fierzer

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Sep 18, 2008
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Took NBME form 4. Not very pleased, I'm def not where I want to be. I started in the low 40s on UW, ended being in a safe 50-60s zone for last 10 blocks (timed, mixed, unused ofcourse). Was pretty sure I knew my material well.. but I don't understand why I'm not scoring higher on the NBMEs. I was a little above borderline passing, before starting UW+FA.. and even after I finished it I'm not anywhere closer to my goals. Do you guys recommend re-doing World or starting a dif Qbank (Kaplan/RX)?

Could it be possible that UW's purpose is to cover lower yield material to help people go from average scores to awesome scores? But doesn't really help out when your base was below average to begin with? Because even though there's drastic improvement in my UW blocks, my NBME score's barely changing sort of signals that my basics haven't improved any and need more work. Even on my NBME report card, everything was pretty much borderline. (So not like I can focus on weaknesses, everything's pretty much the same).

And before anyone mentions it.. no I don't think I've peaked and should just go take the exam. If there's a any possibility of failing, it's not a possibility I'd risk taking the exam on. Back in June I didn't even know the blood flow through the heart (still 21 so am/was immature and a slacker and learned nothing in med school unfortunately; which is entirely my fault obviously, and I know I deserve to be forced to restart med school :scared:), but I'm learning a lot everyday that I should've learned in 2nd year. I just need direction on how to improve my scores.. and the lack of NBME improvement w/ significant UW improvement seems like it's hinting at the fact that I have more of a knowledge base problem rather than a knowledge-recall/test-taking problem.

What do you guys think? Back to books (totally neglected during UW+FA period), and/or questions from UW for a 2nd run-through or a dif qbank?

P.S. Sorry if it seems like I'm just pouring a bunch of incoherent thoughts out, because in fact that actually is what I'm doing. Still wildly frustrated at my sub-400 NBME score.
 
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silas2642

silas2642
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Jul 24, 2005
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Took NBME form 4. Not very pleased, I'm def not where I want to be. I started in the low 40s on UW, ended being in a safe 50-60s zone for last 10 blocks (timed, mixed, unused ofcourse). Was pretty sure I knew my material well.. but I don't understand why I'm not scoring higher on the NBMEs. I was a little above borderline passing, before starting UW+FA.. and even after I finished it I'm not anywhere closer to my goals. Do you guys recommend re-doing World or starting a dif Qbank (Kaplan/RX)?

Could it be possible that UW's purpose is to cover lower yield material to help people go from average scores to awesome scores? But doesn't really help out when your base was below average to begin with? Because even though there's drastic improvement in my UW blocks, my NBME score's barely changing sort of signals that my basics haven't improved any and need more work. Even on my NBME report card, everything was pretty much borderline. (So not like I can focus on weaknesses, everything's pretty much the same).

And before anyone mentions it.. no I don't think I've peaked and should just go take the exam. If there's a any possibility of failing, it's not a possibility I'd risk taking the exam on. Back in June I didn't even know the blood flow through the heart (still 21 so am/was immature and a slacker and learned nothing in med school unfortunately; which is entirely my fault obviously, and I know I deserve to be forced to restart med school :scared:), but I'm learning a lot everyday that I should've learned in 2nd year. I just need direction on how to improve my scores.. and the lack of NBME improvement w/ significant UW improvement seems like it's hinting at the fact that I have more of a knowledge base problem rather than a knowledge-recall/test-taking problem.

What do you guys think? Back to books (totally neglected during UW+FA period), and/or questions from UW for a 2nd run-through or a dif qbank?

P.S. Sorry if it seems like I'm just pouring a bunch of incoherent thoughts out, because in fact that actually is what I'm doing. Still wildly frustrated at my sub-400 NBME score.
I don't know... I haven't started board prep yet, but my school says those things are wildly accurate-- however they also say that there is a certain order that is better to take them. How many have you taken so far? I've heard that some are more difficult than others.
 

Instatewaiter

But... there's a troponin
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Apr 28, 2006
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I don't know... I haven't started board prep yet, but my school says those things are wildly accurate-- however they also say that there is a certain order that is better to take them. How many have you taken so far? I've heard that some are more difficult than others.
They are very accurate.

one of our professors who leads our board review too all of them. She scored about the same on all of them. So, even though some may be "harder" than others it is made up for it in the scoring so that your score will be the same.

FWIW, 1 and 2 are "easier". 3 is arguably the hardest. 4 is random. Dont know about the others
 
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silas2642

silas2642
10+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2005
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The other thing is, how sub-par is your NBME score? Is it just under 400, or is it like really under 400? If you use the USMLE estimator thingy, it says that a 395 should get you a score of like 197 or something-- that's passing.

However, I seem to recall you saying something about not knowing where the blood flows in the heart-- if that's true, that's not good either. Maybe you should talk to one of your deans about this or something instead of getting random advice on the internet. They probably know you better at your school and would be better able to advise you.
 

Knicks

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Aug 28, 2007
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I don't know... I haven't started board prep yet, but my school says those things are wildly accurate-- however they also say that there is a certain order that is better to take them. How many have you taken so far? I've heard that some are more difficult than others.
Does anyone know the recommended order?
 

Solarium

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Jun 19, 2006
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Took NBME form 4. Not very pleased, I'm def not where I want to be. I started in the low 40s on UW, ended being in a safe 50-60s zone for last 10 blocks (timed, mixed, unused ofcourse). Was pretty sure I knew my material well.. but I don't understand why I'm not scoring higher on the NBMEs. I was a little above borderline passing, before starting UW+FA.. and even after I finished it I'm not anywhere closer to my goals. Do you guys recommend re-doing World or starting a dif Qbank (Kaplan/RX)?

Could it be possible that UW's purpose is to cover lower yield material to help people go from average scores to awesome scores? But doesn't really help out when your base was below average to begin with? Because even though there's drastic improvement in my UW blocks, my NBME score's barely changing sort of signals that my basics haven't improved any and need more work. Even on my NBME report card, everything was pretty much borderline. (So not like I can focus on weaknesses, everything's pretty much the same).

And before anyone mentions it.. no I don't think I've peaked and should just go take the exam. If there's a any possibility of failing, it's not a possibility I'd risk taking the exam on. Back in June I didn't even know the blood flow through the heart (still 21 so am/was immature and a slacker and learned nothing in med school unfortunately; which is entirely my fault obviously, and I know I deserve to be forced to restart med school :scared:), but I'm learning a lot everyday that I should've learned in 2nd year. I just need direction on how to improve my scores.. and the lack of NBME improvement w/ significant UW improvement seems like it's hinting at the fact that I have more of a knowledge base problem rather than a knowledge-recall/test-taking problem.

What do you guys think? Back to books (totally neglected during UW+FA period), and/or questions from UW for a 2nd run-through or a dif qbank?

P.S. Sorry if it seems like I'm just pouring a bunch of incoherent thoughts out, because in fact that actually is what I'm doing. Still wildly frustrated at my sub-400 NBME score.
I'm pretty much in the same boat as you are. I took an NBME, before going to a Kaplan course, and after the course took another one and ended up with the same score. At this point I don't know whether to do more questions, or go back and read FA/Kaplan notes over and over until I remember them. I have a friend who did 70% of both Kaplan and UW qbank in 8 weeks, and another who reviewed her Falcon notes and listened to her own voice recording with only 400 questions, and they both ended up with 230+. It's so difficult to choose what is the best for yourself.
 

Instatewaiter

But... there's a troponin
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Does anyone know the recommended order?
The order doesnt really matter.


This is what I did and what I would recommend: take #1 or 2 as a baseline before you study.

Then take #3 about 2-3 weeks in (in a 5 week study period). Take the free 150 about 1 week away from the real deal.
 

UditNarayan

10+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2008
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hey guys,

i agree about taking an NBME to know your baseline. I took NBME #1 for baseline and basically knew how much more I needed to do to get to my goal. After taking all 6 of them, Im not so sure that theres an obvious logical order to taking the exams. I agree with taking #1 and 2 first - its "easier" in the way that the questions are more straightforward and typically on the less complex material; however, dont let that fool you! The score you get on that is scaled accordingly, so even though you may feel like you answered more correctly on NBME #1 versus NBME #3 (just an example), your score may not reflect that. I also agree that the NBME's are amazing score predictors...NBMEs #3,4,5,6 were ALL WITHIN 1 POINT of my final score, which is nuts. G'luck!
 

hj0517

10+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2007
130
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Status
Medical Student
I hope I can help but it all depends on how much time you have. My prep schedule is messed up and not your normal build up to taking the exam but here it is:

I started in July intending to take the test at the end of August - started by going through RR path, just reading through it and FA for a week and then took NBME 6 and got 400, I know what you mean when you say "Where do I start its ALL on the borderline bar?!!!" I recognised that I knew the disease but not the pathogenesis so I studied by asking myself "why" at every stage, after that I did an UW SA and everything was not borderline anymore - scored 218 on that and then I had some issues which meant that I couldn't do it in August. I've completed my winter rotations and now have 5 weeks till the test (did almost no prep till now) - did NBME 3 and got 540 and I think its purely because I changed the way I study completely. Now I can actually make use of the feedback!

I know my scores aren't stellar and I haven't taken the real test yet but I think I was in a similar position to you not so long ago, I didn't go back to major texts - mostly Wikipedia for the "why?" answers I couldn't find in FA/UW/RR path/Kaplan phys/HY neuro.

Best of luck mate, chin up! and you'll be fine
 
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