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Textbooks and study habits for MS1

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TRPMinus

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In undergrad I was never a lecture or auditory learner. I'm very visual and pretty much read assigned textbooks cover to cover for classes like biochemistry, genetics, and the like.

I'm starting MS1 at a school that has probably 30+ textbooks listed, and fortunately I can get most of the ebooks for free online through the library portal. I have a feeling that my study habits are going to have to change, however. There is simply too much material for me to try to read everything.
In addition, it's not really clear-cut what I'll need to study since the curriculum is very much integrated rather than traditional. Could people share their strategies along with the materials they use in addition to ppts and lecture notes? So far I've heard of these review books:

Netter's Anatomy
Goljan Rapid review
Pathoma
First aid
Costanzo Physiology

Thanks!
 

Domperidone

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Your study habits will definitely change.

if you do a search, you'll find a lot of threads about how to study as an MS1, what to use.

They expect you to learn at a much more accelerated rate, but to study concisely. there is no way to go through 30 textbooks. it's both unrealistic and inefficient.

Also different resources fit different people. You to figure out what suits your style, in an efficient way. meaning, you're able to understand and integrate the information in the quickest way possible. That's probably one of the hardest things to MS1, adapting. Allowing yourself to let go and change how you learn.

27cc425894f4c963bf74beed94d3fba2.jpg

Try to use <5 resources at a time. maybe even just 2-3, at any one given time. Use the ones that don't slow you down (i.e. are you constantly having to put it down and look at other resources to help you learn). Also, differentiate between things that help you understand material (it could be a textbook or video resource) versus review material (that is so whittled down, you have to look up the terminology to figure out what's going on) and things that help you apply what you've learned. Use a variety.
 
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TRPMinus

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Your study habits will definitely change.

if you do a search, you'll find a lot of threads about how to study as an MS1, what to use.

They expect you to learn at a much more accelerated rate, but to study concisely. there is no way to go through 30 textbooks. it's both unrealistic and inefficient.

Also different resources fit different people. You to figure out what suits your style, in an efficient way. meaning, you're able to understand and integrate the information in the quickest way possible. That's probably one of the hardest things to MS1, adapting. Allowing yourself to let go and change how you learn.

27cc425894f4c963bf74beed94d3fba2.jpg

Try to use <5 resources at a time. maybe even just 2-3, at any one given time. Use the ones that don't slow you down (i.e. are you constantly having to put it down and look at other resources to help you learn). Also, differentiate between things that help you understand material (it could be a textbook or video resource) versus review material (that is so whittled down, you have to look up the terminology to figure out what's going on) and things that help you apply what you've learned. Use a variety.
Thanks! Any experience with Firecracker? It looks pretty good but I'm not sure. After searching pretty extensively, I think I'll pick up:
Firecracker-day to day review
Goljan-love audio for the car
First Aid-need it anyway
BRS Physiology
Netter's
 
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Domperidone

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If you're a textbook reader, you'll hate BRS. It's just bullet points. I randomly came upon the Lippincott Illustrated Biochem Review book and loved it so much more than BRS because it's written like a book (paragraphs!) but also super visually oriented with the diagrams and flow charts - much more so than BRS. But, BRS has more practice questions. You can find almost all the BRS online for free in a PDF so keep them around for practice questions, but I would look into Lippincott for biochem - it helped me a ton!
 
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Newyawk

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In undergrad I was never a lecture or auditory learner. I'm very visual and pretty much read assigned textbooks cover to cover for classes like biochemistry, genetics, and the like.

I'm starting MS1 at a school that has probably 30+ textbooks listed, and fortunately I can get most of the ebooks for free online through the library portal. I have a feeling that my study habits are going to have to change, however. There is simply too much material for me to try to read everything.
In addition, it's not really clear-cut what I'll need to study since the curriculum is very much integrated rather than traditional. Could people share their strategies along with the materials they use in addition to ppts and lecture notes? So far I've heard of these review books:

Netter's Anatomy
Goljan Rapid review
Pathoma
First aid
Costanzo Physiology

Thanks!
Aside from class notes which you should be supplementing all of your outside sources with
The absolute best resources i used while in ms1/2 were:
costanzo physio (the long version)
Pathoma (and videos)
Micro made ridiculously simple
FA for pharm (this is just rote memorization but consistent exposure is important in pharm - dont save it til the end)

Why pathoma over a book like goljan, one might ask? Why costanzo over a book like guyton?
My answer: because ms1/2 are largely for building a very solid foundation of understanding. Goljan is essentially a factoid book (for me, at least) and guyton is the most interesting textbook in all of medical school but its just too damn long to use as a primary learning source. The sources i listed will not provide you with every detail but they will help build that "foundation" that many med students never build and therefore always struggle.
In my med school, the students who crammed using FA managed to pass exams but had serious trouble with any standardized tests. Its ironic in a way. But with experience you understand FA is probably the most overrated book in all of med school. Not because it doesnt contain information - it does. But because you would think by using it you would succeed. Its just not true. FA is a book that supplements everything else - its a crammers dream - but it is in no way a primary learning source (except when memorizing drugs)

The next best piece of advice i can give to a new student is do questions!! Doesnt have to be rx kaplan and uworld (especially not in ms1) - it can even be pretest.

Good luck
 
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TRPMinus

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Aside from class notes which you should be supplementing all of your outside sources with
The absolute best resources i used while in ms1/2 were:
costanzo physio (the long version)
Pathoma (and videos)
Micro made ridiculously simple
FA for pharm (this is just rote memorization but consistent exposure is important in pharm - dont save it til the end)

Why pathoma over a book like goljan, one might ask? Why costanzo over a book like guyton?
My answer: because ms1/2 are largely for building a very solid foundation of understanding. Goljan is essentially a factoid book (for me, at least) and guyton is the most interesting textbook in all of medical school but its just too damn long to use as a primary learning source. The sources i listed will not provide you with every detail but they will help build that "foundation" that many med students never build and therefore always struggle.
In my med school, the students who crammed using FA managed to pass exams but had serious trouble with any standardized tests. Its ironic in a way. But with experience you understand FA is probably the most overrated book in all of med school. Not because it doesnt contain information - it does. But because you would think by using it you would succeed. Its just not true. FA is a book that supplements everything else - its a crammers dream - but it is in no way a primary learning source (except when memorizing drugs)

The next best piece of advice i can give to a new student is do questions!! Doesnt have to be rx kaplan and uworld (especially not in ms1) - it can even be pretest.

Good luck
I guess I just wonder what resources to use, since my curriculum is all integrated and blended so much. I can't possibly get a review book for every subject, that would be nuts lol. How do you decide what subjects you need extra books for? It all just seems so nebulous to me. Guess I'll just have to figure out what works in the moment
 

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I guess I just wonder what resources to use, since my curriculum is all integrated and blended so much. I can't possibly get a review book for every subject, that would be nuts lol. How do you decide what subjects you need extra books for? It all just seems so nebulous to me. Guess I'll just have to figure out what works in the moment
Imo theres no question you need a review book for each subject. Review books are gold if you use them properly (along with course material). And yes, you will need to decide sometimes on the fly. Particularly because what works for others wont necessarily work for you
 
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Username555

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I used no resources for my anatomy course, but looking back I know I should have because I did very poorly. I've heard some good ones are Netter's flashcards and Rowan's atlas.

For biochemistry I used no resources but I didn't need to because everything we needed was pretty much on the slides and I didn't find the material difficult by any means. For physiology I used BRS physiology, which I, along with my classmates, thought was perfect for our physiology course. It does a great job of summarizing all of the important concepts in 30 pages per unit, hitting all the high yield stuff while staying concise and not leaving anything out. I'd definitely recommend getting this book.

As for study methods, my methods changed during the year but what I found worked best was making flashcards for the lectures. I didn't do straight terms and definitions, however. Instead, I had my "definitions" in question format on that side of the card. Still pretty much the same thing, but I just liked doing it that way. Then I tried to get thru all of my flashcards and lectures 2 to 3 times before the test. The more exposures the better, obviously, and I found that for me 3 exposures put me several percentage points above the class average consistently.
 
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TRPMinus

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I agree with the above poster on this - you do need a review book or primary text for every subject. It's really not as bad as it sounds. I'll give a strong second to Pathoma and Costanzo for pathology and physio. For micro and pharm I went with Sketchy. For embryo I used High Yield Embryo (ridiculously short and easy read). And then top it off with FA and a question bank or two leading up to the test. Unless the block was crazy short and dense for some reason, I always had plenty of time to do this stuff and have fun and did just fine on my exams.

Ok, that does make sense. I'm buying several resources now and I'll have nearly all of the actual textbooks as ebooks free through my school if I really feel the need to read parts of them. Another question for y'all, is the Goljan audio series worth going through during my commute? There was a thread about it a few years ago and I'm trying to figure out if its worth the time or not.
 
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In undergrad I was never a lecture or auditory learner. I'm very visual and pretty much read assigned textbooks cover to cover for classes like biochemistry, genetics, and the like.

I'm starting MS1 at a school that has probably 30+ textbooks listed, and fortunately I can get most of the ebooks for free online through the library portal. I have a feeling that my study habits are going to have to change, however. There is simply too much material for me to try to read everything.
In addition, it's not really clear-cut what I'll need to study since the curriculum is very much integrated rather than traditional. Could people share their strategies along with the materials they use in addition to ppts and lecture notes? So far I've heard of these review books:

Netter's Anatomy
Goljan Rapid review
Pathoma
First aid
Costanzo Physiology

Thanks!
I'm the same way. A note outline (e.g., school PPT or handout) is sufficient at times, but I really like to build a foundational knowledge by reading a well-written discussion on the topic. But you're right... you won't have enough time to read everything, so use your time wisely. Skip the introductions to chapters that you know will be long-winded. Skip topics you feel comfortable with. Try and read the chapter after you've only seen the material once so that you get the most out of reading. I generally followed the dogma of: preview --> learn --> review; with 1 day in between preview/learn, and 2 days in between learn/review. This allows for maximal retention of the information (spaced repetition). My "preview" was usually Pathoma, "learn" was a textbook chapter/class handout, and "review" was something like RR Path/my notes/Anki/FA.

Goljan Rapid review - this is in an "outline" format, but it read similar to a textbook chapter. I used it as my second or third pass through a pathology topic (first pass being Pathoma videos because, let's be honest, you really can't top Pathoma).

Big Robbins - I read most of the relevant subsections on pathologies as they came up in class. I usually skipped the intro to the chapter because they were long-winded and redundant. This book is fantastic at providing a foundational understanding of each disease.

SketchyMedical - This was more than sufficient for all the micro/pharm. I watched the videos as the topics arose in class. We also had a great pharm professor who provided typed handouts that read like a textbook--if you don't have something like that, Katzung and Trevor's Basic and Clinical Pharmacology might be worth a read.

Costanzo Physiology - Didn't get a chance to read all of the relevant chapters, but read a few. This is a great book and I'd recommend reading it along with phys if you can. Probably a bit overkill at times, but I'd rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. When I did get a chance to read this text, I'd use her BRS Physiology as my review source, because it basically provides an outline of the same text (along with figures).

Harrison's - I read a few of these chapters once we got to systems (although by no means all of them). They are long and extremely in depth. I wouldn't recommend trying to read them all, but I chose a few select topics that I thought were more important than average and read them (e.g., acute coronary syndrome, stroke, diabetes, COPD). Some of my colleagues had the miniature version of this text, but the few times I picked that up and tried to read a chapter, I thought it was far to condensed to serve as a primary learning tool. It was more of a "I'm already comfortable with the topic and just need to find a factoid" type text.

First Aid - I didn't ever sit down and "read" a chapter. 95% of its use came when I was going through UWorld (referencing topics as they came up). I learned a lot more from reading textbook chapters and class handouts than I did reviewing FA.

As a third year, I don't regret anything I did in the first two years. Building a foundational knowledge and doing well on Step 1 will reap dividends once you get to the clinics. It is far easier to quickly review the summary and recommendations page of UpToDate if you already have that foundation (as opposed to cramming for tests and cramming FA for step 1).
 
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TRPMinus

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I'm the same way. A note outline (e.g., school PPT or handout) is sufficient at times, but I really like to build a foundational knowledge by reading a well-written discussion on the topic. But you're right... you won't have enough time to read everything, so use your time wisely. Skip the introductions to chapters that you know will be long-winded. Skip topics you feel comfortable with. Try and read the chapter after you've only seen the material once so that you get the most out of reading. I generally followed the dogma of: preview --> learn --> review; with 1 day in between preview/learn, and 2 days in between learn/review. This allows for maximal retention of the information (spaced repetition). My "preview" was usually Pathoma, "learn" was a textbook chapter/class handout, and "review" was something like RR Path/my notes/Anki/FA.

Goljan Rapid review - this is in an "outline" format, but it read similar to a textbook chapter. I used it as my second or third pass through a pathology topic (first pass being Pathoma videos because, let's be honest, you really can't top Pathoma).

Big Robbins - I read most of the relevant subsections on pathologies as they came up in class. I usually skipped the intro to the chapter because they were long-winded and redundant. This book is fantastic at providing a foundational understanding of each disease.

SketchyMedical - This was more than sufficient for all the micro/pharm. I watched the videos as the topics arose in class. We also had a great pharm professor who provided typed handouts that read like a textbook--if you don't have something like that, Katzung and Trevor's Basic and Clinical Pharmacology might be worth a read.

Costanzo Physiology - Didn't get a chance to read all of the relevant chapters, but read a few. This is a great book and I'd recommend reading it along with phys if you can. Probably a bit overkill at times, but I'd rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. When I did get a chance to read this text, I'd use her BRS Physiology as my review source, because it basically provides an outline of the same text (along with figures).

Harrison's - I read a few of these chapters once we got to systems (although by no means all of them). They are long and extremely in depth. I wouldn't recommend trying to read them all, but I chose a few select topics that I thought were more important than average and read them (e.g., acute coronary syndrome, stroke, diabetes, COPD). Some of my colleagues had the miniature version of this text, but the few times I picked that up and tried to read a chapter, I thought it was far to condensed to serve as a primary learning tool. It was more of a "I'm already comfortable with the topic and just need to find a factoid" type text.

First Aid - I didn't ever sit down and "read" a chapter. 95% of its use came when I was going through UWorld (referencing topics as they came up). I learned a lot more from reading textbook chapters and class handouts than I did reviewing FA.

As a third year, I don't regret anything I did in the first two years. Building a foundational knowledge and doing well on Step 1 will reap dividends once you get to the clinics. It is far easier to quickly review the summary and recommendations page of UpToDate if you already have that foundation (as opposed to cramming for tests and cramming FA for step 1).

THIS. This is me to a T. I just find it interesting that people study so little from the actual textbooks and hit the review books. I feel almost naked without my textbooks lol. For MS1 do people use Pathoma? My curriculum touches some patho I think but organ systems are second year so I feel like it would make more sense to use it then. My first year is integrated and covers anatomy, physiology, embryology, immunology, microbiology, histology, biochemistry, etc. I feel like many of the review sources are more of a player in 2nd year? Am I off on that?
 

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THIS. This is me to a T. I just find it interesting that people study so little from the actual textbooks and hit the review books. I feel almost naked without my textbooks lol. For MS1 do people use Pathoma? My curriculum touches some patho I think but organ systems are second year so I feel like it would make more sense to use it then. My first year is integrated and covers anatomy, physiology, embryology, immunology, microbiology, histology, biochemistry, etc. I feel like many of the review sources are more of a player in 2nd year? Am I off on that?
Nope, I think that's more or less correct. I wouldn't use Pathoma until you start systems (except the first 3(?) chapters, which cover some basic pathological concepts). Study physiology and micro as I outlined in my previous comment. The rest (histo, biochem, anatomy, immuno) just focus on doing well in that course by using class materials. I don't think it's worth your time to read a biochem book. In the first year, it's just too hard to tell what information is worth remembering. Once you start buckling down for boards, you'll quickly realize how little biochem you need to memorize. I'd highly recommend waiting until that point before you go crazy studying biochem. For anatomy, I used our class PPTs and websites like UMich anatomy and BRS Anatomy--no textbook. Embryology (lol, don't read about this, just use your class notes for the basic outline). Immunology I would recommend reading a book if you are new(ish) to the topic. I took immunology in undergrad the year before med school so I still felt comfortable with the topic. It's very high yield and will serve you well to have a solid foundation in immunologic principles.

But yes, don't worry about review sources until 2nd year. I wouldn't recommend doing anything considered "board prep" until about December of your 2nd year, at which point you can start busting out a few practice questions. I also did Kaplan questions along with each system (Cardio questions with cardio, etc.) and this was useful. So for the first 1.5 years, focus on doing well in classes--this will contribute far more to your board score than any amount of review you can cram into the few months preceding Step 1. You have to understand the material before you can review it.
 
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Goro

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In undergrad I was never a lecture or auditory learner. I'm very visual and pretty much read assigned textbooks cover to cover for classes like biochemistry, genetics, and the like.

I'm starting MS1 at a school that has probably 30+ textbooks listed, and fortunately I can get most of the ebooks for free online through the library portal. I have a feeling that my study habits are going to have to change, however. There is simply too much material for me to try to read everything.
In addition, it's not really clear-cut what I'll need to study since the curriculum is very much integrated rather than traditional. Could people share their strategies along with the materials they use in addition to ppts and lecture notes? So far I've heard of these review books:

Netter's Anatomy
Goljan Rapid review
Pathoma
First aid
Costanzo Physiology

Thanks!
Add the Sketchy videos to the list; my students seem to love them.

You have to find the learning style that works best for you.
Read this:
Goro's Guide to Success in Medical School (2016 edition)
 
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TRPMinus

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Nope, I think that's more or less correct. I wouldn't use Pathoma until you start systems (except the first 3(?) chapters, which cover some basic pathological concepts). Study physiology and micro as I outlined in my previous comment. The rest (histo, biochem, anatomy, immuno) just focus on doing well in that course by using class materials. I don't think it's worth your time to read a biochem book. In the first year, it's just too hard to tell what information is worth remembering. Once you start buckling down for boards, you'll quickly realize how little biochem you need to memorize. I'd highly recommend waiting until that point before you go crazy studying biochem. For anatomy, I used our class PPTs and websites like UMich anatomy and BRS Anatomy--no textbook. Embryology (lol, don't read about this, just use your class notes for the basic outline). Immunology I would recommend reading a book if you are new(ish) to the topic. I took immunology in undergrad the year before med school so I still felt comfortable with the topic. It's very high yield and will serve you well to have a solid foundation in immunologic principles.

But yes, don't worry about review sources until 2nd year. I wouldn't recommend doing anything considered "board prep" until about December of your 2nd year, at which point you can start busting out a few practice questions. I also did Kaplan questions along with each system (Cardio questions with cardio, etc.) and this was useful. So for the first 1.5 years, focus on doing well in classes--this will contribute far more to your board score than any amount of review you can cram into the few months preceding Step 1. You have to understand the material before you can review it.

Thanks! Thinking about having to change my study habits has been a bit daunting but y'all have helped to shed some light on things.
 

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@TRPMinus your school uses the same curriculum that i had so let me tell you what i did. to establish some credibility i did very well in my classes and also did very well on step 1.

During MS1 make sure to build a super super solid foundation in physio - do as many Qs as you can for physio and make sure you have it down. Micro immuno biochem etc can all be memorized and rememorized. But once you have physio down, pharm and path will come so much easier to you.
Try to do well in your classes and DONT CRAM. Study early and with the intent of learning (seems obvious but youd be surprised at how many students just passively go thru the material just to feel like they did something). When i say dont cram i mean learn
The material before you start to just commit to memory - make sense of it. Draw connections and associations.
Use a review book for each topic and make sure your class covers every high yield point- if it doesnt then learn it on your own.

Ms2 is huge in your case. You have the opportunity to really boost your step 1 score if you apply yoursef. What i did was reviewed all old material for every system very quickly using FA (about a day or 2 max) and then, after covering all class material for path and going thru pathoma for that system, i would use multiple qbanks answering ALL questions for that system (not just path). This way i reviewed so much material during the system. Dont get me wrong this was very very tough and didnt work fot everyone. If you can handle the workload of it then i highly suggest it. It worked wonders for me. When dedicated came around i was familiar with so much of the high yield stuff i was able to focus on minutiae (most of which was garbage anyway)
Obviously this is just what worked for me so make of it whatever you wish.
If you have any more questions lmk
 
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Med student 18

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for your board FA + Uworld. In combination with these I also used lecturio. Personally, I loved it, it doesn't seem to be that popular but again for me it worked great. It is also very good to accompany your regular med school lecture notes.

Netter's Anatomy---definitely use
Goljan Rapid review---never used but seems popular.
Pathoma-----never used but seems popular.
First aid----a must
Costanzo Physiology----BRILLIANT

I was a book reader until very late in the game in med school until I discovered lecturio. Using that + lectures notes and a few words from the book ended up being all I needed. I wish I knew about this before. So my personal recommendation is to concentrate on a good online source + lecture notes + your text book when necessary. The reason I recommend this is because in my experience the books are often full of unnecessary details that just end confusing one. I think they are better suited as a reference (since most of them ARE reference books) to clarify topics.

Also, realize that your study method for med school is going to have to change a lot. Simply reading is no longer enough. I liked studying using the feynman method and reviewing (using again the feynman method) using spaced repetition intervals. Also, it is great that your school is trying to integrate the subjects. That is by far the best way to learn and retain. When you are studying actively try to see if you can relate the topics between anatomy and embryo, between physio and biochem, etc. It takes a little effort but it is very worth it.

So figure out your study method, find a good source that you like, study and review often.
 

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My ONLY recommendation is to buy Rohen's atlas and the Thieme atlas. Forget about Netter's. Rohen is the best atlas for cadaveric dissections and Thieme is good for written exams. Rohen's atlas is expensive but I think it's worth it and you'll probably end up keeping it throughout your career.
 

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What Qbanks do you guys recommend using alongside MS1
 

Henry101

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What Qbanks do you guys recommend using alongside MS1
NONE. You don't know enough to effectively use a QBank. IF you start using Robbins, use the Robbins Review questions. But spending any $$$ on a QBank in M1 (Kaplan, UWorld, RX, etc.) is a waste of money.
 
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raiderette

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What Qbanks do you guys recommend using alongside MS1
If you start systems in MS1, as many schools do, I recommend USMLERX. I found it helpful, and I am saving UWorld until I get closer to dedicated Step1 study.
 
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Hrdrock

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If you start systems in MS1, as many schools do, I recommend USMLERX. I found it helpful, and I am saving UWorld until I get closer to dedicated Step1 study.
Agree with this. When you start systems (whether M1 or M2), complete the relevant blocks of questions from Kaplan OR Rx. Save the rest for when you're closer to boards. I started my first pass of UWorld about 3 months out from Step 1 and had completed Kaplan and Rx by that time.
 
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