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Incoming MS 1 at a new public MD School...Questions on resources

HtownNittanyLion

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Hi yall
I accepted an offer at a new MD school in my state. As such, I will not have upperclassmen to guide me in my first year in terms of resources and what is available.

So here are my questions that I hope someone can help me figure out:
1) I understand there is a range of resources such as Amboss, World, FA, B&B, Pathoma...Which resources should I invest in (school stated during interview day that they will purchase a resource for STEP 1 prep but did not state which one)?

2) When do I use these resources? Are they used in conjunction with class during the first block? Or do I save them for MS2/summer before MS2? Do I refer to these resources during the block?

3) Is it wise to purchase these resources now and have them ready to use when school starts? Or how does everyone else get access to these resources? (I know upperclassmen typically share them...that will not be the case with my school)

If you have any tips, they would be greatly appreciated!!
 
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altblue

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FA: Quick reference or review
B&B: Big picture lectures for organ systems, good for NBME exams
Pathoma: Top of the line resource for pathology
UWorld: Best Q-bank, don't worry about this till the latter half of M2 or dedicated (the other resources are fine to use throughout med school)
Amboss/Rx/Kaplan: Midtier Q banks appropriate throughout med school
Also consider sketchy if rote memorization isn't your thing

A lot of this will start to make more sense once you begin your program and appreciate how you learn and when you need to supplement your school's lectures and methods of self-assessment
 
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stilly20

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Finishing M1 in 2 weeks and had the same questions going in. What I've learned (and this is very dependent on the way your school's curriculum is set up):
- You will most likely use all those resources you mentioned but at different times and definitely throughout preclinical. My school uses the first semester as a "basic sciences" background i.e anatomy, micro, biochem, immuno, pharm etc. until second semester, which runs organ modules all the way up until dedicated. If it's anything like that, you won't really need those resources the first semester. One of the biggest mistakes I saw is some believing that STEP is above all and they would study strictly off those resources, ignore lectures, and do very poorly on tests. I would hold off on buying those resources except possibly FA but thats only as a reference. My recommendation is go off your school's lectures for the first few tests. If that doesn't work, reasses.

- If you feel you have a good handle on how to do well on tests, you could start incorporating the relevant STEP resources that are concurrent with topics covered in class. For example, if you are taking Microbio, I would watch the lectures and then watch the Sketchy video related to the pathogen, download the Anking deck, and do the cards related to that pathogen. NOTE: learn how to use Anki. That is the one resource that has made my studying streamlined and it truly does work.

It's gonna be a lot of adjusting and troubleshooting your own learning style but you will get the hang of it as you go. More than anything, be organized in your studying and minimize distractions.
 
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deleted903608

I would agree with what others said about holding off on purchasing any resources until you've started classes for the stated reasons but also because someone in your class can organize a group purchase which will usually get you a significant discount (my class did this for B&B, Pathoma, UWorld, Amboss, etc.), the price really starts to add up with more resources so any discounts are huge
 

HtownNittanyLion

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FA: Quick reference or review
B&B: Big picture lectures for organ systems, good for NBME exams
Pathoma: Top of the line resource for pathology
World: Best Q-bank, don't worry about this till the latter half of M2 or dedicated (the other resources are fine to use throughout med school)
Amboss/Rx/Kaplan: Midtier Q banks appropriate throughout med school
Also consider sketchy if rote memorization isn't your thing

A lot of this will start to make more sense once you begin your program and appreciate how you learn and when you need to supplement your school's lectures and methods of self-assessment

Thank you for this breakdown. I am thinking to invest in FA right when school starts and hold off on other materials until I move forward with the first semester. Also what is Sketchy and when is it recommended to use/how to use it (is it practice material, interactive learning, etc...)?

Finishing M1 in 2 weeks and had the same questions going in. What I've learned (and this is very dependent on the way your school's curriculum is set up):
- You will most likely use all those resources you mentioned but at different times and definitely throughout preclinical. My school uses the first semester as a "basic sciences" background i.e anatomy, micro, biochem, immuno, pharm etc. until second semester, which runs organ modules all the way up until dedicated. If it's anything like that, you won't really need those resources the first semester. One of the biggest mistakes I saw is some believing that STEP is above all and they would study strictly off those resources, ignore lectures, and do very poorly on tests. I would hold off on buying those resources except possibly FA but thats only as a reference. My recommendation is go off your school's lectures for the first few tests. If that doesn't work, reasses.

- If you feel you have a good handle on how to do well on tests, you could start incorporating the relevant STEP resources that are concurrent with topics covered in class. For example, if you are taking Microbio, I would watch the lectures and then watch the Sketchy video related to the pathogen, download the Anking deck, and do the cards related to that pathogen. NOTE: learn how to use Anki. That is the one resource that has made my studying streamlined and it truly does work.

It's gonna be a lot of adjusting and troubleshooting your own learning style but you will get the hang of it as you go. More than anything, be organized in your studying and minimize distractions.

Thank you for this information! Yes, thanks for the MCAT, I have learned how to use Anki. I will need to adjust for medical school, but this is a resource I am planning to use from the start. Do you create your own flashcards for medical school or you use a pre-created deck (I know there are tons of pre-made decks on reddit that I have seen). I am thinking to take notes by creating anki flashcards, but also download the pre-made decks to use also so it'll be a hybrid of both. Please share your thoughts.
My school's curriculum is systems-based.
 

MedScat

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I'd get B&B and FA for your first year, watch B&B and Pathoma as you learn the material in class and use Rx along side. This will give you a SOLID foundation which is really the key to passing Step. Doing questions is the key to 250+ on top of the good foundation. I did Rx and B&B as I was learning, and then saved Kaplan to start during 40 question blocks during 2nd year (maybe in like...December I started doing 40 question blocks). Also, I didn't start using Zanki until January of year 2 and although I wish i started using it sooner, I'm kind of glad I was able to relearn with Zanki because it really stuck in my head while I wasn't far away from Step 1. If I had done Zanki earlier, I feel like I would have matured the cards for a specific topic a long time ago and maybe wouldve forgotten it. That's just me though

Also, I can't emphasize enough how important sketchy micro/pharm is. I just took Step 1 on wednesday and it felt like the questions were literally taken directly out of the sketches. Anyone who doesnt use sketchy because they "aren't a visual learner" is really missing out IMO. Watch the sketches when you learn micro, rewatch near dedicated, do the relevant Zanki cards for each video after you watch them the second time around.

I didn't do ANY of this stuff first year and it worked out ok but, the foundational education in first year is more important than doing questions. Get yourself a solid background, learn the details first year and youll thank yourself later. Good luck!

Also, to address your last question, I'd get the most updated or 1 year old version of FA, not much older than that. The other resources are all online so youll automatically get the most updated when you buy it.
 
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altblue

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Thank you for this breakdown. I am thinking to invest in FA right when school starts and hold off on other materials until I move forward with the first semester. Also what is Sketchy and when is it recommended to use/how to use it (is it practice material, interactive learning, etc...)?
I think that's entirely fair. The utility of the other resources really depends on how much you get out your school's lectures and how much you want to prepare for boards. If you feel lecture makes sense and you're confident you're learning the material well enough to quickly revisit it, lectures should be fine.

My school's lectures are extremely hit-and-miss on the other hand. There's a lot of minutiae to some of them that you won't have the time to learn (and probably won't be tested on) unless you study constantly or are a beast at rote memorization.... So investing in these extra resources that par it down was smart for me, especially for NBME exams. Beware that your school's lectures will still be critical for non-NBME exams, though; hopefully, the lecture quality will be better for those.

Sketchy videos are sets of visual mnemonics that are helpful for micro and pharm in particular. I have an edge with understanding concepts and recognizing patterns but my actual memory for little details and long names is meh, has been since undergrad, so I now rely on Sketchy to hammer those in.

Hope that helps.
 
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CyrusHabs7695

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Does the year/edition of these resources matter? Do we need to get the most up to date editions or can we use some that are 3-4 years old?

getting the newest FA or Pathoma book is fine, but if you know everything in 2019 FA when you take step in 2022, I think you'll be just fine
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Agree with a lot of the above. But I’d recommend checking out AMBOSS for their qbank. I like it much more than Rx. A lot of Rx questions are basically testing if you can remember a line from First Aid. AMBOSS has a separate qbank for M1/2 that I think does a great job of prepping for the nbme (not being paid to say this lol). They also have an anki add-on that lets you put your mouse over a word and it pulls up a little amboss window with a description of what it is and a link to the amboss card.
 
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rosegoldkitten

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For those who've gotten AMBOSS, I'm guessing if you got in M1, you are paying for the "forever" package right? Yikes, yeah I'm looking into it and the investment for AMBOSS alone is pretty daunting, ironically still after looking at my loans.
 
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altblue

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For those who've gotten AMBOSS, I'm guessing if you got in M1, you are paying for the "forever" package right? Yikes, yeah I'm looking into it and the investment for AMBOSS alone is pretty daunting, ironically still after looking at my loans.
On the forever package, I've heard it can be useful for shelf exams later on in med school, but I'm preclinical so I'm not that familiar... maybe an M3 or M4 could chime in
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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For those who've gotten AMBOSS, I'm guessing if you got in M1, you are paying for the "forever" package right? Yikes, yeah I'm looking into it and the investment for AMBOSS alone is pretty daunting, ironically still after looking at my loans.

I did not. I have it for my pre-clerkship time. But we take step after a year of rotations (halfway through third year).
 

HtownNittanyLion

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I think that's entirely fair. The utility of the other resources really depends on how much you get out your school's lectures and how much you want to prepare for boards. If you feel lecture makes sense and you're confident you're learning the material well enough to quickly revisit it, lectures should be fine.

My school's lectures are extremely hit-and-miss on the other hand. There's a lot of minutiae to some of them that you won't have the time to learn (and probably won't be tested on) unless you study constantly or are a beast at rote memorization.... So investing in these extra resources that par it down was smart for me, especially for NBME exams. Beware that your school's lectures will still be critical for non-NBME exams, though; hopefully, the lecture quality will be better for those.

Sketchy videos are sets of visual mnemonics that are helpful for micro and pharm in particular. I have an edge with understanding concepts and recognizing patterns but my actual memory for little details and long names is meh, has been since undergrad, so I now rely on Sketchy to hammer those in.

Hope that helps.

Yes, this helps a lot. Thank you for providing clarity. I now know what resources I should try to obtain and how to use them. Thank you :)

Agree with a lot of the above. But I’d recommend checking out AMBOSS for their qbank. I like it much more than Rx. A lot of Rx questions are basically testing if you can remember a line from First Aid. AMBOSS has a separate qbank for M1/2 that I think does a great job of prepping for the nbme (not being paid to say this lol). They also have an anki add-on that lets you put your mouse over a word and it pulls up a little amboss window with a description of what it is and a link to the amboss card.

Noted! Thank you
 
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FrankLake

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FA: Quick reference or review
B&B: Big picture lectures for organ systems, good for NBME exams
Pathoma: Top of the line resource for pathology
World: Best Q-bank, don't worry about this till the latter half of M2 or dedicated (the other resources are fine to use throughout med school)
Amboss/Rx/Kaplan: Midtier Q banks appropriate throughout med school
Also consider sketchy if rote memorization isn't your thing

A lot of this will start to make more sense once you begin your program and appreciate how you learn and when you need to supplement your school's lectures and methods of self-assessment
Use Amboss/Rx/Kaplan to prepare for school exams (we have NBME exams)?
 
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deleted600623

If your curriculum is P/F: Anking deck. B&B, Pathoma, Sketchy Micro/Pharm for videos. Watch the relevant videos, unlock the cards tagged with those videos. Try not to do more than 100 new cards per day. Rinse and repeat. Don't completely abandon lecture material. Rx or kaplan are decent starting decks to make sure you are learning/remembering high yield material and getting used to board style questions. Rx allows you to isolate topics so that makes workflow during systems better than Kaplan but Kaplan questions are better. Amboss is the best non Uworld deck by far in my opinion so I would save that for after M1 and entering M2 depending on how long your preclinical curriculum is.
 
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HtownNittanyLion

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If your curriculum is P/F: Anking deck. B&B, Pathoma, Sketchy Micro/Pharm for videos. Watch the relevant videos, unlock the cards tagged with those videos. Try not to do more than 100 new cards per day. Rinse and repeat. Don't completely abandon lecture material. Rx or kaplan are decent starting decks to make sure you are learning/remembering high yield material and getting used to board style questions. Rx allows you to isolate topics so that makes workflow during systems better than Kaplan but Kaplan questions are better. Amboss is the best non Uworld deck by far in my opinion so I would save that for after M1 and entering M2 depending on how long your preclinical curriculum is.

Ok thanks! My preclinical is 18months (3semesters)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

7331poas

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Step 1 is pass fail, dont bother with those resources. Except maybe pathoma, pathoma is amazing.

The people who are saying to do Anking are wrong. There is no need to go through that deck anymore. At this point just study your school curriculum and coast.
 
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slowthai

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Step 1 is pass fail, dont bother with those resources. Except maybe pathoma, pathoma is amazing.

The people who are saying to do Anking are wrong. There is no need to go through that deck anymore. At this point just study your school curriculum and coast.

What do you say to the people saying that the best step 2 prep is step 1 prep?
 
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deleted600623

Step 1 is pass fail, dont bother with those resources. Except maybe pathoma, pathoma is amazing.

The people who are saying to do Anking are wrong. There is no need to go through that deck anymore. At this point just study your school curriculum and coast.
Except there is a good correlation between success on step 1 and step 2. If I only had one scored exam and I knew those who do well on step 1 tend to do well on step 2...I would prepare well for step 1.

Edit: Here's a study showing a correlation coefficient of 0.75 for predicted CK success from Step 1 scores alone.

 
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7331poas

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Except there is a good correlation between success on step 1 and step 2. If I only had one scored exam and I knew those who do well on step 1 tend to do well on step 2...I would prepare well for step 1.

Edit: Here's a study showing a correlation coefficient of 0.75 for predicted CK success from Step 1 scores alone.


Ok thats all well and good. But maturing Zanki is a huge struggle. I am about 85% mature and looking back it has negatively impacted my life. Waking up and dedicating 5+ hours a day to a flashcard app.

The old mantra of "get a good step 1 score so you can get a good step 2 score" was fine. But in the new system, I say just try and only learn "important" step 1 info.

Your graph and analogy are a bit of a fallacy. If I had 1 scored exam, I would study hard for that exam. Not a surrogate exam with a bunch of useless BS that has no impact on Step 2 CK. As for your graph, that correllation is largely perpetuated by students who studied hard for one exam also studying hard for a subsequent exam.

Maturing the dorian deck is more important than Zanki at this point.
 
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deleted600623

Ok thats all well and good. But maturing Zanki is a huge struggle. I am about 85% mature and looking back it has negatively impacted my life. Waking up and dedicating 5+ hours a day to a flashcard app.

The old mantra of "get a good step 1 score so you can get a good step 2 score" was fine. But in the new system, I say just try and only learn "important" step 1 info.

Your graph and analogy are a bit of a fallacy. If I had 1 scored exam, I would study hard for that exam. Not a surrogate exam with a bunch of useless BS that has no impact on Step 2 CK. As for your graph, that correllation is largely perpetuated by students who studied hard for one exam also studying hard for a subsequent exam.

Maturing the dorian deck is more important than Zanki at this point.

Fair point. I agree maturing dorian is more important than Zanki however, you could argue that quite a bit of the zanki deck is not useless information and provides the foundation required to remember the concepts that underlie the material tested on CK. But why does the correlation being potentially skewed by people who study hard matter? What medical student is going to just coast through step 1, maybe gauge where their scores are at based on UWSA and NBMEs, realize they're scoring in the 215-220 range and suddenly turn it on for CK and expect to score 250? To me that's more dangerous than just realizing you can't score high without busting your ass. As a matter of fact, even with a scored exam right now, what students simply coast through step 1 with a 220 and then all of a sudden crush CK with a 250+? The important thing is to optimize the system that best fits the student for studying for step 1 without burnout but also ensure they score high.
 
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7331poas

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Fair point. I agree maturing dorian is more important than Zanki however, you could argue that quite a bit of the zanki deck is not useless information and provides the foundation required to remember the concepts that underlie the material tested on CK. But why does the correlation being potentially skewed by people who study hard matter? What medical student is going to just coast through step 1, maybe gauge where their scores are at based on UWSA and NBMEs, realize they're scoring in the 215-220 range and suddenly turn it on for CK and expect to score 250? To me that's more dangerous than just realizing you can't score high without busting your ass. As a matter of fact, even with a scored exam right now, what students simply coast through step 1 with a 220 and then all of a sudden crush CK with a 250+? The important thing is to optimize the system that best fits the student for studying for step 1 without burnout but also ensure they score high.

Because you are presenting a false scenario. I think the better option would be to do zanki, but start suspending all the useless BS that is in the deck solely for the purpose of getting step 1 questions correct. I would only do the cards that have some semblance of clinical relevance.

Right now zanki + lolnotacop is around 30k cards. I think you could easily "build a foundation" that passes step 1 at around 15k cards. From that point I would look at dorian deck (or more importantly, pushing out publications).
 

stilly20

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Thank you for this breakdown. I am thinking to invest in FA right when school starts and hold off on other materials until I move forward with the first semester. Also what is Sketchy and when is it recommended to use/how to use it (is it practice material, interactive learning, etc...)?



Thank you for this information! Yes, thanks for the MCAT, I have learned how to use Anki. I will need to adjust for medical school, but this is a resource I am planning to use from the start. Do you create your own flashcards for medical school or you use a pre-created deck (I know there are tons of pre-made decks on reddit that I have seen). I am thinking to take notes by creating anki flashcards, but also download the pre-made decks to use also so it'll be a hybrid of both. Please share your thoughts.
My school's curriculum is systems-based.
This is a really good idea. For classes like anatomy which are very school dependent, what most of us did was just image occlude all the slides. This is extremely time consuming but it works. I recommend starting by doing your own Anki as your notes to study but you will find that as you progress throughout the year, this will become very time consuming and you'll find something less time demanding.
 
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HtownNittanyLion

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This is a really good idea. For classes like anatomy which are very school dependent, what most of us did was just image occlude all the slides. This is extremely time consuming but it works. I recommend starting by doing your own Anki as your notes to study but you will find that as you progress throughout the year, this will become very time consuming and you'll find something less time demanding.
thank you! Also what is Dorian deck that users are discussing? Can I also find this on the reddit?
 
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FA: Quick reference or review
B&B: Big picture lectures for organ systems, good for NBME exams
Pathoma: Top of the line resource for pathology
World: Best Q-bank, don't worry about this till the latter half of M2 or dedicated (the other resources are fine to use throughout med school)
Amboss/Rx/Kaplan: Midtier Q banks appropriate throughout med school
Also consider sketchy if rote memorization isn't your thing

A lot of this will start to make more sense once you begin your program and appreciate how you learn and when you need to supplement your school's lectures and methods of self-assessment
Isn't that UWorld?

My students LOVE Sketchy, even though the hieroglyphs make my ID colleagues shake their head in amazement.

I have a high opinion of B&B, and was underwhelmed by Amboss.

I am big fan of question banks.
 
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@Goro Can I ask why you were underwhelmed by Amboss?
Can't even remember. MAY have been poor quality of the exam bank. Some of these resources are plagued by what are known as "pseudo questions". They They go something like this:
"Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. What is the mode of action of this drug?"

They have extraneous info that don't add anything, but waste your time as you have to read through them,

They also skew more to first order questions, when Boards are heavy on 2nd and 3rd order.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Can't even remember. MAY have been poor quality of the exam bank. Some of these resources are plagued by what are known as "pseudo questions". They They go something like this:
"Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. What is the mode of action of this drug?"

They have extraneous info that don't add anything, but waste your time as you have to read through them,

They also skew more to first order questions, when Boards are heavy on 2nd and 3rd order.

Interesting because I’ve had the complete opposite experience using amboss the last several blocks and have felt Rx was essentially “do you recognize this line from first aid”
 
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7331poas

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Amboss is a very good qbank and their library is very very helpful.

I think its the best resource out there other than uworld. That being said, there are definitely some wtf questions on amboss.
 
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throwaway1000000

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Can't even remember. MAY have been poor quality of the exam bank. Some of these resources are plagued by what are known as "pseudo questions". They They go something like this:
"Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. What is the mode of action of this drug?"

They have extraneous info that don't add anything, but waste your time as you have to read through them,

They also skew more to first order questions, when Boards are heavy on 2nd and 3rd order.

Amboss is probably the most 2nd and 3rd order qbank there is. Their questions are more challenging than Uworld questions. Sometimes too challenging but good for learning.

I did not use Uworld for Step 2 and exclusively used Amboss and scored in 260s. Probably one of the best resources out there and for me, better than Uworld.
 
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Amboss is probably the most 2nd and 3rd order qbank there is. Their questions are more challenging than Uworld questions. Sometimes too challenging but good for learning.

I did not use Uworld for Step 2 and exclusively used Amboss and scored in 260s. Probably one of the best resources out there and for me, better than Uworld.
Alas, they all gel after awhile, and my neurons are dying like flies. It doesn't help that I'm not at my work computer, either
 
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1. Only use Zanki if it works for you. There is no “single” way to learning the content in medical school.
2. B&B, Sketchy, Pathoma are supplements to which I would still recommend at least reading through the texts. (Yes even if step1 moves p/f
3. Personally amboss and UW are my favorite banks.
4. FA keeps you focused on what boards likes to hit on when medical school is throwing crazy stuff at you.
5. Congrats on your acceptance. Looking forward to calling you my colleague one day
 
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HtownNittanyLion

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1. Only use Zanki if it works for you. There is no “single” way to learning the content in medical school.
2. B&B, Sketchy, Pathoma are supplements to which I would still recommend at least reading through the texts. (Yes even if step1 moves p/f
3. Personally amboss and UW are my favorite banks.
4. FA keeps you focused on what boards likes to hit on when medical school is throwing crazy stuff at you.
5. Congrats on your acceptance. Looking forward to calling you my colleague one day
Def! Although since I used Anki for the MCAT and had a great outcome, I am going to opt to continue to study with Anki.

Also for point 2, I was under the impression that B&B, Pathoma, and Sketchy are videos and not text? Or are they both?
 

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Def! Although since I used Anki for the MCAT and had a great outcome, I am going to opt to continue to study with Anki.

Also for point 2, I was under the impression that B&B, Pathoma, and Sketchy are videos and not text? Or are they both?

I think he means don’t neglect the text from class and just watch those resources. But I actually disagree with that pretty hard. I have cracked open a textbook exactly three times my whole first year.
 
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slowthai

holding a barbell.
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In my gaff
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slowthai

holding a barbell.
7+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2013
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4,603
246
In my gaff
If I could do it over again, I would've entirely skipped school material starting second year. I actually liked my school lectures but the opportunity cost of watching them is just too high

Going through lecture materials makes me want to push daggers into my eyes, but the opportunity cost of not passing is just too high, lol. Hoping that I'll be able to coast off the strength of step studying next year.

The lecture material is just too divergent from third party resources. In houses for the loss
 
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