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Hall vs. M5 Review Questions

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by Harrison486, Dec 16, 2013.

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  1. Harrison486

    Harrison486 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2007
    What's up everyone?

    In my last minute attempt to start preparing for the upcoming AKT/ITE, I am trying to figure out what the best set of questions for review would be. Based on my study habits in the past, I think doing questions would be more high-yield instead of (or in addition to) simply reviewing Baby Miller and the like. A lot of my classmates have downloaded the Hall app and seem to be happy doing the questions on their iPhones during down time in the OR. I was ready to jump on the same plan, but have recently read a bit about the M5 Board Review question bank, which also seems like a good option. Has anyone used both? How do they compare?
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  3. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    the opposite pole
    1. You have more than enough time to review Baby Miller or M&M or something along those lines for the ITE. Make a habit to actively read 2 hours every day. Use questions for breaks.
    2. Highly recommend Hall as a question book. Never used anything else, except old written boards questions. Passed all 3 ITE's.
    3. Don't study for tests. Study for your own professional knowledge. The ITE Content Outline is a good starting point.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  4. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    theres nothing wrong with studying for tests when a negative outcome on the test will impact your professional future. i am sure that you are reading as you go, but some tests actually need to be studied for, and Hall is a good way to study for the ITE
  5. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    the opposite pole
    There's nothing wrong, except that I found that I always scored much higher than people who "read for the test". And I am not a daily reader, either. Hall is a good starter, but stopping at Hall is exactly what the average test-taker will do. In the end, what matters for fellowship purposes is the percentile, and one will not stand out with Hall only.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  6. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    Home Again
    JMHO, but while everybody learns differently and there's no universal right way to study, there are some general rules that apply to most people.

    Ultimately, it probably doesn't matter so much WHAT you read or study, so long as
    1) The time is put in. There is no substitute for time, and cramming is low-yield time.
    2) The time is active. There is no benefit to wasted time.

    The problem with reading textbooks is that for most people it's a very passive activity. Even with highlighting or note-taking, it's easy to spend 5 minutes reading a page and really retain very little long term. Retention is better if that reading is directed toward the previous or next day's case, because the facts and concepts are reinforced within a short time period via a second learning mechanism.

    Pre-residency, I read Baby Miller cover-to-cover and slogged through a good portion of Faust. I didn't retain much of anything.

    Reading for the sake of reading is extremely inefficient for most people. This isn't really a controversial idea; it's pretty widely accepted amongst educators.

    What makes learning via test question review so effective for most people is that (done right) it's active and efficient. It's also directly related to the very activity in which your performance will be measured - a written test. FFP's experience notwithstanding, I think the great majority of us would agree that "doing questions" ought to be a core part of any studying that will eventually get a written test.

    "Doing questions" is not very useful if you read the question and then flip to the answer. This is almost as passive as reading a textbook. It's better to do a set of questions, force yourself to pick an answer, write it down, then grade yourself with the key. And then - and this is IMO the most important part - take the time to look at each wrong answer and actually articulate why it's wrong. This is slow. It can take 5-10 minutes per question on the whole, but it's time well spent.

    For me, personally, the basis of all of my studying during residency was test questions. But for each question, I'd open Big Miller and read the page or paragraph connected to the correct answer and each of the wrong answers.
    bashwell and Thepassageofgas like this.
  7. Harrison486

    Harrison486 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2007
    Like you've all said, I think there is a role for both text reading and review questions.

    At this point, though, I'm just trying to get opinions on which question bank is better (and why) between Hall and the newer M5 Review.
  8. beavis

    beavis Fire is cool 7+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2008
    +1 for reading a text AND doing questions. I started to gain a lot more confidence/proficiency in residency when I started reading the Miller chapters corresponding to my current rotation. I don't mind reading textbooks though.

    I did both M5 and Hall. I preferred M5. Questions were more salient in M5 (even if the answers could be a bit snarky).

  9. kazuma

    kazuma ASA Member 5+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 2009

    I agree with this. I retain much more information when I do question banks. That's how I studied for all three steps (Uworld) and I found that the more I focused on question banks (with supplemental focused reading on weak areas) the better I scored on my exams.

    I have used both Hall and M5 and the M5 is hands down the better q-bank. I bought the hall book as a 3rd year med student and the iPad app at the first of CA1 year. The hall questions are challenging but it contains a lot of outdated material that isn't on the ITE anymore like halothane. I wasn't a big fan of the explanations either.

    In contrast, the M5 is an absolute ITE killer. I was skeptical at first since Hall seemed to be the gold standard at the time but after doing a few M5 sections I quit doing Hall questions and studied the M5 exclusively in the months leading up to my CA1 ITE. The content covers literally every high yield board topic. The questions are challenging and the answers are more conversational and it gets you into the mindset that necessary to answer the difficult ITE questions. Even some of the most difficult concepts are explained in a simple and easy to remember style. There are also a lot of test taking strategies woven into the answers which very helpful and is something unique to the M5.

    A colleague and I both used the M5 exclusively in the months leading up to the ITE and we both scored in the 90th percentile our CA1 year. I know residents in the class ahead of me that scored >90th percentile with the same strategy. Granted, the M5 isn't a magic bullet. You still need to sit down and spend a lot of time doing the questions and studying the answers in depth. In my opinion it's cheap ITE insurance especially if your program penalizes you for low ITE scores.
  10. Anesthesia85

    Anesthesia85 2+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    As a related question.

    I am wondering if it's worth going through ALL of M5, as in doing the advanced questions. I was considering doing the first 3/5 sections and then moving on to something like Artusio or maybe doing Hall... Any thoughts? At the end of the day there's just so many resources and so little time. The ITE last year seemed very medicine/ICU based which makes me question my approach even more (like work in Marino ICU book?).
  11. kazuma

    kazuma ASA Member 5+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 2009
    Be careful you don't spread your studies too thin. Knowing a couple sources well will likely be higher yield than trying to skim through multiple sources. This thread is a couple years old, but my opinion on the M5 hasn't changed. It is very high yield and comprehensive and it served me well on the written boards last summer.
  12. ZzzPlz

    ZzzPlz ASA Member 5+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    There was wayyyyy less straight up medicine questions on my actual written boards than in any of the ITEs.

    M5 was a great resource. So was Hall.
  13. Random Anesthesiologist

    Random Anesthesiologist Random Anesthesiologist Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    I did not find M5 that valuable for the basic exam. True learn had some questions almost verbatim.
  14. jk1979


    Nov 15, 2015
    hall and with some questions from M5

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