How and when to start studying for the COMLEX??

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by DepressedNYCOMstudent, Aug 2, 2001.

  1. DepressedNYCOMstudent

    DepressedNYCOMstudent Senior Member

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    Hi Everybody! Its nice to get back to this board again! I am going to start my second year at NYCOM. This year will fly by fast too and soon it will be time to take the scary boards !! I just want to know HOW to study for the COMLEX. What books did you use? What did you do? If you took a Course did you get time to study the course while still in school? I believe we will get a month off before our boards to study for it but I would rather save that month for mental stress, panic, butterflies in stomach etc. I just cannot let myself leave all the studying for that month. So, I plan to start at least a few months earlier than next summer. So, does anybody have any recommendations on how to study for this major exam? Please pour all your advice here. Congratulations to all who did well on this year's boards!!
     
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  3. Hskermdic

    Hskermdic Senior Member

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    I think how you study varies for each person and how they learn.

    My group (5 of us) started studying for boards in February though pretty informally taking days off from studying for tests or if we were tired etc. When we came back March 3rd from our spring break we didn't allow ourselves to take any weekdays off (actually took 2 or 3). We would work 2 hours per day immediately after classes ended that day. We would then make an assignement for the group to prepare before the next day. (We worked as a group straight out of First Aid and each went through it 2-3 times)

    All of the members of our group also read Step up which was a nice book but I liked first aid better. (It was a split decision in our group)

    For me working in a group was great because then I couldn't procrastinate studying. The last two weeks before boards (we only get 2 at KCOM) was devoted in the group to only doing practice tests. (We all did practice tests on our own all along)

    I think this work for all of us since we all did quite well. It was good that we started in February because we started out studing one way and decided after a week or two that is wasn't very effective. Luckily we had plenty of time to switch study methodes and start over.

    Good Luck
     
  4. Hskermdic

    Hskermdic Senior Member

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    By the way don't forget your classes. One of the best helpers I had was my background knowledge from our classes like Cardiology, Surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology, Pediatrics etc.
     
  5. doughboy

    doughboy Senior Member

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    I would strongly recommend that you learn your core material during the school year through your regular classes. Developing a strong foundation will help you when you "review" for the COMLEX. Most people focus on board studying and put their classes a lower priority. Learning the material well the first time makes it more efficient for you to study for the subject for the COMLEX.
    I wouldn't worry about the OMM on Step 1. It was mostly basic stuff. I loved Step Up and First Aid...those are definite necessities. Get a good foundation in Path, Phys, and Pharm. BRS phys and BRS path are good books. You're lucky you get a month off before the exam. Most other schools only get like 2 weeks after finals to study. My school had a comprehensive pharm final so that helped us when studying for the COMLEX. The best thing is to do as many practice questions as you can. And be ready for those 4 hour blocks during the exam. They can drain you out in a hurry.
     
  6. DrWBD

    DrWBD Formerly 'wanna_be_do'
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    I'm a 3rd year NYCOM student who has just taken COMLEX and USMLE, so maybe I can offer you some relevant advice:

    #1) The best thing you can do between 1st and 2nd year for board prep is to obtain a copy of First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. Don't buy one yet, because the 2002 edition will be coming out before your boards and will probably be more useful than an older edition. Try to find a 3rd year who would be willing to loan you an old copy. It's only about 250 pages or so and goes over the absolute essentials for the boards. There is also a section dedicated to students taking the COMLEX which mentions some info you should know before taking the exam.

    #2) Try to form a rational study plan for the 2nd year. I'm not sure if the "block" curriculum will be carried over for the next year or not, but keep in mind that the NYCOM curriculum has, in the past, been very prohibitive of "extra" studying during the school year thanks to the nonstop exam schedule.

    #3) Get a copy of Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple. This book should be a required text in all medical schools :D

    #4) Try to learn Biochemistry, especially if you have any plans to take the USMLE. I found the NYCOM course to be weak in preparing students for the boards. I was doing a lot of catch-up studying for Biochem using the Kaplan materials, which were top notch.

    #5) Seriously consider taking Kaplan. It's definitely not required in order to do well, but their instructors are phenomenal and I found the books excellent for filling in the gaps in my basic science knowledge.

    Hope you find this helpful :) Good luck.

    P.S. One more thing: as doughboy mentioned, the subjects emphasized heavily on the boards (COMLEX and USMLE) are Pathology, Physiology, Microbiology/Immunology, and Pharmacology. Try to focus your early study efforts on some of these areas, especially Physiology, because it is one of the less "crammable" subjects where you need to understand concepts rather than just regurgitate facts.
     
  7. DrQuinn

    DrQuinn My name is Neo
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    much like WannabeDO I took the boards in June this year...

    I did not take the Kaplan course. Mainly because I didn't want to shell out the money for it, and I already had bought used Kaplan books, and didn't feel it would be worth it for me to get the new books.

    Don't study OMM at all, you just need to read OMT Review by Savarese for a couple hours and you're set. Maybe set aside 1/2 a day or so for OMM a few days before the boards.

    I would obtain a set of used Kaplan books (I'm selling mine) from an M3 (they will be getting rid of them around now), get 1st Aid, and Cracking. First aid is a must have, I didn't have it but wished I did (I still did great).

    I didnt' start studying until after our systems courses were over, which was the end of April. SO that gave me a little over a month to study. As long as you study 7 days a week for 7+ hours, you'll be fine. I read my Kaplan books atleast 3x over, I read the new Kaplan books once, OMT Review twice, and took a lot of practice questions. I also listened to the Gold Standard Audio Tapes for the Micro part (Bact only), that helped. I've never read Micro made ridiculously simple... so if you like that book that should be your only Micro aid.

    Q
     
  8. DepressedNYCOMstudent

    DepressedNYCOMstudent Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and please keep the replies coming. We just got over our first week in Second year and we have already covered 7 lectures of Pharm!!! Everybody wants this year to fly by fast just like last year did. But the boards at the end of this year are the real exams this time. I am going to start reviewing the BRS and NMS series of all the courses from now. I will go buy that First aid or step up that you keep talking about...I have no idea whats in it!! Then I will buy old Kaplan books from a thrid year or somebody and study them. Lastly I will spend time practising as many tests as I can till the boards. Does this sound ok? Oh yes, I do have that Micro made ridiculously simple book...I used it to study.
    Well, thank you guys. You have been a big help. So far the second year is going okay. I am actually still on " vacation " in my mind!!!
     
  9. JJKMS

    JJKMS Junior Member

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    Someone had mentioned to not worry about OMT on step one. BIG MISTAKE!

    Osteopathic "stuff" makes up aprox 15% of the test. These are EASY POINTS if you have prepared yourself. There is a book out there called "OMT Review" by Robert Savarese, D.O. which covers everything that you need to know for the boards in about 100 pages plus a self test. I hit this book hard in the days before the test and answered most of the OMT questions with a great deal of confidence.

    It sounds sneaky, but to do well on the COMLEX (or just pass) it doesn't matter where the points come from. Thouroughly learning a small amount of OMT can really boost your score.
     
  10. Hskermdic

    Hskermdic Senior Member

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    I agree with JJKMS,
    I also used the little blue book to study OMT along the way.
     
  11. Another topic to consider reviewing now is Anatomy especially the joints knee ankle shoulder etc.. and how these relate to OMT.
    Step Up, Gold Standard tapes and First AID are good options.
     

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