发信人: chihpengc (Pollux), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Step 1 成績出爐: 276/99
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Tue Jan 27 05:40:22 2009)
自从上星期三成绩出炉後，我接到了许多 email 和 PM 询问我一些关於准备工夫的细
4. 我的 Performance Profile
Q: What edition of Kaplan notes did you use, and did you use the
A: I used Kaplan notes 2004 edition. I was running out of time toward the
end of my preparation so I didn't use the videos.
Q: Did the Kaplan webprep audios make a big difference where the lecture
notes are concerned?
A: I wouldn't say the webprep audios were essential, but they certainly
helped solidify many important concepts, especially for biochem and pharm.
If time is a factor for your preparation, I would suggest doing the webprep
audios only after you finish reading the lecture notes.
Q: First Aid – how much does it cover?
A: FA covered about 80% of the material on my exam, so I would definitely
recommend using it as the primary resource the week before the exam. I went
over the rapid review section at the end of FA the night before the exam
date, and I found it quite helpful as a last-minute review.
Q: Do you think the lecture notes for biochem are okay to use without the
A: I think the lecture notes for biochem are adequate to be used on its own;
I didn't use Kaplan videos so couldn't comment on them. However, I would
highly recommend listening to webprep for biochem. Dr. Raymon is just simply
amazing; he does an excellent job integrating pathology, pharm, and biochem
. However, it is still of utmost importance to memorize all the tables/
diagrams/metabolic pathways in the biochem section of FA. I think it really
ties the information together nicely toward the end of the preparation.
Q: For Pharmacology, do you think studying FA is enough?
A: I think FA is enough for Pharm, provided that you know the mechanisms of
the drugs well. I found it quite difficult to memorize the list of clinical
uses and side effects without having a solid understanding of the mechanisms
, so I chose to do Kaplan notes before tackling FA, and it certainly made
those things easier to memorize.
Q: Did you like the Pharmacology flash cards you used or were they too
A: I liked the flash cards, they are handy to carry around if you want to
study them on the bus or during a boring lecture. It can also be
conveniently used to quiz yourself, with the drug's generic name and trade
name on one side, and the list of drug class, mechanism, clinical uses, side
effects, route of metabolism on the other side. I don't think they are
Q: Despite reading Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple over again, I am
still missing tons of micro questions. I dont feel like there is anyway to "
master" these questions cause they often test trivia that while I know I
read, I just cant recall on the spot. Although, I do think my main problem
here is focusing too much on MRS and not on FA.
A: I agree with you that using FA to supplement MRS would be very helpful.
It's a good idea to start with MRS in the beginning of your preparation, but
toward the end, the tables in MRS and the charts in FA are the way to go. A
heavy amount of rote memorization is required to master Microbiology, that'
s for sure. I would encourage you to focus on the classifications and lab
algorithms first before you start memorizing the rest of the minutiae. (
Remember: Big pictures first!) The gram positive and negative lab algorithms
in FA are gold. Pay close attention to the bacterial exotoxins as well,
because they frequently appear on the exam. Make sure you know these like
the back of your hand. For virology, use the mnemoics in Kaplan notes to
remember the DNA, +RNA, and -RNA viruses.
Q: You mentioned that kaplan and FA were not enough for behavioural and
biostat questions. Any suggestion what shall I go for to cover that?
A: A lot of my friends liked HY behavioural and biostats a lot, but I have
only read the first few chapters of HY BS so I can't really comment on them.
I didn't like Kaplan and FA because they focused too much on the
psychiatric disorders, and not so much on the "best response/action"
scenario type of questions. The practice questions from UW and NBME are very
good though, and I would recommend doing as many questions like those as
you can, so you're familiar with the concepts. Sorry to confuse you, but for
biostats, I think FA is quite sufficient, but make sure you are comfortable
doing those calculations and drawing those 2x2 tables. Doing lots of
biostats questions will definitely help solidify the concepts.
Q: How much do you get through a day and how do you retain that information?
One of my problems is that I get through maybe 30 pages of Kaplan Biochem
notes a day, and at the end of the day, while I retain the information, I
find that I really didnt learn that much. Furthermore more, I tend to forget
things as I go. When I do questions later on on the same subject, I forgot
much of what I learned maybe 2 weeks ago.
A: Don't worry too much about having to retain everything in Kaplan notes,
it's impossible and often unnecessary to try to remember some of the details
. I think the primary purpose of reading Kaplan notes is to help you
understand FA later on so you can memorize the facts in FA with better ease.
What types of questions are you getting wrong, are they questions that
require straight fact-recall or ones that require you to apply a concept? If
it's the former, I wouldn't worry too much about Kaplan notes and would
probably spend more time studying FA instead; for the latter, you do have to
make sure you comprehend the info in Kaplan notes before moving on to FA.
Another thing I found helpful was to read the corresponding section in FA
after finishing a subject in Kaplan notes. It helps solidify information
Q: How many pages of FA and kaplan notes can you get through in a day?
A: I set goals to get through 100 to 120 pages of Kaplan notes every day, at
the speed of 12-15 pages per hour. It depends on the subject too; anatomy
and biochem were slower, whereas physiology and pharm were faster because I
had done BRS physiology and Pharmacology flash cards already. I could read
around 60 - 80 pages of FA in a day toward the end of the preparation, but
when I first started, it was painfully slow. I could remember spending an
entire day just studying the embryology section, which was only a few pages
long but very memory-intensive. But once you start remembering the mnemonics
and are familiar with the content, the speed goes up quite quickly.
Q: Did you do questions after each subject during your initial read, or did
you skip questions altogether until after you completed your first read?
A: Thanks for raising this point as I probably didn't make it very clear in
my post. I started doing questions after reading all of Kaplan notes, BRS
path and phys, Goljan notes, and most HY books that I mentioned. The only
book that I was still reading after I started doing questions was FA.
Q: When you say you did 10000 questions, do you include the book questions
or any other questions?
A: I only counted the questions in USMLE format.
UW (2000) + Kaplan practice tests (2000) + Kaplan Q-bank (2000) + FA Q&A (
1000) + USMLERx (did ~2000) + NBME 1-6 (1200) + UW self-assessment 1&2 (400)
+ Goljan RR Path questions (100) = 10700
I didn't count BRS questions or questions in Kaplan notes because they were
not always in board format.
Q: Did you do robbins review of path? Was USMLERX useful?
A: I didn't do Robbins, and I wouldn't recommend it either. USMLERx was okay
in terms of helping me memorize some details that I wouldn't have paid
attention to in FA, because this Q-bank is basically based on the material
Q: Would you say that a particular question bank or all the 3 question banks
that you did do cover all the usmle questions (=subject matter) that you
A: I would say UW was the most high-yield of them all. USMLERx and Kaplan Q-
bank have been known to test minutiae that are not necessarily high-yield
info. These 3 question banks combined definitely covered more than any one
of them alone. As I mentioned in my post, only 5% of questions on my exam
were things I had never encountered before, so doing tons of questions was
certainly helpful for me.
Q: I am dedicating a solid 8 hours everyday to question banks (I time myself
), but my scores are not improving. What can I do?
A: I would recommend going over the explanations in more detail, making sure
you really understand what the question is asking. Don't skip the
explanation for questions you answered correctly; you can learn a lot by
reading about why the other choices are wrong. It can take a very long time
when you first start doing it this way, but after a while, if you learn from
your mistakes, you will not get the same type of question wrong again. When
I first started doing questions, it often took me 40 minutes to do 50
questions, but an hour to read the explanations and annotate notes into FA.
However, I learned a lot from the explanations in UW, probably just as much
as the questions themselves. It's easy to feel frustrated when you first
start, but with time, I'm sure your accuracy rate will improve. Good luck.
Q: I am quite frustrated with questions that test minutia details, e.g. "
Which of the following can be found in bacterial endospores?" (Answer is
dipicolinic acid) I had never seen anything like that and I had to flip
through pubmed to get the answer. Are these questions worth remembering?
A: I'm not trying to discourage you here; although dipicolinic acid is
probably a trivia type question, it was actually mentioned twice in FA, so I
'd actually still remember it. Sometimes the strategy is to eliminate the
other answer choices if you couldn't recognize the right answer. For example
, if other choices are peptidoglycan and mycolic acid, you know they just
can't be right.
Q: What did you annotate into first aid? Only qbank questions? I find some
of the Micro Qbank questions extremely tedious and testing pHD like material
. How can I tell if its important? Or is it all completely important?
A: I only annotate information that I consider "high-yield". As you do more
questions, you'll soon know what types of questions tend to show up over and
over again; these are the ones that are high-yield.
Take Micro for example, they often give you a clinical presentation of an
infectious disease, then ask you for the most appropriate antibiotics. These
require a two-step process (Presentation - Bug - Antibiotics), and are
guaranteed to be on exam. If they want to be mean, they can ask you about
the side effect of the most common antibiotics used. These questions require
a three-step process (Presentation - Bug - Antibiotics - Side effects), and
are less common than the type of questions above. Things that aid in the
laboratory diagnosis or things that have to do with treatment (for example,
HIV gene products and antiviral drugs that target these products) are also
extremely high-yield. Ignore the weird trivia type of questions that have no
I agree that Micro Qbank questions can sometimes be a bit annoying, but that
doesn't mean the real exam is like that. I found that FA covers > 90% of
the Micro questions on my exam, so make sure you know FA well and don't get
too discouraged by the low-yield questions.
Q: About doing usmleworld 2X: did you find that helpful even though you
already did the same questions once?
A: I did UW again one month apart. I don't think there's much benefit doing
it again right after you finish it first time through, but a month gives you
enough time to test if you really understand the materials tested, and not
because you memorized the questions and answers. For me, the second time
helped me increase my speed as I was more comfortable dealing with long
question stems (but that could be an effect of having seen the questions
before as well).
Q: When should I do UW again?
A: I would recommend doing UW again as close to the exam date as possible,
while still giving yourself enough time to go over FA again and do the rest
of the NBME forms. I went through UW the second time 3 weeks before my exam;
I did 350 questions every day to simulate the exam length and build up my
stamina. When I finished, I still had 2 weeks left to review the material
that I mentioned above.
Q: When did you really start feeling comfortable with the material?
A: I probably started feeling comfortable with the material after I finished
Kaplan notes and had done 2000+ questions. By that time, I knew my
strengths and weaknesses and knew what to focus on in order to get the most
out of the review process. For example, after doing some questions, I
realized I had a lot of trouble with neuroanatomy, and so did HY
neuroanatomy for 2 weeks, which seemed to effectively remedy the problem.
Besides, as you do more questions, you soon realize the amount of
information that FA actually covers. The questions also help you remember
the material in FA more easily.
Q: Any advice on test-taking strategies?
A: One thing I found really useful from doing tons of questions is that on
the real exam, I could often read the question stem and predict what type of
question they were going to throw at me. I would also recommend coming up
with your own answer in your head before you look at the answer choices;
reading the other answer choices (distractors) before committing to a
response can be confusing, especially when you're not very certain of your
answer to start with. Of course, if you really have no idea what the
question is getting at, reading the options first while using the process of
elimination is often helpful.
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