MilkmanAl

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It just occurred to me that studying for the path shelf is going to be really difficult since there's no way in hell I can get through any of the decent sources in the 2 days I have to prepare. I'm thinking I'll just read the RR margin notes and then do WebPath questions with whatever time I have left. Does that sound reasonable? I might read that little 15-page FA section, too.
 
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Yea I would also like to know since I only have a few days to study for this also
 

Guile

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As with most other things, Goljan's RR is your friend. Those margin notes are money and Webpath is very solid. Sounds like a plan.
 

Scottish Chap

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Yea I would also like to know since I only have a few days to study for this also
I took it three years ago. I won't lie to you. It's a tough one. Lots of microbiology etc. Best sources I recommend are BRS Pathology and
Robbins Review of Pathology Question book (I used the latter for 1.5 days and the former for 0.5 days) and scored very well and I'm a pretty average test taker. Just be careful and avoid posting specific questions you may see in this exam on SDN (against the rules of NBME). An incompetent administrator at my medical school erroneously cried foul after I directed fellow classmates to SDN to read what past test taker said to use as study aids (that person is now gone, thankfully). Good luck!
 

coldweatherblue

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same deal here, I have two days to study for the path shelf. I'm planning on making it through BRS Path and hopefully robbins review of path (as mentioned above) since that's what I've used to study along with in-house. By then I should be done with 1 pass through USMLE World on tutor mode as well as 2 times through FA.. so hope that counts for something as well lol.
 

MilkmanAl

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I discovered that the NBME can't actually change my grade, so I think I'm just going to let it slide in favor of the behavioral science one which is 36%(?!) of our grade. I'll still hit some UWorld questions and had already read all the margin notes before crunching the grade numbers, so it's not like I'm totally blowing it off - just mostly. :p

We'll see how it goes.
 

FutureDoc4

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Shelfs.... I've decided I hate you... I have both Path and Behavioral Science next week.....and I cannot get through all the material before, blah...

There is no point to this post. Just venting.:)
 

MilkmanAl

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Don't feel bad. My original schedule was to have pharm this past Monday, path yesterday, micro Monday, BS Wed, and ICM Fri. Our dean decided it'd be cool to not mention the fact that the path and micro shelf times had been switched back in October, so all of us wasted a day and a half of micro studying on path. Anyway, 3 shelf exams in 5 days=suck.
 

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Totally not pertaining to the shelf exam question...How do you guys study for path? What books would you recommend?? In our school, path is a wash out course and I'd like to start strong to survive the storm.

Your advices are very much appreciated.

Good luck to the shelf takers!
 

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Took the Path exam a few days ago, & like you guys & had only a few days to study. I originally planned to use Goljan, but their is no way in hell I could get through the book in 2 days, so instead I used BRS, and after each chapter did questions on Qbank. Barely enough time to get done with every chapter once through, that's with skipping the chapters we most recently covered in our lectures. But it worked out ok, ended up getting 87th percentile, so I guess BRS isn't a bad way to go!
 

coldweatherblue

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How would you rate the difficulty of shelf questions compared with BRS and Qbank?

I'm half-way through BRS Path for the first time and I'm not a path superstar or anything but the review questions they have are ridiculously easy.. classic presentations and associations. Like BRS actually tells you that a patient with respiratory problems and red cell casts is positive for p-ANCA, with one of the answer choices being Wegener's, whereas UWorld would just give the history (no p-ANCA) and the answer choices would be something like, "what histological feature is likely in this patient's kidneys?" etc. Waaay more difficult. I'm guessing the shelf is somewhere in the middle, right?
 

Guile

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The difficult of the shelf is somewhere in the middle, you're right. But leaning closer towards UWorld questions.
 

Concubine

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How would you rate the difficulty of shelf questions compared with BRS and Qbank?

I'm half-way through BRS Path for the first time and I'm not a path superstar or anything but the review questions they have are ridiculously easy.. classic presentations and associations. Like BRS actually tells you that a patient with respiratory problems and red cell casts is positive for p-ANCA, with one of the answer choices being Wegener's, whereas UWorld would just give the history (no p-ANCA) and the answer choices would be something like, "what histological feature is likely in this patient's kidneys?" etc. Waaay more difficult. I'm guessing the shelf is somewhere in the middle, right?
The review questions in BRS are a bit easy, especially when you do them right after reviewing the chapter...I mean half the distractors are things that aren't related to the chapter you just read and can be easily eliminated. I thought Q bank questions were about equal, maybe a bit harder.
 
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So is BRS enough to do well on the shelf or does it need to be supplemented with Goljan or baby robbins?
I have the shelf in a little over a week, and with other exams to focus on in the meantime, I won't have much time dedicated to it (2 days).
 

Guile

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So is BRS enough to do well on the shelf or does it need to be supplemented with Goljan or baby robbins?
I have the shelf in a little over a week, and with other exams to focus on in the meantime, I won't have much time dedicated to it (2 days).
I think knowing one resource well will prepare you the best. Pick one and focus on it. Two days isn't enough time to cover more than one. It's probably not enough to get through BRS Path or RR Path even if you're moving at a fast clip.
 

MilkmanAl

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Well, I took it today, and it really wasn't that bad. It's nowhere near as difficult as UWorld, but it's definitely tougher than most of the BRS questions I read. I'd say the average difficulty is maybe 1/3 of the way from BRS to UWorld. I don't think I did all that well, but it was obvious that most of the questions were straightforward.

I'd recommend Goljan for review, but whatever you do, stick with one source, as Guile said.
 

FutureDoc4

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For people who took it, did you feel rushed on time? This is def a concern I have with that many questions
 

MilkmanAl

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I didn't, but I tend to take tests really fast. My roommates were both fairly pressured for time, and one of them had 45 questions left at the half-hour remaining mark. I had 2 questions left at the same mark, so I left shortly afterward. For comparison's sake, I finished the phys NBME with about 15 minutes left and felt like I was hurried and the pharm NBME with more than an hour left. If you've taken those, that should give you a bit of a gauge on how long it'll take you. The vignettes were definitely pretty long, and there weren't many questions with less than 6-7 lines of text. If you're a slow reader, you'll likely have to use some shortcut strategies to get through it (e.g., read the last sentence or two before starting the question or scan the labs for an idea what might be wrong).
 

Doctor Brown

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I didn't, but I tend to take tests really fast. My roommates were both fairly pressured for time, and one of them had 45 questions left at the half-hour remaining mark. I had 2 questions left at the same mark, so I left shortly afterward. For comparison's sake, I finished the phys NBME with about 15 minutes left and felt like I was hurried and the pharm NBME with more than an hour left. If you've taken those, that should give you a bit of a gauge on how long it'll take you. The vignettes were definitely pretty long, and there weren't many questions with less than 6-7 lines of text. If you're a slow reader, you'll likely have to use some shortcut strategies to get through it (e.g., read the last sentence or two before starting the question or scan the labs for an idea what might be wrong).
What was your estimate of the number of questions associated with pictures on the exam?
 
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Thanks for your help Milkman. I've done almost all the robbins qbook questions in the last month as practice. Is there any point in reading the answers again (not doing the questions) instead of doing BRS?
 

MilkmanAl

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If you've already done all of that, I think I'd just go read the margin notes in Goljan to remind yourself of key details. You might browse the tables, too, but that'll add quite a lot of time. I guess it just depends on how much time you have before the exam.
 
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I'm really sorry about what may very well be the dumbest question to you guys, but what is a shelf exam? and what's NBME?
 
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I'm really sorry about what may very well be the dumbest question to you guys, but what is a shelf exam? and what's NBME?
The NBME is the National Board of Medical Examiners. It is the organization that produces and grades the board exams and the shelf exams.

Regarding the shelf exams, I'm taking two next week and i'm not even completely sure (kind of sad, I know) but here's my understanding:
they are cumulative exams released each year composed of board styled questions (they may even be retired from actual board exams) specific to each basic science or clinical subject (for the clinical shelfs). Each exam has 125 questions. I believe that they are standardized although I am not 100% sure of that.

Hope this helps.
 

MilkmanAl

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Yep, that's all correct, from my understanding. I'm told they are, in fact, retired Step 1 questions, and the exams are scored on a standard scale with 500 being the mean and 100 the standard deviation. All exams have 125 questions, and some have additional blocks of 25 questions that your school may or may not have you do. For example, the anatomy NBME has 25 embryo questions stuck on the end, micro has immunology, and phys has neurophys.
 

Guile

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So you take shelf exams during both pre-clinical and clinical years? Or just clinical?
Some schools give shelf exams only for clinical years and others for both. Exams are available for both pre-clinical and clinical years. You'll have to check with your school (or prospective school). That would probably be a good question to ask on interview day.
 

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a lot of Occam's razor type stuff. after doing the usmle world questions, you go in thinking about the cases like House. it took me a little while to realize to keep it simple, and stop over-thinking every word.
 

Guile

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a lot of Occam's razor type stuff. after doing the usmle world questions, you go in thinking about the cases like House. it took me a little while to realize to keep it simple, and stop over-thinking every word.
Much better than the other way around. USMLEWorld is the way to go.
 

DrBowtie

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I thought it was ridic tough. Lots of pathophys and Micro tied in that we didn't cover. Didn't have time to read Goljan during classes, but I definitely know where I need to dedicate the bulk of the time for Step 1. Conversely as to what was said above, I thought UWORLD questions were easier than those today.
 

Guile

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Lots of pathophys and Micro tied in that we didn't cover.
Welcome to your Step 1 experience. It's path + pathophys + micro + pharm tied together (chose two or more of the above) with some random biochem and anatomy questions thrown in for good measure.
 

BigRedder

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I had three days, and I skimmed Goljan with the audio at 1.8x, pausing occasionally. Every chapter of Goljan has testable material, including nutrition, environmental, and genetics. Just because you didn't learn it in Path doesn't mean it isn't fair game. I have Kaplan Qbank and found those questions to be quite helpful. I probably only really studied like 8 hours a day, and I still got in the 80s.
 

Ableton

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I thought it was ridic tough. Lots of pathophys and Micro tied in that we didn't cover. Didn't have time to read Goljan during classes, but I definitely know where I need to dedicate the bulk of the time for Step 1. Conversely as to what was said above, I thought UWORLD questions were easier than those today.
Yup. I didn't have the time to get through all of Goljan before our path shelf and often found myself contemplating the switch to BRS path to save time. Even though I wasn't able to look at about 6 chapters in Goljan, I'm glad I didn't switch. I wound up knowing the answers to a lot more questions than I would have had I gone through BRS in its entirety.

My only hope now is to get through Goljan once more before step 1 (not an easy task).
 

FutureDoc4

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People who have gotten their scores back ... how is it reported to you? The percent you got correct? Or just your percentile? Still waiting on my results, blah
 

MilkmanAl

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You get this little 2-page report that shows you error bars on how you're doing with regard to "borderline performance," which I presume means passing Step 1. There's also a conversion table for your score which is a 2-digit number that is neither percent nor percentile. It sure would be nice if there was at least a little clarity in how these exams were graded. Ditto that for the MCAT.
These aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along.
 
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FutureDoc4

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You get this little 2-page report that shows you error bars on how you're doing with regard to "borderline performance," which I presume means passing Step 1. There's also a conversion table for your score which is a 2-digit number that is neither percent nor percentile. It sure would be nice if there was at least a little clarity in how these exams were graded. Ditto that for the MCAT.

Wow, that seems super annoying... no percent correct or percentile. Blah
 

BigRedder

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They posted a percentage for us on Blackboard, though I'm not sure whether it is really a raw score. They also gave us a curve which shows a national percentile based on that percentage. I get the feeling schools can do whatever they want with the raw data.
 

rem6775

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Wow, that seems super annoying... no percent correct or percentile. Blah
This really shouldn't be hard for you to figure out (or you should start revisiting biostats). The mean is 500. The standard deviation is 100. If you got a 500, you're 50th percentile; 600, 84th percentile; 700, 97.5 percentile, etc.
 

FutureDoc4

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Well, considering I didn't get my score yet... kind of tough for me to figure out the stats... just asking how it comes...didn't know the mean was 500 or that the STD is 100.... this is the first shelf I took at our school.
 

MilkmanAl

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This really shouldn't be hard for you to figure out (or you should start revisiting biostats). The mean is 500. The standard deviation is 100. If you got a 500, you're 50th percentile; 600, 84th percentile; 700, 97.5 percentile, etc.
It's actually not scored like the NBME subject exams. The 2-digit score is all you get, and it's not on the same scale as Step 1. For example, I got a 67 which, according to the table they give you, projects to a 192 or 193, whereas a 188 on Step 1 is defined as a 75. Like I said, a little clarity would be wonderful. Wait, WTF am I talking about? My studying-fried brain somehow thought we were discussing the CBSE...in the path NBME thread I created. Dear God, Step 1 is going to destroy me. Okay...let's try this again:

Your score isn't reported to you at all. It's sent back to the school, and - for us, anyway - our course directors just send an email out stating all the fun statistical mumbo-jumbo and then post our grades on Blackboard. You can use the stuff rem mentioned to find your percentile. Rough guidleines for score/percentile:

300/2nd
400/16th
500/50th
600/84th
700/98th
 
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me is also in the same boat..can someone tell me how to get Goljan audio..
 

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Just curious, how many percentage do you know you got right? In the past, when I took basic science shelf exams, all I got was I got 600 or 700, but never how many percentage overall, or whatever.
In general, how many percent right = 600 or 700 or whatever
 

Mr Cookie Pants

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Just curious, how many percentage do you know you got right? In the past, when I took basic science shelf exams, all I got was I got 600 or 700, but never how many percentage overall, or whatever.
In general, how many percent right = 600 or 700 or whatever
If you're actually smart enough to get a 700, you know how it works. Same as the MCAT. It's a standardized test, folks.
 

Ableton

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If you're actually smart enough to get a 700, you know how it works. Same as the MCAT. It's a standardized test, folks.
That doesn't mean you know your raw score on the exam. You'd be able to calculate your percentile using those numbers, but I'm pretty sure the two-digit score you get isn't the percentage of questions you answered correctly (unless I'm wrong, the national average is set to 75).
 

MilkmanAl

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I think he's saying that you won't know your raw score unless they give it to you because it changes by exam. The only class I've seen my raw score for was biochem, and I honestly have no idea what it was.
 

Guile

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Just curious, how many percentage do you know you got right? In the past, when I took basic science shelf exams, all I got was I got 600 or 700, but never how many percentage overall, or whatever.
In general, how many percent right = 600 or 700 or whatever
No one knows how percentage correct correlates with raw score except the NBME.
 
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How long does it usually take to get scores back? I took it early last week and I was hoping I'd know this week.
 

MilkmanAl

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It has taken a little over a week for us to get our scores this year. If your school is on top of things, you should hear today or tomorrow, probably.
 

Mr Cookie Pants

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It has taken a little over a week for us to get our scores this year. If your school is on top of things, you should hear today or tomorrow, probably.
Ours were published via our schools website yesterday (5/19). We took it 5/7 (a Friday). Pharm was from Monday 5/3 to Wednesday 5/12.
 
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There is no way to estimate your percentile based on your three digit score. You must get that information from your professors who I assume have some sort of look up table. What I am trying to say is, you cannot say that the mean is 500 and SD is 100.
(i.e. in pharm this year 860 = 96th percentile).

If you get a 3 digit score, ask your prof for your percentile. Percentage correct isn't released.