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Feel free to comment on any of these that you have used and if you can let me know how much it helped to prepare you... I am going to use Uworld as my default Qbank but am considering adding one of the other three to it.
 

TheThirdLevel

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Rx is good for getting a pass through First Aid. Kaplan is a little more nitpicky with some details, but it's good practice and their explanations are usually pretty decent. Both of these also usually provide a reference to a page # in First Aid (or the actual page in Rx) so it's good for review. I like both, but if I had to pick one it would be Rx.

Firecracker is not really a qbank. Do the free trial and see if you like it. It takes a lot of dedication to do it but if you can maintain it then it should serve you very well. Also a bit pricy but worth it if you stick to it.
 
OP
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Yes I am between Qmax and Kaplan banks... It's hard to decide which one to use (I heard Kaplan questions are more difficult but haven't tried any myself). I think firecracker Qbank is something new (not those open answer questions they have but McQs instead).

I figure if I do the whole Kaplan course it will make sense to do their Qbank but if I don't maybe I can do both Qmax and Kaplan with the extra time? (Still trying to figure out how many weeks it will take to do all 2000-2500 questions?)
 

Entadus

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At this point I have only used USMLE-Rx (I will get UWorld in a few months). I really like USMLE-Rx. The interface is very good, very similar to the NBME shelf exam I took in May. The explanations are not always great, but every single question includes the relevant pages of first aid (you can pick whichever year edition you want) right there. It's so convenient and frankly I much prefer doing my first pass through first aid this way instead of trying to read that monster.
 
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OnePunchBiopsy

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I did Kaplan first then UWORLD during my months leading up to Step. Kaplan did a great job presenting vignettes with a well-rounded perspective, meaning the whole question was relevant and did not rely on knowing 1 specific detail or buzzword (MOST of the time). UWORLD was essential, but I did not get to do it twice, not due to time, but because the second time through I remembered the answers to too many questions and decided my time was best spent elsewhere.
 
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I really liked using rx w/ my classes 2nd year, I thought it helped me be more productive when getting through first aid for organ systems. Uworld is a total necessity. I did it twice and thought my 2nd run through helped tremendously. I know people who only did it once and did very well but I found that my second pass really helped drive home the material and also showed me where my weaknesses were.
 
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Modeselektor

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It's pretty straightforward.

Use Rx to aid recall from first aid. Use kaplan next for added practice and supplementary anatomy. For both of those question banks, remove the easy questions.

Use Uworld last because of the similarity to the actual step questions.

Do nothing twice. The actual exam is going to be unfamiliar.
 
OP
Preintel
May 2, 2012
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Thanks for all the feedback and advice, definitely helps me organize things a bit better.

I like the idea of using Rx questions with FA to consolidate the information so I will try this out first.

I will do UWorld at least once but I think it might make sense to do some questions or blocks every few days (still have 5 months left) for the first run through. Then maybe 1-2 months before the actual exam go through all the explanations to the questions again to solidify it. (Some of you recommend doing the questions only once, would you say looking over the explanations twice would be worth the time)?

Any reason firecracker qbank is not recommended? I have tried a few questions on there and they have lengthy explanations of some basic concepts/facts so I feel I am learning. Not sure if it reflects what will be on step though but I feel it is alright (still haven't started QMax or Uworld yet but have got them)... Is using the firecracker open questions to recall things better?

Also would you say going through First Aid multiple times and memorizing the information cold is better than trying to use additional books geared to each subject (but naturally ending up forgetting some things) is better? (Some people who took step told me to just go through FA and not waste time studying any other books aside from Pathoma and FA).

=)
 

timbaktoo

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I personally think UWOrld is way above any other Qbank as far as board prep is concerned. It not only helps you attack difficult questions but the knowledge attained also helps you in your third yr rotations. In my opinion, it should be used primarily as a learning tool, taking time to go through each and every explanations of the answer choices because that's where the money is.
 
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*brobro*

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Rx first to drive home the basics and get used to questions. Kaplan second to get used to nit picky details. Uworld last. I do not think its worth doing anything twice unless you've already finished all 3 banks and, even then, I would only suggest redoing the questions you missed. I think Uworld is over-hyped but I still think its slightly better than the others. The real test for me was not as purposefully tricky as Uworld or as detailed. I also highly recommend a spaced repetition program like firecracker or anki as your main foundation of studying...beginning early in MS2. (I got a 259 and this is what I did)
 

Entadus

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Rx first to drive home the basics and get used to questions. Kaplan second to get used to nit picky details. Uworld last. I do not think its worth doing anything twice unless you've already finished all 3 banks and, even then, I would only suggest redoing the questions you missed. I think Uworld is over-hyped but I still think its slightly better than the others. The real test for me was not as purposefully tricky as Uworld or as detailed. I also highly recommend a spaced repetition program like firecracker or anki as your main foundation of studying...beginning early in MS2. (I got a 259 and this is what I did)
I appreciate the advice, but frankly if you were not able to even break 260 then I'm not sure how useful your suggestions will be






/s
 

joker2400

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Rx first to drive home the basics and get used to questions. Kaplan second to get used to nit picky details. Uworld last. I do not think its worth doing anything twice unless you've already finished all 3 banks and, even then, I would only suggest redoing the questions you missed. I think Uworld is over-hyped but I still think its slightly better than the others. The real test for me was not as purposefully tricky as Uworld or as detailed. I also highly recommend a spaced repetition program like firecracker or anki as your main foundation of studying...beginning early in MS2. (I got a 259 and this is what I did)
Regardless of his somewhat pathetic score (still better than mine), I'd recommend this. It's what I did, except for the spaced repetition program, and I thought it worked quite well.
 

DocWinter

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I tried firecracker and hated it - takes way too much time to do it right, and focuses on tons of nitpicky details.

I'm currently working through USMLE-RX in 2nd year. Our school gave us combank and I'm not thrilled with the quality, so I'm wondering if it's worth the $200 for Kaplan to hit that after finishing USMLErx
 

Vain Brother

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didn't know where to post this general thought so putting it here:

it's pretty amazing to note the difference in quality between the questions and answers themselves (stellar, second to none) and the overall organization of the Qbank (like it was done by a drunk 9 year old). questions about LDL receptor abnormalities in endocrine section??? biostats filter on the left and the right??? the list goes on. kaplan's organization is way better
 

Syncrohnize

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It's pretty straightforward.

Use Rx to aid recall from first aid. Use kaplan next for added practice and supplementary anatomy. For both of those question banks, remove the easy questions.

Use Uworld last because of the similarity to the actual step questions.

Do nothing twice. The actual exam is going to be unfamiliar.
I liked this, and you make a good point about the exam being unfamiliar. That being said, just like RX helps memorize the FA in UFAP, obviously doing UWorld helps with learning the U. Said in another way, UWorld is also a content learning tool. Yes, it's all in FA but you sometimes still need to make that connection because you can read something in FA 100x but not know the application.
 

Vain Brother

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by the time you're doing questions, you should already have the primary knowledge from another source (lecture, a textbook, etc). referring back to a review source like FA should be all you need at that point