Low practice scores this far, any suggestions to increase in 43 days

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Calizboosted76

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2017
Messages
1,980
Reaction score
1,711
Hey everyone.

I am taking Step 1 July 1st and Comlex July 7th. So as of now I am not happy with my scores. I screwed up and did UWSA1 and UWSA2 (156 and 168) These were taken 3 and 2 weeks ago respectively. I have taken two practice comsaes for my school and got (450 and 453).

I feel like my routine was working but I am starting to get overwhelmed with anking cards (1000-1500 reviews a day). I am only 27% through UWORLD qbank and plan to start doing 80 questions a day.

Any suggestions on how to maximize my scores?

Thanks in advance!

Members don't see this ad.
 
Hey, I'm also a DO student and recently took Step 1. I have COMLEX this coming Monday. Here was my plan:

I did 100 UWorld questions a day and reviewed/made an ANKI card for each incorrect question. Every morning I did UWorld and every afternoon I would go through my ANKI deck. Aside from that I added some extra neuroanatomy and biochem review on the side since they were my two worst areas. I finished UWorld with about one week to go before Step 1 and had a cumulative percent correct of 65%. I always did UWorld timed and with random questions.

We took a practice COMSAE the same week I finished UWorld and I scored 629. They also administered the CBSE that week and I scored 78 (99% chance of passing w/in one week).

You still have a lot of time so I wouldn't freak out. You can make a lot of progress in over a month. You got this!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Hey, I'm also a DO student and recently took Step 1. I have COMLEX this coming Monday. Here was my plan:

I did 100 UWorld questions a day and reviewed/made an ANKI card for each incorrect question. Every morning I did UWorld and every afternoon I would go through my ANKI deck. Aside from that I added some extra neuroanatomy and biochem review on the side since they were my two worst areas. I finished UWorld with about one week to go before Step 1 and had a cumulative percent correct of 65%. I always did UWorld timed and with random questions.

We took a practice COMSAE the same week I finished UWorld and I scored 629. They also administered the CBSE that week and I scored 78 (99% chance of passing w/in one week).

You still have a lot of time so I wouldn't freak out. You can make a lot of progress in over a month. You got this!
I appreciate it!

How were your preclinical grades? I wasn’t an A student. I got mostly B’s but feel like I purged a lot.
 
Members don't see this ad :)
I appreciate it!

How were your preclinical grades? I wasn’t an A student. I got mostly B’s but feel like I purged a lot.
No problem! I was an A student but I felt like I forgot a TON of material when I started board prep. It was actually pretty scary thinking of everything I needed to relearn in 6 weeks. You will surprise yourself as it slowly comes back.

For what it’s worth, I know several B students that used a similar plan as mine and performed well on the COMSAE and CBSE.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Hey everyone.

I am taking Step 1 July 1st and Comlex July 7th. So as of now I am not happy with my scores. I screwed up and did UWSA1 and UWSA2 (156 and 168) These were taken 3 and 2 weeks ago respectively. I have taken two practice comsaes for my school and got (450 and 453).

I feel like my routine was working but I am starting to get overwhelmed with anking cards (1000-1500 reviews a day). I am only 27% through UWORLD qbank and plan to start doing 80 questions a day.

Any suggestions on how to maximize my scores?

Thanks in advance!
How are you electing to unsuspend cards for anking? The only time I was at that many reviews/day consistently was when I was just unsuspending everything tagged to a FA section (especially in biochem/micro/pharm) along with anything that I put in related to classes. I do have it set to bury siblings since I don't want to see both clozes on a card in the same day (the one-by one consolidation has helped a little too). After classes finished, I've been focusing on UWorld and pulling the cards based on what I missed.

In addition, make sure to stratify things a little bit with regards to how detailed of review you put in. Things like x drug is a CYP inhibitor or has x adverse effect works fine as just unsuspend card and Sketchy (if applicable), but if there are swaths of pathology that you consistently don't recognize by description or picture, you'll want to put in a bit more detailed review. For me that means going over a lot of cancer pathology and neuroanatomy.

For reference: 466 COMSAE (about a month ago), 239 UWSA1 (2 weeks ago), 237 UWSA2 (1 week ago, oops somehow omitted a question)
E: and 78% correct on whatever CBSSA form I took 5/23
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
How are you electing to unsuspend cards for anking? The only time I was at that many reviews/day consistently was when I was just unsuspending everything tagged to a FA section (especially in biochem/micro/pharm) along with anything that I put in related to classes. I do have it set to bury siblings since I don't want to see both clozes on a card in the same day (the one-by one consolidation has helped a little too). After classes finished, I've been focusing on UWorld and pulling the cards based on what I missed.

In addition, make sure to stratify things a little bit with regards to how detailed of review you put in. Things like x drug is a CYP inhibitor or has x adverse effect works fine as just unsuspend card and Sketchy (if applicable), but if there are swaths of pathology that you consistently don't recognize by description or picture, you'll want to put in a bit more detailed review. For me that means going over a lot of cancer pathology and neuroanatomy.

So unsuspending cards depends. I have been watching sketchy, pathoma, and BNB. If I watch a video I unsuspend the cards for that video and set them due that day. Probably not the best strategy but I have found I dont retain the material unless I do the cards for that video the same day.
 
Update:

Pushed my dates back to the 12th and 14th of July. I am taking a NBME in the AM. I have taken 4 COMSAE exams and passed all of them so now my real concern in STEP.

ANKI has become way too much so I have adjusted how I am doing things and am welcoming any comments to help increase my efficiency.

So my anki reviews have just piled up to a point I cannot keep up especially when I am unsuspending full blocks at a time. I finished Pulm in about 3 days (pathoma, bnb, and ZANKI) and I have 40 questions left of UWOLRD Pulm (been scoring in the high 60s to 90s consistently in this section and I really think this is from seeing the material and then jumping into questions).

My plan is to finish the current block I am on (NEURO) and then each day choose a different topic for anki to see. So today I did questions/content first half of the day and the second half I did anki for resp and neuro. Tomorrow I will do my NBME and then the second half of the day I will do neuro and heme (so on and so fourth).

Any thoughts?

EDIT: I know people say to do random UWORLD however my scores jumped up tremendously when I started doing questions that correlated with whatever block I was watching/learning at the time.

EDIT: Took NBME 30 today and got 58.5% (182 using score converter).
 
Last edited:
How close are you to being done with systematic review? At some point you'll want to switch to having a mix of all systems for both anki and uworld if only because it reduces the likelihood of getting something because you saw it on an unhidden part of another card or whatnot on the same day. That and it's just more representative and requires you to switch between systems or at least makes it so you don't know that every single question/card is for given system.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Just wondering, why are you getting questions wrong? If it's just content you don't know, keeping up the review is what you need, but are you also struggling with timing? Making dumb mistakes on material you know? Working on test taking strategy can be a pain but you can raise your practice scores really quickly if you improve at it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
How close are you to being done with systematic review? At some point you'll want to switch to having a mix of all systems for both anki and uworld if only because it reduces the likelihood of getting something because you saw it on an unhidden part of another card or whatnot on the same day. That and it's just more representative and requires you to switch between systems or at least makes it so you don't know that every single question/card is for given system.
So I am finishing Neuro today. Then all I have left is renal, derm, biochem, psych (realistically I could finish content review on these topics within a week).
 
Just wondering, why are you getting questions wrong? If it's just content you don't know, keeping up the review is what you need, but are you also struggling with timing? Making dumb mistakes on material you know? Working on test taking strategy can be a pain but you can raise your practice scores really quickly if you improve at it.

A combination of content and making dumb mistakes on material I know. When I review my NMBEs I have found 10-20 questions where I have the answer narrowed down between the correct answer and the one I chose as well as 5-10 questions that I made a mistake but knew the correct answer.
 
When I review my NMBEs I have found 10-20 questions where I have the answer narrowed down between the correct answer and the one I chose

This is pretty common for everyone because it's part of how the NBME's are designed. If you can afford it and have the time, I would highly recommend Divine's test-taking strategy course. In a nutshell, the biggest thing I took away was that if you are down to 2 answers, you have to ask yourself what the bulk of the question is talking about. If there is a tiny blip about the pt being tachypneic but 5 sentences that are dead to rights a PE, pick the PE. As a general rule, the correct answers on NBME exams rarely hinge on a single blip in the vignette.
 
  • Love
Reactions: 1 user
Top