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What to do for the Shelfs

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Pril, Nov 24, 2002.

  1. Pril

    Pril Member
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    I will be taking the physiology, Anatomy, and Biochem shelfs in early march, but I do not know what to do about them. Since we will also be required to take the the school's own test during the same time. For example, in the same day we will take the Anatomy Head and Neck section and later in the day the shelf. So for example, from Jan. until March, I wll be trying to keep up with my regular classes, so how will I be able to get ready for the shelfs?
     
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  3. Lara

    Lara Senior Member
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    I think shelf exams are kind of like mini-USMLE's on specific subjects (anatomy, histo, physio, etc).

    I'll be taking 2-3 shelfs on December 19th, the day after finals end! :p So I'm in the same situation. I'd say that if they're not counted for your grade (some schools do but not Temple), definitely just concentrate on your own exams. In that case the shelfs are basically used to give you some exposure to how the "real thing" will be. Ideally you should be able to simply apply what you learned studying for your school exams anyway, so there shouldn't be any extra study time needed.

    But any second years are free to correct me here. :D
     
  4. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid
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    yes, the NBME (national board of medical examiners) makes shelf exams in anatomy, etc. some schools use them as final exams.
     
  5. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    Welcome to my world. :D

    -Skip Intro
    MS2 Ross University
    Portsmouth, Dominica
     
  6. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    Supposedly the shelf tests are made up of retired USMLE questions (Step I questions for the pre-clinical years and Step II questions for the clinical years).

    Honestly, the shelf tests really aren't that bad.
     
  7. lamyers1

    lamyers1 Senior Member
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    I don't know about that. We took the cell bio/histo NBME this morning. It was hilarious. I've had several histo courses and still guessed at half of it! The first three questions were like the MCAT all over again. Guess I'll look forward to Gross in 2 weeks.
     
  8. tega

    tega Senior Member
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    i think u talking of miniboards. we have to take it after each course....and we have to pass it, to pass the course. some courses use it for finals.

    i have taken 2 so far.biochem and anatomy..and have 2 in december.

    for biochem
    read lippencotts (sp). then do pre-test questions.

    anatomy.......read BRS....then do pretest questions. night before exam.... read high yield. i can assure you 10 questions would be direct highyield quotes. oh yeah...u may wanna skip embryo...not worth the time...

    but remeber these are review books...using them is based on the assumption that u already know ur ****....

    how am i gonna prepare for physio...i think i will jsut read stars...i will start reviewing for cardiovascular tommorow....

    as for histo...im not gonna bother. i'll review for class finals..which is 10X harder than boards (this dude actually asked us what proteins connect actin to the cellmembrane in the microvilli.of course the question was phrased in a clinical context....but that was basically what u had to know.)....so i figure if i can rip his finals..boards would be crap.


    but basically...i say jsut read over any review book u can find, and do as many pretest questions as possible. pretest will help u more for biochem, than anatomy.
     
  9. secretwave101

    secretwave101 Senior Member
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    I took the Micro Shelf last year and though it was pretty fair. The general idea is that if you pass SHELF tests, you'll pass the USMLE also. It's true that the questions come directly from former USMLE tests.

    I will say that the type of questions are pretty different from what I was used to. They'd say: Patient X has X, cultured on X, didn't grow with X, and is killed by X.

    I'd think, "oh cool, I'm pretty sure that's E. Coli" or whatever, and I knew I'd be able to narrow down a list of microbes to the right one. But they wouldn't ask for the bug...they expected everyone to know that (which made me wonder if I was REALLY sure it was E. Coli). The question would be something like...

    "given the above, what are the most common symptoms that patient is likely to experience".

    So, basically, you needed to know the bug, and what it did. It was different for me bec. I basically studied "bug X causes disease X and is killed by X".

    But I did better on that test than I did on my regular class exams, due in part I suspect, because the questions are so well worded.
     
  10. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    I've taken (and passed) the following "shelf" exams since being in med school:

    Biochem
    Histology
    Neuroscience
    Anatomy & Embryology
    Physiology
    Behavioral Science
    Microbiology & Immunology

    In the next two weeks, I have the following coming up:

    Pathology
    Pharmacology
    Intro to Clinical Medicine

    For the first set, I used the Lippincott review books. All excellent. I am also now studying from the Lippincott Pharmacology book. None of the books in this series has steered me wrong so far, and a lot of the Immunology on the Micro Shelf came straight out of the Lippincott Micro book's Immuno section. Also, there were about 5-6 question that were almost verbatim out of Underground Clinical Vignettes (UCV), also an excellent series.

    The Pre-Test and BRS books are also excellent.

    I pretty much agree with everything else that's been stated on this thread so far. And, remember: anything above a "70" is a pretty good score.

    Good luck!
     
  11. scully

    scully Senior Member
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    Are the shelf exams the same for everyone everywhere? I ask because we have the Micro shelf coming up, and I was told there is no Immuno on it (that is a separate course for us -- a course I haven't taken yet!) Anyone know about this particular exam?
     
  12. MS05'

    MS05' Senior Member
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    We take the shelfs at the end of our individual 3rd year rotations, but I'd like to take the shelf exams you guys have been talking about just to prepare for STEP 1, how do you register to take them? Thanks.
     
  13. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    They are the same format, and the same exams may be given at different schools, but the tests are rotated. So, you may not have the exact same exam that was given last semester to a different school (for obvious reasons) or even the same exam that was given two weeks prior at another school.

    I took the Micro "shelf" last semester. The first 125 questions are Microbiology. There is a supplemental 25 questions (totaling 150 questions, for the mathematically illiterate ;) ) that are strictly Immunology. Chances are that you will only be asked to take the first 125 questions, if you haven't had Immuno yet. We had to take the whole 150 question test because Immuno was integrated with Micro.

    -Skip
    MS2 Ross University
    Portsmouth, Dominica
     
  14. Skip Intro

    Skip Intro Registered User
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    You can't register to take them. Your school either offers them as part of the curriculum, or not. Many schools in the U.S. use them, as has been mentioned, to assess their curriculum with the boards. Some use them as finals during remedial courses in the summer.

    At Ross, they make up a substantial portion of our final course grade each semester. We take them all. They are not TOO difficult, if you know your stuff. But, the tests are clearly gradationally constructed. There are a bulk of questions that everyone should know. Then, there are ones that are quite a bit harder and make you think. Then there are the deep secondary questions that test a higher level of knowledge on the subject. And, lastly, there are the ones that are just impossible and/or you weren't taught. The last set are for the people who went hardcore into a particular subject, read material outside of the recommended texts, and/or just got lucky and happened to know some arcane fact about a particular topic.

    I don't think they are "retired" Step I questions, but I could be wrong. I think they come out of the same pool that the Step I comes from, because we have had visiting professors here (Josefowicz and Damjanov) who are professors at U.S. med schools (Rochester and Kansas, respectively) who've come to lecture and are also current or one-time writers/reviewers of both Shelf and Step I questions. (That's why I know a lot about the subject. ;) )
     

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