Dodge This

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To all you 2nd-4th years and beyond:

Which review books in addition to First Aid did you use to study for Step 1? I'm at the end of Year 1 and a lot of graduating 4th years are selling their books for ridiculously cheap.

Can anyone compare BRS vs. High Yield? How are Lippencott and Appleton & Lange for board review? Any other specific books that are "must haves"?
 

vhl

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Check out the back of First Aid-there's a rating of almost all of the review books there. Some of the favorites from my class-lippincott biochem and pharm (LONG and detailed though), BRS physio and path, Micro MRS. Don't go based on one set of titles since some are better on some topics than others. I think this was covered in some past posts, too.
 

Dodge This

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Thanks for the reply. Haven't picked up a copy of First Aid yet (been too busy with musculoskeletal and year-end cumulative exam to care).
 
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Jalby

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I'm just a wanna be med student who is prolly going to your school next year, but here is the list of the best books in each subject that was in the back of First Aid

Lippincots Biochem
BRS Physio
Microbio made rediculously simple
BRS Path
I forgot the other three ones. Sorry
 

Mango

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I agree with all the suggestions above. I bought books based mainly on the reviews in First Aid, and I haven't been dissapointed yet. In addition to the books above, the High Yield series has excellent books for Gross, Embryo, Behavioral, and Neuro anatomy. The behavioral one is especially good. The only bad part is they're 20 bucks each. So get them used if possible.

And two books to avoid: High Yield Histo and BRS biochem. Both are way too detailed.
 

JP2005

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Mango...just out of curiousity, which book did you use for biochem prep? I am at the end of my 1st yr and wanna start getting some board books ready. Even though I used Lipponcott for the biochem course itself, I felt its too much for board prep. I can be wrong though. What do you suggest?
 

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To Dodgethis:
Before you purchase a bunch of books from fourth years, just be aware that some of the books that you buy may be "outdated" or have new editions to them. For most board books, I don't think that the new editions actually any new information, but there are a couple of books that you might want to make sure that you do have the latest or a fairly recent version. First aid is one of them, Step up has a "revised" edition (even though it still has a lot of mistakes in it), and I'm not familiar enough with some of the other "new" editions to know if there are any more significant changes. But a lot of the BRS series came out with a new edition this year, and the high yileds did this year and last. If you are a first year, you might want to wait and try to purchase the newer editions from second years after they finish using them for their studies.

To JP2005,
Don't worry too much about Lipincott being too much for the boards. It's a good book, but I, personally, am just sticking with the stuff in First Aid and a book called "Crashing the boards", another good comprehensive review book for biochem anyways. Non-path Histo is considered a "low yield" subject, and most people I know are not purchasing a separate review book for the subject.
 

squeek

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I used:
-First Aid, of course.

-High Yield Series: Embryo (a bit more than you need, but good to skim and review), gross anatomy (good, but supplement with BRS/Chung Anatomy), neuroanatomy (VERY good--highly recommend), biochem (very good, use in conjunction with First Aid), cell bio (a good review...I used only this book and First Aid, and felt well-prepared), immunology, and behavioral science (a MUST-read. I had TONS of behavioral science on my test, and I picked up a lot of "factoids" from the high-yield book that showed up on my test).

-BRS books: Pathology is a must. I spent a lot of time on the genetic diseases chapter (something we didn't cover well in school, especially the immunologic deficits--and this was hit several times on my "real" exam). I used the Chung Anatomy only to review things I felt I needed to know in more detail than First Aid (but use sparingly. I only had 5-6 anatomy questions, and most of them were clinical). I also thoroughly reviewed Costanzo's BRS physiology, and I think it was worthwhile (I'd used Costanzo for both 1st and 2nd year review, so the book was really familiar to me).

-Lewinson and Jawetz (Microbio and immunology, board review). I personally like this book much more than Microbio Made Ridiculously Simple. I also found that the antibiotics chapter in Ridiculously Simple has some errors. Also, the Lewinson and Jawetz book has a great immuno section, and it's nicely condensed. One caveat--this book is long, and I used it to review only because I'd used it and liked it for microbio classes.

-Lippincott pharm, but only as a supplement to First Aid. You'll be overwhelmed if you try to use the whole book. Someone told me all you need to know is the First Aid pharm, inside and out, and they were right. There was a lot of pharm on my test, but almost all of it I'd seen in First Aid. I also used pharm cards--some people say they're outdated, but I found a lot of them to still be useful--especially for parasympathetic and adrenergic drugs (hit HARD on my test, and I've heard the same from a lot of people).

-Bug Cards. I started using these at the beginning of 2nd year, and it was worthwhile. It would have been much harder had I waited until just before the boards.

My biggest advice: study hard during first and second year. If you don't, there's no way you'll pick up enough information in the few weeks before the boards. It's overwhelming enough as it is! If you keep up with your studies, though, it really IS board "review" and not board "learning for the first time."

Good luck!
 

JP2005

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squeek...thanks for the post...it was VERY THOROUGH...will definately influence my decision making for board books for next year
 

dingiswayo

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thanks squeek. i'd heard that the pharm covered on the exam is almost entirely in first aid. can the same be said of the micro? those bug cards scare me. so many virulence factors, so little time...
 

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squeek -
Where did you get pharm cards? Were they in your school's bookstore? I have Lippincott pharm, but there is no way I will be able to know all of that book. And pharm is the subject I really need help on. I just became an MS-II, but I'm concerned about pharm because I can never remember anything from it. I can't imagine remembering all of it for the boards... <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
 

squeek

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To answer some of the above questions,

-I did find PharmCards in my bookstore. As I mentioned, some say they're "out of date," so they may be difficult to find. I think they're only out of date insofar as they don't include some of the newer classes of drugs--for example, the bisphosphonates, some of the antibody drugs (abciximab, etc), and some others that I can't recall off the top of my head. For these newer classes I just went to the section at the end of Lippincott pharm and made up my own cards.

-I was intimidated by the micro on the exam, but when I took the actual test, I was surprised at how little there was on it. Definitely know your gram positive/gram negative schemes (i.e., what is optochin sensitive, what does gamma hemolysis), but I wouldn't worry too much about it. Granted, each test is different, but many of my classmates also said micro was not tested too extensively.

-As far as being scared about pharm, I was, too. My school teaches some pharmacology, but not as a separate course (we have an organ systems-based curriculum). My advice to an incoming MSII is to review the major classes (or learn them for the first time) as you go through pathophysiology (Robbins). This was very helpful to me, and I found that I remembered a lot more than I thought I would when I got to the boards. And be sure to learn the adrenergic and parasympathetic drugs--a lot of these showed up on my test. Also, know the major side effects of major drugs...there was a lot of this on my test, too (it was something I wished I knew better!!!)

-Finally, take my advice with a grain of salt. I haven't received my scores back yet! :) (although I was scoring between 70-85% on Qbank, if that helps).

Good luck!
 
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My medical bookstore said they're releasing a new version of Pharmcards sometime in June. I'd hold off until the new ones are out since the other ones, as has been mentioned, are out of date.

•••quote:•••Originally posted by DOtobe:
•squeek -
Where did you get pharm cards? Were they in your school's bookstore? I have Lippincott pharm, but there is no way I will be able to know all of that book. And pharm is the subject I really need help on. I just became an MS-II, but I'm concerned about pharm because I can never remember anything from it. I can't imagine remembering all of it for the boards... <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> •••••
 

ubiquitous

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Thanks for the update, Cameron! I was just about to buy an old copy from one of the graduating 4th years. Now I'll just sit tight and check with my med school bookstore as well. :D

•••quote:•••Originally posted by Cameron:
•My medical bookstore said they're releasing a new version of Pharmcards sometime in June. I'd hold off until the new ones are out since the other ones, as has been mentioned, are out of date.

•••quote:•••Originally posted by DOtobe:
•squeek -
Where did you get pharm cards? Were they in your school's bookstore? I have Lippincott pharm, but there is no way I will be able to know all of that book. And pharm is the subject I really need help on. I just became an MS-II, but I'm concerned about pharm because I can never remember anything from it. I can't imagine remembering all of it for the boards... <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> ••••••••••
 

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the books i've been using (less than 1.5 weeks till exam time for me) for step one:
high yield embryo
high yield neuro
high yield b.s.
brs physio
brs path
brs anatomy
pharm cards...skimmed over katzung and trevor again; i agree pharm cards are outdated (no abciximab, no remicaid, no saquinovir)
skimmed over jawetz for micro
skimmed over lippincott's for biochem
first-aid 2002 edition--a must have
buzzwords for the boards
old kaplan review books (2000 ed.)

--sanfilippo (newbie to this site, M3-to-be)
 

macman

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I just took Comlex I yesterday and have talked to classmates who have taken USMLE in the past week or so--First Aid was not that helpful! I think those writing boards have found away around the high yield books-there were maybe 20-30 questions out of almost 800 that First Aid helped with! I would have been better off with my classnotes and about 4-5 months of hammering through (to ace it). A friend of mine took usmle today and it was the same deal. I agree with the earlier post that learning a lot in the first two years is the best study tool. The comlex is not longer a fact recall exam-its a thought provoking -brain twisting test-the top students in my class walked out of the second day looking shocked.
 

sanfilippo

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macman,
yeah, the majority of the feedback here in chicago is that usmle is a lot harder than people had expected it to be. however, i wasn't one of those who slacked off a lot the fist two years...however, i did fall asleep in class when the lights were turned off!! so, maybe that will help...i guess no one is truly adequately prepared! :wink:

stupid med joke: who are the only people who actually wake up when the lights are turned off? RADIOLOGISTS!

-s.
 

DOtobe

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macman,
Congratulations on taking (and surviving) the COMLEX! Next year at this time I will be taking it <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> . So First Aid is not all that helpful? Great. Hopefully the other board review books I have will help.

And Cameron, thanks for updating me on the pharm cards! I will really need those, because I can't stand pharm... :mad:
 

macman

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let me clarify- first aid is a nice base but it was not high yield in the end. I would have used step up more (I used it very little) and them read about big diseases in like harrisons or whatever.

I really think the comlex has changed and probably the usmle too.

BTW- I did the kaplan qbank and got 70% over 1900 q's and I thought it was a cake walk compared to comlex
 

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Y'all are saying that FirstAid wasn't helpful for the boards? What topic are we talking about here? Path, pharm. phys, biochem, etc?
 

LoneSEAL

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Y'all are saying that FirstAid wasn't helpful for the boards? What topic are we talking about here? Path, pharm. phys, biochem, etc?
 

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•••quote:•••Originally posted by macman:
•I just took Comlex I yesterday and have talked to classmates who have taken USMLE in the past week or so--First Aid was not that helpful! I think those writing boards have found away around the high yield books-there were maybe 20-30 questions out of almost 800 that First Aid helped with! I would have been better off with my classnotes and about 4-5 months of hammering through (to ace it). A friend of mine took usmle today and it was the same deal. I agree with the earlier post that learning a lot in the first two years is the best study tool. The comlex is not longer a fact recall exam-its a thought provoking -brain twisting test-the top students in my class walked out of the second day looking shocked.•••••I too, just finished COMLEX, and had a different perspective.

I had a lot of stuff right out of First Aid. My method was take my first two weeks of study time and skim/read review books. I used BRS Physio and Path, Lippincott Pharm, Micro Ridiculously Simple and High Yield Neuro, with bits and pieces of other books. For the last week, all I looked at was First Aid, and I think it paid off big time (of course, ask me again in 8 weeks, right?).

Luck of the draw. Some of my friends who predominantly studied First Aid said they saw very little of it on their tests, but it helped me.

Rule of thumb--know everything you've ever been taught. Know everything you've never even heard of. Know everything....
 
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