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How are the labs given in the USMLE?

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BellKicker

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Are they SI or what First Aid calls "standard range"? Or both? probably both, huh?

What about temperatures? qbank seems to use fahrenheit quite a bit but other places (like medrevu) they only use celsius.

If someone has an easy conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit, I would really appreciate it. Like when is it serious fever?

Thanks.
 

ckent

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Lab values are given to you in a similar format as Kaplan Q bank (you click on a link). I think that Q bank has all of the same labs as the USMLE. I don't think that I ever needed normal lab values for any of my questions though.
 

Castro Viejo

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Lab values on Step 1 are not usually in SI. The units used are usually the units you'd expect to see while on the floor.
 

BellKicker

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Wow, that was confusing advice. If I knew what they used "on the floors" I wouldn't ask!

I guess the message is not to worry too much about the labs and if I really need a range I can look it up. Right?

Still that fahrenheit thing scares me. 100 degrees sounds really hot, say if you were sitting in a black car in a parking lot waiting for someone. But is it a fever? :(
 

Castro Viejo

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Well the point of my advice, which I didn't think was too far of a leap, was to pick up any medical reference booklet (e.g., Maxwell's Quick Reference, Guide to Interpretation of Laboratory Tests, etc.) and look up what the standard values are.

No, the advice is not NOT worry about the lab values but you'll learn what they are as you do more and more questions. You'll have an idea of what a normal range is by the time you're done studying for that exam. Memorizing them in a sitting is hardly worth the effort.

A fever is >100.3 (or 100.8 depending on whom you ask) degrees Farenheit.
 

BellKicker

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Thanks, Timothy.

I think I have most of the normal ranges covered by now. You're right, it kinda sinks in on its own when you do questions. Especially webpath since he likes to throw in several normal values just to throw you off.
 

Renovar

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In terms of format of the table, I thought the lab values given on the real exam was a lot different than the one from Kaplans. The closest approximation was those found on the CD ROM. The lab values on the real exam is in ultra-small prints, which I felt sometimes strains my eyes when I read it (especially in test centers where the monitors are crappy and were set on low refresh rates, like my local test center). And the fact that there is no key scroll or line scroll means you have to click down line by line which wastes a lot of time.

In order to save valuable time on the test, I have 2 suggestions that I think would be helpful: either know exactly where to look for labs (ie. know the layout of the table well, through either the CD ROM or the practice test session given by Prometric) or, a better idea, is to know the normal values of the important labs well. (i would say the BMP 7, the bloodwork 4+2, Ca, Phos, Mg are the important ones)
 
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