EmilKraepelin55

Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?
5+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2015
298
655
Status
  1. Medical Student
I have done approximately 30% of UWorld at this point starting around 60% and continuously scoring 60 - 70% with some outliers (45% low, 80% highest). Average overall is 61%. Lately, however, I have noticed that my scores have started to dip a bit into the 50s. I have been reviewing my incorrects and spending time attempting to understand the concepts for a few hours every day so far. I have also been going through Kaplan review books/videos, referencing FA and making flashcards for Pathoma of which I am almost done with. I also use sketchy micro, and need to start sketchy pharm at some point probably but never really found it all that helpful during the school year.

Current USMLE practice test scores are as follows:

UWSA1: 213 back in January (which I was pleasantly surprised with)
NBME 17: 205 in early April
NBME 13: 209 2 weeks after NBME17 and focusing on weaknesses

My test is in about 5 weeks, and none of these trends are at all reassuring. I feel as if I am doing something horribly wrong.

Now I am a DO student, and I have my school administered COMSAE tomorrow. All school administered practice exams have been well above average compared to peers at the school and most recent ones have shown that I am projected to score between 550 - 600. Those are primarily COMBANK assessment predictions within the past month. COMBANK averages are 70 - 80% currently, with overal average of 66% since starting back in August. So obviously, I am feeling okay about COMLEX. But the disconnect between projections for both exams has me worried. What can I do over the next few weeks to turn those around for USMLE? I am open to any and all suggestions.

I am currently interested in psych/neuro if that gives any indication of what I want out of a USMLE score at the very least. Looking for a 230 or better.

Anyways, thanks for whoever comments. I appreciate any advice I can get!
 

iceclimb12

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
36
57
Virginia
Status
  1. Medical Student
How long have you been studying? I had a two+ month dedicated and it was at least a few weeks too long. There is a point of dimishing returns for these tests. I peaked probably two weeks before I took the USMLE and was burnt out. You may just need to pace yourself a little slower/not beat yourself in the head with concepts you know well already and just study stuff you don't know well... not sure if that helps. Also do some stuff that makes you feel rejuvenated - for me that was spending time with my kids and wife on Sundays and on evenings (before bedtime) and going hiking/biking/climbing and the like.
If it makes you feel better, I scored a 228 (around 48th %) on USMLE and 558 on COMLEX (61st %), and I did simililarly on my assessments:

NBME 18 (2 1/2 months before): 182
NBME 20 (1 3/4 months before): 207
NBME 21 (2 weeks before): 215 (very discouraging haha!)
UWSA1 (1 month before): 228
UWSA2 (1 week before): 222 (also discouraging)

COMSAE 101 ( 1 month out): 543
COMSAE 105 (2 weeks out): 561

So I think you'll be fine! Just don't burn yourself out.
 
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EmilKraepelin55

Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?
5+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2015
298
655
Status
  1. Medical Student
How long have you been studying? I had a two+ month dedicated and it was at least a few weeks too long. There is a point of dimishing returns for these tests. I peaked probably two weeks before I took the USMLE and was burnt out. You may just need to pace yourself a little slower/not beat yourself in the head with concepts you know well already and just study stuff you don't know well... not sure if that helps. Also do some stuff that makes you feel rejuvenated - for me that was spending time with my kids and wife on Sundays and on evenings (before bedtime) and going hiking/biking/climbing and the like.
If it makes you feel better, I scored a 228 (around 48th %) on USMLE and 558 on COMLEX (61st %), and I did simililarly on my assessments:

NBME 18 (2 1/2 months before): 182
NBME 20 (1 3/4 months before): 207
NBME 21 (2 weeks before): 215 (very discouraging haha!)
UWSA1 (1 month before): 228
UWSA2 (1 week before): 222 (also discouraging)

COMSAE 101 ( 1 month out): 543
COMSAE 105 (2 weeks out): 561

So I think you'll be fine! Just don't burn yourself out.

Thank you! Yes, our school gives us about 2.5 months of dedicated (although they are about to make an extension given the exam cancellations). So perhaps I am just becoming a little jaded at this point. My USMLE was "confirmed" by Prometric for June 19th and my COMLEX is still up in the air at the moment, which of course compounds the stress of studying for this thing for all of us given the fact that it messes with the study timeline. But I am trying to take it one day at time. Do you have any suggestions regarding pharm though? I keep getting hit with AE questions and that seems to be a struggle point for me, and for whatever reason, Sketchy is a slog in that domain for me. Should I just push through it and have faith in the end result? Lol.
 

iceclimb12

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
36
57
Virginia
Status
  1. Medical Student
Thank you! Yes, our school gives us about 2.5 months of dedicated (although they are about to make an extension given the exam cancellations). So perhaps I am just becoming a little jaded at this point. My USMLE was "confirmed" by Prometric for June 19th and my COMLEX is still up in the air at the moment, which of course compounds the stress of studying for this thing for all of us given the fact that it messes with the study timeline. But I am trying to take it one day at time. Do you have any suggestions regarding pharm though? I keep getting hit with AE questions and that seems to be a struggle point for me, and for whatever reason, Sketchy is a slog in that domain for me. Should I just push through it and have faith in the end result? Lol.

Ah, bummer about the COMLEX date and USMLE. That happened to me for Step 2/Level 2 this year... I ended up pushing back them both to end of July so I didn't have tons of time between them, and changed my studying for now to enough to pass our school's COMSAE in June. This is a hard year to be testing, especially for Step 1. I'm not sure what to say about USMLE and COMLEX being far apart. I don't think I could have had more than a week between the two personally because I was so burnt at that point. I basically didn't study between the two. But you might find a way that works for you.. don't be discouraged everybody is in the same boat this year. Keep your head up, the hard work you are putting in will pay off and it won't all go away.

Hmm. I did Sketchy Pharm also which I found mildly helpful. I am not a visual learner like that and I didn't enjoy the length of videos but I just did one or two every day to get through them while taking notes so I could retain what little I could. But I will be the first to admit that pharmacology was and still is not my strongest subject. I think one thing I learned to do was to quickly review the questions I got right (especially if I knew the answer), and spend a lot more time on the ones I got wrong. I would get FA and use it with UWorld and take notes/make flash cards for the questions you got wrong. I tried to make my cards be more about concepts than about facts. So I would make a card that would say something like "what is the physiology for _____ as a AE for drug XYZ" and things like that. Only for questions I had no clue about and got wrong. So I could try to understand it better. But honestly it's different strokes for different folks - do what seems to work for you and fits your temperament, not what other people are telling you to do. I think the general recommendations are a good starting place but you gotta figure out what works well for you.

Repetition was key for me I think for Pharm and other difficult subjects. Just keep doing those questions and you'll be OK.

Not sure if any of that helps but I was hoping to be encouraging!
 

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