noplacelikehome

10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2007
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MD/PhD Student
I'm sorry, this is probably just complaining, but does anyone have any advice?

test scheduled next Thursday.
still getting a steady 52-58% in Kaplan (about the same as when I started studying for this thing....)
took an NBME last week - 370. ugh. 192 on the test.
Been studying for 12 weeks. Burnt out half way through, even more so now. Just wasn't passing then and pushed the test back enough to start over at the beginning studying.
I don't care if I do well anymore, I just have to get past this thing and do something else. Can't take any more of this.
I think I'm still missing all the easy stuff, I just can't memorize it. I've tried, but it just doesn't stick for longer than a day or two. The rest I feel like I've never seen before, even though I know that's not true.
I did ok in medical school (and went to a very good school), finished second year classes a couple of months ago, so I shoudn't be having this much trouble.

I'm at a loss - What would you do? Take the test? Take a couple of months to do something else and then start studying again?
If I should just take it, what would you do in the last week to get up to definitely passing?
 

bluntdissector

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2008
313
5
Status
Medical Student
I'm sorry, this is probably just complaining, but does anyone have any advice?

test scheduled next Thursday.
still getting a steady 52-58% in Kaplan (about the same as when I started studying for this thing....)
took an NBME last week - 370. ugh. 192 on the test.
Been studying for 12 weeks. Burnt out half way through, even more so now. Just wasn't passing then and pushed the test back enough to start over at the beginning studying.
I don't care if I do well anymore, I just have to get past this thing and do something else. Can't take any more of this.
I think I'm still missing all the easy stuff, I just can't memorize it. I've tried, but it just doesn't stick for longer than a day or two. The rest I feel like I've never seen before, even though I know that's not true.
I did ok in medical school (and went to a very good school), finished second year classes a couple of months ago, so I shoudn't be having this much trouble.

I'm at a loss - What would you do? Take the test? Take a couple of months to do something else and then start studying again?
If I should just take it, what would you do in the last week to get up to definitely passing?
That sucks.

Too late to make big changes to your method, but you can try to go over the things you keep missing. You said you are struggling with the 'easy' things, could you give an example? Maybe these 'easy' things are minutiae that your method and Kaplan has made you focus on, instead of actually understanding what you are studying/reading. Did you did uWorld, and how was it? Which NBME did you take? How much do you study per day? Enough breaks?

Use the analysis to focus on your weak areas, and try to keep your spirits up...
 
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noplacelikehome

10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2007
35
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Status
MD/PhD Student
I guess the easy things - I almost always know what disease the person has and something about it, but then what it's associated with? Which bacteria has a similar toxin? what chromosome is it on? what drug causes whatever side effect? Not a clue. It's kind of minutia, I guess, but I think probably relevant minutia... the stuff first aid is filled with. Two months ago I had no idea what the questions were asking, so I never bothered with that kind of stuff until later. Can usually get them if there's an easily explainable reason based on the basic pathophys, though. The rest just isn't sticking.

I did uWorld, and did about the same. mid 50%s the whole way through, with the occasional outliers.

Did NBME 5. Also did 1 and 6 a long time ago, and did a little worse than on 5, but not much.

Trying to study about 10 hours/day for the last week or so, but concentration seems to be lacking at this point... Getting more frustrated and discouraged than anything. Suppose more breaks are in order. Was hoping to somehow push through the last couple of weeks...

Anyway, I hope I know what I'm doing poorly on, I'm not so sure I do anymore. Need to find a way to remember the pneumonics to remember the actual stuff, I guess! Other thoughts? And thanks!
 
Jul 23, 2009
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You've made it this far, I wouldn't just throw it away by writing it when you know you are not ready.

Delay if you need to. Take 3-4 days off (maybe even a week), sleep a ton, get re-energized, and then get back to it on a STRICT study schedule. By strict I mean have a daily plan that is doable and work hard to master that material. Don't push yourself too much or you will burnout again. Set a schedule that is doable and allows for enough rest at night so you are not tired again the next day. No point in accomplishing 150% one day...and then not being able to move the next day because you're so brain fried.

Again, you've made it outta med school, couple weeks/month doesn't really make a difference. Take your time, do your thing, and write it only when you know you are 100% ready.
 
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noplacelikehome

10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2007
35
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Status
MD/PhD Student
:-( that's exactly what I did. five weeks ago. I even thought I did a really good job of sticking to that schedule! Minimal improvement. ugh. I know I'll never feel really ready, just wish I had some evidence that I'd pass.
 

512TA

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Aug 7, 2007
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You've made it this far, I wouldn't just throw it away by writing it when you know you are not ready.

Delay if you need to. Take 3-4 days off (maybe even a week), sleep a ton, get re-energized, and then get back to it on a STRICT study schedule. By strict I mean have a daily plan that is doable and work hard to master that material. Don't push yourself too much or you will burnout again. Set a schedule that is doable and allows for enough rest at night so you are not tired again the next day. No point in accomplishing 150% one day...and then not being able to move the next day because you're so brain fried.

Again, you've made it outta med school, couple weeks/month doesn't really make a difference. Take your time, do your thing, and write it only when you know you are 100% ready.
i agree with Truskool. i have started studying a week back. i have a wierd schedule. i sleep at 8:30pm in the evening and wake up at 2:30am in the morning. i make sure that i get a sleep of 6 hours. i get straight hours to study in the mornign without any disturbance. i think if you can manage with what is right for you there is no reason that you should not do well. now its for sure that you should know FA well. now if you do not know that then it ofcourse is wise to delay your exam and reschedule your study pattern. and you know what, believe in yourself. you are going to do well....
 

kryptik

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Apr 12, 2008
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to add to what others have said, maybe you should switch from qbank to uworld together with a new strict schedule.
 
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noplacelikehome

10+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2007
35
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MD/PhD Student
to add to what others have said, maybe you should switch from qbank to uworld together with a new strict schedule.
Ugh. Thanks. Only doing Kaplan since I've already finished uworld. Didn't do well on it, but have done all of it. Also already on the third "strict new schedule". Think I've already overloaded on the new books - found out I wasn't so fond of the kaplan review books, really don't like mmrs, rapid review is ok, like lippincott's. Basically, I've read too much. Really understand one thing, then it goes right out of my head as the next goes in. Burned out reading too much. Twice. What's a book with the minimum in it that will work that isn't first aid? Memorizing that just isn't working, I've already spent too much time trying that. Even in twelve weeks, it's impossible to really understand everything enough to remember the names of everything. That's impossible in years. There's a point where it just has to be memorized, right?
 

ucsfstudents

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7+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2009
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Hmm, it sounds like you've tried really hard to study for this test, with no real improvement. Another option is to talk to a learning specialist at your medical school (ask to speak to one), and figure out your learning style. You might not be learning this info in a way that facilitates retention. As you've probably figured out by now, you have to study the way that works best for you, rather than trying to do what everyone else is doing. First Aid is not for everyone, and it's obviously not working for you. I would take some additional time, see a learning specialist, determine your VARKS learning style (you can just google it), determine your Myers-Briggs personality type (humanmetrics.com) and try to see if you can find someone in your class or the class above you, with the same personality type in order to find out how they were able to successfully study for this exam. Some people just have a more difficult time than others, and it will save you a lot of time if you spoke to people similar to yourself who have made it. This is of course a long term solution.

For a short term solution, if you do more practice exams and can pass, go for it. If you can't pass, you just need additional time, and you need to study differently per above. And I would stick to UWorld and stay away from the minutia that can be found in Kaplan. Because FA doesn't work for you, I would stick with BRS Physio and Path. If you have difficulty memorizing, mnemonics aren't particularly helpful because it's hard to even remember the mnemonics. You just have to expose yourself to the material often and find a way to organize the material in your own way. Trying to force a list or a table into your head for long term recall might be less effective than actually generating a similar list based on the way you think and developing your own step by step mental reasoning to the correct answer.

Sorry for the long winded answer. I'm "minoring" in medical education.
 

ucsfstudents

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Apr 6, 2009
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Studies have also shown that the students who do best use fewer review books. Although the studies only showed association and not causation, I would recomming that you stay away from collecting more review books, and stick to the key review books... b/c the reality is, you don't have enough time to review everything, and you really just need to know the information in the few review books out there, not every single minutia in all of the review books you've collected. Also try reviewing the material you've learned often. Some people need to see information just once and voila, it's in their long term memory. Others need to see the same thing many, many times to get it into their long term memory.