USMLE I'm screwed. Any advice? Been scoring really low on UWorld

Discussion in 'Step I' started by SacTus, 05.18.14.

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  1. SacTus

    SacTus

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    First time I scored 48%... ever since then, I've been dropping. [I used reset after this]

    Current resources:
    -FA
    -Pathoma
    -UWorld
    I have Goljan's too, but only use it when I'm driving. Seldom use Pathoma, only use when I'm at the gym. Been trying to keep up with First Aid, but can barely do 22 pages a day to keep up with my CramFighter schedule...

    So far I've covered Biochem and Micro, but I am still not doing too bueno on them. Any advice?

    Thanks!

    Current analysis: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ohelcpuxg0r6a9u/Screenshot 2014-05-18 11.38.46.png

    My test is in under a little under a month...
     
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  3. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Gotta review more per day.
     
  4. CherryRedDracul

    CherryRedDracul 2 Chainz Muscular Dystrophy 2+ Year Member

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    This. And what is this "CramFighter" schedule? If you're managing to struggle doing 22 pages of First Aid a day and seldom use Pathoma, something is not right with your schedule. And have you been doing random blocks of UWorld every day? I would suggest doing at least a block every day. If it's a random block, you might be hitting low scores because you haven't reviewed all the other material. I don't know what the average is for early usage of random UWorld blocks though because I've been using my Qbank differently, but you should expect it to steadily increase as your knowledge base grows.

    Qbanks are primarily a learning tool, not an evaluation tool. You do evaluations based on NBME practice exams and UWorld assessments. Use the Qbanks to figure out what your gaps in knowledge are and read the explanations. With under a month left, I'd suggest you start to pick up the pace by reevaluating your schedule. I'm in deep **** myself after losing my dedicated prep time due to ongoing family issues, so I've been forced to do 4 blocks of UWorld a day. I haven't even finished my first pass and I have about a week until my exam. You still have time though, but you just need to use it more wisely.

    We're all gonna make it.
     
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  5. SacTus

    SacTus

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    Yeah, I think I've been going relatively slow because Biochem, Micro and Antibiotics are one of my biggest weaknesses; as indicated. I'm also not 100% focused...

    However, I do think that I will be able to zip through systems and other sections a little faster... Rote memorization is more difficult to me than conceptual understanding.... I have a lot of ground to cover...
     
  6. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    I think it is time to get focused. I cover 40 pages in FA on Repro and aleady listened to 4 videos in DIT. Still got 13 more to go and some Rx questions to hammer it in. I think folks underestimate how difficult the hard questions are on Rx.
     
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  7. parliamentarian

    parliamentarian 7+ Year Member

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    I have almost the exact same average as you. It's only my 3rd day of prep and I have 6 weeks to go. We can do this. We may not be SDN rockstars but dammit we're gonna pass this thing.

    Med school has not gone well for me, at all. Grades were released last week and I was within .6% of failing pathology, which would have resulted in me being dismissed from school as I have already repeated a year. I feel like I'll be a good doctor once it's all said and done, as I do very well with patients. But right now I've gotta buckle down and study for this thing. All my life I've done just enough to get by. I've never worked as hard as I'd like to or come remotely close to the person that I know that I can be. I have a few personal problems that I'm dealing with, but at some point you've just gotta be a man and do what you know is required.

    I'm very confident that I will pass this thing if I do what I need to do. The administration is undoubtedly expecting me to fail. I'm ranked dead last in my class and statistically that does not bode well for step. I need to do this to show them what I'm truly capable of, and more importantly, to show myself that I have the fortitude to work hard and achieve something great.
     
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  8. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I wish I had that extra week. But, you are right. Take what you got and battle. DIT is a lot more videos than I was expecting. I am gonna do my best with my strategy because I think it is working for me. But it is a hell of a lot of crap to cover each and every day.
     
  9. sobored

    sobored 2+ Year Member

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    It seems like you are lacking a broad range of content knowledge. Can you push your test back like 2-3 weeks? If yes, my advice would be to spend 3 weeks doing nothing but learning FA and pathoma. Study really hard for those 3 weeks, and don't do any questions at all. Then get back to Uworld hardcore by doing 2 blocks/day, go over incorrect answers, then continue content review after that is done each day. Review pharm/micro a little bit every day from now until your test so you start to solidify that knowledge.

    I think as it stands now, you will probably still pass if you study hard for your remaining month. But wouldn't you like to feel a bit more secure about passing? I think pushing your test back a few weeks will really help you.

    Good luck.
     
  10. notbobtrustme

    notbobtrustme Crux Terminatus Banned Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    learning from FA is impossible. You should have learned this stuff in class or other materials. FA is a recall tool, not a study guide.

    That said, if you want to pass, you need to re-evaluate what you're doing. A month is enough time to get a passing score and maybe even score average. Get some review books (eg BRS, RR, etc) and start hitting the high yield subjects. Pathology, pharm, phys/pathphys and micro/immuno. That's ~80% of the exam right there. Focus on knowing this **** cold and you will pass.

    If I were you, I'd get up 7am tomorrow, crank out 2 chapters of Pathoma, review those 2 chapters in RR Path, read the relevant physiology and review the drugs in FA. Take an hour break or so, then pound out 30 Uworld questions on just that topic. Do w/e you need to do with those questions, but understand why you were missing questions. If you missed a question because you mistook Crohn's for ulcerative colitis, review that **** and understand the major differences between them. If you missed a question on heart murmurs because you don't know what's going on, BRS phys or Google that **** until you understand it.

    FA should be used after all this to jog your memory and to nail stupid details (eg + nitroprusside test on urine -> cystinuria).
     
  11. parliamentarian

    parliamentarian 7+ Year Member

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    As mentioned above, I'm in the same situation as this guy and honestly I think this might be bad advice. We may not have learned as much as most during M1 and M2 year, but if we passed we definitely have some sort of base. We aren't civilians off the street seeing these words for the first time. Adding resources a month before the exam just seems like a terrible idea. Doing what you just said would take an extremely long period of time for each subject.

    I'm sticking to UWorld, Pathoma, and First Aid. Sure, there are things I come across that I didn't learn the first time. But between the UWorld explanations and First Aid I've yet to encounter something that I still didn't understand after referencing those two. Rapid Review path is a chore and BRS seems unnecessary. Adding that stuff would spread this guy incredibly thin. I do agree with taking a minute or two to google things that still aren't very clear to you, but other than that I think UFAP is enough.
     
  12. haFaithve

    haFaithve 5+ Year Member

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    Unfortunately, I would have to agree and disagree with you. Adding resources one month before an exam is definitely not a good suggestion.

    However, trying to fill in knowledge gaps with UWorld, Pathoma, and First Aid is not the best suggestion either.

    I am in both your situation, as well as, SacTus' situation. I barely made it through my two years of school as well.

    Where I differ is that I got tired of running to catch up only to always be behind. I gave up because I was tired of fighting. I went through a leave of absence and have been taking baby steps ever since. Sure, my school is pissed off, but I am also holding onto my 2.8 gpa. My goal is to get a 3.0, which equates to a B average. I have witnessed students get to the clinical years and soar, and I am praying for the same.

    Now. Getting back on point. I agree that adding resources is not the best method. However, knowledge gaps are present. A review source of some kind is needed. Be it Kaplan, DIT, whatever. SacTus should think about how s/he learns best and find one comprehensive resource.

    At the moment, I have a few months because I am again, off schedule. So, I have for the first time in my life opened BRS physiology and am actually learning something.

    After enough Najeeb videos (SacTus...no way you have time for this resource!), I am finally able to read and understand BRS physio. And now things that were memorized during 1st and 2nd year are starting to look familiar. Only now can I began adding content because I now have a foundation of the material and I am learning concepts, not memorizing to stay afloat.

    The same for Pathology. After a kickstart from Pathoma, I can now read from BRS pathology. (I have since had to put Pathoma aside because I learned it is best for reviewing content I have previously read, not for learning the material for the first time.) I did manage to listen to Goljan audio for reinforcement of what I did learn from pathoma. I am now looking for another Pathology resource.

    My advice is to take some hours and figure out exactly which part of your knowledge base is lacking and address it. It has to be addressed. Pointless to keep tacking on information when the foundation is not supported.
     
    Last edited: 05.18.14
  13. sobored

    sobored 2+ Year Member

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    This couldn't be further from the truth. Sattar explains things so elegantly...he goes for understanding, not review. If you have passed your med school path courses, there is no reason that Pathoma is not enough for your step 1 review.
     
  14. haFaithve

    haFaithve 5+ Year Member

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    You misunderstood. Sattar goes for understanding, not teaching. Did you understand what you learned during the school year. Not, let me teach you for the first time. Which is what I was trying to say. I cannot use Pathoma for material that I have never seen. I used it for Cell injury and acute inflammation to reinforce my knowledge base. Got to the neoplasia section and was like wtf is he talking about.

    You just said it, Pathoma is enough for your Step I review. Cannot review material that you have never seen. Of course, you cannot learn everything. My point is that if I am missing pathology foundation, I cannot review anything. I have to learn it.

    SacTus cannot go for "enough." It is evident in his assessment scores for his UWorld. As others have said, he has to dig deeper and figure out what part of his knowledge base is missing. It may not even be a knowledge base. Who really knows?! It can simply be that s/he is misinterpreting the questions.

    But, I find that if I am using google for every other word, I simply have no clue. At that point, I need to stop trying to cram in facts (which is what I am essentially doing), crack open a video, book, or review book and go learn that section that I keep googling.

    I did not have a pathology course. I had a systems based curriculum. I can easily memorize enough to stay afloat which is what I did. I can also know enough histo, physio and pharm to pass an exam. Unless that exam was pathology dense, I was able to do what was needed to pass. If it was majority pathology or majority another subject, my lack in knowledge showed.
     
    Last edited: 05.18.14
  15. sobored

    sobored 2+ Year Member

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    I don't understand. How have you passed all your classes and not seen so much pathology? How did your school not cover neoplasia at all? If you are at a US school, everything in Pathoma and more should have been taught to you at some point.

    And you misunderstood me. Even if you haven't seen a topic before, Sattar does a great job explaining things so you learn it. It is also brief enough that it is used as step review.

    Anyways, I'm not trying to argue with you. You do what works for you and we'll leave it at that.
     
  16. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Okay, usually when I read these sources (FA, Pathoma, etc.) I say, oh yeah I remember that crap.

    If you are not having the same, then you need to learn and not review. Now granted, there are a few things here and there we did not cover. But, I would say 95% we did.

    I just have a hard time making myself remember stuff like endocrine and reproduction. Also, not a big heme/onc fan. One reason I started with endo and repro.

    Obviously, I do not need a huge review in pharm. Or Psy. I just wish that biostats crap was not on there. That is gonna take me a whole day to get through. Micro is well taught so far on DIT.

    Actually, the only one I really thought sucked was Neuro with a few parts. I will have to go back over that at the end. I was not too fond of Neuroanatomy and have seemed to have forgotten that class. I know there are tracts going somewhere and crossing somewhere carrying something. lol
     
  17. parliamentarian

    parliamentarian 7+ Year Member

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    I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that you're wrong. But what you're saying is definitely wrong for me. Sattar is the best teacher out there. I barely passed path this year, mostly due to not studying very much. But there were some blocks where I got it together and studied, mostly using pathoma and practice questions while largely ignoring class material. I scored 90%+ on those blocks. And these were medical school exams, which are a lot more detailed than step.
     
  18. haFaithve

    haFaithve 5+ Year Member

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    Naturally, my advice may or may not be suited for you as I do not know you. I just tried to offer my opinion. It may be of little help to you but it will hopefully help someone.
     
  19. haFaithve

    haFaithve 5+ Year Member

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    Umm. Okay.
     
  20. elegantorchid

    elegantorchid 2+ Year Member

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    hi i wanted took my exam and thought i'd share my experience since i was kinda in a similar situation (though you seem to be in a better situation actually). One of my mistakes initially was focusing too hard on the nitty gritty details of everything FA said and if you do that it really takes a long time to do even one chapter a day. Fact is the test covers a wide range of stuff and sometimes it will go into the nitty details but for the most part it wants you to understand general concepts. So i think its really important to use Uworld and get an idea for what they might ask for. Uworld asks for more specific stuff than the actual test btw.

    Don't spread urself too thin and use too many resources. FA and Uworld is for the most part all you need. Occassionaly you might need to pop out a BRS or pathoma to check out something you dont' understand (FA was horrible with polycystic ovarian disease...I went from understanding it thanks to pathoma man to having no clue).

    Lastly a month is quite a long time! dont' give up. just gotta study intense.
     
  21. witzelsucht

    witzelsucht 2+ Year Member

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    OK, based on what you are saying you need to put the FA on hold and WATCH ALL OF PATHOMA. This week your assignment is to watch 3 hours of pathoma in the morning, then do relevent uworld in afternoon. Then sit down with some goljan audio + rapid review and hammer that **** in. You needs patho knowledge, mi amigo. FA is not appropriate for your stage of learning, IMO.
     
  22. SacTus

    SacTus

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    Unfortunately my clinical skills training/rotations begin the week after my boards... lol

    I suppose I will try to gun through pathoma, I've been stubborn not to use it -- except only when I'm exercising or whatnot...

    Thank you all for such great input! As confusing and controversial as many of them are, haha. I suppose this could mean doing any of them can work, but at the same time, it also might mean that one thing might work for someone and not for another...

    I find it troubling that I spent a lot of time on biochem and micro yet it's STILL my weakest point. Biochem/Micro/Pharm has been horrible for me if you've seen from the graph. I know the general stuff, but each question is like a 3-tiered question, so you have to be able to answer all 3 things to get that 1 question right...

    I just did a few questions from Test Weapon and got 56%
     
  23. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-fun SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

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    Biochem/micro/pharm are my 3 weakest subjects as well. If you've already done a detailed review of those subjects in FA, just keep doing questions and processing them/annotating. You have to get used to thinking about those topics integrated with system-specific pathology, and the only way to really do that is with questions. Also maybe check out the First Aid Cases book, they do a pretty good job of integrating the relevant basic science and pharm/mechanisms with vignettes.
     

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