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Fed up w/ FA, anyone else thinking about Not using it?

Discussion in 'Step I' started by winsicle, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. winsicle

    winsicle Member 5+ Year Member

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    Dec 15, 2004
    I really don't think i'm going to retain all that much from these small blurbs and stupid mnemonics; i also don't think "annotating" it (w/ about 5 weeks of study time) is gonna be a good use of time.

    has anyone decided to not use FA. what's your strategy instead?


    i was thinking about picking up the "Step1 Secrets" which seems like it may be good for conceptual systems-based learning - that is easy to retain.

    For anyone that has this book, do you feel like it covers most of the subjects sufficiently, e.g. covering the molecular aspects, etc. OR is it primarily just path oriented?
     
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  3. UCLAstudent

    UCLAstudent I'm a luck dragon! 10+ Year Member

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    I felt the same way as you, BUT I found that it is much more effective once I've actually studied a given topic. If you're just going through random chapters in FA, it can be frustrating.
     
  4. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I disliked FA in many ways but Step 1 Secrets is no substitute. The breadth and volume of facts in FA is pretty much unmatched.

    I also agree that annotating is not necessary and can be a waste of time.
     
  5. KNightInBlue

    KNightInBlue 5+ Year Member

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    Are you using FA as ur primary source? If so, I agree with you - FA blows. Mostly because its a bunch of facts without any real frame of reference.

    But I don't think thats the way it should be used. Pick a certain subject, say micro, read a good review book on the the subject, get the concepts down (not neccessarily memorised) and then read that section in FA - it'll make a lot more sense and will be easier to remember


    either way, dont completely neglect FA.....
     
  6. automan2

    automan2 2+ Year Member

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    Agreed, have you ever heard of anyone who DIDN'T use it?

    No matter how you look at it, if you actually know EVERYTHING in first aid, you will probably score a 250.

    It doesn't matter whether you don't like the format, just find a way to know the information.
     
  7. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

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    Gotta agree with everyone. The editors of FA have made a succesful business out of knowing what is on the exam.

    Use it as a guide if you must, but USE it. Everyone I know in the 250+ club is a big believer in FA. That doesn't mean you can't succeed w/ out it, but FA is a proven tool.
     
  8. Medikit

    Medikit Plastic Bag Middle Class Physician 10+ Year Member

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    That's how I did it and I found it to work really well.

    There were definitely a few questions that I just wouldn't have gotten without First Aid but my feeling is that no resource is absolute. If it's not working for you then I say don't use it, find something else that you can work with, as long as you're going over material and you're remembering it and your practice exam scores are going up then you're in the clear. I used FA and thought it was pretty decent in some parts, worse in others, and reread only about half of it.
     
  9. jocg27

    jocg27 Senior Member 2+ Year Member

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    I am certain that lots of people in the 190 club used first aid too.

    I'm just giving you a hard time.

    But honestly I am feeling the same way as the OP...I just can't figure out how to use this book...I open it every while, and see a bunch of facts mashed together, and it just doesn't seem like I'm going to get anything out of it so I close it again...

    but so many people swear by it I'm scared not to use it...so I dunno. I guess I'll try to do it after a more in depth review as suggested here.

    But seriously, people have been carrying around that book for months. I refuse to believe that reading the path in FA before even beginning your pathology course is worthwhile.
     
  10. Taus

    Taus . Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    Try this....see a small section in first Aid.....read about that subject in your review book of choice.....now take a look at that section in FA again and add any personal clarifications, facts you feel are "must-know", and highlight anything that didn't appear in your review text of choice....repeat....

    In a month or so you'll have everything you need to know all in one place (except for BRS Path or RR Path)....if there is anything that you know you're gonna want to go back to in a review book then write the page number down next to that section in FA

    If you think of the book as more of a guide of what to study then a stand-alone resource to initially learn from....I think its worth becomes clear
     
  11. polynikesdb

    polynikesdb 2+ Year Member

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    Maybe you're reading the wrong sections? I felt the same way when I first opened it and was put off. I realized that I started reading my worse subject (biochem) and didn't give it a chance. I find reading through the path sections helpful and worthwhile on their own, and occasionally the pharm sections. Parts of micro read well, in my opinion, as does most phys. The ease correlates with familiarity (I did well in path, for instance), in my experience.

    I also bought Step Up but I don't think it is as useful to me right now. I can read the same information in FA and learn more. The quick hits are useful but I don't think I get as much information from the numerous charts. I'm planning on looking at it towards the end of my board prep, to see the same information in a new light.

    Taus had excellent advice, and it's exactly what I'm doing. If you are still in class (like me), I'd do the same thing with class notes.
     
  12. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

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    May 1, 2006

    Touche. :laugh:

    I'm a bit confused by all this talk of "not knowing how to use FA." Ummmm, you try to learn what's in there...

    What has med school been but a bunch of facts mashed together?
     
  13. winsicle

    winsicle Member 5+ Year Member

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    Dec 15, 2004
    on further review...

    i think i'm going to rely heavily on FA for certain sections:

    anatomy, pharm, Behavioral, micro

    and just peruse the other sections when necessary-
    i mean RR path and biochem are plenty for these subjects, and BRS for physio (which is all conceptual anyway-little use for FA "facts")

    i've got an old edition (from my brother) - broken up by subject instead of systems, so this should facilitate this method

    then i'll probably take notes on UWorld for poorly understood concepts

    ...thanks for the input everyone
     
  14. mtpilot fungirl

    mtpilot fungirl

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    Um, I was told several times by geenuses (250+'ers) that I had to read FA at least three times to pass the Step1 exam. I was also told that I needed to concentrate on the "forest for the tree's"; a strategy also known as "looking at the big, broad picture versus any minute details". :laugh:

    The exam I took was the hardest, most detailed, jeepers-creepers! exam imaginable. My faith now lies in the fact that I will be prepared for that type of nadbashing exam again (there is no way, no how it can possibly be any more difficult > :eek: > teeth-chewing me nails right now!).

    I knew FA in&out&all-way-around. This time I am going over lecture notes (last semester subjects 1st, like Path II) because the exam is all about integration of subjects and concepts. FA just doesn't 'read' like this. Just look @ other threads here about the actual exam....

    Although it's crazy hard for "review" & time-consuming, Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine textbook is always at my side to clarify any questions et concepts.

    Everyone gets a different exam.....if FA isn't capturing your attention or seems boring -(IMHO) PLEASE don't use it as your #1 study guide. Peruse it in the bathroom, or right before bed, but use materials you'll actually dig.
     
  15. goodies

    goodies Member 7+ Year Member

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    are the "buzzword" tables at the end of FA worth memorizing? it has a lot of "most commons" in there, but because it also has the word "buzzwords" as the heading... i feel hesitant about memorizing it. what do u think?
     
  16. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I found buzzwords useful for micro questions only.
     
  17. goodies

    goodies Member 7+ Year Member

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    i mean, the "most common associations" the last few pages of FA. did you memorize all of those? i guess its only like 3 pages.. just wondering, thats all
     
  18. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Pretty much. I looked at it on the day before the test and knew almost all of them.
     
  19. Medikit

    Medikit Plastic Bag Middle Class Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I didn't even touch that list and did well
     
  20. Old_Mil

    Old_Mil Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I've already abandoned First Aid in favor of Step Up - I am, however, using the First Aid Q&A question bank and reading the right and wrong explanations. I hope that gets me much of the same information, in a more memorable formate, without the mistakes.

    Hopefully, I don't pay for my heresy. :)
     

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