Back34

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Can anybody tell me how Step I and the NBME practice exams compare in terms of difficulty? I don't mean to sound arrogant, but the NBME exam (which the entire class just took) wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Is it safe to assume Step I would be on par?
 

Stinger86

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From what I've seen around these threads, no one can predict whether you'll find the Step easier or more difficult than the NBME. Just for clarification, are you talking about the NBME free practice set, the NBME assessment exams (that cost like 45 bucks each), or the NBME comprehensive basic science exam?

I've taken both the comp exam and the free exam, and felt both were pretty easy. The problem is, people always talk about how the actual Step 1 was more difficult than they had expected, so I would certainly expect it to be more difficult, but hope it's easier. I think the worst thing you could possibly do is underestimate the real thing because you're killing the practice tests.
 
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Blade28

What Stinger86 said...but personally, I found the 2 NBME exams pretty tough. I did much better on the real Step 1.
 
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Back34

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Thanks for the replies. It was the comprehensive exam. Honestly, it seemed like 75% of the test was comprised of 1st order questions.
 
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Blade28

Back34 said:
Thanks for the replies. It was the comprehensive exam. Honestly, it seemed like 75% of the test was comprised of 1st order questions.
What does that mean? 1st order?

I got at or below the mean, barely, on my 2 NBME tests. Was depressing. :) But a week later, did much better on the real thing. :thumbup:
 

sacrament

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Blade28 said:
What Stinger86 said...but personally, I found the 2 NBME exams pretty tough.
No kidding. We took one (I have no idea which) to give us an idea of what to expect on Step One. I didn't find it easy. Of course, we weren't supposed to study whatsoever for it (although I'm sure the gunner elements in my class did...), so that we'd know where we were at baseline. So apparently at baseline I'm just barely passing. Better than just barely failing, I suppose.
 

japhy

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The real test seems to be more 2nd and 3rd order questions. Plus, Step 1 also has a much more clinical focus than the practice NBME exams. I felt those practice tests were pretty damn easy, but I did take them after I had been studying for a week or so. They are good to take for practice but I don't think they are much use to gauge what the real thing is like.
 
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Blade28

japhy said:
The real test seems to be more 2nd and 3rd order questions. Plus, Step 1 also has a much more clinical focus than the practice NBME exams. I felt those practice tests were pretty damn easy, but I did take them after I had been studying for a week or so. They are good to take for practice but I don't think they are much use to gauge what the real thing is like.
Again, I have no idea what you're talking about. What's a 1st order vs. 2nd order vs. 3rd order question? (Maybe if I understood this concept, I would have done better on Step 1? :) )

I took the 2 online NBME exams a week before the actual test, so I had pretty much finished studying already. They were still hard. :)
 

elias514

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1st order= factual recall
2nd order= a more challenging question that tests a) rather obscure knowledge or b) a concept by obfuscating it under layers of complexity or unfamiliar scenario(s). In either case, it is an application question.
3rd order=most challenging type of question because the solution requires synthesis of 2 or more concepts and application.
 

souljah1

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I haven't gotten my scores back (took step one on 4/9), but I thought step1 was a bit more difficult overall compared to the 2 NBME downloadable self assessments. I had some blocks that were slightly easier, but most were more difficult. Who knows, maybe it was also b/c this was the real thing and that added realization may have made things harder. I just felt like there were more questions that I 'marked' on the step1 compared to the assessments.

A couple of people have posted that the real test is longer. Meaning, the length of the questions prompts were longer. I did not find this to be true. It was exactly like Qbank and the NBME exams.

I'll know for sure how much they correlate in about 4-5 weeks.
 
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Blade28

Ah, got it, thanks. Is this a new thing they teach now? I've never heard those terms before, though I conceptually understood it.

I also found that the real Step 1 was very similar in question length to Kaplan's QBank. The flavor of questions was somewhere between the NBME exams and QBank...kinda hard to describe.
 

BassDominator

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I found the Qbank questions to be very similar in difficulty for Step I. For the Step II, the Qbank questions were a little too easy.
 

rxfudd

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Actually, I think the person who originally mentioned that the NBME tests were mostly "1st order" questions meant something a little bit different than this, more along the lines of how many "moves" you must think ahead.

So they give you a clinical scenario and could ask you for the diagnosis (1st order, since this is really the root of all further questions), the drug of choice to treat this patient (2nd order, because you must skip ahead a level past Dx straight to DOC), or the most common side effects you would expect to see after treating the illness with the drug of choice (3rd order, since you are skipping both Dx and Tx).

elias514 said:
1st order= factual recall
2nd order= a more challenging question that tests a) rather obscure knowledge or b) a concept by obfuscating it under layers of complexity or unfamiliar scenario(s). In either case, it is an application question.
3rd order=most challenging type of question because the solution requires synthesis of 2 or more concepts and application.
 
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