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Hey so this question is mostly directed at those who had lower MCAT scores, <28-29 but high board scores >240ish. I do not have the best test taking abilities, but I feel that I do possess the knowledge to do relatively well. I am in my first few weeks of medical school and was hoping others who have been in the same boat as me give a few words of wisdom on how to best prep for the boards. Any books you read, things you did, lucky underwear.. any help would be appreciated!
 

ninjaman22

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MCAT: 26; USMLE: 251; COMLEX: 695
I went into medical school being mad at my MCAT score. So from the first day I started working hard in order to achieve a high board score compared to my MCAT score. My advice to you would be to study like you want an A in every single class. Don't fall for that oh I just need to pass and I will be fine.
 

ShowtimeKaner88

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MCAT 1st attempt 27, 2nd attempt 24

Step I 240+, COMLEX I 650+

My advice is to forget about the MCAT and move on. It doesn't mean anything once you're in medical school. Put in the time and work for boards and you will do well, and by that I mean start early, slow and steady, and do relatively well in classes. It will all come together at the end of second year and it'll be worth it.

Also, don't listen to too many classmates' opinions on boards studying methods and what not, find what works for you and build on that yourself and don't let people sway you from resource to resource, next thing you know you own 20 boards prep books and you don't know a single one from front to back.

Hope this helps
 

Goro

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Anything > 25 is OK for med school success. Your pre-clinical GPA will be a much better predictor of Board scores than MCAT. Low MCATs are better indicators of risk of failing boards, not board scores per se.



Hey so this question is mostly directed at those who had lower MCAT scores, <28-29 but high board scores >240ish. I do not have the best test taking abilities, but I feel that I do possess the knowledge to do relatively well. I am in my first few weeks of medical school and was hoping others who have been in the same boat as me give a few words of wisdom on how to best prep for the boards. Any books you read, things you did, lucky underwear.. any help would be appreciated!
 

recycledpaper

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MCAT 29 then 29 on retake. Step 1 246. Just to add, there was also a 5 year gap between graduating and med school.

To be fair, I was a slacker in undergrad. Studied 2 weeks for MCAT, so it could be skewed. Be that as it may, work hard in med school and you'll be fine. You don't NEED to be smart, you just need to be a hard worker.
 

Bobcat18

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.
 
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Ibn Alnafis MD

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You're an OG around these parts. glad to see you have achieved so much since the days you were on the Western uni subforum lol please tell me your advice as to how you did it?

UFAP?
Thanks.

Yes, limit your resources and make sure to master them. I know it sounds like a mantra on SDN, but the best way to prepare for boards is to be on top of your stuff during the first two years. On many occasions, I complained about how my school taught us a lot of topics that weren't "boards HY". I now admit that I was wrong. Yes, about 80% of the stuff you see on the USMLE and COMLEX are found in FA, UW, and Pathoma, but the remaining 20% consists of concepts that you could never prepare for unless you paid very good attention to all the things that were taught in the pre-clinical years.

To sum it up, I believe that my success on step1/level1 is largely due to being an A student during the pre-clinical years combined with mastering the UFAP material. However, this is only possible if you truly enjoy the process. Studying was never a burden for me. I enjoyed learning the material and loved practicing questions.
 

gergles

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Thanks.

Yes, limit your resources and make sure to master them. I know it sounds like a mantra on SDN, but the best way to prepare for boards is to be on top of your stuff during the first two years. On many occasions, I complained about how my school taught us a lot of topics that weren't "boards HY". I now admit that I was wrong. Yes, about 80% of the stuff you see on the USMLE and COMLEX are found in FA, UW, and Pathoma, but the remaining 20% consists of concepts that you could never prepare for unless you paid very good attention to all the things that were taught in the pre-clinical years.

To sum it up, I believe that my success on step1/level1 is largely due to being an A student during the pre-clinical years combined with mastering the UFAP material. However, this is only possible if you truly enjoy the process. Studying was never a burden for me. I enjoyed learning the material and loved practicing questions.
If you don't mind sharing. When did you begin board prep and what do you recommend doing in the summer time off between 1st and 2nd year?
 

Ibn Alnafis MD

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If you don't mind sharing. When did you begin board prep and what do you recommend doing in the summer time off between 1st and 2nd year?
I'd recommend watching pathoma with every system you cover. Get USMLE Rx and start it ASAP. Do the qs on the topic you cover in school. This will help you master FA. At the beginning of Spring of year 2, get UW and try to do one pass before the end of the semester. During your dedicated, do another pass of UW and Pathoma. This, along with paying attention to things covered in class should get you an A in all of your courses and a decent score on the boards.
 
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ortnakas

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Thanks.

Yes, limit your resources and make sure to master them. I know it sounds like a mantra on SDN, but the best way to prepare for boards is to be on top of your stuff during the first two years. On many occasions, I complained about how my school taught us a lot of topics that weren't "boards HY". I now admit that I was wrong. Yes, about 80% of the stuff you see on the USMLE and COMLEX are found in FA, UW, and Pathoma, but the remaining 20% consists of concepts that you could never prepare for unless you paid very good attention to all the things that were taught in the pre-clinical years.

To sum it up, I believe that my success on step1/level1 is largely due to being an A student during the pre-clinical years combined with mastering the UFAP material. However, this is only possible if you truly enjoy the process. Studying was never a burden for me. I enjoyed learning the material and loved practicing questions.
Agreed. I think you can PASS boards focusing only on what's "high yield" for two years, but the difference between passing and the score you want is in that other 20% of material. Devil's in the details.
 

shadowlightfox

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On a semi-related question, anyone who didn't honor all the classes that still killed the boards? I don't think I did too well on my first exam, but my feeling of guilt is compelling me to work even harder for the remaining of the career, hopefully bouncing me back. But at the same time, the possibility of not honoring every class is upsetting me greatly.

Also, I noticed Ibn Alnafis said WATCHING Pathoma. I thought it was just a book. So it's actually more than that?
 
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On a semi-related question, anyone who didn't honor all the classes that still killed the boards?

Also, I noticed Ibn Alnafis said WATCHING Pathoma. I thought it was just a book. So it's actually more than that?
The pathoma book goes with powerpoint presentation... I think the subscription is $100. He (Dr. Sattar) does a great job explaining his book line by line.
 
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Ibn Alnafis MD

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On a semi-related question, anyone who didn't honor all the classes that still killed the boards? I don't think I did too well on my first exam, but my feeling of guilt is compelling me to work even harder for the remaining of the career, hopefully bouncing me back. But at the same time, the possibility of not honoring every class is upsetting me greatly.

Also, I noticed Ibn Alnafis said WATCHING Pathoma. I thought it was just a book. So it's actually more than that?
One person in my class ranked 190ish out of 220, yet s(he) was among the top 5 boards performers.
 

Ibn Alnafis MD

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While it might be early, are you still ascertaining going into psych or has that score peaked your interest elsewhere?
I can't say I'm interested in psych yet because I still haven't done my psych rotation. However, I'm very interested in human's brain. Currently, neurology is my top choice. I'm also considering IM(non-procedural subspecialties) and FM. I'm holding my fingers crossed that I enjoy my psych rotation though.
 
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SlugMD

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I can't say I'm interested in psych yet because I still haven't done my psych rotation. However, I'm very interested in human's brain. Currently, neurology is my top choice. I'm also considering IM(non-procedural subspecialties) and FM. I'm holding my fingers crossed that I enjoy my psych rotation though.
Would you consider neurosurgery? You certainly have the score to match.

Or is that a field for DO's that you must have known about before medical school in order to build a resume that's better than the average MD neurosurgery match in order to match?
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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Would you consider neurosurgery? You certainly have the score to match.

Or is that a field for DO's that you must have known about before medical school in order to build a resume that's better than the average MD neurosurgery match in order to match?
Neurosurgery at least ACGME is very difficult to impossible to match for DOs.

Likewise I'd imagine that from his 'non-procedural' emphasis he probably wouldn't want anything to do with surgery.
 

Ibn Alnafis MD

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Neurosurgery at least ACGME is very difficult to impossible to match for DOs.

Likewise I'd imagine that from his 'non-procedural' emphasis he probably wouldn't want anything to do with surgery.
Yup. I don't want to do anything procedural, be it surgery or interventional (insert whatever specialty here). Also, I'm not interested in staying in residency for more than 4 years and don't want to work more than 50 hours/week after my training is done. This should narrow my list quite a bit.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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Yup. I don't want to do anything procedural, be it surgery or interventional (insert whatever specialty here). Also, I'm not interested in staying in residency for more than 4 years and don't want to work more than 50 hours/week after my training is done. This should narrow my list quite a bit.
I wonder how reasonable it is to do neurology and work 45-50 hours a week though. It seems like plenty of them have some degree of call and work closer to 55 hours.

I'm also curious what scores you legitimately need to match decently in Neuro. like the avg is like 230, but it seems like ppl with lower match almost as well.
 

Ibn Alnafis MD

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I wonder how reasonable it is to do neurology and work 45-50 hours a week though. It seems like plenty of them have some degree of call and work closer to 55 hours.

I'm also curious what scores you legitimately need to match decently in Neuro. like the avg is like 230, but it seems like ppl with lower match almost as well.
I'll try to find a way to work less hours even if that means I do academic work or neurohospitalist (week on/week off). Or I could bite the bullet and endure an extra year of fellowship training to do headache or sleep neurology.

From looking at the NRMP report, you can see that despite having a "high" average boards score, you can also see that even with a score of as low as 201, your odds of matching is greater than 50% as an FMG or 90% as a USMD. I'm inclined to believe that the odds for DOs are somewhere in between. The big picture painted by these data is that Neuro is a self-selective field; it attracts those who are truly interested in it.
 
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Yup. I don't want to do anything procedural, be it surgery or interventional (insert whatever specialty here). Also, I'm not interested in staying in residency for more than 4 years and don't want to work more than 50 hours/week after my training is done. This should narrow my list quite a bit.
One thing you should also have in mind is that these procedural specialties (except gas) insulate one from NP/PA encroachment...
 

Ibn Alnafis MD

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One thing you should also have in mind is that these procedural specialties (except gas) insulate one from NP/PA encroachment...
Interesting you say that, because I was thinking the exact opposite. Procedures = $$$, and we all know that midlevels are after $$$. Another thing is that it's significantly easier to train on performing a procedure (ex. colonoscopy) than learning how to read an MRI.

It's always easier to train a person to become a mechanic than it is to train one to become a philosopher, just sayin'.
 

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Interesting you say that, because I was thinking the exact opposite. Procedures = $$$, and we all know that midlevels are after $$$. Another thing is that it's significantly easier to train on performing a procedure (ex. colonoscopy) than learning how to read an MRI.

It's always easier to train a person to become a mechanic than it is to train one to become a philosopher, just sayin'.
There was a thread in the radiology forum about NP expanding scope in the VA system... They are allowed to read MRI/CT scan at VA hospitals.
 
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shadowlightfox

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Ibn Alnafis when you said get USMLE Rx asap, did you mean get it ASAP now as a first year or when you're a second year?
 

recycledpaper

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First year should solely be focused on doing well in classes, building a solid basic sciences foundation (know physio cold), and making friends and just having a good time.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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One thing you should also have in mind is that these procedural specialties (except gas) insulate one from NP/PA encroachment...
Sucks to be the other 90% of doctors then.
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

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Not that I like these procedural specialties, but it's the environment that we are in right now... I think one must take that into consideration.
Or relax. Even in the field where there is displacement by nurses, Gas they still make a lot and they are especially now preferred over their CNRAs. So maybe at most they'll skim some off the top, but I doubt much. But even then beyond FM, I don't imagine any of the more specialty oriented fields can be entered by NPs.
 

Ibn Alnafis MD

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Ibn Alnafis when you said get USMLE Rx asap, did you mean get it ASAP now as a first year or when you're a second year?
I realize my opinion goes agains the popular opinion here, but I do recommend starting boards studying during first year. Perhaps not on day 1 of med school, but I'd definitely start by the beginning of the Spring semester when you have covered enough material. People tend to forget that, in general, DO students aren't good at taking standardized tests. You don't believe? just look at average MCAT scores and compare them to those of MD schools. Therefore, we need to do whatever it takes to be as competitive as they are. Another point, a good number of MD schools utilize NBME questions for their end of course exams. So in effect, they are preparing for boards from the get go. Finally, very very high yield material is covered during the first couple months of medical school (biochem, micro, immuno, genetics). Unlike COMLEX, the USMLE has tons of qs that test these concepts, and in general, these are the topics that DO students tend to do bad on. For all those reasons, I am a big proponent of starting boards preparation early. Maybe not to the extent of doing a block of questions per night, but watching Pathoma, referencing FA, and doing ~50 Qbank qs/weekend on topics covered in school will go a long way in getting you ready for boards.

It's just like saving for retirement, the power of compounding interests makes early tiny investments grow much larger than large investments made at a later age.
 
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shadowlightfox

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I like that analogy of compounding interest via retirement in the long run.

When you say QBank, do you mean Kaplan QBank? And yeah, I don't mind at least dealing with topics I've already covered in classes.
 

Ibn Alnafis MD

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I like that analogy of compounding interest via retirement in the long run.

When you say QBank, do you mean Kaplan QBank? And yeah, I don't mind at least dealing with topics I've already covered in classes.
You can use Kaplan for Qbank, but I personally used Rx and thought it was very helpful in mastering FA minutiae