Official 2010 USMLE Step 1 Experiences and Scores Thread

Discussion in 'Step I' started by FMD212, Jan 28, 2010.

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  1. TheLesPaul

    TheLesPaul 7+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    I hesitate to state exactly, but let's say it was a smattering of CV/biostats equations that are really easy if you know, but can be frustratingly difficult if they're on the tip of your tongue but can't quite place term X in the numerator or denominator. Small equations too, the kind that you think "hey, this isn't important" but if it's in FA, it's fair game. Just know the eq's. I'm sure we'll all have wildly different forms anyway, so this won't matter :p.

    As far as uworld: I ended up w/ 72% right, but that spanned the duration of my study time so I dunno how accurate that is. I took my tests after a full day of studying, so I tended to rush through it - my scores varied wildly from 70% to 91% one lucky time.

    I took 4 wks to study after school, but started in feb. The real test was pretty equivalent to UW #2, I felt. Less pharm :)thumbup:), so maybe a *little* easier. Not by much though.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
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  3. Dirt

    Dirt 7+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2008
    From the earth.
    I personally felt that UW+FA+RR definitely will get you an average pass. Those three resources were literally all I used and it was definitely enough for me. To be exact I did UW once through totally random blocks, and then re-did my marked questions (which ended up being about 400 or so) in the week before the test. I went through FA and RR twice each and that was it. The only reason I would not guarantee that it is totally sufficient is everyone has a different base of knowledge from the first two years to work with.

    There was definitely a lot of tough anatomy on my exam. I would say that moore blue boxes would not be a good prep for this exam. It is true that most of the anatomy questions are clinicallly phrased but not necessary clinical. An example:

    A X year old woman complains of frank hematuria and flank pain. X-ray shows a radio-opacity in the ureter. The stone is most likely lodged in the ureter in a narrowing as it crosses over the...

    a. External iliac
    b. Internal iliac
    c. Iliac crest
    d. Fallopian tube
    e. Uterine artery
    f. Ovarian artery

    In my opinion, know first aid for the easy anatomy Qs, but I felt that Uworld was by far and away the best anatomy prep. The questions that I had on the exam were either a direct Uworld question or were explained away as an incorrect answer to a slightly different question. Unfortunately you are probably not going to get any "rock hits a kid under his arm and his scapula wings out, what nerve?"

    By the way the answer is the external iliac.
  4. NoWayOut

    NoWayOut 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2010
    Washington D.C.
  5. NoWayOut

    NoWayOut 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2010
    Washington D.C.
  6. jammed

    jammed 5+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2007
    For those that have taken and gotten their scores back- was it natural for you to be worried during the time after the test and keep remembering answers that you put that you are finding out was wrong?? I have about ten questions that I remember having trouble with and missed about 9 of them- starting to freak out a bit!!
  7. joshtb86

    joshtb86 2+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2007
    im taking my test friday. i think everyone needs to just relax. it looks like the bottom line is that its hard, but FA goljan and UW will get you a good grade. if ur llooking for 260+, then you need more but if not then you are fine. all i have used is FA, UW, usmlerx and goljan audio and my nbmes/uswa/usmlerx/free150 ended up at 255 this week, and i never looked at a book other than FA. ill post more this weekend when i take the test, but relax! its just a test and the bottom line is that there is no source that you can get everything, so find what works for you and just use that.
  8. idler12

    idler12 5+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2007
    I thought the ureter crossed over the common iliac before it branches. That's a tough question. I would have gone with either common iliac or pelvic brim if they were options.
  9. kryptik

    kryptik 2+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2008
    yeh its crosses the external iliac just below the common iliac, i think both wont be in the choices, at least i hope not
  10. TheFranchise

    TheFranchise 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2008
    Man calm down everyone. FA and UW are more than enough for whatever score you want. If you want a really high score, memorize every page of first aid and be able to recite the page with your eyes closed, including parentheses, side notes, essentially everything in print. Then make sure you learn from mistakes on UW. Thats it. It is more than enough for an outstanding score, it just depends how intensely you want to memorize FA and if you can apply it.

    That anatomy question above is a perfect example. It is a fact straight out of FA on the first page of renal.

    Edit: That fact was actually a world question, I just always thought of it when I was on my first page in renal. Still, FA and UW are golden.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010


    Jan 2, 2007
    So I’ve received several questions regarding my impression of the three B’s (BioStats, Behavioral Science, and BS...Ethics), so here goes.

    IMHO, there is no better companion for Biostats than UW in the sense that it offers great questions that require application, not regurgitation, of FA concepts. If you are itching for more, there is always HY (thorough, but way over-the-top for what’s required). Additionally, Kaplan Q bank offers the same material with a few more complex questions (e.g. computing CI intervals requires utilizing sqrt of sample size...gotcha). Lastly, Wikitestprep has one question whose explanation gives, IMHO, the best way to handle negative/positive skew questions ever! Nevertheless, I feel that if you can do the UW section in your sleep, you’re solid. My form pretty much stuck with straightforward SENS, SPEC, PPV and NPV; they even pre-populated all the blocks for me! The only curveball was in a “describe the study” question, where they really blurred the lines between study types.

    Behavioral Science:
    Pretty standard, at least on my form. Only surprises involved more recent epidemiologic/public health guidelines only available on the CDC website; however, I was always able to narrow it down to two options using the smell test...then employed the Goljan principle of “go cheaper.” Also in my NBME practice, I always came across the dreaded child development questions, but it never appeared than anyone ever turned out stunted. Real deal appeared no different, but the devil was in the details of why normal is normal (i.e. what psychological principle was at play). As always, the coping mechanisms, shizo differentials and factitious disorders were all free points if you just can keep definitions and temporal delineations straight.

    In certain circles, these questions seem to elicit as much consternation as antiarrhythmic pharm or supra-FA anatomy, a perception I just don’t share. What I did notice regarding ethics is that the examiners appear more focused on the wrong answers than the right. For example, most of the foils prey on common layperson misperceptions of particular illness or general social bias regarding certain social populations. There really is very little preparation advice I can offer on these, but what I can say is check your particular political or social bias at the door and just use any common sense approach (e.g. Golden rule, etc.). You’ll be amazed how many foils evaporate as just ridiculous solutions (i.e. anything House would say is just wrong).
  12. 2012doctor


    Jan 25, 2008
    Recently got my results: 255/99.

    Took the exam in mid-May and felt absolutely horrible afterwards. I remembered so many questions I had missed or wasn't sure about. Seems like everyone feels this way though and most do better than they thought.

    Studied for 5.5 weeks.
    FirstAid & USMLEWorld mostly. Also read some of Goljan's RR and listened to some of his audiofiles. Read most of BRS Physiology as well.
    Completed 92% of USMLEWorld (71% score overall).
    NBME 7 (3.5 weeks out): 207 - hadn't studied most of the systems yet
    Free 150 at Prometric test center (2 weeks out): 80% correct
    UWSA1 (10 days out): 242
    UWSA2 (6 days out): 245
    NBME 6 (4 days out): 234

    Never dreamed I'd get in the 250s based on my practice scores, but somehow it happened!
  13. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser 5+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    I used the Kaplan medical ethics guide and found it extremely helpful. It's a relatively short read and gives you logical rules to follow for each type of question. I highly recommend it - well worth the hour or two it takes to read.
  14. Dirt

    Dirt 7+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2008
    From the earth.
    Sorry, I don't mean to scare people. I said average pass because it is impossible to say what studying with those three resources will get you. If you barely passed the first two years, those three resources will not get you a 240. If you had high sats and honors, you will need nothing else to score well.

    Your strategy was exactly what I did and though I don't have my score yet I am hoping for 245+.

    And yes my hypothetical Q was straight out of Uworld and was on the real thing.
  15. Xtrasystolic

    Xtrasystolic 5+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    wow dude, you have no idea how much i enjoyed reading that post...well done!
    Did you take it after the may 15 changes? (just curious to see if they've started reporting scores for tests taken after the transition)
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  16. 2012doctor


    Jan 25, 2008
    I did take it after May 15 (took it the 17th), but still had the version with 48 questions (maybe I lucked out?). I don't know of anyone who took the new version and has received a score. Good luck!
  17. JimT30

    JimT30 5+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    Anyone know the latest score release date? I took mine on the 24th and heard they come out 3 wednesdays from when you take them, which would be this week. Anybody know if this is true?
  18. AggieSean

    AggieSean Coffee is for closers 5+ Year Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    I took mine on the 24th and had the old 48q version. I do believe we'll hear on Wednesday. Yikes!
  19. NoWayOut

    NoWayOut 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2010
    Washington D.C.
    Thanks for your reply .. If I could just hit that 230..I'll be jumping with joy..believe me.. I really hope this strategy works..I am so depending on it. :xf:
    By the way, good Luck to you on your score ..hope you come out with flying colors..please let us know :luck:
  20. greg1184

    greg1184 10+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2006
    I was debating whether I should post this writeup when I get this score, but I guess I will post it now and quote it when I get my score.

    I took the exam on June 8. It was incredibly long. The first block was incredibly easy. It was actually a great warm up block. But as each block went along it kept getting harder and harder. There was a decent balance between hard, medium and easy questions. If there were two practice tests that I would highly recommend: TAKE NBME 6 and 7. They are very good tests in simulating the real thing. Secondarily, UWSA 1 and 2 would supplement it well.

    Biochemistry: Kaplan Lecture Notes, FA
    Not much in the way of Biochem, but I had plenty of genetics. One question I was able to answer because I worked in an immunology lab that worked with plasmids and restriction enzymes. Kaplan Lecture notes are excellent. It helped me solve a Hardy Weinberg question by setting p=1. More than enough to go along with first aid.

    Microbiology: CMMRS and Microcards, FA
    Basic stuff for the most part. The worst part was a few antibiotics questions, one which I knew I fell for a NBME trap/distractor. Otherwise not bad at all. I actually enjoyed reading CMMRS, but if you don’t like it, FA and Microcards are more than adequate.

    Immunology: Kaplan Lecture Notes, FA
    Pretty straight forward. Kaplan Lecture Notes are a pretty good, quick read. But FA is probably more than enough.

    Neuroanatomy: My Neuroanatomy teacher’s podcasts and atlas (Best resource for me EVER) and HY Neuroanatomy
    I didn’t have too many neuroanatomy questions. A couple of hippocampus questions. One location of facial motor in the cortex. HY Neuroanatomy is anything but HY. One of the rare times I actually used resources from my class, and ironically they were actually the highest yield sources.

    Pharmacology: Kaplan Notes, Some Brenner’s Cards, Lippincotts for stuff I been struggling, FA
    Mixed bag here. I got some UWorld caliber side effects questions. The most annoying ones are the ones that they ask side effects for specific drugs within a group. I also had a couple of interesting pharm experiments that took some thinking. First Aid is more than enough. Brenner’s cards are only useful to clutter my room with cards everywhere. Lippincotts is useful only if you really need help in an area. Kaplan notes are for the most part pointless and are as barebones as FA.

    Behavioral Sciences: BRS Behavioral, FA
    Straight forward biostatics questions. Easy calculations. The ethics questions were not bad, except for a couple out of let field. BRS Behavioral is OUTSTANDING, ESPECIALLY for the ethics questions. This book made a difference for me since I at first sucked at NBME Behavioral questions. On NBME 5, all I had was a star on the left hand side... not even a bar! On NBME 7, I had a star on the right hand side.

    Pathology: RR Pathology, Most of Goljan's Lectures, FA
    Definitely the majority of my exam. A balance of hard and easy questions. Didn’t notice a particular bias towards any subject on my exam. I had multiple “biggest risk factors” for certain questions. Many mechanisms questions. Difficulty ranged from NBME to UWorld difficulty. NBME 6 and 7 are very nice. Goljan and USMLE World along with First Aid is fine.

    About the multimedia questions: I had heart murmur questions. I actually really enjoyed them. Being able to actually visualize where the sound was loudest made it very easy to answer the questions.

    Physiology: BRS Physiology, FA
    I had many many arrow questions. They are definitely annoying. I had one clearance calculation that I had to deal with varying units. (minutes/hours, differing 10^x units). I essentially changed hours to minutes and ignored the SI units. I ended up getting the answer, just off a decimal point. I also had an alveolar O2 question with a different barometric pressure as well. BRS and FA are plenty.

    Embryology: FA, UWorld
    Very little Embryo in my exam. I actually don’t recall much there, but I didn’t notice anything outside of First Aid and UWorld.

    Anatomy: FA, UWorld
    I had a bunch of anatomy on my exam. Most of them were pretty straight forward, but I did have some questions that were random, but I vaguely remembered as reference in my class (e.g. posterior fornix). Potentially the blue boxes from Moore can probably help on this one, but I am not sure.

    My scores:
    Kaplan Diagnostic: 31%
    USMLE World: 66% (100% done, subject based tutor mode)
    CBSSA: 160-165
    NBME 1: 168
    UWSA 1: 192
    NBME 5: 198
    UWSA 2: 209
    Free 150: 77% (Medfriends Estimated 233)
    NBME 6: 223
    NBME 7: 227
    Real thing: Pending

    My test scores continued to rise up to a couple of days before the exam. Whether the UWSA or NBMEs are better estimates seems irrelevant. I mixed the exams, and they stayed within my linear regression. I had no real outlier exams (except for maybe the Free 150). I hope that the trend continues, and that I peak at the right time. Looking back, I would have further simplified my resources and worked more with First Aid. I can’t say enough how important it is to read this book cover and cover at LEAST once, especially after you are done with annotating USMLE World. FA + UWorld cover a significant portion of the exam. The rest are the WTF questions you have to reason out or flat out guess.

    I would not waste my time on other qbanks unless you have used up all other resources and have time to waste. I did one block of Kaplan Qbank, and did not like it. Do not spread yourself thin with resources. It will only hurt. Keep looking at the BIG PICTURE.... and as a result, if you are short on time, do FA!

    I have mixed feelings about how I did on my exam. You have to love recall bias. I know I felt like utter crap when I left that exam, but that is a common occurrence with people taking this exam. The number that has been on my mind and I forced it into my subconscious when I took the exam: 240. Aim high and take whatever is given yes?

    Best of luck to everyone who has not taken it yet.
  21. mq123

    mq123 Blah username =/= blah me 2+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    Thanks a lot for sharing this, especially for all the details! I think 'big picture' is definitely important instead of focusing on studying for those few obscure questions.

    Good luck with breaking 240 :luck: Your practice exams scores were heading in the right direction!
  22. bbydoc


    Apr 13, 2010

    many thanks for sharing all these details!
    I pray you get your 240!
    I confirm the recall bias from medschool, its a bitch. thanks again!
  23. studentologist

    studentologist 7+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    I recently took mine, and I can say that I had about the same experience as tachyon:

    So if you feel beaten after that test, you're definitely not alone.

    I'll try to post my practices scores and resources when scores come in.
  24. NoWayOut

    NoWayOut 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2010
    Washington D.C.
    Great post...thanks for sharing. Good Luck to you :luck:
  25. metalrex

    metalrex 2+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2008

    I am having mixed feelings about the exam as everybody else.It had quite a few curveballs in there, for instance ; fungal infection with 70% prevelence amongst children in the US:confused: Some gene stuff that seemed greek and latin to me and luciferase gene expression ...whatever.

    Chill though, it did seem balanced with lots of gimme qs as well.So I would say pretty balanced mix.

    That's all I can pen for now, barely had any sleep last night, gonna crash and come back later with a detailed post:thumbup:

    Thanks ya all, you guys have been very resourceful.I saw a coupla of questions I saw others had spoken of here and even questions directly lifted from the free 150:)

    Now onto that hard earned snooze.....:sleep:
  26. kryptik

    kryptik 2+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2008
    CONGRATS metalrex :luck:
  27. match2011

    match2011 2+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2009

    fungal infection with 70% prevelence amongst children in US

    because there are a lot of thrush and diaper rash in children.

  28. AggieSean

    AggieSean Coffee is for closers 5+ Year Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Is anyone else getting their scores tomorrow? I hope it's tomorrow, anyway.
  29. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2002
  30. Xtrasystolic

    Xtrasystolic 5+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Well if it weren't for the dang 46q format, tomorrow would be the 3rd wed for me as well...

    anyways, good luck to you :thumbup:
  31. AggieSean

    AggieSean Coffee is for closers 5+ Year Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Something wrong with your eyes? ;)
  32. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Despite what I've heard about Aggies from Longhorns, I still like you!
  33. AggieSean

    AggieSean Coffee is for closers 5+ Year Member

    Nov 14, 2006

    You like me! You really like me!

    And hey, could be worse, I could be a Sooner.
  34. mordounhas

    mordounhas 5+ Year Member

    Aug 16, 2007
    It's all over for me but the waiting.

    What I did:

    I ended up taking about 9 weeks to study for this thing- I had a couple of weeks worth of school stuff (a week of clinical preceptorship/clinical skills and another week worth of physician skills) interspersed with the first 3 of the 9 weeks, and then a solid 6 weeks with nothing else going on. Didn't go particularly hard the first 3 weeks, just an 8-5 kind of thing. Tried to do about 12 hours each day M-Saturday (took Sundays completely off) the last six weeks.

    Materials used:

    Kaplan Study at Home 2007 (went through the whole thing once in the first 2 weeks of studying)

    An old Qbook (2003) that I did in the 3rd week of the first 3.

    First Aid (2010)- Got through it 4 times completely I believe, but ran through sections I felt weak in several times.

    Goljan RR path- Got through it twice and the margin notes and pictures a 3rd time (though not all the tables again).

    Took some quick peeks at some old High Yield books a graduating 4th year gave me (ran through clinical considerations in HY anatomy, things like that).

    USMLEworld- Got through it twice in the 6 weeks. Averaged about a 73% the first time and around an 87% the second time (I did remember some of the questions though, which certainly inflated that score a lot).

    USMLERx- Got through it completely and through all my missed questions a second time- averaged about an 84% on the first pass and started after I had more or less finished USMLEworld the first time.

    Practice tests:

    5 weeks out- Free 150- 252 I think (whatever 87% is)
    4 weeks out- UWSA #2- 260
    3 weeks out- UWSA #1- 245
    2 weeks out- NBME #6- 253

    I had originally planned on doing another practice test, but my reluctance to plunk down another $45 got the best of me. That and not really wanting to risk seeing a lower score closer to the date.

    Thoughts on the test:

    Largely, the questions were easier than the ones you see in USMLEworld. That being said, there were some oddballs in the mix.

    General test day advice- make sure you have a plan for not running out of steam. I definitely dragged a bit in the second-to-last block but managed to get my energy levels back up for the last one with Aussie licorice.

    Anyways, good luck to everyone when they take their test. Hopefully, the scores will start rolling in about a month from now. I'll try to add my score later.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  35. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    lol...nothing unites Texans like making fun of slow people...err, I mean Oklahomans!

  36. jackets5

    jackets5 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Just took the exam today and wanted to share my experience. First off the test is very fair, they dont want to trick you just make sure know the material. I had maybe 3 questions that i thought were pretty tricky. More anatomy than expected but still very fair. As for studying i used the Taus method. Had 1 calculation on the whole test. DO NOT neglect behavioral had maye 20 or so behavioral questions that are easy points if you simply know FA, glad i spent an hour going over that the day before. Lots of receptors, second messangers again easy points if you memorize the IP3 etc mechanisms.

    Feel absolutely mentally destroyed right now, think i did well/ok but unsure, which i hear is a good thing. now its just a long wait to get results. July 14th cant come soon enough. Ill put more specifics later.
  37. 1nicelady

    1nicelady 1Nicelady 2+ Year Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    hahaha. I had the same thought process. 1st page of my renal has the same uworld fact.
  38. jmayer

    jmayer 2+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2010
    thanks for sharing! congrats on being done

    what do u mean by behavioral questions - ethics, biostats, development, psych?
  39. NotMeNow

    NotMeNow 2+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2007
    Hey all - first of congrats to my fellow colleagues who have taken step 1. I am now official post-step1.

    I came out of the exam feeling GREAT. Honestly, I thought I was able to avoid dumb mistakes and was able to work through some tough questions. There were a few times I would have no idea about a question, really dig and think, and then it would come to me - Ooo this patient has disease x or ooo they are testing concept x is a novel way! This is a great feeling. Do no feel frustrated if you originally don't know an answer! Are they testing a concept through a disease they don't expect you to know?!?

    On a given block I would mark about 6-8. My marking strategy was

    1) Mark any early question (first 20) I took more than 1 minute on. After a minute if I didn't know the answer I put my best guess and moved on. Each block is different, so even if i normally have 10 minutes left I don't want to use that buffer up early in a block. Later in the block I would spend 2 or 3 minutes on a questions really working it out to get the answer.
    2) Brain farts - sometimes you get to a question, you know the answer, but can't access it from your memory. Mark it, move on, come back and most of the time I was like OBVIOUSLY its y.
    3) Anything my gut said I should recheck.
    4) Anything I didn't know.

    I always had 15 minutes left at the end of a block - I would then go back to my marked. I had the 46 Qs, but the stems were of equal length to what I was expecting (UW/NBMEs)

    I didn't think the 'left-field' questions were unfair! I would say I had about 20 'left-field' questions. By left-field I mean questions that could not be answered from MEMORIZING FA/UW (or any reasonable source).

    However, many of them could be answered by applying a parallel concept from UW/FA - or FROM REAL LIFE. I answered 5 or so of those left-field questions from knowledge I learned outside of medicine.

    Of all the left-field questions, I would say only 4 were ridiculous, true 'left-field' questions. No way the average on the questions were > 25%.

    FYI - my NBME scores started at 234 (5 weeks out) and rose to 258 (1 week out)

    Resources: I'm a question person, so my resources were weighted heavily in the question banks. Completed all of Kaplan Qbank, UWorld, UWSA1,2, new Free 144, wikitestprep.

    Honestly I don't like FA at all. I got through FA only once, with some sections twice. Still don't know all of FA to be honest - I'll elaborate on this in a later post. Also read cover-cover BRS physiology (and did all the questions in the book). Read HY neuroanatomy cover-cover. Hated all pharm cards with a passion. Used some random anatomy atlas and radiology book night before exam to recall cross sections.

    Like I said before over the 5 months preceding I did roughly 8000 questions - I felt so comfortable, and had the stamina, to do 322 questions with no problem.


    I have a lot more to add - I'm going to wait until I get my score to see if it justifies divulging my theories about the exam more fully.

    At this point, my goal has always been 242 even as my exam scores rose above 250. I expect a >255, but if I get a 242 I will be ecstatic.

    Last piece of advice - you will dominate this exam if you put honest hard work into it - don't let the selective recall of anonymous posters get you nervous!

    Have a wonderful day!


    PS - Even found a glaring typo on one of my questions! The NBME isn't even perfect :)!
  40. jgb316

    jgb316 New Member

    Jun 24, 2006
    Took it today. What a relief to be done. I only took two practice tests to prepare, reminded me more of USW1 more then USW2. COMPLETELY RANDOM. After studying all day everyday for a month, I thought I would have at least heard of everything they would ask. Didnt happen. Proves you can't completely prepare for everything.

    Work hard and it'll pay off.
  41. blarrgh

    blarrgh Not Even Doom Music 5+ Year Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    Ahem. Been awhile since I posted here (the dark ages of pre-med).

    But since this thread helped me, I'll throw my name into the data set. I took the exam recently; here's my track record:

    School sponsored NBME: 200 (early April?)
    Practice NBME at test site: 264 (early May) -> Not... sure how this happened
    Free 150: 235 (early May)
    NBME 6: 240 (late May)
    NBME 7: 231 (late May)
    NBME 5: 219 (early June)
    NBME 4: 238 (early June)
    NBME 3: 248 (1 week out)
    USMLEWSA #1: 245 (4 days out)
    USMLEWSA #2: 256 (4 days out)
    Currently waiting on step 1 score

    To people who have a train wreck of score variation as me: it's most likely due to psyching yourself out, concentration and possibly ADHD flareups. But come game time, those things tend to sort themselves out.

    My 'tetralogy of step 1' was: FA, Qbank, Brenner's pharm cards, Goljian

    Qbank: 62% unused starting from April. Took notes on every question and referenced it with FA. Proven true combo.

    FA: someone said here that if you know FA cold, you are guaranteed a 230. I'll subscribe to that. The re-read is key.

    Brenner's pharm: this took some time. I started in April doing about 5 cards a day. Along with referencing FA and Qbank, it allowed me to tackle whatever pharm curveball they threw at me on the boards.

    Goljian: pretty self-explanatory. I counted 20+ questions using his clinical scenarios or his lecture images. His RR is decent as well.

    About the exam itself:

    Yes, those rumors you hear about anatomy are true. Thanks to this thread and reports from other students, I sat down and read HY gross anatomy in a couple of days. It saved my ass for about 6 questions. There were some others, however, that I just chalked up in the loss column. If you have everything else down cold and want to review a subject-- go learn your thoracic, abdominal CT landmarks + vasculature. Don't forget neuroanatomy too.

    I would venture and say FA alone could have prepared me for most of my subject matter with the exception of anatomy and micro (CMMRS tables are your bible).

    What I did wrong: overstudy for biochem, genetics, embryology-- imo, supplementary materials were not needed outside of the aforementioned sources except for an integration of metabolic pathway diagram (you can find a PDF of that anywhere).

    Now I have a question for those who took the exam-- I felt the actual test was at a difficulty split right between Qbank and NBME. I'm trying to get a feel for where the scale is going to be relative to % correct. For example, a 70%-80% on Qbank is extremely solid but that correlates to something like 85%-90% on the NBME. Although I think the final scale for the actual exam is somewhere in between (experimentals aside). Thoughts?

    Edit: 246/99 Very happy!
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  42. mq123

    mq123 Blah username =/= blah me 2+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    Everyone has been talking about the anatomy!!! :( I haven't really read any outside of FA and now I'm a little concerned. I have a very old edition of High Yield gross anatomy (from 1997). Is it worth to go through that, because it sounds like it helped you? I'm under two weeks from the exam and a little crunched for time....
  43. pottymouth

    pottymouth 2+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2010

    hope u did well brotha...
  44. blarrgh

    blarrgh Not Even Doom Music 5+ Year Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    I may have made it seem like anatomy was the end of the world but there were really only about 10 weird questions extra-FA. Reading through HY helped for about half of them, the other ~5 I still don't have the slightest clue... even now. That's why it stands out so saliently (comon experimentals!)

    If you are really strapped for time, more points will come from broad things. A FA re-read, Goljian review, specifically marked Qbank diagram review saved me far more points than sitting down and staring at high yield anatomy.

    Of course, your expectations and mileage will vary. I'd be ecstatic to get the average of my practice exam scores.
  45. jackets5

    jackets5 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Behavioral for me was a good mix of ethics, what to say next, pysch disorders, biostats with maybe 4 questions or so on psych drugs (one on bulimia, ADA) None of the anatomy was that difficult the two or three very hard ones, 2 radial nerve questions. For me the hardest questions were the

    Biochem: wasnt really that much at all and most of it was pretty easy, had a damn delta G question.

    Behave: said above a good mix of all topics and 25 questions or so on the exam

    Immuno: Thought this was the hardest subject for me fair amount of questions about the same amount or little more than biochem

    Micro: less then i thought there would be pretty straight forward
    Pharm: fair amount, alot of know the mechanisms, what the drug binds two what it inhibits, not much on side effects or uses. Know the MECHANISM of the druge and resistance. Had the exact question twice on the MOR of Acyclovir.

    Physio: arrows, arrows, arrows, virtually all of them you cold get down to 2 choices without really thinking, Renal physio was big

    Path/Pathophyis: major portion of my test, full range of questions from simple to some that were very hard, to some that were weird. Had a picture of lung cancer and asked the carcinogen, buy worked in basement, with wood etc. nothing looked great so i picked Creosote (not going to lie i thought it was another name for asbestos) turns out it is a polycyclic hydrocarbon so i guess i was right. Know Goljan book or audio, he got me several questions i never wouldve had a chance to get if it wasnt for really know his material well. Those side notes are golden.

    Molec/cell: Not bad was expecting much worse. They present it in a very intimidating though. When they really want a simple answer about poly-a tail stabilizing for transport out of the nucleus or a splicesome removing segements of RNA.

    Overall, very fair test, more easy questions than i wouldve expected but some questions that made me look twice and say WTF. But very fair, they are not trying to trick us. In general easier than Uworld.

    In terms of materials used i would rank them like this.

    Gold: FA, Uworld, RR Path (if you dont use these your hurting yourself)
    Silver: RR physio, HY Neuro, HY Cell and Molec (really good for messangers, replicaton, transcription, translation etc)
    Bronze: CMMRS (FA is really good), RR biochem (again great book but FA is very very good)

    SDN: overall a great source of information but definately a bit overboard. You can really freak yourself out reading to much on here. I literally thought that each questions would be asked in the absolutely must difficult way possible, which obviously for anyone who has taken it is not the case.

    Waiting now for July 14th to get scores back. Worst part is simply not know how the damn test is graded. I mean do you get points for experimental questions you get right and no deduction for ones you get wrong. Do you need to get 80,85,90% to a 240. Are there really 10% questions experiemental etc. My goal is to get a 230+, i felt it was fair and unsure about some sections, feel like my score can go from like 200-240

    NYCOMDO 2+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2009
    wow after reading about 10,000 of these things I'm finally writing my own.

    Step 1 score 248/99 (released July 14th!!!!)
    Goal= 250
    (Happy >240)
    USMLEWORLD 1st pass (pre-study)- 61%/100% complete
    USMLEWORLD 2nd- 77%/81%
    USMLERX- 74%/44%

    NBME1(12 weeks, during classes): 236
    NBME2 (7 weeks, right before dedicated study): 232
    NBME4 (6 weeks): 239
    NBME6 (5 weeks): 239
    NBME3 (4 weeks): 246
    NBME5 (3 weeks): 244
    UWSA1 (2 weeks): 247
    NBME7 (1 week) : 249
    UWSA2 (.5 week): 236 (whaaaaat!:eek:)
    Free150(2 days before): 93% (255wiki-266medfriends
    COMLEX 1 Score - 590/89 (took 7 days after the usmle. advice = take it ~3-4 days after)

    Prep: Worked hard during my 2nd year systems. Made sure I focused on board relevant stuff, which probably cost me some points on school tests. Used the Taus method and went through everything slowly over my 2nd yr. Listened to goljan audio during each system. 2nd yr commute was 90%dedicated to listening to poppy. Subbed RR for biochem and highly reccommend it.

    Did a 6 month subscription for UW starting in Jan. Slowly did questions and learned what the major topics were and how they asked them. This really helped me when I went into my dedicated study mode. This does defeat the purpose of using UW as a measuring stick... but thats not what it should be used for. It's probably the best study tool for step 1- learn from it!!! If I got a 50% avg on UW and my buddy has a 80% average but I learned the other 50% while he didn't learn his extra 20% who is better off? I know its hard not to use the 2.3*UW +84 equaions and website calculators... but all the time spent doing that is time that could be spent learning something. Use NBME's to see where you are.

    Everyone learns differently and studying should be suited to your personal style. This is unlike any other test though. It really does test understanding- which is why MECHANISMS are key. Talk things out with people. Have study partners- they come in handy during the freakout days ;) Cramming facts will not cut it. I am very anti-kaplan and very pro-goljan. But to each their own. Absolutely Hate FA! Terrible primary resource. I went through it during my 2nd pass.

    Get into a routine. Pretend its a job- punch in, punch out. I studied everyday 8-5ish. When I got home I relaxed. I don't know how people can study all night... but again learning is very personal and I'm a morning person. I swear by a glass of redwine everynight before bed improving memory.

    Exam- holy crap, I can see why people can feel like they failed yet get >250. I don't know how it is possible to leave the test feeling confident. Maybe its just the post-8hr test delerium. Sure there are gimmie questions but there are a lot that make you really think. There are the handful of insane questions that aren't in ANY review books. The best thing you can do is eliminate answers and make the best guess...

    Path- bulk of the test (~60%). pretty well distributed. Mostly straightforward. A lot of pathophys and mechanisms of disease. More gross picture/histo slide combos than I expected but not too horrible. If your doing goljan and get it down there aren't any surprises.
    Anatomy- wow. was not expecting the detail here. A handful of the classic anatomy questions (carpal tunnel, fracture-nerve injuries, ect) but also some things i have not seen since lab. Trace the catheter through venous system, tendon attachments, ect. Some really cool anatomic variations I've never heard of but still got right... they really do make you think! I used roadmap- it was ok but time consuming.
    Embryo- classic, FA is good
    Pharm- not too bad at all.
    Physio- Considered it one of my strongpoints... read guyton cover to cover during my 2nd year. In retrospect BRS phys covered most of the questions but again, there are some you won't find in any review book. 2 questions I still don't know the answer to.
    Micro- CCMRS is perfect. Know that and its easy- covers all the HY genes that aren't in FA. Viral properties are annoying... i know that chart in FA sucks but it could get you 2 more questions right. Know only the classic helmiths/parasites. I had this 1 question about the intracellular mechanism of a certain virus that wasn't in FA/CCMRS/wiki... found it in a journal article (thank God I guessed right)
    Molecular- Has been notoriously hard for some people and for good reason. They write some great questions that test your understanding of mechanisms ('mechanisms' in goljan voice). A lot of "researcher doing this" sorta thing. HY Molecular is golden for every doable question I had. Also I would go with the molecular technique section in RR biochem in leiu of the section in HY.
    Biochem- Not too terrible. Clinically relevant for the most part. If you have the major pathways/major enzymes down your good.
    Immuno- straightforward
    Behavioral- A few iffy questions... what are ya gunna do/say. 1 weird question on breaching contracts lol.
    Biostats- UW covers more than enough. Last 2 chapters of HY behavioral is better than FA.
    Media- wow I possibly had the coolest media question ever.... I wish I could post it but I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise ;) No linked questions for me.

    Overall- 46q version- Qs were definitely longer than the average nbme but I was never pressed for time. The 2-3 liners balance out the paragraphers. I left feeling terrible, but looking up some stuff helped... It was definitely more difficult than I thought it would be. But really 50% are gimmies, 30% are tricky, 10% are nitpicky, 10% insane. It's those stupid mistakes in gimmie group that really haunt ya afterwords.

    :luck: To all
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  47. AggieSean

    AggieSean Coffee is for closers 5+ Year Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Got my scores today: 262/99. Glad to be done with it, and glad I moved it up. Best of luck to everyone else waiting!

  48. match2011

    match2011 2+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    big congrat!

  49. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Excellent score, Sooner!
  50. greg1184

    greg1184 10+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2006
    Well done Sean! Hopefully I also improve from my test scores the way you did.
  51. jmcappleby

    jmcappleby 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2008
    Congratulations, Aggiesean! I think I took my test a few days after yours but I got the 46q version. So I guess I will be waiting till July!

    Our diagnostic history is very similar though, so I'll be hoping!

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