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USMLE I Kaplan Home Study or Live Course Books or ?

Discussion in 'Step I' started by ubiquitous, May 23, 2002.

  1. ubiquitous

    ubiquitous Purple Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 29, 2002
    A better place...
    I have an opportunity to purchase Kaplan books for Step 1, which I'll be taking next year. I wanted to get recommendations from wise and experienced medical students! :D

    Do you think the Kaplan Home Study Book is better or the Kaplan Live Course Book set? Or do you think it's better to pick and choose books recommended in First Aid and skip Kaplan's material altogether? I definitely plan to subscribe to Q-Bank this time next year, but I need to decide on the Kaplan books now.

    I'd appreciate any feedback on the quality of the Kaplan materials and if you think they're worth it (especially at a reduced cost). I was also thinking that having the book(s) during my second year, I could do some review or note-writing in the books as time permits.

    Good Luck to all the M2s currently studying for Step 1! All of your hard work will pay off!

    Thanks in advance. :)
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  3. ubiquitous

    ubiquitous Purple Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 29, 2002
    A better place...
  4. ckent

    ckent Banned Banned

    Jul 31, 2000
    Depends how much you will have to pay for the Kaplan books and what edition they are. If the person selling them to you wants over 100 for all of them (people at my school have been seling them for 150-200), I wouldn't buy them and I would just stick with First Aid, a few BRS, high yield, and step up. Actually, even if you do buy the kaplan books, I would still recommend buying First Aid and the standard board review books everyone recommends. So unless you are getting a really good deal on some recent books, I would pass. Sorry for the late reply, I thought that someone who actually owned Kaplan books might reply.
  5. mamadoc

    mamadoc Old Member 7+ Year Member

    May 17, 2002
    I've got a set of live lecture books (three humongous spiral-bound things) and they're a useful adjunct to my studying, but I couldn't begin to get through them all as I prep - I am using them as backup to First Aid and Step Up rather than going back to my texts. Occasionally I go through a section in detail - e.g. the damn! autonomic nervous system. I got 'em for free from my big sib. I wouldn't have paid for them but they ARE useful. And your plan to possibly use them during second year - well, that's the sort of thing I thought, too, but when it came down to it there were just too many handouts, too many lecture notes, too many pages in Robbins, too many WORDS to even contemplate referring to an additional text. My bottom line: they may be worth something but I don't think they're worth a *lot.* YMMV.
  6. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 8, 2000
    I am taking the live lecture series, and I have to say I've been totally amazed by it. I didn't know if I'd have the stamina to attend lecture--having avoided that enormous timesuck all year, because our lecturers are uniformly uninspired ("here's how we kill mice in my lab..."). But painful as it is to put in 7-8 hours a day in lecture, six days a week, I feel like every word is golden. Kaplan really knows what it's doing. They get amazing professors, and they really cut out the crap you don't need to know (hello, ouchterlony). I keep wishing our school lecturers were of the same caliber.

    My school hosts Kaplan, so we get a discount ($700 if we registered in the fall, vs. $1000). We have a huge proportion of people who take Kaplan, and we do really well on the boards. The books are great, but the lectures really put it all in focus. If you know you're not going to take the lecture series, you might want the books (but good god, you don't need them now); if you think you might take the lectures, wait until later. I realize most people don't take Kaplan, and they do fine, but I can't imagine not taking this course, if you have the opportunity. I highly recommend it! I feel like I'm synthesizing information I should have learned all along...

    Slug out
  7. SYD


    Hi everyone
    I am thrilled to know Kaplan live series were very useful... But with these live lecture series
    are you talking about real live lectures or or CD recorded ones for 750$. I am really thinking of these 80 hr/ 2month 750 $ package, hoping it will help me for the step I in August this year

    Thanks heaps for you all.. :)
  8. ubiquitous

    ubiquitous Purple Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 29, 2002
    A better place...
    Thanks everyone for the great feedback! I think I'll wait and see if I can get a really good deal on the Kaplan books; otherwise, I'll stick with the books that everyone else tends to recommend, including 1st Aid of course!

  9. stickybop

    stickybop Junior Member

    May 30, 2002
    I'm using the lecture series books for my main study. I tried to follow the lecture schedule but I couldn't keep up even though I studied 8-10 hrs/day. I am still happy that I didn't pay for the lectures. It allows me to mix up my studying.
    Do questions when I get bored.

    However, kaplan live lectures are good for getting you through the "essentials" in 3.5 weeks. Doing self-study method, I think it will take 4.5 weeks to get through everything. Albeit, I hope I'm getting a more thorough pass through the material since I can study at my own pace.

    But can you imagine sitting in class for 8 hrs a day for 6 days out of 7 days and still be motivated to go home and do questions/review?

    Not for me. but others seem to like it. I'm also using BRS path, first aid, and High Yield behavioral, and others to supplement my study. If you took the lectures, do you think you would have time/motivaton to do that? maybe
  10. sanfilippo

    sanfilippo El Gaucho Misterioso 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2002
    North Country

    i bought 2000 ed. of kaplan home series (7 volumes) and Qbook from an M3 booksale on campus...i only paid $150...if you can get a deal like that, go for it. btw, there's a newer 2002 ed. for the home-study's in 3 books, i think.

    the lecture notes are 3 spirals that are huge and aren't complete and, from what i've heard from others, you really need to take the live lecture series for these to work optimally.

    live lecture series here in chicago is wrapping up, but as others have pointed out, it's 8 hours a day, including some saturdays and sundays! not worth it in my opinion!

    i'd supplement your primary books (brs, high yield, first aid, appleton and lange, etc.) with kaplan. i don't think any combination completely prepares you for the exam, but that's life. 1.5 weeks to go for step one for me...yipee! --sanfilippo
  11. doc_hubby

    doc_hubby Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2002
    Washington DC
    My wife is doing the live lecture here in DC starting on July 8th. We got her the Delux package which includes access to the previous video taped lectures as well, plus 4 months access to the Kaplan center. So far she likes it a lot. She is going through 3-5 tapes per day, making notes in the course books as she goes along. After 7 weeks of 8 hours per day live lecture, she is planning to go back through the Video taped lectures once again and catch the stuff which she couln't get in the live lecture.

    Overall she is impressed with the quality of the lecturers although she did mention that one particular lacturer just seemed to be going through the motions. Overall the books and the Live/Video lecture complement each other very well. (I think there is an option for video and books only that is $700-1000.) After the Kaplan study time is finished she is planning to further supplement her studies with "First Aid" and a few others, depending on where she still thinks she is weak.

    At $3700 it's a big commitment, but for and IMG it's definitely worth it.


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