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silas2642

silas2642
10+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2005
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Hi,

I am a newbie to this forum. I have been struggling with this step 3 for a couple of years now. The first time I took it I got a horrible score. I did not study well & I took it lightly (#2 pencil kinda thing). The second time around, did most UW and all of crush, plus cases from FA and got a much better score but still failed. I did average to above average on all of the categories except for musculoskeletal which was below average. This time around (got my score today), I did all of the UW (2x), cases from FA & UW & got a score that is worse than the first time around. Practically I did terrible in most of the categories except for maybe four. I was stunned as I thought I studied the most this time around. I want to turn around & take this step in about 8-10 weeks. What advice can you guys give me to attack this thing once & for all ? Do I read review books, go over premier notes, or just do more Q&A ? I thought of adding Qbook, Qbank, & maybe another source of questions, along with UW. I am very frustrated at this point and in need of much supportive advice. I would appreciate any & all recommendations.

How many times did it take you to pass step I and II? I guess I'm asking you this because in some states to practice, you can only take the steps so many times, and this could affect you... you also might want to ask to have this post this in the residency forum instead as you might get more responses there.
 

lostmyway

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Jan 21, 2009
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It turns out I am in the same boat as the original poster from the quoted post in silas2642's reply. I have completed my intern year, and am taking time off to pass boards.

Just got my second score results today. 183/73. First attempt in October was 184/73. I am trying to stay positive, and could use any helpful and supportive advice.

During my first time studying, I used UW (~50% correct all questions), some FA, Crush3 x1, and NBME (450). This most recent time, I used FA x1, some Crush, Usmle123 (thought MCQs were horrible, 45-50% on 800+ questions), and reviewed my UW notes. Also took the NBME again 2 weeks before the exam and got a 380. During both times, I used the CCS cd and FA CCS. I also referenced Step 2 Secrets, and Deja Review: USMLE Step 2.

The way I attack the questions is thus. I cover up the answer choices and read the question first. If I think I can answer it, I go through the answers. More often than not, I have to read the stem for more information. Then, I make a quick prediction of what the answer should be, and look through the answers to match my prediction. If nothing matches, I systematically eliminate answer choices from top-down in groups of 3.

My CCS results bar starts at the left of the borderline performance column and extends completely to the right. It is one of my better score ranges. A lot of score ranges are on the lower performance side, but extend into and completely through the borderline area. My poorest areas are Urgent Care, History/Physical/Diagnostic Studies, Office/Health Center, Respiratory, and Female Reproductive. History/Physical/Diagnostic Studies and Respiratory were also low on my first attempt too, even though I focused on these and other weak areas during my second preparation.

And yes, I have historically had trouble with Steps 1 and 2 CK. Had to take Step 1 twice, and Step 2 in total three times. Passed CS on first time. I am a US citizen, AMG, and my MCAT was upper 20s (27-28 I think).

I am trying to remain upbeat and positive, but it is hard. I am starting to wonder if I have a lesser known learning disability (i.e. reading comprehension problem) as I tend to not have enough time to answer all questions without feeling rushed. But is there really a test that can make that diagnosis? I just don't know anymore. With each challenge, more doubt arises. Deep down, I am going to give Step 3 one more shot. If not, I don't know what is going to happen. Any and all responses (positive and even negative) appreciated.
 

promethius

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I would try using another review book. The STEP exams are comprehensive and build on each other, so unfortunately, not doing well on prior exams usually means not doing well on later ones. Of course, there are exceptions to this generalization.

Sounds like you have problems with the multiple choice portion and not the CCS portion. I would not spend any more time preparing for the CCS, especially since the majority of the STEP 3 score is probably based on the multiple choice sections rather than the CCS anyways. If you enjoy the format of the First Aid series, I would use First Aid for STEP 2 CK to prepare for this exam. Personally, I found First Aid for STEP 3 to be not comprehensive enough to prepare for STEP 3.

You are so close to passing this exam. Taking these kinds of exams has a mental aspect to it. You need to overcome any mental blocks you have about not being able to pass if you are to succeed. It is easier said than done, but I believe with extra preparation and some mental fortitude, you will be able to pass this exam the next time you take it. Best wishes.
 

AnesNavy

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Sep 23, 2008
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I agree with the above post. After failing a test, it does something to you mentally. I know first hand, because I've experienced it. What worked for me is having confidence and believing I would succeed + prayer. With God, all is possible. Good luck. :xf:
 

winner123

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It turns out I am in the same boat as the original poster from the quoted post in silas2642's reply. I have completed my intern year, and am taking time off to pass boards.

Just got my second score results today. 183/73. First attempt in October was 184/73. I am trying to stay positive, and could use any helpful and supportive advice.

During my first time studying, I used UW (~50% correct all questions), some FA, Crush3 x1, and NBME (450). This most recent time, I used FA x1, some Crush, Usmle123 (thought MCQs were horrible, 45-50% on 800+ questions), and reviewed my UW notes. Also took the NBME again 2 weeks before the exam and got a 380. During both times, I used the CCS cd and FA CCS. I also referenced Step 2 Secrets, and Deja Review: USMLE Step 2.

The way I attack the questions is thus. I cover up the answer choices and read the question first. If I think I can answer it, I go through the answers. More often than not, I have to read the stem for more information. Then, I make a quick prediction of what the answer should be, and look through the answers to match my prediction. If nothing matches, I systematically eliminate answer choices from top-down in groups of 3.

My CCS results bar starts at the left of the borderline performance column and extends completely to the right. It is one of my better score ranges. A lot of score ranges are on the lower performance side, but extend into and completely through the borderline area. My poorest areas are Urgent Care, History/Physical/Diagnostic Studies, Office/Health Center, Respiratory, and Female Reproductive. History/Physical/Diagnostic Studies and Respiratory were also low on my first attempt too, even though I focused on these and other weak areas during my second preparation.

And yes, I have historically had trouble with Steps 1 and 2 CK. Had to take Step 1 twice, and Step 2 in total three times. Passed CS on first time. I am a US citizen, AMG, and my MCAT was upper 20s (27-28 I think).

I am trying to remain upbeat and positive, but it is hard. I am starting to wonder if I have a lesser known learning disability (i.e. reading comprehension problem) as I tend to not have enough time to answer all questions without feeling rushed. But is there really a test that can make that diagnosis? I just don't know anymore. With each challenge, more doubt arises. Deep down, I am going to give Step 3 one more shot. If not, I don't know what is going to happen. Any and all responses (positive and even negative) appreciated.
I think if you use the following resources,it will be very helpful.

1.Premiere Review course(Three Readings)
2.U World MCQ's(Score>57%,Timed)
3.Kaplan MCQ's(Score>57%,Timed)
4.U world CCS/FA CCS/CCS Workshop(online)(Two Times each)
5.USMLE Step-3 Triage/CrushStep-3(Two readings).

Good Luck.
 

lostmyway

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Jan 21, 2009
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promethius - thanks for the words of encouragement.

anesnavy - ironically, during these tough times i've had with step examinations, i do find that i tend to focus on god/religion more. there's a calming effect, and i know that one day i will pass this test. i do hope that my religion and faith are able to guide me through this. i guess that's all that i can ask...

winner123 - i acquired an old copy of premier review notes from 2007. i am going through them, while still continuing to use FA, Crush3, some B&W, and Step2 Secrets. i've also enrolled in Kaplan's qbank, and plan to go through my old UW question logs and CCS (which i did not use last time). my goals are to complete the new materials at least once, but hopefully 1-2 times.

i came across archer's (dr. red's) ccs workshop. i am considering that also, but since i did "relatively" okay in ccs, i'm hoping that the UW cases will help more.
 

winner123

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promethius - thanks for the words of encouragement.

anesnavy - ironically, during these tough times i've had with step examinations, i do find that i tend to focus on god/religion more. there's a calming effect, and i know that one day i will pass this test. i do hope that my religion and faith are able to guide me through this. i guess that's all that i can ask...

winner123 - i acquired an old copy of premier review notes from 2007. i am going through them, while still continuing to use FA, Crush3, some B&W, and Step2 Secrets. i've also enrolled in Kaplan's qbank, and plan to go through my old UW question logs and CCS (which i did not use last time). my goals are to complete the new materials at least once, but hopefully 1-2 times.

i came across archer's (dr. red's) ccs workshop. i am considering that also, but since i did "relatively" okay in ccs, i'm hoping that the UW cases will help more.
It is better to get the latest premiere review notes of 2008.I think so many books like B&W,step2 secrets are not needed at all.I think Crush Step-3 and Step-3 Triage are enough.

Do not overburden yourself.Use less but efficient stuff.

Good luck.
 
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