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Step 1 on Tuesday, feeling like I failed

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gimv

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I took the exam last Tuesday (5/16), and I walked out of it in a semi-decent shape, feeling somewhat confidence I had at least passed. As days go by, I keep remembering questions and I can't stop myself from looking them up. So far I have about 12 incorrect answers (only from the few I remember) and I feel like they're actually so many more. I'm gradually starting to feel more and more anxious, as many questions were weird, ambigous and I have absolutely no clue what to do.

My stats weren't bad:

NBME 18: 240
UWSA 1: 251
NBME 19: 217 (what? Huge drop, horrible curve)
FREE 120: aprox 87%, don't remember
UWSA 2: 244

I can't be the exception, right? all my diagnostic tests can't have failed me. I WANT to believe I did a good job, but what if?

It's at least 3 more weeks til my score and my anxiety is thru the roof. Is anyone receiving their score in time after 4/24? I'm all over the place, this is madness.
 

TheOther

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I feel you. Sat for it 5/8 and the wait is miserable. Luckily a lot of life stuff post-exam has kept me insanely busy so I haven't had much time to dwell on possible mistakes. The wait is terrible though.
 

datSattar

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I took the exam last Tuesday (5/16), and I walked out of it in a semi-decent shape, feeling somewhat confidence I had at least passed. As days go by, I keep remembering questions and I can't stop myself from looking them up. So far I have about 12 incorrect answers (only from the few I remember) and I feel like they're actually so many more. I'm gradually starting to feel more and more anxious, as many questions were weird, ambigous and I have absolutely no clue what to do.

My stats weren't bad:

NBME 18: 240
UWSA 1: 251
NBME 19: 217 (what? Huge drop, horrible curve)
FREE 120: aprox 87%, don't remember
UWSA 2: 244

I can't be the exception, right? all my diagnostic tests can't have failed me. I WANT to believe I did a good job, but what if?

It's at least 3 more weeks til my score and my anxiety is thru the roof. Is anyone receiving their score in time after 4/24? I'm all over the place, this is madness.


I took it the same day as you, and have the same exact feelings. My NMBE/UWorlds ranged from 230-240 (with the exception of NBME 19 - 221). Praying that it all turns out just fine.
 
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ActinicKeratosis

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You hear this story again and again on SDN. I took this test last year. My practice exams were in the high 240's to low 250's. In the days following taking the exam I would slowly recall all of the stupid mistakes that I made. It drove me absolutely crazy. I convinced myself that I was going to score in the 220's. Three Wednesdays later I look at my score report and got a 250+. Go out and enjoy yourself. You most likely did better than you think.
 
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ActinicKeratosis

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I made a list of all the mistakes that I could remember. As the days wore on my list grew to include about 20 questions. Half of those were stupid stuff as well. Like forgetting that acanthosis nigricans is related to diabetes...really basic. It drove me nuts. Of course those were just the ones that I remembered. I'm sure I got many more wrong. You can generally afford to make a lot of really silly mistakes and still get a respectable score. Trust your prep. If you studied hard, put in the work, and gave it your all on test day chances are you will score right on par with your NBME average. I scored on the upper end of my NBME average. Walking out of the testing center I was convinced that I was going to get a mediocre score. The students who get into trouble are those who either don't put in the work, take the test when not ready, or go into panic mode on test day.
 
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yankees527

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I made a list of all the mistakes that I could remember. As the days wore on my list grew to include about 20 questions. Half of those were stupid stuff as well. Like forgetting that acanthosis nigricans is related to diabetes...really basic. It drove me nuts. Of course those were just the ones that I remembered. I'm sure I got many more wrong. You can generally afford to make a lot of really silly mistakes and still get a respectable score. Trust your prep. If you studied hard, put in the work, and gave it your all on test day chances are you will score right on par with your NBME average. I scored on the upper end of my NBME average. Walking out of the testing center I was convinced that I was going to get a mediocre score. The students who get into trouble are those who either don't put in the work, take the test when not ready, or go into panic mode on test day.
Thanks, although you took it when there was over 300 questions, theres definitely less wiggle room now with 280
 
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ActinicKeratosis

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Thanks, although you took it when there was over 300 questions, theres definitely less wiggle room now with 280

Sure I guess although the general concept still holds true. Post board exam doubt is a well known phenomenon that most neurotic medical students go though. I'm going through it right now with Step 2ck. You'll likely score at your NBME average. This happens over and over again on SDN.
 
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mymembernames

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Feel the same way, took it a couple days ago. Didn't think I would get so mentally messed up after this test. So much for relaxing after this test without knowing the score.


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Feel the exact same way. I was doing well on nbmes but the real exam just didnt go as planned. I made a bunch of poor decisions. Overall the exam felt significantly more difficult than any exams before. Compound that with less than 5 hours of sleep and the anxiety of taking "the most important exam of your life" and i feel like i had a recipe for disaster. Heres to hoping it ends up like it did for actinic.
 

mymembernames

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Feel the exact same way. I was doing well on nbmes but the real exam just didnt go as planned. I made a bunch of poor decisions. Overall the exam felt significantly more difficult than any exams before. Compound that with less than 5 hours of sleep and the anxiety of taking "the most important exam of your life" and i feel like i had a recipe for disaster. Heres to hoping it ends up like it did for actinic.


You sound just like me.


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LLCoolK

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You sound just like me.


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Honestly there's no reason for the nbme to make the exam like this if it truly allows students to score about the same score as the easier NBMEs. Its not like we're learning from the questions and it's just going to make everyone feel awful afterwards. Especially people who took it after 4/24 and have to wait until end of June.
 
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Newyawk

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Is there a place where people post approximately how many mistakes they counted and what they're score ended being?


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I dont think there would be any use to this. One person can say they counted 10 wrong but really they just forgot 50 other errors whereas another could have legitimately only gotten 10 wrong.
Honestly there's no reason for the nbme to make the exam like this if it truly allows students to score about the same score as the easier NBMEs. Its not like we're learning from the questions and it's just going to make everyone feel awful afterwards. Especially people who took it after 4/24 and have to wait until end of June.
I know personally that i could have and should have performed better than i did. I dont think my exam was impossible, I just think it was much more challenging. I know that others taking the same exact exam with my exact background probably shined that day. Im afraid to know how i scored because my hopes and expectations were so high, but I would be shocked to have scored anywhere near my nbme average with the way i performed.
 

mymembernames

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I dont think there would be any use to this. One person can say they counted 10 wrong but really they just forgot 50 other errors whereas another could have legitimately only gotten 10 wrong.

I know personally that i could have and should have performed better than i did. I dont think my exam was impossible, I just think it was much more challenging. I know that others taking the same exact exam with my exact background probably shined that day. Im afraid to know how i scored because my hopes and expectations were so high, but I would be shocked to have scored anywhere near my nbme average with the way i performed.

How were you with timing? Did you feel rushed or not?


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Newyawk

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How were you with timing? Did you feel rushed or not?


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I didnt feel rushed. I probably had over 15 minutes to review each section. I know i approached the exam in a way that differs from my normal standardized exam behavior. I relied too much on what I had studied and not enough on my knowledge from experience and what makes sense.
Its possible I studied for too long and I burnt out, who knows.
 

mymembernames

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I didnt feel rushed. I probably had over 15 minutes to review each section. I know i approached the exam in a way that differs from my normal standardized exam behavior. I relied too much on what I had studied and not enough on my knowledge from experience and what makes sense.
Its possible I studied for too long and I burnt out, who knows.

That's good to hear about not being rushed b/c my question stems were generally much longer than anything I had experienced and felt rushed towards the end of each section.


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RabiesnScabies

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I took the exam last Tuesday (5/16), and I walked out of it in a semi-decent shape, feeling somewhat confidence I had at least passed. As days go by, I keep remembering questions and I can't stop myself from looking them up. So far I have about 12 incorrect answers (only from the few I remember) and I feel like they're actually so many more. I'm gradually starting to feel more and more anxious, as many questions were weird, ambigous and I have absolutely no clue what to do.

My stats weren't bad:

NBME 18: 240
UWSA 1: 251
NBME 19: 217 (what? Huge drop, horrible curve)
FREE 120: aprox 87%, don't remember
UWSA 2: 244

I can't be the exception, right? all my diagnostic tests can't have failed me. I WANT to believe I did a good job, but what if?

It's at least 3 more weeks til my score and my anxiety is thru the roof. Is anyone receiving their score in time after 4/24? I'm all over the place, this is madness.
If you don't mind us knowing, how did you end up doing on your Step 1?
 

ridethecliche

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"Hi, I scored well above average in all my practice exams but I'm a neurotic mess and need reassurance because the lack of immediate feedback is freaking me out."

Apparently this is everyone on SDN. Blows my mind that folks think that their practice scores were all mistakes or something.
 
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Newyawk

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"Hi, I scored well above average in all my practice exams but I'm a neurotic mess and need reassurance because the lack of immediate feedback is freaking me out."

Apparently this is everyone on SDN. Blows my mind that folks think that their practice scores were all mistakes or something.
I definitely agree that the neuroticism is usually unnecessary and is often exaggerated. However, in some cases like my own, its hard to believe im going to score near my nbme average of 260s with the anxiety, lack of sleep, and bad feeling afterwards as well.
Some people on here make it seem like it doesnt matter what happens on test day - youll still end up getting your nbme average. Thats bogus
 

ridethecliche

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I definitely agree that the neuroticism is usually unnecessary and is often exaggerated. However, in some cases like my own, its hard to believe im going to score near my nbme average of 260s with the anxiety, lack of sleep, and bad feeling afterwards as well.
Some people on here make it seem like it doesnt matter what happens on test day - youll still end up getting your nbme average. Thats bogus

So basically you're agreeing that folks freak out too much while justifying your own freak out and suggesting that it's somehow more valid because you had a high practice score average.

Sound about right?
 
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Newyawk

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So basically you're agreeing that folks freak out too much while justifying your own freak out and suggesting that it's somehow more valid because you had a high practice score average.

Sound about right?
For one, if the NBME curves are any indication of how easy it is to fall out of that scoring range then yes my worries are more valid. Therefore, if I recall getting 10 stupid things wrong and somebody with a 230 goal recalls getting the same number wrong, it's likely that the other person still has a great shot at scoring at their average.
At the same time, it's much harder on a 280 question test to gauge how you performed when you can comfortably get 40 wrong and still do well. When youre aiming for a very high score, you can't do that.
But hey, i'll let you know when my score comes in how it turned out.
 
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Rekt

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For one, if the NBME curves are any indication of how easy it is to fall out of that scoring range then yes my worries are more valid. Therefore, if I recall getting 10 stupid things wrong and somebody with a 230 goal recalls getting the same number wrong, it's likely that the other person still has a great shot at scoring at their average.
At the same time, it's much harder on a 280 question test to gauge how you performed when you can comfortably get 40 wrong and still do well. When youre aiming for a very high score, you can't do that.
But hey, i'll let you know when my score comes in how it turned out.

It's perfectly valid. I'm in the same boat. My NBMEs at the end were quite high, but I already know I missed probably double what I missed on my last NBME. It's very easy to be tripped up post-exam knowing how very easy it is to drop many points.
 
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ridethecliche

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Why would you continue to freak out over something you no longer have any control over?

If you're done, go on vacation or something. I don't buy the bs logic that it's somehow reasonable to have this level of neuroticism post exam.

Also, might I remind recent posters that the title of the thread includes the words 'feeling like I failed'? If you've been scoring in the 240-250 range and you walked out feeling like you failed to the point that you'd start a thread like this about it... Then yeah. You're basically what's wrong with sites like this one....
 

Newyawk

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Why would you continue to freak out over something you no longer have any control over?

If you're done, go on vacation or something. I don't buy the bs logic that it's somehow reasonable to have this level of neuroticism post exam.

Also, might I remind recent posters that the title of the thread includes the words 'feeling like I failed'? If you've been scoring in the 240-250 range and you walked out feeling like you failed to the point that you'd start a thread like this about it... Then yeah. You're basically what's wrong with sites like this one....
No, youre the problem with forums like this one. The OP feels badly about how the exam went. Basically looking to commiserate. Nothig wrong with seeking a community to validate your experiences. Thats one of the purposes of forums like this one, isn't it?
 
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TheOther

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Why would you continue to freak out over something you no longer have any control over?

If you're done, go on vacation or something. I don't buy the bs logic that it's somehow reasonable to have this level of neuroticism post exam.

Also, might I remind recent posters that the title of the thread includes the words 'feeling like I failed'? If you've been scoring in the 240-250 range and you walked out feeling like you failed to the point that you'd start a thread like this about it... Then yeah. You're basically what's wrong with sites like this one....
Just because something is self-inflicted doesn't mean it deserves dismissing. You sitting on your high horse just because you can cope with anxiety 'better' makes you look like what's wrong with this site.
 
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kthxbai

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I think the real question is, what are the odds you remember the questions you think got wrong well enough to be sure of anything?
 
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ridethecliche

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That guy was getting well below average on all his nbmes and got an easy step1 form based on the number he thinks he missed, so now he thinks all the post exam worrying is bs.

Anyhow, I don't know if they changed the exam dramatically because the third and fourth years at my school said it was straightforward and out of first aid and uworld, but this exam required a lot of inference. I've recalled around 220/280 questions from my exam, and think I've missed around 20-30. Hopefully the remaining 60 were ones I knew, and the overall curve is generous.

Hahaha. By missed, you mean left blank right? Or does your reading comprehending actually suck that much?

Does it make you feel tough to call me out for scoring 'well below average' in practice? I thought that was common knowledge here given that I wrote about it myself.

I really hope it made you feel better about yourself by calling me out for being so clearly inferior to you. You're a sad kind of creature aren't you? If it makes you feel any better, I expect to score around my practice average. Shockingly, you probably will too.

Just because something is self-inflicted doesn't mean it deserves dismissing. You sitting on your high horse just because you can cope with anxiety 'better' makes you look like what's wrong with this site.

I have issues just like everyone else. I just think it's a bit disingenuous when folks are scoring a standard deviation over average and start causing hysteria because they're somehow convinced that they failed. The reason I think it's irresponsible is because of the very real panic it causes in people who are ecstatic that they're just getting by... Because if folks scoring in the 250s failed, then all the folks psyched that theyre just getting by are going to panic hardcore.

Look at the post I quoted right before yours. Should sum up the sdn elitist mindset pretty well.
 
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CrystallineX

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Easy there everyone! We are all under tremendous stress, so let's take a deep breath! I for one have been a pretty average student, but when I started hitting higher scores on the NBMES, I always felt like they were flukes. I've heard so many people say you will score better on the real deal, but my exam just felt like crap. I figured, lets see the scores first and then react (even though I am dying on the inside!) But, there is always this part of me, which says what if the same trend wouldn't hold true for me? But, attacking @ridethecliche based on scores is just low and uncalled for. Talk about the issues, no need to attack someone personally.
 

TheOther

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I have issues just like everyone else. I just think it's a bit disingenuous when folks are scoring a standard deviation over average and start causing hysteria because they're somehow convinced that they failed. The reason I think it's irresponsible is because of the very real panic it causes in people who are ecstatic that they're just getting by... Because if folks scoring in the 250s failed, then all the folks psyched that theyre just getting by are going to panic hardcore.

Look at the post I quoted right before yours. Should sum up the sdn elitist mindset pretty well.
Are you speaking for yourself? Because I haven't seen any 'hysteria'. Instead, I see a lot of support from those scoring high and low toward those worried about performing poorly.

I do agree that labeling their worry as a fear of failing is a bit irrational. But also keep in mind that the people scoring 250+ are used to missing very few questions -- translate that to taking the real deal where it feels like a much larger proportion of questions are wtf, experimental, vague, etc, and you have a recipe for the worry. It may be out of proportion but the worry is still legitimate.

If anything, since SDN is known for the elite scores due to selection bias, it would behoove those scoring below average to avoid this place rather than expect everyone here to change. That seems irrational to me.

Edit: that comment you quoted was rude and uncalled for.
 
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ridethecliche

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That's the thing though. I remember the same thing happening around the MCAT. I took it twice and got a 30 and 34 respectively. So I've seen folks freak out about getting decent scores when others weren't doing well at all (not referring to my first score).

It's hard enough to ask for help, but asking in a place where folks scoring in the top 10% in practice are freaking out makes it next to impossible to do so.

Look back at my posts and you'll see that I'm pretty diligent about telling folks that practice scores aren't mere flukes and the imposter syndrome is real and it sucks.

I think that the freakouts by those with a history of high scores is just not helpful to anyone. There's a big difference between commiserating a rough exam and acting like you failed...

Regarding the other poster I quoted... It's par for the course for them. Im pretty sure they've been similarly out of line in the past. I recall calling them out before as well.

I'd argue that the real deal isn't THAT different from practice. There just isn't that instant feedback to put a test takers mind to rest.

I'm still beating myself up over leaving a question blank on every section. I've posted about it here and to friends about it. There's just nothing I can do about it now other than wait and did third year things. So for me, that's all there is to it.
 

TheOther

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That's the thing though. I remember the same thing happening around the MCAT. I took it twice and got a 30 and 34 respectively. So I've seen folks freak out about getting decent scores when others weren't doing well at all (not referring to my first score).

It's hard enough to ask for help, but asking in a place where folks scoring in the top 10% in practice are freaking out makes it next to impossible to do so.

Look back at my posts and you'll see that I'm pretty diligent about telling folks that practice scores aren't mere flukes and the imposter syndrome is real and it sucks.

I think that the freakouts by those with a history of high scores is just not helpful to anyone. There's a big difference between commiserating a rough exam and acting like you failed...

Regarding the other poster I quoted... It's par for the course for them. Im pretty sure they've been similarly out of line in the past. I recall calling them out before as well.

I'd argue that the real deal isn't THAT different from practice. There just isn't that instant feedback to put a test takers mind to rest.

I'm still beating myself up over leaving a question blank on every section. I've posted about it here and to friends about it. There's just nothing I can do about it now other than wait and did third year things. So for me, that's all there is to it.
It may not be helpful, but they find solace in solidarity. We hear all the time that people score around their practice scores, but there are those occasions, albeit rare, where people score painfully lower than they'd expected. And in the neurotic med students' minds, they are that exception.

As for the real test, I don't think it's fair for you to paint a broad stroke of how the exam is. You had a different form and you had a different set of expectations tailored by your practice scores.

I think the worst part of all of this is waiting 7 weeks for my score instead of 3...
 
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ridethecliche

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It may not be helpful, but they find solace in solidarity. We hear all the time that people score around their practice scores, but there are those occasions, albeit rare, where people score painfully lower than they'd expected. And in the neurotic med students' minds, they are that exception.

As for the real test, I don't think it's fair for you to paint a broad stroke of how the exam is. You had a different form and you had a different set of expectations tailored by your practice scores.

I think the worst part of all of this is waiting 7 weeks for my score instead of 3...

I dunno. The USMLE thinks that the tests are all equivalent. I remember this same argument with the mcat...

The wait sucks tho. Troof.

Regarding everyone thinking that they're somehow the exception to the rule... Yeah, patients think that way too. Which is why someone as brilliant as Steve Jobs decided that 'western' medicine was useless to him.

I'm not saying that these students are terrible people... They're not. It just creates a bizarre environment here imho anyway.
 
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TheOther

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I dunno. The USMLE thinks that the tests are all equivalent. I remember this same argument with the mcat...

The wait sucks tho. Troof.

Regarding everyone thinking that they're somehow the exception to the rule... Yeah, patients think that way too. Which is why someone as brilliant as Steve Jobs decided that 'western' medicine was useless to him.

I'm not saying that these students are terrible people... They're not. It just creates a bizarre environment here imho anyway.
It's a form of hypochondriasis, man. When I think about it, even coming back to SDN for any sort of affirmation or comfort is a strange thing that I admit I'm guilty of.
 
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ridethecliche

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how could that possibly be true?

How could it not?

The scaled score accounts for any differences you might perceive on the exam.

The purpose of standardized tests is to...standardize. That's how it was for the practice exams as well. It worked the same way for the mcat.

I dont understand why this is such a hard concept for people. If it wasn't true, the test would be useless for comparison. If the tests weren't equivalent, then the getting different questions would invalidate the exam. If you're arguing that there's a small margin of error, then yeah... Even on the nbmes they claim +/-2 pts afaik.

The tests all pull from information that is fair game for the exam. If you got a test that hit your weaknesses, then it was the result of inadequate preparation not some conspiracy with the exam. The questions have been thrown through their paces before being put in the test bank.
 

Newyawk

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how could that possibly be true?
Its not. Ridethecloch
How could it not?

The scaled score accounts for any differences you might perceive on the exam.

The purpose of standardized tests is to...standardize. That's how it was for the practice exams as well. It worked the same way for the mcat.

I dont understand why this is such a hard concept for people. If it wasn't true, the test would be useless for comparison. If the tests weren't equivalent, then the getting different questions would invalidate the exam. If you're arguing that there's a small margin of error, then yeah... Even on the nbmes they claim +/-2 pts afaik.

The tests all pull from information that is fair game for the exam. If you got a test that hit your weaknesses, then it was the result of inadequate preparation not some conspiracy with the exam. The questions have been thrown through their paces before being put in the test bank.
i think youre confusing standardization via normalizing scores thru curving and standardization via replicating difficulty levels across exams. The former is essentially how all standardized exams account for variation and the latter is impossible to achieve.
 
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LLCoolK

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How could it not?

The scaled score accounts for any differences you might perceive on the exam.

The purpose of standardized tests is to...standardize. That's how it was for the practice exams as well. It worked the same way for the mcat.

I dont understand why this is such a hard concept for people. If it wasn't true, the test would be useless for comparison. If the tests weren't equivalent, then the getting different questions would invalidate the exam. If you're arguing that there's a small margin of error, then yeah... Even on the nbmes they claim +/-2 pts afaik.

The tests all pull from information that is fair game for the exam. If you got a test that hit your weaknesses, then it was the result of inadequate preparation not some conspiracy with the exam. The questions have been thrown through their paces before being put in the test bank.

actually NBMEs claim +/- 10 points.
 
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