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On track for the USMLE I

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by WildTumor, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. WildTumor

    WildTumor Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2006

    I was reading Med-School confidential and the authors recommended that in order to keep what is learned in the first two years in focus, it is wise to buy USMLE books on each subject. So, when studying anatomy one can be aware what is important for the exam. Also, it can be a good study guide.

    Did anyone in this form do this?

    Did it help at all?

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  3. LadyWolverine

    LadyWolverine 10+ Year Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Hiding in your closet
    Am I the only one who thinks it's funny that your initals are "WT"?? :laugh:
  4. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    I bought First Aid, Step Up, BRS phys, and BRS path. All of them have been good supplemental study guides during the first two years. Also, I've annotated First Aid quite bit while in class so that I could study from it later.
  5. Bubchik

    Bubchik Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2004
    I think that it is very smart to get the books in advance, especially First Aid and start annotating it. You will be familiar with the material and will focus more on the areas that are covered on Step 1.

    Also, for Microbio I would get Microbio Made Redic Simple, and for path Rapid review by Goljan.
  6. GuzzyRon

    GuzzyRon Son of the Son of Man 10+ Year Member

    "WT" what else does it stand for? :smuggrin:
  7. ijcMD

    ijcMD Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 28, 2006
    New York
    I get BRS or High-Yield for every class, in addition to those books listed above. It's sometimes nice to get a different perspective than what is presented in your lecture notes. And the questions at the ends of each chapter are good to do as well, for my classes, and for the boards.
  8. DoctaJay

    DoctaJay bone breaker Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    San Diego
    Can you all breakdown what supplemental books we should get for first year and what suppplemental books we should wait to buy until 2nd year?
  9. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    I'll throw in my advice:

    I think buying review books early is a bad idea. From what I have seen, when students have review books in hand as they first learn the med school material, they tend to spend too much time "reviewing" the random factoids for the Step exam, rather than actually mastering the concepts of the material they are studying.

    It's worthwhile to keep in mind the difference between your course exams and the Step exams.

    Course Exams: Requires detailed mastery of specific topics, ability to extrapolate from material you have previously learned, in-depth examination of subjects

    Step 1: Requires you to regurgitate specific facts and recognize patterns

    The skills required for each are fundamentally different. I had more than a couple classmates fail course exams because they spent too much time reading First Aid, and not enough time in the basic texts.

    Truthfully, my course exams were far more difficult than Step 1. The only reason Step 1 is so brutal is because of the volume of facts you are expected to recall. It is not conceptually difficult at all.

    I believe that, especially in 1st year, you should stay as far away from the review books as possible, because what you should be doing is learning the material in depth, while review books focus on superficial issues. You're not going to learn Pharmacology fro Kaplan, you're going to learn it from Goodman. "Review" books are called that for a reason.

    I waited until two months into MS2 year before I picked up the review books. I got a copy of the Kaplan Lecture Notes (expensive as hell on Ebay, but still cheaper than the damn course), Robbins Review of Pathology, Lippicott Pharm, and a whole mess of practice question books + Qbank + USMLEWorld. I got >240, so maybe what I'm saying works.

    Just my 2 cents.
  10. GuzzyRon

    GuzzyRon Son of the Son of Man 10+ Year Member

    Excellent Advice :thumbup:
  11. blz

    blz Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    Wilms Tumor, chr 11, nephroblastoma in children mostly.

    well atleast thats what came to mind when I saw USMLE and WT in the same post.
  12. ut2010

    ut2010 Medical Student 2+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    Based on my experience of first year, I would agree that review books are not good study tools for classes. One reason is that a teacher may want you to understand a concept in a different way than is presented in the review book.

    Another problem with review books is that there is alot of information covered that you are not required to know for class. So you spend alot figuring out you need to get out of the review books rather than using that time to review your class notes.

    The review books are helpful for questions, that will help reinforce the material you learning. Just make sure to do questions that are relevant to topics that you will be tested on in your class exams.

    Good Luck :luck:
  13. DoctaJay

    DoctaJay bone breaker Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    San Diego
    I also greatly appreciate the advice, but I was wondering if you blew out the MCAT too? (Like 36+?). If so, then you could just be a master when taking standardized tests, review book or no review book. Thanks for the advice though...I guess I'll hold off getting to books for awhile, or I'll just use them for annotation, not studying.
  14. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    Gone Walkabout!
    I did pretty well on USMLE Step I and didn't use review books for first and second year coursework. I did purchase First Aid because it had a review of review books that came in handy when I finished second year.

    My job was to thoroughly master the material in my courses. Armed with that material, I was able to review efficiently and took USMLE Step I three weeks after my second year courses ended.

    You cannot "review" what you haven't learned in the first place so concentrate on learning. Reviewing is just that, reviewing. If you are doing a major "learn" because you have not mastered your coursework, you will be less efficient on USMLE anyway.

    I used a good question based on-line service (Kaplan's Q-Bank or USMLEWorld) and reviewed the material that my practice exams indicated were weaknesses for me. From experience, if you have a broad and solid knowledge base, you WILL be able to figure out the answers on USMLE Step I. There were loads of questions that I could answer without hesitation. In contrast, there were a few questions that I had to do some major thinking but ended up figuring out the answers.

    The people in my class who did not do well on Step I were overwhelmingly those who had struggled with coursework or failed to review well for this test. Your school will allow plenty of time for review (mine gave us from May 1 to July 30th to take the test). Some of us with summer fellowships had to sign a contract that we would take USMLE no later than the third week in May but everyone else had plenty of time to prepare and review.

    Don't fixate on USMLE Step I before you have taken even your first set of exams in medical school. Be diligent and disciplined about mastering your coursework. When your courses are over, set a good review schedule and get your review done.
  15. WildTumor

    WildTumor Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2006

    My SDN name is WildTumor. Hence WT. :)
  16. GuzzyRon

    GuzzyRon Son of the Son of Man 10+ Year Member

    Thanks for your input :love:
  17. SanDiegoSOD

    SanDiegoSOD Milk was a bad choice 7+ Year Member

    Jul 5, 2004
    Sunny California
    I can't imagine First Aid being useful for first year, as it integrates physiology with pathology, micro with immuno, etc... not really things that first year curriculum lends itself to understanding.
  18. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    I did blow out the MCAT (13-15VR, 14PS, 13BS, T writing). I had the advantage however, of having been out of college for two years, so I had more time during the day to study than most college students.

    Again, take my advice with a grain of salt; many people would strongly disagree with me. And I suppose that if you are disciplined enough to actually do the reading you need to do out of your text books without "cheating" by focusing on the review books, what I'm saying may be moot. For myself, I knew I would overdo the review component because it is intellectually easier, so I made the conscious choice to avoid Kaplan, BRS, etc until it was time to study for Step 1.

    Good luck.
  19. 78222

    78222 Guest

    Sep 11, 2005
    well, I think it depends. I found the BRS Phys book by Costanza to be a useful supplement for M1 Phys. I found the same to be true of the Lippincotts biochem book (which may not be board review - I dont really remember). Anyhow, I've started second year now and I have found some of the review books to be excellent supplements for what we are learning in class. It also gives me some order in my studying so I know what to expect on the boards.
  20. bjackrian

    bjackrian Senior Member Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    One of the nice things about phys is that Costanza's big book correlates nicely with BRS since she wrote both, so you can learn in depth from the big one (still not that big, but very well written) and then review from BRS without feeling like you're learning everything all over again.
  21. LadyWolverine

    LadyWolverine 10+ Year Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Hiding in your closet
    Yes, I get it. But that wasn't my point. :)

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