clement

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OK. Let me preface this by acknowledging that my attention span is substantially shorter than that of the average individual (though I've never been diagnosed or anything).
Anyhow, my question is this:
Do most Step 1 takers take the exam in a room sitting adjacent to or across from people that are taking exams requiring typing rather than clicking (i.e. certification exams or whatever the heck else exams people take at Prometric)? I found that to be extremely annoying (even with the "soundproof" headphones). Seems like a logistic issue that the Prometric people haven't really thought about. Anyone else? I didn't bother to bring it up during my breaks because they didn't strike me as being the most flexible people, but now I'm thinking I should have said something.
 

metallo

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OK. Let me preface this by acknowledging that my attention span is substantially shorter than that of the average individual (though I've never been diagnosed or anything).
Anyhow, my question is this:
Do most Step 1 takers take the exam in a room sitting adjacent to or across from people that are taking exams requiring typing rather than clicking (i.e. certification exams or whatever the heck else exams people take at Prometric)? I found that to be extremely annoying (even with the "soundproof" headphones). Seems like a logistic issue that the Prometric people haven't really thought about. Anyone else? I didn't bother to bring it up during my breaks because they didn't strike me as being the most flexible people, but now I'm thinking I should have said something.
I would say, yes, it's a problem most people face. However, the Prometric center where I took my exam had keyboards that didn't make much noise. I knew other people were typing, but the sound was so soft that I didn't even really think about it during my exam.

Even if you had said something, I don't think they would have done anything. They probably can't relocate you to a different computer once you've started your exam, and I'm not sure what else they could do. No matter what day you take it, chances are that there will be someone taking an exam other than the USMLE.
 

FictionalGirl

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The bad thing is that the testing conditions are never optimal. They have a standard screen refresh rate that isn't the highest setting, so you already start with a headache (thanks nbme) and on top of that, no matter where you are, there's something annoying. Some people are stuck next to the door with everybody constantly going in and out (happened to a friend of mine who did say something, and got laughed at) some people (me!) are sandwiched between rocking to self-sooth for 8 hours in a squeaky chair guy, and Dr. bad cologne. I wore earplugs AND the 20 lb. aviator headphones and still heard him squeak-a squeak-a.... i was two squeaks away from justifiable homicide,
but then, the soothing scent of Draak Noir wafted in my general direction. *chuckle* there is no such thing as a good testing situation for something like this.:p
 

ENThopeful

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I was so focused I didn't even notice. The center could have burned down and I wouldn't have even known. I did look over a 2-3 times cause the proctors were talking a bit loud, but for most of the time, it goes by so fast and you are so busy taking the test that nothing else exists.
 

ENThopeful

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I was so focused I didn't even notice. The center could have burned down and I wouldn't have even known. I did look over a 2-3 times cause the proctors were talking a bit loud, but for most of the time, it goes by so fast and you are so busy taking the test that nothing else exists.
 

Boner

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There was road construction going on right outside the window of the testing center when I took the COMLEX. About every 30 mins, some big machine would start pounding on what sounded like metal spikes. After about the second time around, I got used to it, but it was still annoying as hell. Luckily, the testing center ladies were nice enough to provide earplugs for us, rather than the crappy orange headphones.
 

fergustsi

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OK. Let me preface this by acknowledging that my attention span is substantially shorter than that of the average individual (though I've never been diagnosed or anything).
Anyhow, my question is this:
Do most Step 1 takers take the exam in a room sitting adjacent to or across from people that are taking exams requiring typing rather than clicking (i.e. certification exams or whatever the heck else exams people take at Prometric)? I found that to be extremely annoying (even with the "soundproof" headphones). Seems like a logistic issue that the Prometric people haven't really thought about. Anyone else? I didn't bother to bring it up during my breaks because they didn't strike me as being the most flexible people, but now I'm thinking I should have said something.

every 10 or 15 minutes a "proctor" would walk in to the room and walk right behind me to insert a key and turn a switch in something. i didnt wear headphones and i thought that was annoying. when i took my comlex at 8am, they put all comlexers in one room together at 8 am so it was dead quiet. i heard though that once i left others were let in and they were clicking and typing. i heard the same was true for the usmle but mine started at 12, others at 8, so i had a different experience. when i was halfway through, i was the only usmle person left and it seemd like half the room was typing. it was a little annoying, but as was said above, you get used to it and if youre focused in, it seems to fade away.
 

Deferoxamine

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Yeah this was frustrating for about 5-10 minutes on my test day as well. The girl next to me who was probably taking the MCAT, and looked not a day older than 12 years-old, was typing her stupid MCAT essay like a cheerleader on crack-cocaine.

I lucked out because I had brought an extra shove-into-your-ears set of earplugs. I put them in, then put the red headphones over them. Problem solved.
 
OP
clement

clement

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whoaaa yoooo,
so you guys, fiction and deferox, wore earplugs? isn't that *not* allowed?
i thought about it but figured it was a no-no and i'd get busted, banished, beheaded, etc.
 

rahulb

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i brought my own in-ear earplugs too. an airplane could have crashed into the building and i wouldn't have heard it.
 

SeminoleFan3

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I brought my own earplugs as well, as the directions said you could. I definitely needed them to block out the noise.
 

a winner is you

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Some black girl sitting next to me was typing away on the loudest keyboard I've ever heard. Luckily, it was only during one section.
 
Last edited:

Disinence2

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Once you get in the zone you forget about all the distractions. The typing gets annoying but I found that most of the people taking exams that required it were in and out pretty quick.

I used no head phones and was fine. I think its all about your center and degree of bad luck.
 

ENThopeful

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Once you get in the zone you forget about all the distractions. The typing gets annoying but I found that most of the people taking exams that required it were in and out pretty quick.

I used no head phones and was fine. I think its all about your center and degree of bad luck.
yea really this is how my experience was. I wouldnt worry too much about it.. I mean if typing gets to you normally by all means go the extra mile, but really the head phones they provide + the in ear orange ear plugs they provide is more than enough. that added with the intense focus, i mean my test went by so fast I can barely remember it... i was ultra in the zone. I remember thinking when the hell is this going to be over for the mcat (the 8 hour paper one) but something about step 1 just made everything dissappear.
 

alwaysaangel

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whoaaa yoooo,
so you guys, fiction and deferox, wore earplugs? isn't that *not* allowed?
i thought about it but figured it was a no-no and i'd get busted, banished, beheaded, etc.
According to the NBME website bringing your own in ear-ear plugs is allowed, although many centers provide them for you.

A friend of mine was taking his exam at a very nasty prometric where they said ear plugs were not allowed. The guy called NBME and spoke with the woman in charge of rules and irregularities. She told him bring the earplugs where them and just let the lady at prometric write him up if she wanted to - it would be ignored by NBME.




As far as test conditions, I was under the A/C vent and froze the whole day. But like others have said - no testing condition is perfect. Thats life. No working condition is perfect, you don't get to sit in complete silence and think as a doctor. The sooner you learn to focus despite extraneous noises the better off you'll be.