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Preparing for USMLE

Discussion in 'Step I' started by giznut12, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. giznut12

    giznut12 Senior Member
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    I am an osteopathic med student and have decided to take the USMLE. Can anyone give me advice on how I should prepare for the Biochemistry and Genetics (molecular biology) on the USMLE. I am rather weak in these areas since little time is devoted to these subjects (especially genetics) in DO schools. And how much of these subjects is actually on the USMLE in relation to the COMLEX.

    Thanks
     
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  3. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    I am mainly doing FA, doubly hard for these two. I will probably supplement Biochem with Goljans Rapid Review Biochem, which also has some genetics in it.
     
  4. giznut12

    giznut12 Senior Member
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    Thanks idiopathic. I was just a little worried about those topics. How much genetics and biochem do they usually ask? I would imagine most of the exam would still consist of path, physio, micro and pharm which all make up a significant portion of the comlex. Have you made up a study schedule yet? We are done with class next week and take the boards June 8.
     
  5. VentdependenT

    VentdependenT You didnt build thaT
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    Even if your school was weak in biochem/genetics don't sweat it. Why? Because no one remembers 90% of that stuff. I don't care who taught the class. The Biochem on the USMLE is covered adequately in first aid. At least I think so.

    If you don't understand a concept they are trying to convey then go ahead and whip out your Lippincots for about 10-20 min and get the main points down. I think I used HY biochem for a couple of concepts but that's about it. People seem to think that Goljan's stuff was a big help. Grab his book as above user suggested if you still feel worried.

    Start early so you don't stress yourself out and panic. You'll be fine.
     
  6. giznut12

    giznut12 Senior Member
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    Thanks Vent..you have been very helpful in helping me to make my decision to take both exams. I also called a few hospitals today and they informed me that if I am planning to apply to the more competitive specialities, it would be prudent to take the USMLE.

    Thanks again
     
  7. VentdependenT

    VentdependenT You didnt build thaT
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    My man! Way to see the light. Now go spread your knowledge to your classmates so they don't get upset come interview season. I gotta go beat this level in Far Cry...man 4th year rocks.
     
  8. giznut12

    giznut12 Senior Member
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    What score should I shoot for to be competitive? I was thinking of going into ortho or anesthesiology, but not sure. I guess I'll see what speciality I like best on rotations.
     
  9. VentdependenT

    VentdependenT You didnt build thaT
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    >215 for Gas to be competitive. >225 will get your foot in the door just about everywhere. You can definitely match with a lower score though (205-210). Just do a ton of interviews in this case.

    For Ortho I'm really not the best source. I would imagine >230 to get your foot in the door. This score won't mean without some strong letters (NIH stuff, big wigs) and a couple of good ortho rotations under your belt. One to learn, one to audition.
     
  10. giznut12

    giznut12 Senior Member
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    Hey Idiopathic, what resourses are you using for the usmle. I am planning on using FA along with brs path and physio and probably Qbank. I think that it will probably more productive to do more ?'s than anything.
     
  11. giznut12

    giznut12 Senior Member
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    I was also wondering which test I should take first. comlex or usmle. I am sure Vent can answer this one.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  12. Molly Maquire

    Molly Maquire Senior Member
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    HI,

    There are many posts on this board discussing what books most people use for USMLE--you can just do a search. I think the general consensus is the High Yield books for anatomy, neuro, and embryo, BRS for path and physio, and Micro Made Simple for micro.

    Regarding Biochem and molecular bio, many people say use the Lippencott book. I disagree with this, as I found this book too dense and detailed for boards review. I also didn't really like High Yield biochem, I thought it was too "bare bones." If you can get your hands on the Kaplan Biochem book, I thought this was an ideal balance.

    The good news is that Biochem is not really covered on COMLEX, and is not even a big part of the USMLE. I would not worry about memorizing details and reactions and obsure diseases. Stick to big concepts and control points of reaction pathways. In truth, First Aid would have been fine for biochem on USMLE. There were some questions that required you to interpret results of experiements--these are difficult to study for, you just have to know the concepts.

    This is also true of the exam in general. A mistake I made was in trying to memorize all sorts of tiny details--the USMLE focuses more on concepts and how to apply them. I didn't really have any questions on obsure diseases--just stick to the basics.

    I think the best source for USMLE is Q-Bank. Try to do as many questions as you can. The interface is exactly like the real thing, and many of the questions were so much like the real test it was scary. Many people say that the questions on Q-Bank are more nit-picky than the test, and this is true, but many of the questions are right on.

    Regarding when to take each exam, that depends on your schedule. Most people try to take the USMLE a week or two after the COMLEX. If I had it to do over again, this is what I would have done. I felt too burnt out, so I postponed USMLE until middle of third year.
     
  13. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    Since COMLEX is the one I have to pass to graduate, I am taking it first, and then USMLE (since it is the one I want to rock) about 10 days later. I am doing about half questions and half book review currently. I feel that doing 25 Q-Bank questions and using each one as a focus of study kills about 90 minutes and I learn a lot of detail.
     

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