take diagnostic b4 beginning to study?

Discussion in 'Step I' started by swtiepie711, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. swtiepie711

    swtiepie711 Senior Member
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    Someone recommended taking a diagnostic test (like one offered by kaplan or something) before starting to study to gauge weaknesses and detemine where to start - is this standard practice? My thinking is that I feel like I don't remember most and thus obviously need to review everything - taking a diagnostic at this point seems like it might be pointless, freak me out, etc.plus we haven't finished coursework (won't for several mos) any thoughts on starting studying with a diagnostic test is appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**
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    My school's making us do a Kaplan diagnostic Tuesday ... I feel it is gonna be pointless, but w/e floats their boats.
     
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  3. Mortal_Lessons

    Mortal_Lessons H.Perowne
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    Yeah, I'm sort of in the same boat with respect to the OP-I have QBank which has the diagnostic included, yet I'm not sure I'd be helped right now by the diagnostic since I'm in the middle of the school year and haven't covered everything.
     
  4. laxman310

    laxman310 TheManWithAPlan
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    Diagnostic tests have their greatest value at the beginning of your 4-8 week review. If you have not yet finished the coursework, there is no point in taking a diagnostic.
     
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  5. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**
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    Someone tell my school that, please?
     
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  6. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    Nah. Bad idea. Or rather, pointless.
     
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  7. GMDMD

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    Maybe your school thinks it is a way to get your competitive juices flowing by comparing scores with your peers and driving motivation by seeing where you are weak.

    For the OP, file this one as one of those decisions that you can spend forever rationalizing/stressing but in the end will make little difference whatsoever in your final score.

    I took an NBME on day 0 with a couple of friends. My rationalization was that I wanted to know exactly what I was up against. We all received passing scores and it was a great confidence boost for us- we knew that with zero studying and six weeks left to go we were already prepared enough to pass the beast. I felt really confident and more enthusiastic heading into those first 2 weeks thinking I would get a great score. I felt like I had a better grasp on the kinds of questions they would ask and the difficulty level (much easier than UW/Kaplan blocks which can kill your confidence)

    I also rationalized that it would help me know what my weak spots are (although in retrospect I have serious doubts about NBMEs or the real thing identifying strengths/weaknesses... my only non-star was in one of my stronger subjects).

    I figured there's nothing to lose (except $40) by taking it early. Even if I had failed or gotten a marginal score, I'd still be able to say "well i haven't started studying yet!" If you were to take it after 3-4 weeks after studying and did poorly... that would be very depressing.
     
  8. LadyJubilee8_18

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    I second this. I took a diagnostic today and I was really happy I did so. I was nervous and convinced I would be working up from a 145, but once I took it I got a passing score and it was a huge confidence boost. I'm also making my study schedule based on the subjects where I was weak. I'd strongly suggest taking a diagnostic just to see where you are and to give yourself some perspective.
     
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  9. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Keep in mind that any "diagnostic" that is written and administered by a commercial test prep company is going to make sure that you have plenty of "weaknesses". If nothing else, treat these "diagnostic" tests as more experience with test taking but I would question their validity over the scheme of things. After all, these companies make money by selling you their test prep materials which may or may not be helpful depending on how you utilize them.

    The best diagnostic tests would be ones that are written and administered by the same folks who write and administer the USMLE (or COMLEX). NBME exams might be useful in this case but even those are quite different from USMLE.
     
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  10. LadyJubilee8_18

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    Agreed. I took NBME
     
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  11. swtiepie711

    swtiepie711 Senior Member
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    Did you take them before finishing coursework? We don't finish until April so I'm not sure what good it would do since we have ~1/2 of path left, pharm, etc. I could take it now, or wait until courses end & the real studying begins? Thanks for sharing your thoghts & experiences!!!
     
  12. LadyJubilee8_18

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    Oh, I finished the coursework. I'm at a school with 1.5 years of basic sciences where the step is taken 3rd year.
     
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