I can't imagine someone study with FA + UW

Discussion in 'Step I' started by The Angriest Bird, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. The Angriest Bird

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    A couple of points I want to make here.

    1. UW is insanely hard. Many have told me UW is about the same level as the real Step I. It isn't. I've done the 100 sample questions from NBME site, where are the ONLY "official" Step I questions we can obtain. They are significantly easier, straightforward, not-testing-OMGGOTYA-trivia.

    2. I'm studying with Micro Made Ridiculously Simply, BRS Path, and K&T Pharm. I memorize them all. I do the practice questions after each chapter and do extremely well. I use FA too, but after reading those books FA is a a joke. When I switched to UW, I got kicked in my ass. I score around 55%-60%. Hitting 70% sometimes.

    3. I know many people are studying with only First Aid and UW. I don't know how they can do that. For those people, 7 out of 10 questions on UW you would have to make a hopefully educated guess. There's a HUGE gap between the coverage of FA and UW, which is perhaps several detailed review books and some real-life practice experience.
     
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  3. doc20

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    whats your point????????
    and remember nbme questions only have the same level of concept to the actual usmle, but the stem of question are no way close to the real usmle style
     
  4. 78222

    78222 Guest

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    I really don't think you can make this claim until you take the actual exam. I found the NBME questions to be significantly easier than the actual board questions. And as I've posted, the UW Self Assessment pretty accurately predicted my score (within 5 points). I found the real thing to be almost indistinguisable from UW.
    STEP I is more than just memorization - it's about being presented information you know in a way you don't know. This is whats great about UW.

    I used little more than FA, UW, and Goljan and my score was pretty good. There is more detail in UW than FA - but that doesn't mean you need to read Robbins in order to do well on UW.
     
  5. lilnoelle

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    I think FA assumes that you already know most of the stuff they are presenting and they are just giving the highlights. Without understanding the concepts, FA is difficult to understand. I'm using mostly just FA and Uworld, but as I'm going through FA, I'm looking everything up either online or in my textbooks/study aids to fill in the gaps.
     
  6. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Uh, yes it is.

    The 100 sample NBME questions were a waste of time. I was sorry that I spent time doing them.

    They're WAY too easy for Step 1. Way too easy. Don't get complacent.
     
  7. R_C_Hutchinson

    R_C_Hutchinson Senior Member

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    My understanding of things was that while the NBME tests were excellent predictors of your score, they were easier in content than the actual USMLE.

    I can't really see people (who have taken the test) being such big fans of UWorld unless the above were true...
     
  8. The Angriest Bird

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    The "100 NBME questions" I talked about was in the PDF named "STEP 1
    Content Description and Sample Test Materials." If these questions are significantly easier than the real exam, that means NBME is INTENTIONALLY trying to trick us into under-preparation and ruin our scores. Perhaps that is indeed their intention.
     
  9. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member

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    I agree with the OP that Uworld was harder than the real thing.
     
  10. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    Most definitely. That's why I'm using a lot more than just FA.
     
  11. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    They aren't trying to trick you into under preparation. The NBME site says repeatedly that you should not use their tests a gauge as to how you will do on the actual test. In fact, some small percentage of Step 1 will be that straightforward. Unfortunately a larger percentage will be more like the stuff you find on World or Kaplan. Bear in mind that anything released by NBME has been released for a reason. Generally it is because those questions were no longer deemed satisfactory in terms of testing purposes (ie sometimes deemed too easy, too many people getting them right).
     
  12. It'sElectric

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    God help me if I'm doing this completely wrong, but I'm really using UWorld as a study source (not my only one). Yes the questions are insanely hard at times (I have no idea how they compare to the real thing), but every single question provides you with a number of integrations to learn from. It honestly feels like a more efficient way of studying. Not to mention it presents the material in a question based format (rather than just straight out of a book), so I feel like I'm becoming more accustomed to how I'll see information on the USMLE.

    Or at least this is my fantasy.
     
  13. BrisketAttack

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    There's no way in the blue **** that the actual USMLE is as difficult as Uworld. I've not taken it yet, but there's just no way. No one would pass the damn thing. I like uworld as a tool because it makes you think so hard you feel your brain might explode. I recognize that step 1 will have some double and triple jump questions, but not the fabled 24-jump questions that uworld brandishes.
     
  14. The Angriest Bird

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    You are not doing it wrong. People study differently. I tend to study topics "systemically" then use question banks (UW, Kaplan) to test how I've done and the weaknesses. Some people partially skip the read-and-memorize part and go straight to question banks. I think either way works. It's all about personal preference.
     
  15. BrisketAttack

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    oh yeah, consider this...

    FA says that 60-70% on step 1 = passing = ~200

    However, if you're consistently scoring 60-70% in either uworld or kaplan, your predicted score on step 1 is >230, maybe >240. This suggests to me that the actual step 1 questions, though challenging, are not as difficult as either kaplan or uworld. This is also the general sentiment of every MS3 I've spoken to. I am not claiming that step 1 is easy, just not as tough as kaplan, and not even close to uworld.
     
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  17. BusterDO

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    for the life of me, I cannot figure out what "blue ****" is supposed to mean. if UWorld is this hard, i'm screwed :confused:
     
  18. Luba Licious

    Luba Licious Member

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    I found my exam to be significantly easier than UW questions. I thought the impossible ones on UW were about like the impossible ones on the USMLE, but it was nice to remember that a hard question like that on UW had a "13% of people got this right" to go along with it. Meaning, I'm not stupid and if I have never heard of something presented that way, most other people haven't either and the % correlates to that. I was able to move on and not worry about it. I think UW over-prepared me, and I'm thankful that I stuck with it even when I wanted to quit because my percentages were sucking there for a while.
     
  19. DrFraud

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    In my opinion, the best Usmleworld Qs to rely upon for learning are those where over 30-40% of the people got the question correct. Here are the differences that I saw between step 1 and UW -

    First, if you do a 50 question block with UW, you will not see too many basic/straitforward types that over 95% got correct. The actually step does have questions like you see in the NBME 1 and 2.

    Second, the distractors are usually not as bad on the step 1 test. Some of the UW distractors are at times so ridiculous that you have to wonder if there are 2 correct answers for a question.
     
  20. 78222

    78222 Guest

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    Well, the difference between UW and the real thing is that on UW there are very few "Give me" questions. On the real exam there are quite a few very easy questions. However, the middle/high range difficulty questions are pretty similar to the ones on UW.
     
  21. jbp100

    jbp100 Member

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    +1
     
  22. osli

    osli Senior Member

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    +2

    Keep in mind, however, that there are likely a non-trivial number of experimental questions on the step 1 that will not count towards your score. While no one knows for sure how many, it seems that the popular and reasonable guess is around 50 questions. And while I wouldn't assume that every one of those is a butt-kicking hard question (some are going to just be new ways of asking old questions), it does seem likely that many of those new questions will be covering relatively new material that is less well taught in schools and less well understood by students (more recent advances in molecular biology, new pharmacological or surgical treatments, etc.). So it stands to reason that the set of experimental questions will tend to be more difficult for the average student than the general population of questions on the exam.

    Also keep in mind that there is selection bias at work here. We tend to remember the tough questions, not the easy ones. I don't doubt for a minute that there will be score-contributing questions on the step 1 that are as difficult as some of the tougher UW questions, but whereas they might represent half of UW questions their occurrence on the real exam is probably significantly less frequent. But we'll just remember that there were hard questions, about as hard as UW, and in retrospect feel like the exam was just about as hard as UW, not to mention that several of those more difficult questions might not have even counted against you. UW themselves states that the purpose of their resource is to present the tougher questions that you might face to better prepare you for those.

    And finally, I think common sense tells us that if people who have scored in the 30's and 40's on UW routinely pass, and that people scoring in the 50's routinely hit or break the average, that UW and step 1 do not have the same overall level of difficulty. Probably because the question mix is different as described above. There is no way that the average percentage correct on a professional board exam is 50%. That shouldn't even get a passing score.
     
  23. 45408

    45408 aw buddy

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    For sure. There have definitely been a few questions where the information given is NOT adequate to rule out an option.
     
  24. kalyanova

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    some tell me to use UW as a test prep and to do it random unused timed...others tell me to use as a learning tool and to use it subjectwise untimed...
    I am at a loss.. I dont want to be using it as a learning tool..feeling all great and flunk the exam.. nor do i want to use it as a test prep.. feel ready and still flunk the exam..
    any advice?
     
  25. Nodelphi

    Nodelphi Member

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    How about use it as test prep first and as a learning tool in that you thoroughly review the answers and take meticulous notes/add to FA? It seems to be helping me out anyhow, give it a shot.
     
  26. VPDcurt

    VPDcurt 2K Member

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    You've really gotten yourself all worked up over nothing. Just take it easy and do whatever you feel is necessary in your preparation.
     
  27. Cards21aceking

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    I was wondering about the same thing when I started. I structured my studying with basic sciences (biochem, genetics, cell, immuno, etc..) earlier, and then micro/path/pharm. I knew I was weak in the earlier stuff (I hate details), so I went ahead and did all the questions in those subjects and annotated FA w/ information as I went through. After that, I pretty much did the 'all random, all unused' set to get a feel for the exam and work my way through path/pharm/phys/micro.
     
  28. kalyanova

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    Thanks nodelphi for the suggestion..but then what about doing it the other way around?
    do it in subjectwise untimed to learn the nitty gritty details and then do it timed random? or would it lose the purpose of it as I would have already seen the questions?
     
  29. alpha06

    alpha06 Senior Member
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    Does anybody feel that UW gets redundant? And at times easy??

    I mean I do 50-100 random times unused questions and I come across 2-3 questions with the same answer choice like endoneural inflammation or those bone dieseases and how they appear histologically. I mean once you come across one question, you can then rule out that answer for another question. I've been feeling that UW is becoming easy b/c I'm getting used to the questions and I know how UW wants me to answer them. And it just seems i'm getting a falsely elevated score. Or am I just getting smarter? IDK
     
  30. It'sElectric

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    Personally, I think you're getting smarter. It really seems like things started to click for me as I've progressed in my studying (obviously, I"m still not where I want to be) and as a result, I was able to reason through World much more easily.
     
  31. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze Not right. (in the head)

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    But if you blow one out of the water because of its ease, that means floating out there somewhere is another random set waiting to pounce on you and push your **** in. They'll average out :D
     
  32. Squall

    Squall SeeD

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    I completed UW and just took step 1 yesterday, so here's my take. I think the leaps of logic that UW requires you to make were consistantly more challenging, however I felt that time was more of a factor on the real deal. I frequently had time left over when doing blocks of 50 in UW. Maybe it was because many of the questions were ridiculously hard and I knew I'd just be reviewing the answer anyway so I'd just click and move on. But I was almost always down to the wire on the real thing. Maybe I was just being more meticulous with reviewing the answer choices, but I also feel that the question stems were consistently longer on the real thing, usually either a long paragraph patient vignette or a laundry list of labs that required looking up the reference values (I highly recommend memorizing the reference ranges for the common stuff if you have time. It'll definitely save you some time on the exam.) I remember I was finishing up one block of questions and I got to the last question with about a minute left, and it was one of the new questions where you have to put on the headphones and move the stethoscope and listen. I was really looking forward to getting one of those, but I had so little time left. I had to rip out the earplugs I had in, probably nearly perforating my tympanic membranes in the process, fumble around for those headphones and I probably got to listen for about 20 seconds at a few of the APTM posts. I THINK I got it right, but I really wish I'd had more time with that one. It sucks that they put that at the very end of a block of questions.

    One of the previous posters mentioned how UW recycles some of their answer choice sets for different question. I actually had that happen to me on the REAL THING in the same question block. Both questions presented the exact same patient, and one of them asked what the most likely cause of his physical exam findings were and the other question asked what test you do to confirm the diagnosis. So don't think it won't happen on the real thing. ;)

    I also answered all the NBME questions, and they were in general way easier than the real thing. I got 61% of UW correct, ~80% of the NBME questions correct, and I'd have to say I felt the difficulty of the real thing to be somewhere in between those 2.

    Best of luck to you all!
     
  33. osli

    osli Senior Member

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    It's interesting that the NBMEs are consistently considered easier than the real exam, yet their predictive ability remains pretty solid. I guess the statistical analysis works pretty well.

    For anyone who has taken the UW assessment exam, how does its difficulty compare to the NBMEs and the USMLE?
     
  34. lilnoelle

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    This scares me a bit.... I took a full length exam this last Monday that was just TERRIBLE but it's supposed to sort of resemble what Step I feels like. The questions were long, they required looking up tons of values, about 1/3 of them were extended foils, and quite often the questions were just bad. (contradictory, spelling mistakes, hard to understand). I had a terrible time finishing each block in the time alotted and did poorly because of it.
    I was really hoping that Step I would look more like UW/NBME's than this test was.... but maybe it doesn't.....
    (The test is one that is offered through a local medical school and my medical school requires it to be taken every year. Its not a CBSSA, nor is it affilliated with any q-banks.)
     
  35. yohimbine1

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    UW is too hard. It's ok as a learning tool but the questions that are too hard or specific I generally skip. The ones where 10% get it right. Questions where 10% of people are getting it right are bad questions. I use USMLERx as well and think it's all right. It's certainly helped me learn FA. I primarily use questions as my study method.

    I took NBME 6 and found it markedly easier than UW.
     
  36. WalterDandy

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    Thought I may as well chuck in my 2p...

    I'm so glad its not just me, UW is insanely difficult at times but I think that therein lies its brilliance. It takes a subject you think you know and points out the holes in your knowledge. As much as I hate the questions that trap you by using semantics, a crafty use of hyper and hypo, I also love them because I get so annoyed that it ingrains it into my brain forever. Its like some kind of weird S&M thing. In fact, I think I might take to studying in a gimp mask...(maybe a step too far?)

    Seriously, though. I've been studying using UW by just taking blocks of random qs and studying the answers. My overall score is shocking (50%!) because of getting so many wrong on the first pass but when I went to do the NBME I absolutely creamed it.If the real exam is somewhere inbetween I'l be happy. My only real concern is perhaps I've just kind of memorised the answers to UW and I dont actually know anything. Then again, maybe that's the paranoia talking. Hopefully. Eeek.:eek:
     
  37. yohimbine1

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    I also feel I've memorized the answers to Rx and UW. But I'm ok with that. I'll worry about the knowledge gaps later. I have always been the type to "study to the test".
     
  38. Squall

    Squall SeeD

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    Also don't forget that your UW percentage is not curved, and my understanding is that they do apply some sort of "adjustment" to the real thing. While I think UW was more difficult, I'm glad I used it because it was a great learning tool. I don't think the point of it is to be a score-predictor. I'm just glad I went into the exam having seen some really hard UW questions, because if my only standard of reference had been the NBME questions, I'd have been in for a rude awakening...
     
  39. InternationlDoc

    InternationlDoc Imported like a Ferrari

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    Thanks for posting Squall

    Could you elaborate the lenght factor a bit more? I ususally only have 5-10 minutes left on a Uworld 50 question set. I took NBMEs and finished all with the around 5 minutes left each section. So looks like time is a bit of a factor for me. How to deal with it on the real test? are there extraneous lab values that are just distractors?
     
  40. Squall

    Squall SeeD

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    First of all I want to clarify that by NBME I mean the 150 questions they give for free on their website in that software program that mimicks the real test. I didn't take any of those self-assessment things you had to pay for. I highly recommend downloading that and at least doing the tutorial. It gives you an extra 15 minutes of break time on exam day and you'll want to know how to use the new video and stethoscope features they added to the exam this year.

    I would also finish UW blocks with a good 5-10 minutes left over sometimes, especially as I got further along into my review. All I can say is they really like lab values on the real test. I don't recall having to hit the lab button nearly as often on UW questions as I did on the real thing. And no they did not throw in distractors. Every lab I saw was pertinent to ruling in the correct diagnosis or ruling out other potential ones, it's just that there were A LOT of lab value questions. Sometimes they were gracious and gave you the normal range in parentheses right after the values, but most of the time they didn't.

    I highly recommend that if you see that the question stem is really long, especially if it has lab values, go ahead and read the last line or 2 to figure out what it is they're asking. I had several questions where they gave a long patient vignette complete with history, vital signs, PE findings, labs, etc and then on the last line they would just state the diagnosis and ask some question about it and you didn't even need to read the vignette as long as you knew about that particular disease. I quickly learned not to waste my time reading and analyzing all those details until I had looked at the end to see if they expected me to diagnose based on them or if they just end up giving the diagnosis away.
     
  41. kalyanova

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    Squall

    thanks for the nice detailed experience and the tip about lab values!!:) I always hated them..and now got to stick them to memory...
    Can you please elaborate on your UW studying.. I have not started using it yet but am trying to find the right way to use it.. and just like walterdandy and others, I am afraid that I would memorize the qs, feel good with a high% of correct answers in UW but then get killed in the actual exam.
    If you had to redo it again.. how would you have done it otherwise? in terms of UW qbank usage?
     
  42. Squall

    Squall SeeD

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    If I had it to do over again I would have started using UW earlier and done fewer questions a day.

    My last final exam was May 2nd, then we had a week with Dr. Goljan for 8 hours a day, which, while incredibly awesome, did not leave much time or energy in the evenings for self-study. Once that was over, I had a little over 3 weeks to prepare for the USMLE on my own, and it was brutal getting through all of UW in that time.

    I would typically do 100 questions a day, sometimes 150 if I was behind. God help anyone who plans on doing more than that a day and actually thoroughly reviewing your answers. Just doing 100 questions a day takes 2 hours to do then at least 2 hours to review, effectively consuming about half of my typical study day. That's not to say it was time wasted, but definitely something to consider when planning your study schedule.

    If you're not going to spend the time reviewing your answers then I don't see much point in using UW. There are less grueling and more accurate score predictors out there. If you're looking for a score predictor then I'd just pay to take the NBME test forms. I didn't because I felt at least prepared enough to pass and I knew I didn't want to push back my exam date, so why waste half a day of study time just to get an idea of what my score might be? Your UW % correct is not as important as what you take away from the questions you review. If you thoroughly review them, hopefully you won't miss them again on the real thing. And I did get some questions that were very similar to UW questions I had studied.

    In summary: Do as few questions per day as you can get away with, and thoroughly review them.
     
  43. DragonWell

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    I've only taken NBME 3 & 4, and I felt that UW assessment was comparable in difficulty to these NBMEs.

    Based on the NBMEs I took, I agree with this.
     
  44. kalyanova

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    thanks squall.. your post helped me a lot in designing the right plan for me..!
    I saw that you took Goljan's lecture not long ago:love:.. was it with the falcon program?
    I wanted to ask you about the goljan lecture.. did he teach pretty much the same stuff as in the bootlegged audio or did he bring in NEW stuff in it?
     
  45. Squall

    Squall SeeD

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    Our school actually paid to have Dr. Goljan come for the week, so I didn't have to sign up for one of those other board prep programs. It was very similar to his audio stuff, of course you have the benefit of actually seeing the slides he's talking about as he's talking about them. :oops:

    The content was very similar. Of course he can never cover everything in his rapid review book in a week, so I think he just picks and chooses from among the highest yield topics. He sticks pretty close to his book and I don't think he added anything new, but I doubt any 2 of his courses are exactly the same. Where he shines is his integrations and his general humor that helps to make things interesting and memorable. He's actually kind of like a stand up comedian in the sense that he obviously has his routines that he uses consistently. Funny stories and things that I remembered hearing him use from his audio recordings were repeated pretty much verbatim during our review session. Goljan was probably my most valuable resource for board review, and I would vouch that I correctly answered many questions on the test thanks to him. I did NOT enjoy the pathology lectures in our school's curriculum, but Dr. Goljan makes things reachable, relevant and fun at the same time.

    My only Goljan gripe is that he is apparently vehemently opposed to his stuff being out on bootlegged audio (a la Metallica vs. Napster). We all had to sign forms saying we wouldn't record him and we weren't allowed to have laptops in the room, which was annoying because I can type so much faster than I can hand-write, plus my handwriting is aweful. Personally I think it's dumb because many people buy his books as a direct result of having heard his audio stuff, and it's not like schools are going to stop paying to have him come and give his review sessions just because his free audio is available. I guess I can understand him not wanting his whole presentation video-recorded, but not being able to have a laptop to take notes on was for me a bit extreme. Still he's a great guy and I learned pretty much everything I know in pathology from him.
     
    #43 Squall, Jun 7, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2008
  46. synapse lapse

    synapse lapse tokyo robotic

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    No laptops is laughable. How does that prevent anyone from bringing in any number of devices with recording capabilities, which is basically every cell phone, pda, voice recorder, mp3 player, etc. I don't understand how people in science can be so averse to technological advancement and free spread of information. So what if people bootleg his lectures, I really don't see the big deal.
     
  47. Rogue Synapse

    Rogue Synapse The Dude Has Got No Mercy

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    I bought TWO of his books solely on the strength of his bootleg audio recordings. Which I got from someone a year ahead of me and proceeded to shamelessly distribute to several dozen people in my class.
     
  48. Mr. Freeze

    Mr. Freeze Not right. (in the head)

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    Of course not, because you aren't the one who makes money based on people wanting to hear what you have to say.
     
  49. The Angriest Bird

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    To exaggerate the situation a little bit, I'd say taking UW with First Aid is like taking a NASA entry exam with a high school physics textbook.

    There are at least 50% (probably even more) UW questions cannot be correctly by using FA, open-book, in an untimed fashion. There are also a good number of UW questions that are not even mentioned by KT Pharm, BRS Pathology, and Micro Made R Simple.

    "Studying with FA + UW" is more like "studying FA, then studying UW."
     
  50. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
    Administrator Physician SDN Advisor

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    Guess what? There may be lots of Step 1 questions on the actual exam that cannot be answered correctly by using FA, open-book, in an untimed fashion.

    I think that at least 60% of my actual test couldn't have been answered correctly by using FA, even if it had been open there in front of me. I definitely walked out of that testing center feeling like I would have gotten the same number of questions correct even if I had never opened FA at all.

    So you really don't know what kind of a test you're going to get.
     
  51. 78222

    78222 Guest

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    Well, fine. Don't listen to all the people who have taken the exam and go read Robbins or Harrison's to prepare. Just don't expect much sympathy when you miss questions that are in FA because you felt it wasn't thorough enough.
     

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