UsmleWorld's Monopoly on Q-banks.

Discussion in 'Step I' started by overfiend06, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. alpha06

    alpha06 Senior Member
    Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Why does it seem that UW has a monopoly on q-banks?

    It seems that there is a general consensus that they have the best questions, the best explanations, and provide some really good tables, diagrams, and pictures as well. Why is there no other? Who is UW's competitor?

    I am saying this because I just went through all of UW. I also went though all of kaplan. And I want another question source whether it be online or book. And I don't know which one I should go with? I have kaplan's q-book, (which I haven't touched), some pretest books, or should I get robbins review of path, maybe usmleRx, or just go through my UW mistakes? :confused:

    Anybody have any ideas or suggestions? Thanks for your help.
     
  2. GynGuy1983

    GynGuy1983 C&A Psychiatry Fellow
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    I faced a similar problem recently since I finished UW and Kaplan. I corrected World and then signed up for USMLE Consult (Elsevier) and I haven't turned back. It is a good median between the level of difficulty that is World and what the exam is probably like. I would say that UC is more like an NBME than any other bank out there in terms of difficulty, wording, and information provided in the vignettes.

    The one thing that you should know is that UC's explanations are top notch. They cite trustworthy sources and review books that you most likely have been using to prepare for the exam like Robbins, RR, BRS, and Goljan. They also offer a 30 day free subscription to their database that has a lot of the books available online, as well as a 150 question USMLE style exam that is similar to what UW is offering as an alternative to taking an NBME. I'm more than 70% done with the bank (the bank has 2800 questions) and I feel that it has reinforced certain points that I was weaker on. I always felt that Kaplan's questions were either too wordy or unrealistic in terms of how many clues they gave you, while UW would force me to question certain things that I felt weren't always high yield (albeit, still pertinent though).

    Give it a shot, I was pleasantly surprised by it, plus I hear that most of the people that do the bank go to the U.S. schools, so you can compare yourself to your competition domestically.

    *I would like to note that I am NOT affiliated with UC or Elsevier, even though I highly recommend their products.
     
  3. BrisketAttack

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    you're a madman/woman! take the damn step for cryin out loud. you've already done 4000+ questions. isn't your brain melting? mine took a **** about a thousand questions back and I still haven't made it through either uworld or kaplan in their entirety.
     
  4. hippocampus

    hippocampus Senior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    0
    Uworld sucks. the only reason why people think it's good is because the set up looks like the prometric center... and that's it!
     
  5. BrisketAttack

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    uworld's questions are more reminiscent of the NBMEs I've taken than kaplan. by a long shot. for that alone, i'll stick with uworld. especially since most people agree that NBME performance correlates best with the real exam.
     
  6. GynGuy1983

    GynGuy1983 C&A Psychiatry Fellow
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    I didn't do 4000 questions, I've done more like 6000. :D Kaplan, UW, and now UC with only another 700 to go, lol. Not to mention the 150 question test from the USMLE website and the 2 NBME's I've taken.

    I've come to the conclusion that even though studying is VERY important, if you can't recognize what they're asking for in the vignette and make a diagnosis followed by a couple of solid differentials, it doesn't matter what you know. Patients always present with the SAME clinical manifestations, they just change their wording, so if you've seen enough questions about the same illness, you start to put it together. There are only so many ways they can describe Sjogren's, dystonia, McArdle's, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and obviously the list goes on.
     
  7. DrFraud

    Removed 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Well, my idea is that the people who I spoke with who completed the step beginning about 9-12 months ago indicated to me that they found UW to be of the greatest value in helping them when they took the step.

    I also found lots of recommendations from this forum, as well as others too.

    I used UW beginning a few months after starting med school, and it really helped improve my grades and allowed me to review subjests whenever I had 20 minutes to spare.

    Finally, when I took the step, I felt like I was taking 48 q UW blocks, so after about 20 minutes into the exem, things just seem to be almost routine, if that at all seems possible.
     
  8. BusterDO

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    man, if i had a dime for every time i heard that :rolleyes:
     
  9. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    5,961
    Likes Received:
    1,931
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Let me prefice this by saying this post is only mean if you are choosing between UW and elsevier. If you have exhausted Kaplan and UW and you want more questions you really have only the option to do elsevier.

    I signed up for UW and for UC. I didn't like elsevier. I used to switch off days of UW and UC and since i realize that I am not going to finish all of either one of them, I decided to stick with UW.

    First doing everything online is a pain in the butt and sometimes I have to wait forever for my test or pictures to load. I dont have that problem with UW (or with any other internet site). It isnt my internet connection it is the slowness of elsevier. This is really a minor point though and more of an inconvenience.

    I felt like the questions for elsevier are a bit too easy. Sometimes they seem like the NBMEs often the questiosn are riddled with gimmees. I dont need practice answering a bunch of gimmee questions. The gimmees in UW are few and far between but I feel like elsevier has a ton of them. Elsevier definitely has some tricky questions thrown in there but i felt like I got more out of doing Uworld questions.

    The explanations for UC blow. I mean really suck. Sure they may have an excerpt from a medical microbiology text or whatever but I cant tell you how many times the excerpt they quoted has almost nothing to do with the question. For instance they will ask a question about differentiating some of the Strep species based on micro/culturing and let's say the answer is Strep pyogenes. The "high yield hit" will not discuss why the answer was S pyogenes but about scarlet fever or some basic info about the bug.

    In addition to that I have found a few errors.


    All in all I liked UW better. I don't have any experience with Kaplan.

    I also dont work for elsevier (can you tell?)
     
  10. GynGuy1983

    GynGuy1983 C&A Psychiatry Fellow
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Then what do the questions resemble? Are they short like on most of the NBME's or are you just being sarcastic?

    I felt that UW was very challenging, so much so that when I encounter a straightforward question now, I reread the question to make sure that I didn't miss something or that I bit onto a distractor.
     
  11. BrisketAttack

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Medical Student
    you'd have one dime. you could buy yourself one of those mini snicker's bars at the conveneince store, or 1/40th gallon of gas. good times.
     
  12. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    5,961
    Likes Received:
    1,931
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    PS I laugh everytime I see your avitar BusterDO
     
  13. BusterDO

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    :hello:
     
  14. BusterDO

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Medical Student
    i aim to please

    that's what she said
     
  15. GynGuy1983

    GynGuy1983 C&A Psychiatry Fellow
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Don't get me wrong, Elsevier is far from the gold standard when it comes to qbanks. World is by far the best, but if you were to compare UC with Kaplan, UC is the better choice. I've done all 3 and can honestly say that Kaplan is absolute rubbish. Yes, sometimes pictures would take a little too long to load and some of the questions are very easy, but you also have to understand that there are gimme questions on the actual exam as well, and it would be a shame to miss out on them simply because you made a dumb mistake or were stressed. Also factor in that UC has an extra 800 questions to World, so that right there might be the difference. UC has a considerable amount of histopathology on it, so be prepared.
     
  16. alpha06

    alpha06 Senior Member
    Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    ^^^^^^^^^

    I didn't realize UC was such a great resource. I will definitely check it out. And as far as doing too many questions, I don't think this is a problem at all. In all I have went through 4800+ questions and can say that even if I had remembered word for word what I read/reviewed, I still would not have been able to answer some of those questions without actually seeing how they worded it. So for me, the more questions, the better.
     
  17. TerpMD

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I don't know if I would buy UC over Kaplan. I too am using both with UW and there are +/- to each. Kaplan's minutia is unbearable at times but UC does have it's fair share, esp regarding micro and anatomy. Also, the explanations are awful in UC. Just terrible. The issue of pics loading is an issue of student consult's entire site and I have had times where I can't log in because it has decided not to work. By other issue with UC is that so many of the questions can be answered without reading the stem. It may be like this on the real deal (I'll know soon enough) but I guess UW spoiled me into being used to really have to think about a diagnosis.

    UC is nice in that they link it to textbooks so instead of having to go look up whatever disease, I can just read it right there. And you can cut and paste/download pics and whatever to your computer (not via printscreen, good old control C) so if there is some pic that is awesome I can download it for later review.

    Kaplan annoys me most bc I can't for the life of me figure out how to use the d*** highlight function properly.

    I am a big question person too so if you make time to get both, I would totally do it. It is nice to see the different styles. I think the preference as to which one to buy depends on if you are using it primarily to learn new info versus practice what you already studied (via UW or other).
     
  18. racerx

    racerx ASA Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2001
    Messages:
    1,039
    Likes Received:
    91
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    It took me >500 questions before I figured it out. The default setting is that if you click and drag in the stem, it highlights yellow. If you click and drag in the answer choices, it dims them.

    If you click the icon, it reverses, so you can dim out irrelevant info in the stem, and highlight pertinent parts of possible answers.

    One thing that pisses me off is that if you want to highlight more than one line, you either have to wait a few seconds for the flash program to reset, or it overcompensates, highlighting the entire paragraph.
     
  19. TerpMD

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    This is my problem too. Also, sometimes I can't undim things and I end up clicking it 10 times before it dims. Why can't they just make it easy?
     
  20. racerx

    racerx ASA Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2001
    Messages:
    1,039
    Likes Received:
    91
    Status:
    Attending Physician

    I think the problem is with it being a flash program. They do this so we can't copy the questions. Although I haven't tried, I don't think it would prevent a screen capture.:smuggrin:
     

Share This Page