I Don't Know Where To Go From Here.

Discussion in 'Step I' started by Solace, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. Solace

    Solace Member
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    I have been studying for Step 1 pretty tough but nothing to write home about for the past 6-7weeks. I average from 6-10 hours of study a day. I have read the Kaplan books (except for biochem and Path, Path BRS, High-yield Biochem, Micro Made Ridiculously Simple, High-yield Neuro, Fisrt Aid and completed maybe 200 questions and Q book.


    For the past couple of weeks, I have been hitting Qbank hard but I always seem to get three scores on it..., 54% 56%, or 58%. I am so tired of seeing those 3 scores after a 50 question block that I am forgetting that there are other percentage values in this world.

    I have completed 40% of Qbank but I can't seem to get over the hump. I hate to think I have reached a plateau since I have been working at this doctor thing in one form or another for the past 9 years. It seems like I know so much but I can't reach at least the 60s on those darn practice questions.
    I even took a full-length Kaplan practice exam a couple of weeks ago and got a 56% on that too.

    My family and friends keeps asking me when am I going to take the
    Step 1 exam but I am reluctant to tell them that I am not performing well enough on the practice exams to even feel confident in doing so. I just don't know what to do at this point.
     
  2. Kosmo

    Kosmo Senior Member
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    Relax, man.
    Step 1 sucks. Though it'll soon be, like the MCAT, one of those things that you'll look back on and laugh at how anxious you were. But you do have to get that anxiety under control. I actually stopped doing q-bank questions about 5 days before the test, they were a useful learning tool, but in those last few days I needed to gain confidence, which is tough when you're scoring 50s-60s.
    Just do the questions and don't worry about your score. Learn from the ones you get wrong and if the seemingly low scores really bug you, quit with the q-bank as you approach the test.
     
  3. Papking

    Papking Junior Member

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    I agree with Kosmo. I have been doing Kaplan Q bank questions on and off since February. It really just depends on the day and the question set of whether I score in the low 50s or the high 60s. It could be that you just haven't hit the "good" questions yet.
    Those questions are definitely very difficult and I have heard that they ask more detailed questions than the actual USMLE does.
    One thing to remember with questions is that they condense the learning process for you quite a bit. They synthesize material and help you zoom in on the suttle differential features between various disease processes and other things. If you have not seen the material from that angle before you do the question, that is ok. The important thing is to learn from the question and walk away at a higher level of understanding of the disease.
    Another thing to remember is that this information does have limits. There are only a limited number of ways that a test maker can ask a question and still give the tester enough landmarks to come to the right answer. Kaplan is showing you most of their tricks.
    Also if you are like me, you learn much better from what you did wrong than what you did right. If you really think about a question and believe you had the right answer then you still get it wrong, you will never make that same mistake again.
    Another thing I have heard is that the questions do not correlate exactly to your USMLE score. You could average a 55% on Kaplan and get a 250 on the USMLE. A friend of mine did very well on the USMLE and his advice was that as long as you are scoring at least a 50% on Q-bank you are fine.
    Just remember that the scores don't count until the day you actually take the real exam. My advice is to schedule the test and give it what you have. Make sure you get through Q-bank before that and learn from the questions even if it takes you a LONG TIME to do them. You will do fine.
     
  4. SuFiBB

    SuFiBB Member
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    hey solace do the nbme self-assessment tests, there are two tests $45 each, each 200 broken down into 4 50-question blocks. if you can get above a 400 then take the real test. if not then the problem is that you are not retaining the stuff that you are reading, which is not a big deal because that is what happened to me in the initial stages of my step 1 prep. it may appear you are spreading yourself too thin by reading too much. I think what you need to do is do a 25 question block and read the explanations to the answers to the questions and then read sections of the kaplan material that coorelate with the explanations of the questions. that will help you retain the stuff you read because just reading the stuff straight is too dull and poses a challenge in retaining it in your head. I went through the same thing that you are going through right now. i tried reading the brs straight but I couldn't remember those details. doing the questions and reading the explanation and just the pertinent paragraphs in your text enables you to retain that stuff. tell me what you think
    you can send me a private message or just post here but I think it may be time for you to try an nbme practice test.
    good luck and hang in there because I guarantee that step 1 is much harder to take then step 2.
    again post something
     
  5. Solace

    Solace Member
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    Thanks a lot for your replies, they are really helpful. I will try taking that NMBE exam next week and see how that goes. SuFiBB, I think you are right about the retention deal. I will try that method. I almost want to kick myself when I miss a question on something I have thought I had reviewed thoroughly.
     
  6. Solace

    Solace Member
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    Averaging mid to high 60s now. :)
     
  7. SuFiBB

    SuFiBB Member
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    congrats, keep up the good work, I am glad to hear that ;)
     
  8. Possible. A little unlikely, but very possible.

    One thing I noticed when studying for the Boards was that people who had Kaplan material - lecture notes, study guides, or actual notes from live lectures - tended to be more familiar with the "style" of question on QBank. They would tend to score higher. Those who didn't go through Kaplan may have scored lower, but ended up doing comparably on the real test.

    Bottom line is, use QBank for what it is - a way to review the explanations for the questions you get wrong.
     

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