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The Lack of a Quality Step 1 Databank of Questions

Discussion in 'Step I' started by Abhas2002, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. Abhas2002

    Abhas2002 WikiTestPrep Director

    Aug 18, 2006
    New York, NY
    My last post got deleted as spam, so let me explain myself a little more.

    I took the Step 1 boards last summer and was seriously disappointed with the disparity between what I expected and what was actually on the exam. I received a decent score, but I have always performed in the top percentile on standardized tests and my boards score was not even in the top ten. So I began thinking about all of the issues contributing to my not-so-stellar performance. Moreover, I set out to see what other students thought too. Here are the results:

    I surveyed 393 medical students from 40 institutions:
    • 96% used Kaplan QBank
    • 76% expressed dissatisfaction with the price of Kaplan QBank
    • 46% did not believe that Kaplan QBank questions were sufficiently relevant to the actual exam
    • 71% wished for access to practice questions throughout their first two years of medical school
    • Ready for the shocker? The average respondent spent $330 simply preparing for the exam!
    So there you have it. QBank, although better than nothing, could be greatly improved. And the same can be said for USMLEWorld, USMLERx, or anyone else. The reality is that the overall structure is flawed (how questions are acquired, who reviews them, who determines how relevant they are, etc.). The best people to write questions are people walking out of the exam (not because they can regurgitate questions from the exam, but because they are the most familiar with the testing style, the scope of the questions/content, and the concepts tested). And when you think of the economics of it all... 96% of students (20,000 students in the US) using QBank comes out to over $3 million in revenue for Kaplan. Essentially, Kaplan has no reason to improve QBank because medical students are so starved for a test prep resource that they'll pay and take anything.

    But what if you make the service free? What if the only stipulation for a student using a free resource is that he has to write a question when he is done? With 20,000 students, if only 10% wrote a question, the databank would already rival QBank/USMLEWorld in size. Of course there needs to be considerable oversight (from students and faculty) and it needs to have all the perks of a test prep resource (ability to take tests, gauge your perfomance, flag questions). Could it work?

    That's what I'm hoping for. I, along with my peers and faculty members, have created a novel test prep resource that is based on the wiki-model and best of all, it's free. I hope you'll use it to prepare and then contribute to it when you're done. You'll be a part of creating a serious alternative to the hegemony of Kaplan. The resource is available here:

    Good luck with your studying,

    Abhas Gupta
    MD/PhD Student (Year 3)
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
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  3. SeventhSon

    SeventhSon SIMMER DOWN 7+ Year Member

    Aug 23, 2005
    San Diego
    how in the world do you plan to do QA?

    GOGETA SuperSaiyan 2+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    I personally think is a good idea.

    1- Who is going to be monitoring it so it doesnot break the NBME rules?
  5. drguy22

    drguy22 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2004
    only $330?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    IM SPENDING $$$$1500$$$$!!! KAPLAN +QBANKS!+NBME
  6. Abhas2002

    Abhas2002 WikiTestPrep Director

    Aug 18, 2006
    New York, NY
    You can read more about Q & A (quality and assurance, i expect) at the website. Essentially, we have a full board of medical students, MD/PhD students, and faculty members that review submitted questions.

    Each of these editorial board members also undergo several lessons in question writing and NBME style.
  7. watermen

    watermen Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 1, 2005
    Can you start a step 2 bank?
  8. KNightInBlue

    KNightInBlue 5+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Its an avg drguy..........there are ppl who spend barely anything on the other end of the ppl like you balance them out to a nice $330 :)
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I think a lot of people do self study with just Qbank and First Aid, etc, because unlike other standardized tests (MCAT, bar exams, etc) there isn't good evidence showing that folks who use prep courses score any better than the rest. At least that's what some med school advisors are maintaining (Kaplan may say different:) ). So that's what's bringing down the average.
  10. buddindoc

    buddindoc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Kerala,India or PA,USA
    why are you even bothering with the MD/PhD route.this is brilliant and if this is your brain child i seriously think you need to get into the MD/MBA and drum up sponsors /ads to your site .
    goodluck with everything.
    smart man.
  11. Abhas2002

    Abhas2002 WikiTestPrep Director

    Aug 18, 2006
    New York, NY
    Step 2 and MCAT support should be coming out in the month or two. Unfortunately, the Step 2 editorial board will not be as rigorous as the Step 1. I am working on recruiting folks, and I expect the task will be a lot easier now that the interest in Step 1 is surging. Take a look at these stats from the past 5 days:

    * 1,128 students from 25 countries have visited the site
    * 388 practice tests have been created
    * 6 questions have been submitted by random visitors
    * WikiTestPrep has gone mobile -- for blackberrys, treos, and cell phones

    Good luck with your studying and thank you for the kind words. Please share the site with your peers and consider submitting a few questions when you get done with the exam.

  12. Bubchik

    Bubchik Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2004
    I did all the questions and they seem to be like Qbank.
  13. Psycho Doctor

    Psycho Doctor *** Angel 5+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2004

    awesome, thank you!!:thumbup:

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