Surgery Shelf and UWorld %

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MSTP c/o 2028
5+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2018
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I'm currently on my first clerkship, surgery. Im about 4 weeks in (12 week clerkship) and honestly have no way to gauge how much Uworld will reflect on my shelf performance. I've been scoring in the 50-60% range on every set of 12-20 questions I do. I feel like I'm learning, but am seeing little progress in the score outcomes.

Part of me is concerned because I haven't taken STEP 1 (my institution is 1-year preclinical and doesn't take STEP 1 till after clerkships), so I feel like my "foundational" knowledge is lacking and often am getting questions wrong because I simply don't understand the content that specific questions are asking about. I've already gone through the Pestana's and have started reading select chapters of the Del Vitiligo.

Is there anything else I should be doing or changing regarding how I approach studying?

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Questions are key for the shelf. Unless UW has changed since I used it, I wouldn't put stock in its value for shelf exam studying. I advocate more for rotation-specific Q-banks, such as the Pretest and Blueprints series.
For what it's worth, my average uworld %for surgery on "shelf mode was 71%. Ended up scoring 73% or 50th percentile on the real deal, so for me, it was nearly spot on.

I feel for me the surgery shelf really came down practice practice practice and for each question asking myself this:
1. Acute or non-acute?
2. Is patient hemodynamically stable?
3. What does my 3rd year med student gut say?
I found the surgery shelf to be one of the hardest but I still scored around 50%