
 
OP
M
Jul 22, 2013
191
40
Status
Medical Student
thanks for the replies. would it be ok to take the USMLE step 2 even if did not take USMLE Step 1?
 
OP
M
Jul 22, 2013
191
40
Status
Medical Student
Sorry what I meant to say is that will there be any benefit to taking usmle 2 without having taken step 1? I know that residency programs have a preference for step 1 for the most part so I was wondering if there is and benefit to going the extra mile for step 2
 

Transposony

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Sorry what I meant to say is that will there be any benefit to taking usmle 2 without having taken step 1? I know that residency programs have a preference for step 1 for the most part so I was wondering if there is and benefit to going the extra mile for step 2
I would advice against taking Step 2 before Step 1. You need step 1 concepts to do well on step 2.
Regarding Step 1 : You need to figure out (preferably with someone) your weak areas ( on practice tests) and work on them to reach your desired score.
I busted my behinds to master my weaknesses to score well. For example, I really feared Biostats but revised it every weekend to get over it and believe did not get any questions wrong on the real test.
IMHO It's all about conquering your fears.