How many times did you do your Qbank?

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10+ Year Member
May 29, 2009
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Hey Step 1 vets,

How many times should one do the qbanks? I;ve heard 2x,3x, even 4x. When did you start really getting a grasp of the tested concepts?

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Also, what have you heard about the Kaplan qbank? I'm doing it and it seems really hard compared to Uworld.
Disclaimer: I am an IMG who studied slowly throughout school but took the exam soon after graduation. If you are a US student this will probably not apply (prep is usually very different). Also, I am still waiting for my score (next week prob.)

I did Kaplan Qbank once, starting about three months before my exam. As I reviewed each block, I added most of the incorrect questions, correct questions that I had guessed or just concepts I really wanted to reinforce, to the Kaplan "My Questions" feature. The idea was to only go over THAT in the end. When I finished I had about 700-800 questions in there (that's like 30% of the entire bank) and I didn't have to go over them all, only maybe like half. Most other people do recommend going over the banks at least twice, so if you have the time go for it. I felt that doing the ENTIRE bank twice would have been a waste of time, so I planned to go over those "My Questions". Kaplan makes it really hard anyway to go over it twice, I think it's really hard to get their customer service to reset it (even the "My Questions" feature was hard to use - it's hard removing questions from the list once they're in so when you do questions from there, you get repeated questions frequently - the whole "my questions" is a crappily implemented feature but it kinda sorta works)

Most people say Kaplan's Qbank is overtly detailed and is unnecessarily hard. The general opinion is that UW is more similar to the exam in terms of difficulty and content. Kaplan DOES have some weird questions on details that I had never heard of before. I cannot personally compare to UW because the UW I used is an old 2007 version leaked on the internet.

1. I got Kaplan because it was $200 for a year, I didn't reallyl have any other reasons to choose that over UW. Ended up enjoying it and I don't regret having used that instead of UW at the time
2. Kaplan may be nitpicky, but because I didn't have issues with the general concepts, only very specific details (chromosomes/genes/specific mutations, weird drugs, weird uncommon syndromes) I think this helped me prepare for the worst
3. I used the 2007 UW which is admittedly outdated, and also seemed WAY too easy (very few nitpicky questions). But UW questions are the closest to the real exam in terms of wording and the types of answer choices.
4. I only went through Kaplan's Qbank once but a year before that I had done most of usmleRX (terrible at the time) and many question books, so technicallly I didn't JUST use Qbank's 2400-2500 questions
5. I don't think I ever felt that I _didn't_ have a grasp of concepts (only a few specific hard concepts) but that was because as I studied each subject/system I did questions off books (Pre-Test, FA Q&A, Kaplan Qbook, BRS has a few questions, also Robbins question book). I used my PAID subscription to questions as more of a final review, and to iron out details, rather than to learn the material firsthand (this is what people call learning tool vs. testing)

Hope this helps
Epic post man, thanks. You answered most of my questions! Please update with your score when you can. I'm sure it will be high.
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Did world once, read through the explanations and annotated them into my book. Got a 234/99. UK IMG, did it in my 6 week summer hols after 4th year.
Did UWorld the first time during M2. Ran out of questions and I was super anxious, so I bought Kaplan - wasted my money, frustrated me and wrecked my confidence......During my 1 month of devoted step1 study time, I reset UWorld and went back through it - I did about 2-3 blocks a day. When I finished it the 2nd time, I went back through and did all missed questions. I may or may not have done the ones I missed again after that pass through - don't remember.

So basically, once during M2, once during the month and the questions I got wrong.

Also, I did all questions on tutor mode.

NBME practice tests - 242 and 254(ish). - don't remember which - I think 7 and 8?? - but whatever were considered the "most predictive"

Predicted by UWorld percentage- 255(ish)

Actual Step 1 - 247

Best of luck
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So basically, once during M2, once during the month and the questions I got wrong.

Thanks for the advice FSU, did you do questions only for the organ system you were covering at that time? Or did you just do random questions throughout the year? Can you give an idea of what your first pass UWorld percentages were like as you went through your M2 year and then your second pass? Just very briefly--what was your prep like aside from Uworld during your M2 year (how much were you doing a week--questions/day?) and dedicated periods-- DIT? Kaplan? Taus? or Just FA/Uworld? Killer score-- thanks a lot man!