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PostSubject: path to 252/99   Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:59 pm

Hello! Finally I’ve made some time apart to write about my prep. I’m pmapunk for a lot of you, nice to meet you if it’s the first time you hear about me!!

Goal: 250++ score on Step 1

My score: 252/99 yuppiiiii!!!!!!

Test taken: 27th of November.

Score reported: 17th of December. I've attached my score report!

Other relevant scores: NBME3: 530/226, NBME6: 640/247, NBME5: 640/247, Kaplan Qbook 75%, UW 75%. UWSA1: 650/248, UWSA2: 770/263 (???? very surprised LOL!)

Actual situation: IMS, 5th year of med school.. Didn’t want to study 8 freaking years to reach MD when I could do in 6 all around the world; and also is sooooo $$$$!!!! Part time job to help paying studies. Very busy. I must thanks my Med school, they've taught me a lot and done a superb job with the basics of medicine.

Time of preparation was 4 months: ½ July, August, ½ September, October, November of 2008. Approximately 10 to 12 hours per day, very enthusiastic! 8:00-13:00 and 15:00-21:00 study blocks. 1.5 hour study + 10 min break. Always slept at least 7½ hours, jogged twice a week and ate properly. Mandatory rest on Sundays of each two or three weeks. Multivitamin supplements were taken daily. I work from 13:00 to 15:00 so my days were endless!! Had to sacrifice going to classes on October and November. It’s all about discipline and sacrifice!!! If you really want this, anything is possible! hard work, hard work... no pain, no gain!

Study methods: ACTIVE!! paraphrasing and writing things down. Drawing slides, images and mechanisms. Own made flash cards for Pharm and other tricky clinical vignettes. Reading FA pages once and again (some of these pages took me sometimes 2 hours!) while consulting KLN if I had not clear concepts. Cases and Q&A were great for self-examination.

Original plan: to schedule test on May 2008. Impossible cuz med school and tests, started more or less to study in February, but found it very time consuming and stressing. Then I wanted to give it on September after summer vacations, working full for Step 1, but time ate me up so I finally scheduled when I got the 530/226 in NBME3 for Sept-Oct-Nov period.

Material:
1. FA 2008: core study guide. Pages have notes everywhere from Cases, KLN and UW... Post-its with Kaplan Qbook and Q&A important questions... well, all was in my FA! Gold standard!
2. KLN (always when doubts and weak areas!) never totally read.
3. FA Q&A
4. FA Cases
5. Kaplan Qbook
6. WebPath
7. UW

Schedule (this is what I planned, then things haven’t gone exactly as this!):

1. 70 days 1st read of FA, Q&A, Cases, WebPath. Kaplan Qbook.
a. Block 1: 42 days of FA oriented organ systems + Embrio, Patho and Pharm chapters. Q&A, Cases and WebPath were done systematically each time I finished each FA chapter. When doubts, KLNs were there. 2 days embrio, 4 Patho, 4 pharm and 3 days per each organ system (excepth Neuro-Psych that was 6 days). Last two days (41 and 42nd) were for Kaplan Qbook Anat-Physio-Patho-Pharm blocks.
b. Block 2: 14 days for Micro and Immuno. FA, Q&A, Cases, KLN and Qbook were killed here.
c. Block 3: 9 days for Biochem and Genetics. Same, FA, Q&A, Cases, KLN and Qbook were done here.
d. Block 4: 4 days for Behavioral. Same, FA, Q&A, Cases, KLN (done completely!) and Qbook finished.
e. Block 5: FA Rapid Review, Images, Clinical Vignettes and Full lenght 350Q’s FA Q&A examination. Got 80%.

2. NBME3 done: scored 530/226 – 94. Good path, scheduled for Sept-October-Nov eligibility period. Rested one day.

3. 2nd read, 25 days: FA + UW solely. Tried to read FA twice, but managed only to do it once more with UW. Added notes of UW to FA. UW was done half subject wise, half random, 48/timed/unused mode. Finished with 75% overall.

4. NBME6 given: 640/247 – 99. YIHAAA!!! just a bit more for the 250++.

5. Final review 20 days: FA 3rd and last read.

6. NBME5 2 days before test: 640/247 – 99 SAME AS NBME6!! was depressed cuz I couldn’t improve my score on these days... but NBME5 underestimates I think.
BIGGEST MISTAKES:
1. STARTING UW TOO LATE. It’s an excellent learning tool and I should have done it more calmly.
2. Not being able to read FA a 4th or 5th time.
3. Focused too much in my weak and neglected some of my strong areas.
4. Didn’t practice the offline NBMEs of the online ones I did. Wrote down my answers and didn’t went through them to find out what I got wrong.
5. Didn’t do the USLME cd.

My single best piece of advice: Don't use 2 or 3 review books because is time consuming and you dont familiarize with all of them. Stick to one core source of study and become familiar with it. Try reading it as much times you can and focus to add notes to it from more general review books when things aren't clear or covered on it. FA or MedEssentials are outstanding books. BE A VILE AND FULMINANT ENEMY OF PASSIVE READING, which is ROAD TO PERDITION... being active is the way. Master the art of CRACKING multiple choice questions: try thinking on the answer before you see the distractors. Qbanks, a must. UW for learning, Kaplan for assessing.


I'm wishing you all the best of luck for this journey, I’m here for anything you need!

STEP 2 HERE I COME!!!
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