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Grohaila

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Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have read this forum extensively and feel a duty to contribute with my recent (Tuesday May 28th) stepI experience.

Questions were of various difficulties and covered a broad spectrum, from azathioprine's mode of action through the position of mammilary body to the denial (repression?) of a easygoing pregnant highschooler.

Some of the sample questions USMLE makes available are repeated in the test. But even more of the CONCEPTS and substances mentioned there (damn metoprolol! :mad: ) are repeated in the test. Other questions are repeated sureptitiously changed (all else being the same, that pulmonary murmur is now DECREASED)

A most important exam task is clock management. I rushed through the first 3 sections until I realized I was just hurting myself. After that I settled into a rythm where I would rush through the questions in about 30-40 minutes, leave the tough nuts (~10 per session) and return. The ones I knew hopeless, I'd put in my guess and not worry about them. This way in the last 20 minutes I'd have time to give a go to the tough ones and a last read to all questions in the section.

But the particular rythm one will use during the STEP should be worked at home, not during the exam. :(

The books I used were centered on FirstAid and its reccomendations. The most important observation is that the specific book is semi-irrelevant. Most important is to structure the information contained in them into your mind by doing questions. I really don't feel that pounding information into the brain 12 hours a day helps that much. But then, it works for some.

So starting like an onion FIRST AID is in the center. If time allows, BRS Pathology and Physiology should be added. Then Pharma (Lippincott), Behaviour (BRS), and Microbes (Levinson-Javetz). Neuroanatomy, biochem and anatomy at the exterior (but not reviewing those means you know FA-S1's chapters on the matter inside and outside!).

For Biochem, after getting bogged down in Lipicott, I enjoyed a lot reading a free web book from Indiana University Medical School:
<a href="http://web.indstate.edu/thcme/mwking/subjects.html" target="_blank">http://web.indstate.edu/thcme/mwking/subjects.html</a>

I warmly recommend it (the last 3 chapers are too technical IMO).

But the most important thing: questions, questions, questions! They will help you retain the information in a useful form. NMS question book is excellent. Yes, 20% of their questions are zany (like details on various behavioural schools of thought) but the other 80% are ripped from the exam. Ye oldie "NBME retired questions" are good, too. And the BRS review books have good, exam-relevant, USMLE-like questions, that help you memmorize and understand the material. The 150 USMLE sample questions are a gold mine. Work out the concepts in each one from your "detail" books. You will not regret it.

If there are other questions I could answer...
 

vhl

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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! It is so helpful to hear from someone who has gone before... I hope things went well for you!
 

Biohazard

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Thanks Grohaila!

what do you mean by "Neuroanatomy, biochem and anatomy at the exterior (but not reviewing those means you know FA-S1's chapters on the matter inside and outside!)" ?

What did you do for anatomy/embryo/neuro and do you think first aid's biochem and behavioral science sections are enough to know for the exam?
I heard that someone had like 70% path/phys on step 1, how was your breakdown?

thanks.
b-
 
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Ludy

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thanks for your help... great tips! I'm taking it in about 2 weeks and am resigning myself to the fact that I'm not going to get around to reviewing everything I'd planned. Did you have a lot of molecular bio on your exam? I'd heard that that was becoming more important (including lab techniques and such), but at this point I'm not even going to get to biochem, so I doubt I'll do any mol bio. Did you reveiw for it at all? Also, what about CTs, MRIs, x-rays, etc.? Is it worth the time to go over those? I realize every test is different, but did you have a lot of those on your exam? Thanks for your advice!
 

Grohaila

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Regading the exam:
My regret was not that I used bad sources, but that the sources I used were not properly digested.

Yes, First Aid is enough for a decent showing on the anatomy questions. If you want more, you have to study more. But I did not mind the questions I never heard about, but those for which the information was there, but I could not recover it. For example I did not digest the First Aid diagram regarding the rotator cuff, and they hit me with 2 questions on details.

Biochem, FA plus selected chapters from the Indiana web book did help me a lot (I recommend those from "Steroid hormones and receptors" through "Signal transduction").

There was a lot of pathology and physiology and for the most part, the BRS books were enough. But he exam touched everything. I think is impossible to cover everything, and Phys and Path are safest bets.

I used nothing Kaplan other than a questions CD (which I did not like) and the "Starter Kit" question book (which was OK). All in all I did not find Kaplan sources more or less informed than others.

Ludy,
Check the aforementioned chapters in the Indiana web book. There were few CTs and Xrays, but nothing to write home about...
If you worked through FA, you should give it now a thorough, detailed, review. Two weeks is plenty of time, don't squander them by panicking. Rather, take a deep breath and pound your books hard. :cool:
 
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