Study time for Boards

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jngo2

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I've heard mixed things from lots of people. My school offers 4 weeks off of school to study for the boards. Some of the older students told me this is standard but I've been hearing that a lot of schools get 7-8 weeks (ie Stanford). I wanted to know if anyone knows what really is standard?
 

The Buff

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5 weeks here. From the tone of your post it seems like you might be thinking you are going to be hurt by your relative lack of time. Everything that I have read says that 4 weeks is enuogh if you stick to a good schedule. I am just an M2, so I cannot say anything from experience, though. Maybe someone else who has gone through it can give a more definite answer.
 

Droopy Snoopy

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We take finals the last week in April, and 3rd year rotations start 2nd week in June. So there's a little flexibility built in. A couple of my friends have it scheduled two weeks after finals, while I'm not taking it until Jun 4th. Sometimes I wish I had more time, but I think after awhile all the studying would start to be counterproductive.
 

Hurricane95

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why wait for the independent study time? That seems to me like saying "ill start studying for the mcat during spring break right before the exam."

There are two winter breaks and two spring breaks during years 1 and 2. Most people also get a nice summer break between M1 and M2. Additionally, I think even in the toughest of schools, you are not working ALL the time. There are weeks here and there without exams where you have some free time to study a little here and there. Dont put it off til the last minute. After all, it is YOUR responsibility to make time to study for the boards. Take advantage of your free time.
 

Acherona

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I've heard mixed things from lots of people. My school offers 4 weeks off of school to study for the boards. Some of the older students told me this is standard but I've been hearing that a lot of schools get 7-8 weeks (ie Stanford). I wanted to know if anyone knows what really is standard?

We only get a month :( Sure it's enough if you study for your entire vacation with no break between 2nd year and rotations :(
 

akpete

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We take our finals the second week in May. M3 orientation is the last week in June. But most people take step 1 with 3-4 weeks of finals and use the rest of the time as vacation. Any longer than that, and you'll go crazy.
 

JohnnieBlue

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why wait for the independent study time? That seems to me like saying "ill start studying for the mcat during spring break right before the exam."

There are two winter breaks and two spring breaks during years 1 and 2. Most people also get a nice summer break between M1 and M2. Additionally, I think even in the toughest of schools, you are not working ALL the time. There are weeks here and there without exams where you have some free time to study a little here and there. Dont put it off til the last minute. After all, it is YOUR responsibility to make time to study for the boards. Take advantage of your free time.

MS I? *Cough* Gunner *Cough*
 

fakin' the funk

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I've heard mixed things from lots of people. My school offers 4 weeks off of school to study for the boards. Some of the older students told me this is standard but I've been hearing that a lot of schools get 7-8 weeks (ie Stanford). I wanted to know if anyone knows what really is standard?

My school gives 4-5 weeks. Most students had begun board prep before the official end of school and were semi-blowing off the last couple of weeks.

I think 3 weeks of INTENSE, fulltime prep is enough (including half-days for NBME practices).

If you get 6+ weeks, fine, you'll just have more time to do "personal" stuff like hang out, do laundry, grocery shop, etc.
 

nockamura

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We get up to 6 weeks, that said, most people take only about 5 and have a week to recover before 3rd year orientation. A study was published by Academic Medicine (Supplemental Issue 77 October 2002) that showed that actual scores are above predicted scores by 3-5 points no matter when you take the test. Those that scored the highest only used 3 weeks (and had 100% pass rate), but when adjusted using predicted score, the best scorers used 4-5 weeks. Those that used 6 weeks had a pass rate of 90%, but there was not a significant difference between any of the groups. The thinking is that those that take the Step in the first 3 weeks are those best prepared and those that study the best. If you're confused, go check it out using your online resources (or the actual journal) at school.
 
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We take our finals the second week in May. M3 orientation is the last week in June. But most people take step 1 with 3-4 weeks of finals and use the rest of the time as vacation. Any longer than that, and you'll go crazy.

Thats pretty much how it works for me too. I think we get 5 weeks between M3 orientation and the end of finals. As of now, Ive scheduled for the end of the 4th week.
 

Dr. McDreamy

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we have our final exam May 10th and we start rotations on the 1st of July. I know people taking step 1 on june 1st and others taking it on june 29th. i've personally scheduled myself for june 15th b/c i know i need to kick some ass on this. i'm thinking about moving it up to earlier though...but that could just be peer pressure (ie everyone is telling me i'm scheduling myself too much time to study). upperclassmen have said that you get burnt out if you study for more than 3 weeks or so...but my school is also very much into "don't worry! be happy! your grades don't matter! everyone will have an MD at the end so what are you complaining about?!!!" so i take it with a grain of salt.
 
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why wait for the independent study time? That seems to me like saying "ill start studying for the mcat during spring break right before the exam."

There are two winter breaks and two spring breaks during years 1 and 2. Most people also get a nice summer break between M1 and M2. Additionally, I think even in the toughest of schools, you are not working ALL the time. There are weeks here and there without exams where you have some free time to study a little here and there. Dont put it off til the last minute. After all, it is YOUR responsibility to make time to study for the boards. Take advantage of your free time.

If you start studying during spring break of year 1 you will be so burned out during 2nd year that you might not even make it through that, much less Step 1. They give you vacations for a reason, the brain can only handle so much. I think a lot of the information, as was said, is "rinse and repeat," but for me the most valuable way to "study" for this type of exam is to learn the material the first time around. Its much easier to learn something and then refresh your memory than it is to learn something, forget it completely, and then try to learn it all over again (at least when it comes to this kind of volume of material). And are you honestly going to remember anything worthwhile for the exam that you studied hardcore for over your 1st year spring break?

We end the first week of may and have the opportunity to take the exam anywhere from 6/11-6/28, so there is a range of 5 to 8 weeks for you to prepare and take the exam depending on how comfortable you feel. That should be more than enough time for most people, without them having had to compromise all of their vacation time.
 

outofhere

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My own experience,
Two months for Step I
Two weeks for Step II
Two #2 pencils for Step III... but with it being computerized, I suppose 2 ear plugs for Step III.
 

jngo2

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THanks for the all input from everyone. Yeah I just wanted to clear up some misconceptions. Some of the second years were complaining and I had heard different things from different people...I just wanted to get the facts.

Don't worry, I'm not gonna study for boards over spring break. I can't even remember the muscles of the forearm I learned last week.
 

Law2Doc

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wait until she realizes how little histology and devo she remember a year from now :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Agree with this. There is almost nothing useful you can do during first year to prepare for the boards, except maybe start downloading all those freebie study aids flying around on the web. Just concentrate on doing well in your classes that year -- it's basically all you can do that isn't going to be a waste of time. And since second year is significantly higher yield than first, it just makes more sense to have some of that under your belt before you actually start to "review". I agree that the later breaks and lighter weeks of second year might be a useful time to begin studying.
 

turkleton

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Two months for step I???? Start studying summer of MS1???? SDN is rife with the whole spectrum of advice, so it may be hard to separate the exceptions from the norm. One thing you have to realize is that you can NOT relearn everything from MSI and II, or learn things you never did in the first place. No matter how hard you think you'll study for the boards, your score will probably be a fairly good reflection of how much you learned over two years, not two months. Take 4-6 weeks (although I think 6 is way too excessive), prepare a thorough schedule, adhere to it and cover as much ground as you can. 90% of your prep work is done just by having gone to medical school. Talk to your advisors at the med school and other upper classman as they probably have good experience dealing with the same time frame.
 

SanDiegoSOD

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Agree with this. There is almost nothing useful you can do during first year to prepare for the boards, except maybe start downloading all those freebie study aids flying around on the web. Just concentrate on doing well in your classes that year -- it's basically all you can do that isn't going to be a waste of time. And since second year is significantly higher yield than first, it just makes more sense to have some of that under your belt before you actually start to "review". I agree that the later breaks and lighter weeks of second year might be a useful time to begin studying.

Aren't you a first year? I'm curious where your curricular wisdom comes from.
 

dilated

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It depends on what your first year material covers. Most schools these days don't truly have a "first year" of just low yield basic science - in fact, right about now is commonly when the topics that you need to have down on the boards start, and a lot begin their organ blocks during what is ostensibly MS1 year.

Is it silly to "read ahead" with board books? Probably. Is it silly to review stuff you've done on board books when you've got extra time and aren't burned out? I don't see any reason why. Not anatomy, sure, but it wouldn't hurt to actually keep all that stuff you crammed in micro in there somewhere.
 
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