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Prep for USMLE during first two years

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CRCprofessional

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Hi all,

I'm matriculating into a DO school in the fall. I plan on pursuing a ACMGE residency and taking the USMLE. Any advice on prep that I can do for Step 1 during my first two years? Sometimes I struggle with retaining information, so I'd like to prep while I'm learning the information instead of cramming the information in two months before I take the test.
 

Grey Wind

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the single best thing you can do during your first 2 years to prepare for USMLE is to study hard and do well in your classes. i did DIT for step 1 and studies etc for boards for about 1.5 months. i think all of that probably helped me answer 20% of the questions. the majority of the questions that i knew the answer to were things that i learned during the first 2 years and was able to tangentially answer based on that.

just study hard and focus on doing well in your classes, that will set you up with the base knowledge you need to do well on your steps. study courses and board books are designed to reinforce what you learned during your first 2 years. do yourself and favor and learn the material well.
 

NeuroLAX

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Hi all,

I'm matriculating into a DO school in the fall. I plan on pursuing a ACMGE residency and taking the USMLE. Any advice on prep that I can do for Step 1 during my first two years? Sometimes I struggle with retaining information, so I'd like to prep while I'm learning the information instead of cramming the information in two months before I take the test.

First Aid and Board Review Series (BRS) set. Some people in my class also do Firecracker/Gunner training, but I think that's overkill, at least for the first year. Remember you need to know the material presented to you in class, too. That's what you'll be tested on, so if you don't read your class materials then you can potentially fall into trouble and be SOL (not the space occupying lesion type, either).

Bottom line: Don't weigh yourself down with too many resources and KEEP UP!
 

laconfidential

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pass your first year, then worry about it.

I'm serious-even FA is a waste of time first year (and there's not nearly enough detail to make it worthwhile for you classes).

there are some books like BRS that are good to help you with coursework but again, you shouldn't be trying to do board prep your first year.
 

CRCprofessional

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I'm not talking about any kind-of intense prep... just a way to focus on the information that I need to retain and review for boards. Obviously, doing well in my classes are a must.

So don't even touch a prep book until my second year?
 

NeuroLAX

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I'm not talking about any kind-of intense prep... just a way to focus on the information that I need to retain and review for boards. Obviously, doing well in my classes are a must.

So don't even touch a prep book until my second year?

You should consider getting the Board Review Series. They're concise and aren't bogged down with too many details.
 

LUCPM

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If you're so inclined to prep for board during your first year, I would recommend two books:

BRS physiology Cases and Problems
Underground Clinical Vignettes Anatomy

Books such as FA are supposed to be 'review' books and will not be very helpful for your study, especially during your first year. As others said, just try to learn the first year materials as best as you can. Try to understand the concepts and build your knowledge based on what's clinically relevant. After all, you will be so busy trying to keep up and you won't have much time to do anything else. Best of luck.
 

pdxhopeful

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I'm just finishing up first year myself, but the comenters above are saying exactly what I've heard from the upper level students. Do your best first year, and you'll remember more than you think. And, you'll be exposed to things more than once. We've discussed what parts of the kidney produce what hormones twice already for example, once in first quarter histo and again in spring quarter physio. I'm sure we'll get it again next year when we discuss pathophys if there's over or underproduction of those hormones further, and yet again in pharm when we discuss any meds used to treat.
 

koan

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It depends too if your curriculum is systems-based or traditional, subject-based. BRS is great for getting a handle on individual subjects, while a book like Goljan Rapid Review Pathology can be very helpful to help summarize / review the pathology of each system as you go along.

I'm only finishing 2nd year, but if I could have done one thing differently from the beginning it would have been to preview pathology before our small group labs. It gets so hard to keep up that previewing anything can be tough, but I think path would yield the most benefit.
 

CRCprofessional

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My curriculum will be systems-based. I appreciate the feedback. It's good to have some idea of possible books to keep in mind. Thanks!
 

ctdawg103

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I'm a first year. Also thought about your question before starting. I think I would choose wisely how you memorize core concepts and do it in a way that will stick in long term memory, for example amino acids, renal stuff, cranial nerves, autoimmune stuff etc. so many things will come back up over and over and you don't want to have to re-memorize concepts you've already learned.
 

docnotsopc

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Buy a QBank (Kaplan or Rx) and do questions along side your systems (Ie you are taking your Biochem related course, do all the Biochem questions in the Qbank before your biochem exam). I didnt do this though, only found people in my class were doing this recently and had been since first year. They seem to really like it and usually the students at the top of the class (probably more of a motivational thing though). Also if you wanna be really gunner, each time you complete a system select old system questions as well so you keep seeing it over and over and it builds snowball effect (basically gunner training idea except real style questions

For your systems:
- read BRS Physiology for the physio of the system you are on
- do Pathoma related section for the basic pathology of that system (although you can find this online or from older students for free, its seriously such a good resource that its the one i recommend people pay for. Its $99 for a year i think......and worth every single penny, unlike other test preps)

I think those above resources will help you do well in your classes, however each school is different so you still have to learn their material. Its the biggest flaw in DO (and some MD) school curriculums with how inefficient it is since we memorize, regurgitate, and forget details AND never see them again since they aren't board relevant...... but thats the unfortunate game, good luck
 

survivordo

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It really depends how your curriculum is setup. When you start doing systems then I suggest you get a question bank (I used USMLERx since I didn't want to "taint" my knowledge of USMLE World questions) and do the questions along the way. This will help you in your school curriculum as well as help you develop a sense of what will be important for the boards.

Survivor DO
 
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