I'm going to go ahead and answer my own question.
Passed Part I, thankfully.
I gave myself about 3 weeks.
By far the best resource for me was the ABPMR Q bank. It was excellent, and the closest thing to the exam.
I also really liked the Q&A book.
I couldn't stand reading Cucurrullo. Every time I tried getting through those chapters, it made me want to stab myself. So, I used it strictly to get the high yield material. Usually, there's a drawing of a book next to those paragraphs to highlight what is super pertinent for boards. My reading consisted of only those parts.
Then, I read the relevant section in the Pocketpedia.
Then, I would do questions in the Q&A book.
And, finally, I used the high quality Qbank to check my knowledge.
I also bought this question bank: You are being redirected...
My verdict? Meh, meh, meh. Skip it.
Poor quality site. The only good thing I have to say about it is that it makes for a good companion with Cuccurrollo, since they take a bunch of their content directly from the book. So, I was using it in the beginning. But, honestly, I could have done without it.
Anyway, I did this to get through the Qbank once. I was pretty good in EMG, but not so good in Peds and MSK. So, I went back to do some additional reading and repeat the questions on the subjects where I felt weak.
On exam day, I was really scared. I was really used to being able to see the answer to each question right after answering it. So, having to spend several hours without being able to verify a single answer was a bit unnerving. I'm a pretty fast test taker. There are 3 types of questions:
1. The stuff I know cold. This was EMG for me.
2. The stuff where I can eliminate a couple of foils and fight my way to a reasonable guess.
3. The stuff I could stare at for hours and still not know the answer.
I tend not to waste any time on 1 and 3. I also don't proofread. I don't want to talk myself out of any answer once I've chosen a foil.
I got out of there in about 5 and a half hours, went home, nervously waited for 4 weeks, and discovered that I had passed.
Now, the above isn't a recipe for crushing the exam, but it worked for me. I ended up landing somewhere in the 40-50th percentile range. Good enough for my purposes.
1. You don't need to read Cuccurollo. It's okay to hate that damn book. Just read the parts with the book sign.
2. Skip the You are being redirected... Qbank.
I kinda studied for 2-3 weeks before hand by doing the board vitals qbank (like 600qs) which I didn't think was representative of material on the test at all. Strongly recommend skipping.
I also read the first 120 pages of Cuccurullo and the first 150 pages of pocketpedia.
I did a handful of questions with friends on the Weisse qbank they had on their phones. I thought these questions were pretty similar to those on the actual test.
While I did OK I count myself fortunate. I was certain I'd failed after I left the test. My recommendation to anyone who wants to leave with more confidence would be to start studying now. It is far easier to work through a small handful of pages of cucurullo a day for the next 8 months then do a quick re-read than to try and read that thing for the first time starting 2 weeks before the test.
I studied for about 6 months, but really doubled down the last six weeks. Read all of Cuccurullo, reviewed all the slides from the board review course I’d attended earlier, and used PMR QBank review.
In hindsight, def would’ve chosen different QBank. I’ve heard AAPM&R is good, but it wasn’t out when I originally bought one. Can’t speak from experience, just what I’ve heard. But in any case, passed with no issue so it probably doesn’t matter. The QBank I used was incredibly poor quality, so would not recommend it for others. Cucurullo is a good reference but as others have said, is dry and painful to work through.
Best advice is to use a combo of high yield reading and QBank, ideally one with better explanations and quality than the one I used, haha. Give yourself a few weeks to not feel too stressed before test day, and make it part of your daily routine for those few weeks.