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What is the best biochem resource?

Discussion in 'Step I' started by igcgnerd, May 17, 2014.

  1. igcgnerd

    igcgnerd Hawkeye 10+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2006
    I's still struggling with the biochemistry section. The most difficult areas seem to be the pathways with their metabolic derangements. What sources have proven to be the highest yield (ie DIT, PASS or some other program)?
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  3. CherryRedDracul

    CherryRedDracul Resident Sh!tposter Physician 5+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2012
    North America
    If you don't mind an outline format, I'd say Rapid Review Biochem is the best one out there. All the high yield stuff that's appeared on the exam is in the margins and highlighted in blue.
    notbobtrustme and DermViser like this.
  4. bucks900

    bucks900 5+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    I also like Rapid Review but the outline format definitely isn't for everyone.
  5. Petypet

    Petypet Physician 7+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2009
    Rapid review is great but overly detailed for step 1. FA biochem section is sufficient, albeit difficulty to learn from.
    YeahNoMind likes this.
  6. Apoplexy__

    Apoplexy__ Blood-and-thunder appearance 5+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Up on the Hydra's back
    +1. I used nothing but FA for Biochem, except I Googled things incessantly and used other texts as mere references. It took me 15+ hours; I went through FA with a fine-tooth comb, and looked up every single thing I didn't know. But it worked. My Biochem background is god-awful, and now Biochem is one of my best subjects.
    orchitisphlebitis likes this.
  7. Diggidy

    Diggidy 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2009
    I just use FA for biochem. I went through it very slowly and learned it all, and then promptly forgot it a week later. Bah. Biochem will be the last thing I review before I take my test on June 7th, because it just does not stick in my brain.
  8. periaqueductal


    Oct 5, 2013
    I agree with the above. I worked through the FA section thoroughly and drew the pathways out. I then did/am doing question banks to solidify it. Granted, you will get a lot of them wrong-especially in Uworld-but there's no better way to learn it than having an idea of the pathway and getting a difficult question on it. Really helps bring it all together.
    orchitisphlebitis likes this.
  9. Diggidy

    Diggidy 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2009
    And someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but between my school's CBSE, doing an NBME, and the free 150 questions floating around, I've not seen any step 1 biochem questions that are nearly as hard as UWorld's are on average.
  10. BlueArc

    BlueArc 2+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    Seriously? Wow. I'm impressed. I am struggling like hell.:drowning:
  11. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2009
    Your choices are:
    1) Rapid Review Biochemistry
    2) Lippincott's Biochemistry - although most consider this WAY too much and more appropriate for coursework
    3) Kaplan Biochemistry Lecture Notes + accompanying Kaplan videos

    Pick one.
  12. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2009
    The pathways aren't important as certain rate-limiting steps or those in which a deficiency in the enzyme results in a clinical disorder.
    CherryRedDracul likes this.
  13. bulldogmed

    bulldogmed 2+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2012
    Not for pathways, but for diseases Picmonic is the way to go, especially for lysosomal and glycogen storage diseases.
  14. Apoplexy__

    Apoplexy__ Blood-and-thunder appearance 5+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Up on the Hydra's back
    Haha thanks. What helped me big-time was connecting all the pathways. Every time I would learn a new pathway, I would try and see how it would exit from or enter into another pathway. I don't know why, but this really solidified things in my head. I ended up connecting them more and more until I eventually made this mega-pathway of 10+ pathways combined on a piece of paper. The best approach after practicing them enough to be familiar with them was to just start with glycolysis and mind-dump as many connections as I could until I ran out of ideas (e.g. Glucose --> Glucose-6-P...Hm...Glucose-1-P can enter here, which leaves the door open for Glycogenolysis and Galactose metabolism).

    Like DermViser said, it's more important to know rate-limiting steps, co-factor vitamins (very important), enzymes (most important to just recognize what pathway they belong to), and correlations to pathologies, but you can easily write this stuff in as you draw out your pathways.

    In the end, as with anything on the USMLE, understanding > memorizing. Pages 98 + 99 in FA 2014 may be the most important pages of Biochem. Also, the "Activated carriers" box of pg. 101. I can't tell you how helpful it is to know that basically any reaction in which NADH is generated has an enzyme ending in "dehydrogenase" and uses B3 as a cofactor. Or that reactions involving the movement of an aldehyde or ketone require B1.
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
    Shadowmoses and BlueArc like this.
  15. Shadowmoses

    Shadowmoses 5+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2011
    If there are a few pathways actually worth memorizing, it would be glycolysis and the purine/pyramidine synthesis and salvage pathways. Glycolysis + CAC is like what every other pathway ultimately leads too or branches from, while the nucleotide stuff is ridiculously high yield because of the anti-cancer drugs.

    Then what kirbymiester said is spot on good advice
  16. mdtobe249


    Oct 14, 2013
    Rapid Review definitely was money for me. + picmonic for supplement

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