Reperfused

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Aug 24, 2015
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Hey guys, does anyone if the online CMS forms get updated every now and then or do they remain unchanged like the NBMEs? I mean what would they do if they want to add new questions to the CMS forms, just add a form 5? Or change the questions within the existing 4 forms for each subject.
I’m asking this because if I do offline CMS forms that someone downloaded in 2015 would I be missing out on the new questions?

Thanks in advance!
 
Nov 11, 2018
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Mind sharing them please?
Hey guys, does anyone if the online CMS forms get updated every now and then or do they remain unchanged like the NBMEs? I mean what would they do if they want to add new questions to the CMS forms, just add a form 5? Or change the questions within the existing 4 forms for each subject.
I’m asking this because if I do offline CMS forms that someone downloaded in 2015 would I be missing out on the new questions?

Thanks in advance!
 

AFishAnt

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Jul 14, 2014
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Thank you! I took NBME 6 about 6 weeks before my test date while I was still on Family Medicine (before I really started studying or doing uworld consistently). I took the subsequent practice tests each Saturday before my test. UWSA 1 about 3 weeks before, UWSA 2 the following week, and NBME 8 about 5 days before my test date.

I reset uworld about 7 weeks before my test date while I was 60% through. During clerkship I was doing about 40 questions a day and 120 uworld questions (sometimes more) during dedicated. I was about 95% the way through uworld (after resetting) when I took CK. I used OME, Master the Boards, and Step up during clerkships but not consistently. I felt I didn’t have the same capacity for studying like I did during step 1, so I relied solely on Uworld.

I’m not entirely sure why I jumped so high on the real deal especially after feeling so terrible during the test. I am pleasantly surprised. How you feel during the test does not necessarily correlate with how well you’ll score!
Congrats on your score! I have a question. Did you do anki on top of the 120 per day during dedicated? If so, do you recommend it? I only have 2 weeks for dedicated and was wondering if I should forego anki to get more questions in on my 2nd pass of UW. During step 1 I was only doing 80 a day and I felt that was hard enough with anki on top.
 
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fantalescent

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Did dedicated prep for 3.5 weeks, pretty relaxed schedule tbh.
Had already done basically a full pass of UWorld prior to dedicated study time, and got through about half of UWorld on a second pass during dedicated.

Average UW blocks during 2nd pass: 77%
SA1 (took the 1st day of dedicated: 246
NBME 8 (took after 1st week of dedicated): 233
SA2 (took mid-2nd week): 262
NBME 6 (took 1 week before exam): 252

Actual test: 259
Woohoo! And I felt like absolute **** walking out of the test.
I basically just used UWorld and annotated in First Aid. Supplemented with a bit of Online Meded for sections that I felt weren't covered that well in FA but really just used FA and UW.
 
Jun 22, 2018
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Did dedicated prep for 3.5 weeks, pretty relaxed schedule tbh.
Had already done basically a full pass of UWorld prior to dedicated study time, and got through about half of UWorld on a second pass during dedicated.

Average UW blocks during 2nd pass: 77%
SA1 (took the 1st day of dedicated: 246
NBME 8 (took after 1st week of dedicated): 233
SA2 (took mid-2nd week): 262
NBME 6 (took 1 week before exam): 252

Actual test: 259
Woohoo! And I felt like absolute **** walking out of the test.
I basically just used UWorld and annotated in First Aid. Supplemented with a bit of Online Meded for sections that I felt weren't covered that well in FA but really just used FA and UW.
Congrats on the great score!! Quick question, I just took NBME 6 as a baseline not too long ago and am almost done with UWorld. The NBME felt pretty straightforward in terms of topics and how they asked the questions and I did pretty well on it, but I don't want my confidence to get to inflated. Did you feel like the actual exam was similar to the NBMEs in style or content and should I feel ready for the test if I'm doing well on the NBMEs?
 
May 15, 2019
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Hey guys. I could really use some advice. I'm a USMD student who is currently 16 days out from Step 2 CK, and I have a rotation starting June 3rd.

I have a low Step 1 score (21x), and really need a 240+ on Step 2, but thus far I'm pretty concerned about that happening.

NBME 6: 207 (took on Monday)
UWSA1: 224 (today)

I'm encouraged by the several-point jump in between these exams in just two days, but with only just over two weeks left to prepare, is it even possible to get a 240+? I'm 40% done with UWorld at a 63% average at the moment, and should be done with UWorld with a week left before Step 2.

Any advice would be much appreciated!! Thanks!
 
Last edited:
May 15, 2019
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Hi. I an IMG. I will take the step 2 ck tomorrow. I noticed the uworld adding more question during my preparation time... But there is something else that scared me last saturday (...). I started to prepare for step 2 ck on January 2019. I did nbme form 6 for a baseline. 2 months later, after having reviewed 2/3 of the UW, I took nbme form 7 and went up 36 points compared to form 6, and also did UWSA form 1 and got 220... Then I kept studying with some inconvenients that made me pass the test date from May 3rd to May 17th. Two weeks ago I did nbme form 8, and I passed it comfortably (taking in an account that they say nbme underpredict the real score for step 2 ck). BUT last saturday I took the UWSA FORM 2 and got a horrible 197 in the 3 digit score, after having completed the whole UW qbank and almost half of the usmle-rx... It just did not make sense to me. And the questions on this UWSA form 2 were pretty much like the regular study questions and harder. That saturday I did the diagnostic test of the Kaplan step 2 ck and got over 70% correct questions (enough to pass)... So, I wonder if UW changed the form 2 for some reason (?). Has anybody had this experience during this last 6 days?

Thanks for your attention!!
 
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Slave to the Game

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Apr 4, 2014
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NBME 6-8 average: 250s
UWSA 1-2 average: 260s

Real deal: 241.

I think there are a lot of people who aren't excited to share their poor score report, which makes for an overly optimistic thread that may give people like myself false hope.

FYI, Step 1 250s, 4-week dedicated, >90th %ile on all shelf exams, AOA/all H, USMD, UW average >70% first pass, >90% second pass (~70% done, didn't finish), felt good coming out of the test like I did for Step 1.

Here's hoping programs don't ask about why I dropped so low.
 
May 17, 2019
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Hello Everyone ,

I desperately need your help and advise. I am an IMG , almost 10 yrs post graduation. I have few spots confirmed next year for fellowship positions in the US and the only prerequisite is to clear the USMLE. I have done UWORLD Q bank once 45-50%. OME notes and Uworld flashcards and notes from U world explanation. I gave USWA2 and got 170 , which as you know is way short of the passing score. May I know what needs to be done next. Do I need to do U world q bank again ? or/and use texts such as MTB /Step up etc along with Uworld. I need to give the exam in 6 weeks time from now.
Thank you for your help in advance.
 

pathlologist

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Just took it today, felt raw walking out. Alternated between feeling confident and unsure throughout the exam. There were a handful of Step 1-style minutiae questions but otherwise about what you'd expect. NBME 6 was 262 2 weeks out, UWSA1 was 268 5 days out. Hoping those were predictive, I feel like it's a toss up. A lot of my friends the year above said they all felt terrible walking out of the exam but it turned out fine, hoping that holds true. I'll update when I have my score in a few weeks.
 

ac909009

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Congrats on your score! I have a question. Did you do anki on top of the 120 per day during dedicated? If so, do you recommend it? I only have 2 weeks for dedicated and was wondering if I should forego anki to get more questions in on my 2nd pass of UW. During step 1 I was only doing 80 a day and I felt that was hard enough with anki on top.
I used anki for step 1, but didn’t use it for step 2. I thought questions were the best way to study. I made flash cards with the uworld explanations (things that I knew I would forget or needed extra attention) inside the uworld app and looked back through them throughout my last few days of study.
 
Jul 11, 2018
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Got my score back on Wednesday! I felt like absolute garbage coming out of that exam. Basically was wondering if I took the correct exam because so many questions seemed random and weird.
Background: 1 week of dedicated but I came straight out of my medicine clerkship. Honored all my shelf exams (mid 80s-high 90s throughout the year)
263 on step 1. I originally planned a longer dedicated but moved my exam up because I was burnt out.

UWSA1 5 days out 270
NBME 6 3 Days out 275
Free 120 2 days out: 95%
Actual exam: 269

Trust your practice exam scores!
 
May 17, 2019
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1
Hi Guys ,

I did form 6 nbme today . 2 qs in my laptop shutdown and I had to log in nbme to complete the exam , post logging in the test started from the 3rd qs. So I completed the exam and found my score to be 10 equalling 1 on the USMLE 3 digit score . I reviewed the answers and I def have more than half ( minimum correct answers, dint count them). When I check the performance profile bar chart , half the subjects dont have any bars to it. May I know if this is a technical issue or is it cuz my laptop shutdown and only 2 qs were considered out 184 ? Thanks for your help.
 

Mkandil

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Congrats to those who got their scores today
Please share your experiences
 
Apr 7, 2018
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If it helps

1 month of dedicated. 90% of my studying was using UWORLD. I bought OME and used it for a few things but really didn't use it. My shelf exams were all over the place, but I was always above average at my medical school

Step 1: 250's
NBME 6: 228 <<< LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL I freaked out and refused to take anymore NBMEs because I got 90% of the questions correct and this was my 3 digits score, which was ridiculous
UWSA 1: 252
3 weeks of studying
UWSA 2: 255 (I was a little annoyed at this point, because I had studied non-stop for 3 weeks and increased by 3 points)

Step 2: 260's

As I was taking the exam I very relaxed, because I honestly didn't care anymore (lol), I just wanted it to be over. I left having no idea how I did, but overall I did not feel good about it. I honestly was not going to be surprised if I scored a 230-240, which on Step 2 would have been below average. I scored exactly 1 SD above the mean on Step 1 and exactly 1 SD above the mean on Step 2. In medical school I was typically 1 SD above the mean in all of my classes. So based on this and the experience of my friends, I would say that the overall pattern/trend of your performance during medical school is VERY predictive of how you will do on the USMLE exams. There are always those people who do much better than predicted and those who do worse. I studied by doing everything honestly. I took the NBMEs and UWSA for both Step1 and Step2 without cheating. I did UWORLD timed blocks without looking anything up and if I had extra time (usually 15-20 minutes) I used 5 minutes to review my answers and then moved on, knowing that I would be slower on Step 2. There was one block on Step2 that I got WAYYYYYY TOO comfortable and I got to question 26 and realized I had 19 minutes left, so pay attention to your time.

Happy to answer any questions anyone has.
 
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Jun 22, 2018
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If it helps

Finished MS3 in April, 1 month of dedicated. 90% of my studying was using UWORLD. I bought OME and used it for a few things but really didn't use it. My shelf exams were all over the place, but I was always above average at my medical school

Step 1: 250
NBME 6: 228 <<< LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL I freaked out and refused to take anymore NBMEs because I got 90% of the questions correct and this was my 3 digits score, which was ridiculous
UWSA 1: 252
3 weeks of studying
UWSA 2: 255 (I was a little annoyed at this point, because I had studied non-stop for 3 weeks and increased by 3 points)

Step 2: 261

As I was taking the exam I very relaxed, because I honestly didn't care anymore (lol), I just wanted it to be over. I left having no idea how I did, but overall I did not feel good about it. I honestly was not going to be surprised if I scored a 230-240, which on Step 2 would have been below average. I scored exactly 1 SD above the mean on Step 1 and exactly 1 SD above the mean on Step 2. In medical school I was typically 1 SD above the mean in all of my classes. So based on this and the experience of my friends, I would say that the overall pattern/trend of your performance during medical school is VERY predictive of how you will do on the USMLE exams. There are always those people who do much better than predicted and those who do worse. I studied by doing everything honestly. I took the NBMEs and UWSA for both Step1 and Step2 without cheating. I did UWORLD timed blocks without looking anything up and if I had extra time (usually 15-20 minutes) I used 5 minutes to review my answers and then moved on, knowing that I would be slower on Step 2. There was one block on Step2 that I got WAYYYYYY TOO comfortable and I got to question 26 and realized I had 19 minutes left, so pay attention to your time.

Happy to answer any questions anyone has.
How did you feel the actual exam compared to the NBME or UWSA? I anticipate that the stems will be much longer than the NBME but I recently took 6 and found it to be pretty straightforward in terms of the questions asked and definitely easier than UWorld. I just don't want to get too comfortable by thinking the test will be as straightforward as NBME 6 was haha
 
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MedDoctor92

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For those students that had really low step 1 scores like me, this is for you. I will update when I get my CK score. Studied for 3.5 weeks.

Step 1: 220
NBME6: 215 (the day pre-dedicated)
UW1: 253 (2 weeks into dedicated)
UW2: 254 (5 days before exam.)
Free 120: 86% (night before exam)
Real Step 2CK: ?
 

Mkandil

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For those students that had really low step 1 scores like me, this is for you. I will update when I get my CK score. Studied for 3.5 weeks.

Step 1: 220
NBME6: 215 (the day pre-dedicated)
UW1: 253 (2 weeks into dedicated)
UW2: 254 (5 days before exam.)
Free 120: 86% (night before exam)
Real Step 2CK: ?
Rooting for you man!
Good luck
 
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Mar 12, 2019
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Strategy: I made Anki cards throughout M3 year from resources. Internal medicine was my 3rd to last rotation, so after it was over I continued to do the cards. I redid my Fam Med and Peds cards during dedicated and continued my Psych and OB/Gyn cards. Surgery I just didn't get to for studying and relied on UWorld. Dedicated consisted 1 month of doing 80 questions/day and reviewing those for 2-2.5 hours. I made Anki cards for material out of left field, but otherwise just tried to get the take home point from the question and move on. I started to use Zanki Step 2 when I had about 160 UWorld questions left just to review some topics I felt were slipping away--I would just do them once and not review them after.

Test Day: Felt awful. I didn't get much sleep and my appetite was absolutely non-existent. The questions were long and convoluted. It felt like UWorld questions, but take away like the 1-2 sentences that really made an answer likely. I would stare at some questions for 5 minutes before giving up because I was convinced I was missing something. By the 3rd section, I tried to move on quickly from questions I just had no clue about, which felt like a lot. I never remember many questions, but I remembered about 5-8 of which I think I missed 2 or 3. Not a great sample size lol. Anyway, I really did feel terrible, so anyone reading this just please remember we all feel awful. It helped me reading those experiences during the 3 week wait.

Step 1: Mid-260s
UWorld %: 84% first pass (timed, random)
UWSA 1: 259 (Baseline 4 weeks out)
NBME 7: 264 (3 weeks out)
UWSA 2: 263 (2 weeks out)
Free 120: 88% (1 week out)

Step 2 CK: Low-270s


If anyone has any questions, I'm always happy to answer. Truthfully, it's just another one of those tests you have to put a bunch of time into. Although I will say, my dedicated for CK was a joke compared to my dedicated for Step 1. Studying hard throughout the year for CK really makes a huge difference.
 
Mar 17, 2019
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Great score can you share some of your assessments or study plan.
3 months prep with lots of self-doubt
nbme 6- 236 2.5 months out
nbme 7 - 248 1.5 months out
uswa1 - 252 1 month out
free 120 - 92 % 1 month out
uswa2 - 258 15 days out
I didn't get any sleep the night before the exam, even after popping a zolpidem
The real exam was really tough, I just wanted to quit after attempting the first 3 questions, the first block was the toughest and meant to break you which surely did.
the question stems were really long up to 20 lines of bull**** sometimes I dozed off reading them (cure for my insomnia? ) with just 1-word as clue guiding towards the answer which is strategically buried in heaps of trash.
psych and biostats were the toughest questions for me
6 drug ads, drug ads block had 38 questions but the other questions were really long
had many x-ray images,
stick to UW which covers 60 -70 percent of whats tested indirectly or directly, but the exam is not about clinical knowledge it's about clinical judgement and clinical application
only two step 1 related questions, don't waste your time on basic science
amboss, Kaplan and cms were not so helpful for the real exam
keep your prep phase as short as possible, dragging the prep phase will only drop your scores and sanity.
 
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Mkandil

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amboss, Kaplan and cms were not so helpful for the real exam
Do you mind sharing your average score in Amboss
I've been doing amboss vigorously the past days and it's brutal. Did you feel the real test is even harder?
 

anilkumar

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Scored 246.

UWSA 1 259, UWSA 2 254, NBME 8 245 - all during the month prior to my exam date. The exam was weird in a way, and there's no time to review questions and you will frequently find yourself running out of time. So watch out for that, and manage your time properly. Exam was kind of similar to NBME 8, UWSAs were hard with respect to time management.

My resources: Just UWorld for 4 months, didn't do a second round after resetting (was able to do only 30% due to a time constraint). Had made my own personal cards on Anki, and revised tables/charts/algorithms. That's it.

Good luck!
 

chocoholicsoxfan

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May 2, 2015
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psych and biostats were the toughest questions for me
6 drug ads, drug ads block had 38 questions but the other questions were really long
had many x-ray images,
stick to UW which covers 60 -70 percent of whats tested indirectly or directly, but the exam is not about clinical knowledge it's about clinical judgement and clinical application
only two step 1 related questions, don't waste your time on basic science
amboss, Kaplan and cms were not so helpful for the real exam
Any advice on resources to study for clinical judgment/application? I feel like this is what I struggle with most, so I'm kinda worried.

Like least favorite questions on shelves were those kinds. Example: person has a thyroid nodule, how often do you screen? And the choices are never, 1mo, 3mo, a year. That kinda thing.
 
Mar 17, 2019
17
3
1
Status
Medical Student
Do you mind sharing your average score in Amboss
I've been doing amboss vigorously the past days and it's brutal. Did you feel the real test is even harder?
dont waste your time on amboss, my avg score in amboss 83 , I did it in 5 days free trail towards the end of my prep after uw
 
Mar 17, 2019
17
3
1
Status
Medical Student
Any advice on resources to study for clinical judgment/application? I feel like this is what I struggle with most, so I'm kinda worried.

Like least favorite questions on shelves were those kinds. Example: person has a thyroid nodule, how often do you screen? And the choices are never, 1mo, 3mo, a year. That kinda thing.
I am no expert either, I was just winging em
 
Apr 7, 2018
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How did you feel the actual exam compared to the NBME or UWSA? I anticipate that the stems will be much longer than the NBME but I recently took 6 and found it to be pretty straightforward in terms of the questions asked and definitely easier than UWorld. I just don't want to get too comfortable by thinking the test will be as straightforward as NBME 6 was haha
Well i quite obviously did not do well on NBME 6... I mean I guess thats not true, I got 90% correct but because people clearly study the quizlet and anki decks and then take it, the scores are super inflated. I felt like Step2 was comparable to UWSA and the shelf exams. I would say I felt like Step2 was way more like the shelf exams than step 1 was. hope that helps
 
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May 17, 2019
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Hey guys, I’m a first time poster on this forum. Just wondering, what are competitive CK scores nowadays for IM and Paeds. Also is the score more important than the percentile you fall in? Also I am an IMG so I know that also makes things tougher and there are bunch if factors that play a role in the application process.
 

TheIllusionist

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Took it today
STEP 1: 247
Rotations- all honors
Average raw score on shelf exams: about 90
Shelf exam percentiles- Ob-gyn- 95th Surgery- 80th (would have done better if I had medicine first) Neurology- 99th Psych- 99th Medicine- 99th Peds- 99th FM: 95th
During year
Ob Gyn- read Beckman's, casefiles, UWISE Questions, U World Questions, NBMEs
Surgery- read Devirgilios twice, U World Surgery, Pestana Audio twice, Pestana book and questions, NBMEs
Neuro- Read Aminoff, case files, firecracker neuro cards, U World, NBMEs
Psych- Read First AID for Psych a couple times, Zanki, U World, NBMEs
Medicine- U World, annotated it into STEPUP2 Medicine supplemented stuff with Goljan Rapid Review, Zanki Medicine, Broencephalon Medicine, NBMEs
Peds- U World, WiWa, Zanki, NBMEs (background was strong enough at this point)
U World- 73% first time through (I blitzkrieg the relevant section near the beginning of rotations and keep reviewing them over and over)
U World 2nd pass- done mostly on my phone in FM rotation (my last rotation) and read all of Goljan's Rapid Review Pathology (this somehow helped me with random **** and contextualizing everything)- 86%

Dedicated Time 3 wks
UWSA1 as a diagnostic- 265
First two weeks
Weaknesses (got 99th on medicine and peds on the diagnostic) were psych, obgyn, and surgery- so redid all obgyn questions slowly and all surgery questions slowly. also reread all of devirgilios- took about 2 weeks (relearned a lot of medicine just doing this too since there is a ton of overlap_
UWSA2- 271
Redid all of WiWa for medicine and peds
2 Days out- To re-familiarize myself with the style NBME 6 and 8 back to back (fried by brain). Scored 267 and like 258 respectively (lot of dumb mistakes on 8, scared me)
1 day out- free 120- 93%. Biostat and ethics review (well worth it)

Exam:

Someone said this earlier and I agree: The questions were similar more similar to the shelf exams than for STEP1. Shelf exams prepare you pretty well and give you a good idea of what it will feel like, particularly the medicine and surgery shelf exams.

The questions were a mix. Some freebies, mostly medium level, and a few ultra vague or ultra specific pain in the ass types. I finished blocks a lot earlier than I did for STEP1. The questions I didn't know tended to be very specific nuances of common conditions rather than random diagnoses. What made me very happy about how I felt, regardless of what my actual score will be, is that I didn't feel regrets about "not studying" certain things during the test. The types of things that stumped me were stuff that I genuinely did not see before or saw before on floors but just couldn't remember specifically enough. It was an extremely fair test. It was way less out of left field compared to STEP1.

Don't neglect learning how to interpret images on floors. Don't neglect just common protocals followed on floors, ideally look up why things are done for the reason they are done. Try to always be curious about pathogenesis of treatments and diseases. Anyway, laid it all on the line. As you can see my practice scores all ranged. I'll get what I get. Certainly an element of luck to it as well.
 
Last edited:
Apr 7, 2018
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Any advice on resources to study for clinical judgment/application? I feel like this is what I struggle with most, so I'm kinda worried.

Like least favorite questions on shelves were those kinds. Example: person has a thyroid nodule, how often do you screen? And the choices are never, 1mo, 3mo, a year. That kinda thing.
UWorld. If you pay attention and make notes every time one of these questions come up it will be a "gimme" question. I started out being terrible at these types of questions. I used Uworld and every time I came across a thyroid nodule question I would write notes about why you choose one thing over the other. I would keep all of this on one page and then at the end I reviewed it. If you do that, the pattern becomes really obvious and the questions become some of the easiest.
 
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TheIllusionist

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Hey guys, I’m a first time poster on this forum. Just wondering, what are competitive CK scores nowadays for IM and Paeds. Also is the score more important than the percentile you fall in? Also I am an IMG so I know that also makes things tougher and there are bunch if factors that play a role in the application process.
Average is in low 240s. Competitive would be above average (dw you can still match certainly with lower). Aim for a 250 (about what a 240 would on STEP1 aka a solid score).

The score is just equated to a percentile in the residency program algorithms. In the end, the percentile you score in (roughly approximated via just assuming a normal distribution of scores and using the mean and standard deviation for that year), matters the most.
 

meekachuu

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May 17, 2014
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If you finish a block early does that time get added to your break time? Have heard mixed things.
 

ciestar

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Okay..
Two days out. Considering postponing since I am so slow to review everything but paired with my intense anxiety over this test.. (i got like 15th percentile on step 1)

Okay:
NBME 6 224 (three weeks out)
UWSA 1 247 (one week out)

I plan on doing UWSA 2 tomorrow (yes, day before exam) to really decide if i should go for it or not. Any thoughts? My faculty advisor would really rather I didn’t posptone since my first sub-i starts on Monday.
 

mistafab

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Oct 20, 2015
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Score back today. 257! Very happy with my score.:clap:
UWSA 1 255 2 weeks out
UWSA 2 262 2 days out
Step 1 245

Took 2 weeks dedicated
Honors all rotations
Study materials: Zanki and Uworld for every block. Zanki and uworld for dedicated. Devirgilio supplement for surgery rotation.

Edit:
Some details about test day... I felt really crappy taking the test. It felt really freaking hard and I felt unprepared. I flagged 8-14 questions per block of 40 that I would struggle with, go with my gut, and decide to not waste another second until I finished the block. I usually finish tests with an hour to spare (my whole life), but on step 2 ck day I was taking every single minute of the hour per block to get through all the questions and check my flagged. I would finish with 1-4 minutes left each time and boy did I feel like my situation was dire.

Definitely felt like CK was harder then step 1 just because there were less “gimmies” I felt than step 1 had. Most the questions required thinking and took a lot of time. I left the test feeling like I might be scoring 230 or something. Experience/emotions definitely did not correlate with outcome for me at all.
 
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chocoholicsoxfan

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Taking the test 6/10. Anyone know if they'll be releasing scores the week of Independence Day?
 
Apr 11, 2018
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I did form 7 offline and scored it- around 80% correct, can anyone tell me what score thats closest to thx
 

eduh

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Feb 29, 2016
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10
11
I rarely post on SDN, and only give cursory glances at any score threads because everyone's scores seem like 99% outliers versus what I've heard from people I know and have spoken to in person (US-IMGs and US MD/DOs). I figured I'd post my info because it's a bit depressing to see these killer scores with people starting at 240/250s's and finishing at 280s, making it seem like a decent score is near impossible.

I got my score today, 241, exact same score as UWSA 2

my progress
step 1: 216 (taken june 2018)
nbme 6: 166 a week after my step 1 (about 11 months ago)
nbme 7: 190 @ 6 months out
UWSA 1: 213 @ 4 weeks out
nbme 8: 213 @ 10 days out
UWSA 2: 241 @ 6 days out
Free 120: >80% @ 6 days out (I don't remember that exact percentage).

About me (and I'm not being super specific for privacy reasons):
US born-IMG, I have an undergrad and graduate degree in fields unrelated to medicine or life sciences. I attended a non-english language medical school (not anywhere in Asia or Europe, not a Caribbean or Israeli school either with US), text books all written by national doctors (not US texts, also not in English), zero emphasis on USMLE, graduated a few years ago, worked one year abroad, no class rank at my school but I was typically an A/high B student if we use the US grading system, did way better in clinical rotations (almost all A's) compared to basic sciences (probably mostly mid/low Bs, few Cs in like neuro/histo, and As in micro/path). I currently provide care for two family members who require full time care due to limited mobility and I work part time to make money to pay for exams and eventually Match/residency trail.

Prep:
Took step 1 last year in June. I felt good about my exam. I wasn't able to start fully studying right away for 2ck for family/personal reasons. I did take nbme 6 a week after Step 1 which I bombed horribly (166), it made rethink how well I thought I had done on Step 1 so I waited on my score before looking at more material. Step 1 score was 216. With my low nbme 6 score I went through the onlinemeded videos, qbank and their flashcards for about a month (there was a subscription offer for about $10). It was helpful in understanding the whole next step vs best step which is what messed me up on the first nbme. I took nbme 7 (190) after finishing the OME materials. I thought it was a decent jump considering where I started from and my very relaxed study attitude at the time. I made my own anki cards (like 800+ cards) from some of the info from the OME videos/qbank/flashcards. I also made flashcards from the First Aid 2CK rapid review, and from my incorrect NBME questions/concepts. I reviewed all these flashcards every day along with the cards I eventually made from uworld.

My focused studying began in late February/early March, at first I was doing 4 days of studying with up to 8 hour days, and worked up to 6 days a week with Saturdays as catch up or block/concept review. I started with 2blocks/day with complete review of all questions correct and incorrect, eventually I worked up to 4blocks/day with faster review of each block. I exclusively did timed mixed blocks. I started at around 55% correct per block and ended new/unused with around 63% average but with scores around or just above the average on each block.

I originally was looking at some complimentary texts: First Aid 2ck, Master the Boards 2ck, Step Up 2CK and Step 2CK Secrets, but I hated moving between texts to find the best info, and sometimes there was conflicting info. I stopped using all texts and only did Uworld and my flashcards. For uworld I made flashcards based on my incorrect questions/concepts. I would spend around 1-1.5 hours per day reviewing my personal flashcards before/after doing question blocks.

I did one full pass of only new questions, that first pass was 63%. I took UWSA 1 after that, at 4 weeks out, scored 213. I noticed I made a few really basic mistakes from poor reading of answer choices or not catching obvious things in the vignette. Then I redid almost all of my incorrect/marked questions again and my uworld percentage was 68% (with all blocks well above the average). I didn't reset the qbank because I remember the questions too well, so I thought it wasn't a valid use of my time or indicator of where I was at after going over everything once. After finishing that I took nbme 8, scored a 215 and was a bit confused but had read that nbmes underestimate your score. I took a few days off (still reviewing flashcards daily though) to rest my mind and decided I would simulate a near full day exam.

I took UWSA 2 and the free 120 on the same day at the library pretending I was taking the real test, complete with the same clothes I would wear day of exam, same snacks, everything. I figured this way I could gauge my bathroom breaks and how my body felt. UWSA 2 scored 241, Free 120 scored over 80% overall. I was tired of studying at this point and fed up with this exam process, plus I had other things to attend to so I immediately scheduled my exam for the closest date available nearby, 5 days away. I reviewed UWSA 2 and the free 120 thoroughly for the next 2 days, making some flashcards but really just updating older cards with the concepts I missed. Since I had exhausted uworld questions, and didn't want to reset, I also did about 3 blocks of Amboss, but by then I had already scheduled my exam and decided it wasn't worth my time. I think Amboss is really good and wish I had seen it sooner or used it before starting uworld when I was studying more casually. I also did any new uworld questions that were added to the qbank, and read through my weakest subjects in Master the Boards 2ck, which in hindsight maybe got me 1 question but during the exam it seemed like nothing from that book that I had read came up.

Day of exam
Took my exam the first full week of May. The day before my exam I casually reviewed biostats formulas and some of my flash cards (anki deck of most lapsed cards), but mainly just went outside for some air and sun, did some exercise, took a long walk, ate good, and put my food bag together for exam day, went to bed early. The prometric people called me to remind me of my exam and they told me that they opened at 6:30am, if I wanted to I could come in early to start before my 9am schedule slot.

I couldn't sleep well and woke up at 5am, slept another 40 minutes and decided I'd just get my things together and go to the exam early. I went in at 7am and started around 7:30am. For Step 1 I did 3 blocks, then 2, 1, 1, and had 15-20 minutes of time to review each block thoroughly, banking at least 5 minutes per block for extra break time. For this exam I started 1.5 hours earlier than I had planned which messed me up a bit because I had to use the bathroom right after the first block. I ended up doing 1 block, pee break, 2 blocks, water break, 2 block, long break where I went outside to eat fruit and protein bar, 2 blocks, pee/water break, final block. I finished each block with maybe a little more than 5 minutes and only reviewed my marked questions that I wasn't totally sure on (about 10 q's per block), and occasionally banked 1-2 minutes if I was lucky. Only one block seemed really simple and gave me about 8 minutes of extra time that I banked for break. I didn't use about 3 minutes of break time because for the last block I just wanted to get it over with and leave.

Overall there were questions I knew I had absolutely correct. There were some questions where step 1 knowledge was all you needed. The free 120, unlike for step 1, had nothing to do with this exam and were very basic versus the actual test. For every block I marked around 10 questions where about half of those I was asking myself "WTF is this". I left the exam feeling like I didn't pass and really down about the whole experience. I honestly have been stressing out a lot the past 3 weeks about this, going so far as to continue reviewing my flashcards and doing an occasional random block of uworld. I was expecting my score at 4 weeks for some reason, and seeing it this morning made my day. Now I can move on to studying for 2CS in peace.

My advice for any IMG who is out of school for this exam:
-Start to study using uworld for 2ck immediately after you take step 1. If you passed step 1 with a 10 point buffer, with uworld alone you should be able to pass this test, but start right away because some of the step 1 material is seen on this test.
-Understand what the questions mean when they ask "next step" or "best test" etc. Having understood that early on I probably would've scored higher on my initial assessments and higher on the exam too.
-You are already a doctor, this test is only a number and not a validation of your ability to provide care for others, but still, sit down, study and give the exam the time it deserves.


Advice for anyone in general:
-The whole "which assessment is most predictive" argument is a bit skewed because most people take UWSA closest to their test date then get a score close to that. I think whatever assessment(s) you do closest to your exam will be predictive of your final score.
-The OME videos are good for general concepts but uworld is where it's at. OME qbank isn't worth it overall vs uworld, but it is a good self-esteem boost to help you along the way, it's worth maybe 1-2 month subscription MAX (for the qbank and flash cards) if they don't have some sort of discount running at the time.
-If you want to use a qbank besides uworld to get more questions in use either usmle-rx or amboss FIRST then uworld since uworld's questions are as long or longer than the actual exam's vignettes.
-This exam is about stamina, work up to 4 or more blocks per day, and try to simulate the actual test itself with an assessment (UWSA or nbme) plus 3-4 new blocks (another assessment, or free 120, or 3-4 new/unused blocks from uworld) to see how you will feel the day of your test (also simulate the day before the test too, so a rest/relax day before the full day simulation).
-Make your own unique flashcards for concepts you don't know or keep messing up so that you can understand it better.
-Someone said it above: the exam is not about clinical knowledge it's about clinical judgement and clinical application

Last:
This new score report format is bad compared to the previous style of the score report, which wasn't all that great either. And these exams are just a way to milk people for money, FYI IMGs (both US-IMG and foreign-IMG) pay more for these tests than American students, it's definitely money grab.

Hope this helps anyone who isn't a 90th percentile superstar from the start and is just willing to keep pushing to get to a decent number. Best of luck to all studiers and those waiting for their scores.
 
Last edited:

TheIllusionist

5+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2013
355
547
131
East Coast Best Coast
Status
Medical Student
I rarely post on SDN, and only give cursory glances at any score threads because everyone's scores seem like 99% outliers versus what I've heard from people I know and have spoken to in person (US-IMGs and US MD/DOs). I figured I'd post my info because it's a bit depressing to see these killer scores with people starting at 240/250s's and finishing at 280s, making it seem like a decent score is near impossible.

I got my score today, 241, exact same score as UWSA 2

my progress
step 1: 216 (taken june 2018)
nbme 6: 166 a week after my step 1 (about 11 months ago)
nbme 7: 190 @ 6 months out
UWSA 1: 213 @ 4 weeks out
nbme 8: 213 @ 10 days out
UWSA 2: 241 @ 6 days out
Free 120: >80% @ 6 days out (I don't remember that exact percentage).

About me (and I'm not being super specific for privacy reasons):
US born-IMG, I have an undergrad and graduate degree in fields unrelated to medicine or life sciences. I attended a non-english language medical school (not anywhere in Asia or Europe, not a Caribbean or Israeli school either with US), text books all written by national doctors (not US texts, also not in English), zero emphasis on USMLE, graduated a few years ago, worked one year abroad, no class rank at my school but I was typically an A/high B student if we use the US grading system, did way better in clinical rotations (almost all A's) compared to basic sciences (probably mostly mid/low Bs, few Cs in like neuro/histo, and As in micro/path). I currently provide care for two family members who require full time care due to limited mobility and I work part time to make money to pay for exams and eventually Match/residency trail.

Prep:
Took step 1 last year in June. I felt good about my exam. I wasn't able to start fully studying right away for 2ck for family/personal reasons. I did take nbme 6 a week after Step 1 which I bombed horribly (166), it made rethink how well I thought I had done on Step 1 so I waited on my score before looking at more material. Step 1 score was 216. With my low nbme 6 score I went through the onlinemeded videos, qbank and their flashcards for about a month (there was a subscription offer for about $10). It was helpful in understanding the whole next step vs best step which is what messed me up on the first nbme. I took nbme 7 (190) after finishing the OME materials. I thought it was a decent jump considering where I started from and my very relaxed study attitude at the time. I made my own anki cards (like 800+ cards) from some of the info from the OME videos/qbank/flashcards. I also made flashcards from the First Aid 2CK rapid review, and from my incorrect NBME questions/concepts. I reviewed all these flashcards every day along with the cards I eventually made from uworld.

My focused studying began in late February/early March, at first I was doing 4 days of studying with up to 8 hour days, and worked up to 6 days a week with Saturdays as catch up or block/concept review. I started with 2blocks/day with complete review of all questions correct and incorrect, eventually I worked up to 4blocks/day with faster review of each block. I exclusively did timed mixed blocks. I started at around 55% correct per block and ended new/unused with around 63% average but with scores around or just above the average on each block.

I originally was looking at some complimentary texts: First Aid 2ck, Master the Boards 2ck, Step Up 2CK and Step 2CK Secrets, but I hated moving between texts to find the best info, and sometimes there was conflicting info. I stopped using all texts and only did Uworld and my flashcards. For uworld I made flashcards based on my incorrect questions/concepts. I would spend around 1-1.5 hours per day reviewing my personal flashcards before/after doing question blocks.

I did one full pass of only new questions, that first pass was 63%. I took UWSA 1 after that, at 4 weeks out, scored 213. I noticed I made a few really basic mistakes from poor reading of answer choices or not catching obvious things in the vignette. Then I redid almost all of my incorrect/marked questions again and my uworld percentage was 68% (with all blocks well above the average). I didn't reset the qbank because I remember the questions too well, so I thought it wasn't a valid use of my time or indicator of where I was at after going over everything once. After finishing that I took nbme 8, scored a 215 and was a bit confused but had read that nbmes underestimate your score. I took a few days off (still reviewing flashcards daily though) to rest my mind and decided I would simulate a near full day exam.

I took UWSA 2 and the free 120 on the same day at the library pretending I was taking the real test, complete with the same clothes I would wear day of exam, same snacks, everything. I figured this way I could gauge my bathroom breaks and how my body felt. UWSA 2 scored 241, Free 120 scored over 80% overall. I was tired of studying at this point and fed up with this exam process, plus I had other things to attend to so I immediately scheduled my exam for the closest date available nearby, 5 days away. I reviewed UWSA 2 and the free 120 thoroughly for the next 2 days, making some flashcards but really just updating older cards with the concepts I missed. Since I had exhausted uworld questions, and didn't want to reset, I also did about 3 blocks of Amboss, but by then I had already scheduled my exam and decided it wasn't worth my time. I think Amboss is really good and wish I had seen it sooner or used it before starting uworld when I was studying more casually. I also did any new uworld questions that were added to the qbank, and read through my weakest subjects in Master the Boards 2ck, which in hindsight maybe got me 1 question but during the exam it seemed like nothing from that book that I had read came up.

Day of exam
Took my exam the first full week of May. The day before my exam I casually reviewed biostats formulas and some of my flash cards (anki deck of most lapsed cards), but mainly just went outside for some air and sun, did some exercise, took a long walk, ate good, and put my food bag together for exam day, went to bed early. The prometric people called me to remind me of my exam and they told me that they opened at 6:30am, if I wanted to I could come in early to start before my 9am schedule slot.

I couldn't sleep well and woke up at 5am, slept another 40 minutes and decided I'd just get my things together and go to the exam early. I went in at 7am and started around 7:30am. For Step 1 I did 3 blocks, then 2, 1, 1, and had 15-20 minutes of time to review each block thoroughly, banking at least 5 minutes per block for extra break time. For this exam I started 1.5 hours earlier than I had planned which messed me up a bit because I had to use the bathroom right after the first block. I ended up doing 1 block, pee break, 2 blocks, water break, 2 block, long break where I went outside to eat fruit and protein bar, 2 blocks, pee/water break, final block. I finished each block with maybe a little more than 5 minutes and only reviewed my marked questions that I wasn't totally sure on (about 10 q's per block), and occasionally banked 1-2 minutes if I was lucky. Only one block seemed really simple and gave me about 8 minutes of extra time that I banked for break. I didn't use about 3 minutes of break time because for the last block I just wanted to get it over with and leave.

Overall there were questions I knew I had absolutely correct. There were some questions where step 1 knowledge was all you needed. The free 120, unlike for step 1, had nothing to do with this exam and were very basic versus the actual test. For every block I marked around 10 questions where about half of those I was asking myself "WTF is this". I left the exam feeling like I didn't pass and really down about the whole experience. I honestly have been stressing out a lot the past 3 weeks about this, going so far as to continue reviewing my flashcards and doing an occasional random block of uworld. I was expecting my score at 4 weeks for some reason, and seeing it this morning made my day. Now I can move on to studying for 2CS in peace.

My advice for any IMG who is out of school for this exam:
-Start to study using uworld for 2ck immediately after you take step 1. If you passed step 1 with a 10 point buffer, with uworld alone you should be able to pass this test, but start right away because some of the step 1 material is seen on this test.
-Understand what the questions mean when they ask "next step" or "best test" etc. Having understood that early on I probably would've scored higher on my initial assessments and higher on the exam too.
-You are already a doctor, this test is only a number and not a validation of your ability to provide care for others, but still, sit down, study and give the exam the time it deserves.


Advice for anyone in general:
-The whole "which assessment is most predictive" argument is a bit skewed because most people take UWSA closest to their test date then get a score close to that. I think whatever assessment(s) you do closest to your exam will be predictive of your final score.
-The OME videos are good for general concepts but uworld is where it's at. OME qbank isn't worth it overall vs uworld, but it is a good self-esteem boost to help you along the way, it's worth maybe 1-2 month subscription MAX (for the qbank and flash cards) if they don't have some sort of discount running at the time.
-If you want to use a qbank besides uworld to get more questions in use either usmle-rx or amboss FIRST then uworld since uworld's questions are as long or longer than the actual exam's vignettes.
-This exam is about stamina, work up to 4 or more blocks per day, and try to simulate the actual test itself with an assessment (UWSA or nbme) plus 3-4 new blocks (another assessment, or free 120, or 3-4 new/unused blocks from uworld) to see how you will feel the day of your test (also simulate the day before the test too, so a rest/relax day before the full day simulation).
-Make your own unique flashcards for concepts you don't know or keep messing up so that you can understand it better.
-Someone said it above: the exam is not about clinical knowledge it's about clinical judgement and clinical application

Last:
This new score report format is bad compared to the previous style of the score report, which wasn't all that great either. And these exams are just a way to milk people for money, FYI IMGs (both US-IMG and foreign-IMG) pay more for these tests than American students, it's definitely money grab.

Hope this helps anyone who isn't a 90th percentile superstar from the start and is just willing to keep pushing to get to a decent number. Best of luck to all studiers and those waiting for their scores.
Inspirational post. Excellent work. Your perseverance, drive, and humility will serve you well.
 

pbrocks15

5+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2014
877
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Status
Medical Student
I'm a month out if my exam and did one pass of UWorld. Looking into starting Amboss, I have a free month.

Anyone have thoughts on if I should start it or not? I want to see more questions honestly, but dont want to waste my time on a bad resource.
 
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ciestar

All grown up! MS4!
5+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2013
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Status
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Okay, update.
Ran out of steam at the end of the exam.. (it is late, im tired) and got a 245 on UWSA2
 

TheIllusionist

5+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2013
355
547
131
East Coast Best Coast
Status
Medical Student
I'm a month out if my exam and did one pass of UWorld. Looking into starting Amboss, I have a free month.

Anyone have thoughts on if I should start it or not? I want to see more questions honestly, but dont want to waste my time on a bad resource.
how good was your pass of u world? did you get everything out of it you needed? are you scoring near your goal? did you take any NBMEs yet? AMBOSS is a good, but U World is the proven gold standard. People here routinely score in the 270s and even 280s using only U World. I personally regret not using AMBOSS during my shelf studying. I did fine, but I think it would have further strengthened my foundation. However, for a dedicated period, unless you have completely mastered U World, U World Self Assessments, and NBMEs, I wouldn't go to AMBOSS.
 
Jun 22, 2018
11
9
11
I'm a month out if my exam and did one pass of UWorld. Looking into starting Amboss, I have a free month.

Anyone have thoughts on if I should start it or not? I want to see more questions honestly, but dont want to waste my time on a bad resource.
I've been looking at it here and there since I'm getting near the end of UWorld. Overall, I'd say it is a pretty good bank to get some extra questions in if you have the time! From what I've seen, if you've been through UWorld and really studied it and know it well, the Amboss questions tend to fall into one of two categories. 1. That wasn't too bad. 2. WTF that's so random or so far above our level I don't know I'm supposed to know that. Then, there are some questions in between that are medium that are good thinking questions.

To be honest, the best part about the Amboss bank are the links in the explanations to the online library, which is money if you're not getting it just based on the question explanation or want to brush up on a topic!