Long time lurker, first time failer

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Sep 16, 2016
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Hey guys,

Need help!!!

Graduated December 2015
ECFMG certified
Step 1: 210
Step 2: 220 (August, 2015)

Applied this year for IM and FM. About 210 programs (150 FM, rest IM) everywhere.

So took step 3 on august 20th. Received my scores on 9/14/16. And scored 185. Very surprised. Actually surreal. I couldn't hide this from my USMLE transcript, i tried though!

  • 4 months of dedicated time. About 12 hours a day. Lets make it 7 hours a day of solid studying for 4 months.
  • UW: First pass: 57% correct. Timed, random. Then incorrect questions. 2nd pass: Reset the qbank. Timed, random 85% correct. Then incorrect questions. Then marked about 600 questions on topic i sucked at. Made blocks out of these. Then marked another 250 questions that i was still struggling with. Then marked another 100qs to make sure i was focusing on weak concepts.
  • Notes: Made flashcards out of UW and reviewed them on regular basis. Was trying to avoid passive learning. Looked up material from Step up to medicine and or MTB step 2/step 3.
  • Videos: Used medquest (conrad fischer's) Step 3 HY course. Watched these videos about twice becasue most of the content was still fresh from step 2.
  • Audio: My daily commute was 90 minute one way. So converted step 3 HY videos to audio for listening.
  • Exams: NBME: scored 400 raw score since they don't give you conversion. NBME was done about 9 weeks before test date. UWSA: Took about 7 weeks before my test and scored 208. From the time i took UWSA to my actual exam: Primarily stuck on uw, and uw flash cards.
  • CCS: UW 51 cases about 4 times.
  • Official Usmle CCS: Went through couple of times.
  • Biostat: Did UW step 1, step 2, step 3 + UW biostat course.
  • Wk areas: Early on i sucked at acute coronary syndrome, pna, gallstones, cholecystitis, elec trolytes, and some endo. Worked at these. Opened up MTB, wiki, step up to med to make sure i learned it.

Past: I was guilty of using too many sources and i tried to learn from my mistakes and just stick to one source which was UW. Sure, watched video's (step 3 HY course) but didn't prioritize anything over UW.

I am crushed. Felt/feel incompetent, not good enough and just like a loser who did nothing but study. Tried to improve my application by being done with all the USMLE's and applying on time with everything in hand. But seems like no matter what, no matter how hard i try, it doesn't work. Now, $4700 down the drain, another year wasted and just 8 more months of positive self talk, constantly trying to quiet self doubt, trying to stay positive, avoiding friends and everyone (because i feel so F***** incompetent despite preparing.


Just paid to retake step 3. Aiming for early November so probably in 6 weeks.
Def have to attack weak areas by looking at my score breakdown profile. So will start with Pediatrics. What should i use? UW for questions? Another qbank? content review by using what?

Just read or do questions?

Only last 2, short cases, CCS cases ended early for me on the real test. Even though interval history always said, "feels better."


Kaplan 2013 CK notes
Step up to med
MTB Step 3 HY videos'
UW question bank? Or kaplan/first aid?
Clinical Mastery Series NBME form 3 and 4 for peds, pysch, obgyn, IM, neuro, surgery? Did forms 1 and 2 for step 2 prep.
Onlinemeded videos?
and how should i go about it? Spot reivew? or review everything?
Review UW flash cards?
Read content review multiple times?
Use step 2 UW (primarily for weak areas)?

I dont know how to go about this. Any suggestions/guidance will be highly appreciated. Thank you.


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