NBME score dropped. Clueless, don't know what to do next?

Discussion in 'Step I' started by shreypete, 09.29.14.

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  1. shreypete

    shreypete 7+ Year Member

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    Hey guys, how are you all? I'm an IMG who recently scored pretty low on the most recent NBME (form 13) and I don't know what on earth can I do to improve my score at this point, considering I have an exam date for the 30th (31st of Oct also happens to be the last day of my extended eligibility period.)

    My scores (in order):
    11: 210
    12: 239
    UWSA: 248
    7: 245
    13: 232

    I've done FA quite a few times but I think the problem is that I'm not integrating the stuff as well as I had thought. The problem is that between the NBMEs, I tried focusing on some subjects at the risk of forgetting of forgetting key concepts from other subjects, and therefore my weak areas keep changing from one form to another.

    I also did UWorld 2x and Rx 1x. Will be re-doing UWorld again (just the marked ones.) Did Pathoma 1x and redoing it now. Started Kaplan Q bank after NBME 7 but after doing a few q's I realized how much I hated this bank (coz I ended up memorizing the minutiae which was so low yield.)

    I really want to score >240 but I don't know if that's possible to achieve in this coming 4 weeks. I initially thought of canceling my date and applying for a new eligibility period but I don't really think I'll have the same level of motivation as I do now. My biggest fear that I'll get burnt out to a point of no return.

    So my question is do you think it's possible to achieve this target score? and if so, how can I better improve my integration skills?

    I'll be giving the next NBME (form 16) on the 12th of Oct and then form 15 on the 20th. I also thought I'd do the Kaplan dg exam along with the 2 kaplan simulated exams, but I don't really know if those are worth the effort. Has anyone done these exams?

    Thanks a lot in advance!
     
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  3. Apoplexy__

    Apoplexy__ Blood-and-thunder appearance Bronze Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I'd say you still have a good shot at 240+. Keep working hard, you have a good time window with which to improve from where you're at now. And I wouldn't necessarily say that this lower NBME confirms you've burnt out or reached diminishing returns -- let the next NBME speak to that.

    A 2nd run of Pathoma is a very good idea. I think of the resources you've completed, that's one of your most high-yield options at this point.

    The score range you're at tells me that you would still benefit from memorizing information. You're scoring high enough to show that you're connecting concepts and big ideas, but there are still really core things that you're forgetting, as opposed to missing minutiae. I don't know exactly how much you've gone over FA, but I still think you should spend more time on that. Perhaps approach it a different way, such as writing your thoughts while reading on a separate piece of paper, or going everything more finely. On this run, go deeper into the big picture concepts, and less deeply into the details (e.g. learning bacterial toxins and their mechanisms instead of which bugs 3rd gen cephalosporins cover).

    Good luck!
     
  4. Transposony

    Transposony Do or do not, There is no try 5+ Year Member

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    You got good NBME scores and 4 weeks in hand.
    What seems to be the problem here?
    Just do more questions>Read about them>sleep on it>do more questions>read about them>sleep on it......you get the idea.
    If you can afford it, try Dr. Raymon's integrated cases.
     
  5. shreypete

    shreypete 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks kirbymiester, I've gone through FA 6 times and I went crazy during the last read (felt like tearing apart that book every single day.) But I think you're right in that I do tend to focus on minutiae at the expense of forgetting the big picture. I think I'll focus on that during my next read. I'm very obsessed with learning the small details but I don't think that'll really help me at this point.

    Thanks transposony, I'll check out Dr. Raymon's integrated cases. When you say do more q's, should I start a new bank? or just review the old q's? I do have a Kaplan subscription but I really hate that qbank. Do you know any other qbanks that are worth the time? I've done Rx. and UWorld so far.
     
  6. Bianne

    Bianne 2+ Year Member

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    Please, I need some help! Not only I have very poor UWSA & NBME scores, they dropped consistently... I took NBME 13 on July, score: 200, UWSA1 on July 228, UWSA2 on August : 216 & NBME 15 yesterday: 194 ( made me cry all the night) , my exam is at the end of November , I did Kaplan notes& videos, Uword( st time on March, average 57 percent, 2nd time on august, average 76 percent), pathoma and FA. Please, I need some help, and my performance varies, the ones low on 13 are high in 15 & vice- versa) I'm so lost!!! Please, can someone guide, please, I don't know what to do at this time, I'm studying for 1 year now... Any suggestion, please
     
  7. SBR249

    SBR249 7+ Year Member

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    The UWSAs have been consistently shown by many users to yield higher scores than the later NBMEs (13/15/16) even when taken at around the same time. On the other hand, I personally thought 15 was the hardest of the 3 latest NBMEs and my scores reflected that. The variations between the different practice tests can be upwards of 10-15 points when taken at around the same time in my experience.

    So on the aggregate, I'd say your increase in scores on the UWSA may not be reflective of a large bump in actual predicted score and your dip on the NBME15 may not be reflective of a true dip in predicted score. Given that, I'd say the trend is that your predicted score range has been flat based on your scores. Since you mentioned that you've been studying for a year now, you may have plateaued on your potential or plateaued on your study strategy.
     
  8. Bianne

    Bianne 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks SBR249, I really can't understand why, I know I should have plateauted..Please, do u have any advice or suggestion at this time? I don't know what to do to improve my score.
     
  9. Bianne

    Bianne 2+ Year Member

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    Please, any suggestion ?
     
  10. Bianne

    Bianne 2+ Year Member

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  11. SBR249

    SBR249 7+ Year Member

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    Whoa there, no need to quote me 3 times.

    If you've plateaued because you've reached your potential, then there's not much that you can do. This depends on how solid your foundation is and how well you understood the fundamental concepts.

    If you've plateaued because of your study strategy then there are a few things you can do:

    1) Find a study partner and learn from each other on what works and what needs work

    2) Do more runs through FA. Practice questions are good, but you have to have an ever increasing pool of knowledge in order to see steady improvements. If you've been doing just questions and questions, then you are learning information piecemeal and plugging in holes where you are deficient. However, learning big concepts and making connections and increasing general proficiency in areas require you to constantly go over comprehensive review sources like FA or pathoma etc.

    3) Try new practice questions interspersed with ones you've already done. I noticed that even on the 2nd pass of UW your average was still 76% up roughly 20% from your 1st run. That means of the material you didn't know the first time around, you only learned less than half of it when reading the explanations. That is an inefficient way to use UW. UW should be a teaching tool and just as you should approach FA with the goal of cramming as much of the info as possible into your brain, you should be doing the same with UW. Do not fall into the trap of using a question bank merely as a source of questions and practice. So I'd suggest going over UW one more time and really hammer the explanations for the questions you got wrong. Cross reference and expand to make sure you are really solid on the areas asked. These questions are meant to serve as the "tip of the iceberg" warnings, if you get a reproductive system question wrong, you should not be content that you know the explanation you should go over all relevant reproductive (and other) material thoroughly to make sure you got that stuff down, so if another question in that topic comes your way you can nail it.

    Otherwise, try USMLERx qbank or Kaplan qbank for fresh materials to add variety and so you don't start memorizing questions.

    4) Try new study strategies altogether. If you are particularly weak in one area, micro for instance, try something like making flashcards for high yield factoids that you don't remember. Go crazy post-it your wall with stuff that you just can't seem to remember. Dedicate 10-30 min everyday to remembering and going over stubborn concepts that your mind brain just refuses to retain. But make sure your new approaches are targeted to areas of weakness.

    Your exam is 2 months away so you are not down to the wire here, but you don't really have time to lose. Based on your scores I'd say you are probably in the 200-220 range which means there are still some "low-hanging fruit" topics and areas that you can quickly bone up in. The key is to identify them and hammer at it. Stay focused, stay motivated, and you can break that ceiling.
     
    Last edited: 10.01.14
  12. shreypete

    shreypete 7+ Year Member

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    Hey SBR249, what would you recommend I do in my case?

    I've done UWorld 2x (1st time - 78%, 2nd time - 92%) and I used it primarily as a learning resource. So I never cared for the percentages even though I did relatively OK. My problem is that with these NBMEs, I always seem to get too anxious and picking answers in haste. This cost me a big deal in the last block of the recent NBME I took (as most of my mistakes were from that block.)

    I've done FA 6x (well about to finish the 6th read today after finishing reproductive system), but I haven't seen the improvement I so badly wanted.

    My weak areas for this exam are: Biostats (low to high performance), CV and Resp (borderline to high performance). I'm planning on doing HY Biostats (I'll start today) in addition to reviewing Pathoma (2nd time). I don't know what I should do for CV and Resp. I've done BRS Physio twice. May be I should get a more comprehensive text and read that? Or would it better to read these topics from Goljan?

    Thanks =)
     
  13. Bianne

    Bianne 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks so much SBR249! I will do that!But between Kaplan QBANK and Usmlerx , which one do u recommand? Ill do Fa, pathoma, and BRS physio again. It's so confusing, in the nbme13, my cardio was high with a star and in 15, Im in the low...and my choices are always narrowed between 2 answers, and I always pick up the wrong one. I really appreciated your help!
     

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