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DR. FARAZ KHAN LUNI
Usmle step 1 score 99 (266) Usmle step 2 score 99 (263) I am writing this to guide my juniors so they don’t face the problems that we faced during the preparations for our steps. Remember that studying for USMLE is a very customized and there is no fixed formula. I am just mentioning my method and you may adjust it as you feel suitable Which books to use for step 1? Kaplan Lecture Notes (Along with DVDs) Kaplan 100 cases of ethics Epidemiology and Biostatistics for the USMLE (Appleton and Lange) Goljan Pathology Original First Aid Kaplan Q bank series (Not Q book) Uworld Mcqs (ONLINE!!!) DON’T use High yield series, Grey’s, Harper, Guyton, Ganong!!!
How to study? Hard work pays off but smart studying pays off even more when you are studying for the USMLE. In this regard MCQs will help you a lot in understanding the pattern of the exam and in giving an understanding as to what to focus on. Just giving senseless reads again and again will not help you get a better score. Make a study timetable and stick to it! Sleep well and take out time to relax and exercise. This is important because preparation for your steps takes months to complete, thus sitting home for a long time decreases your efficiency and causes mental fatigue. Having a fresh mind will keep you focused till the end and will avoid burn out. Please do not over prepare. I recommend three reads and giving the exams. Giving more reads than four is senseless and will cause you to get fatigued. The points which you have not picked in the first read will also not be picked in the eighth read too. So three good reads are better then multiple turbo reads. You do not have to remember each and every line!
These are small books which won’t take much time and are very interesting too. So don’t study High yield series. So doing extra books will not help you get a better score. It’s how you go about studying that matters. . Only after repeatedly solving MCQs will you know what to focus on and remember it too. So I recommend that you also study “Kaplan 100 cases of Ethics” and “Epidemiology and Biostatistics for the USMLE (Appleton and Lange)”. So understanding is even more important than plain Ratta. It is my personal experience that a person who gets a 99 and person who flunks. If you ace it then you’re definitely scoring in your 90’s. Instead of just remembering Mallory bodies. all do the same books. Grey’s. Behavioral Sciences:This subject is our Achilles' Tendon. Micro:It seems hard to retain but they best way to retain is to do MCQs.Do not just memorize buzz words. Harper. Ganong unless you want give your exam on your 50th birthday. The USMLE newsletter says that they are giving more and more clinical scenario based questions now and there much less simple questions. So understand these words as much as possible rather than remembering them. understand that they are eosinophilic fibrillary substance in the liver cells. We International Medical Graduates and especially Dow/Smc students don’t do as well in it. Step 1 subjects Pathology (Very Important) Microbiology Behavioral Sciences (Our weakness) Pharmacology Immunology Physiology Biochemistry Genetics Anatomy (According to me it’s the least important subject. According to me Pathology is by far the most important subject. Guyton. . So don’t waste too much time on it) Patho:I have mentioned the subjects of Step 1 above.
Anatomy:With the exception of Neuroanatomy which is very important. Biochemistry and genetics:First aid will help a lot in learning the reactions in biochemistry and the genes in genetics. You may keep the Netter Atlas side by side when you study the limbs if you want to be more efficient. As I saved them I numbered the saved slides and wrote the explanations and identifying points. People who are confident may not need to go through this hassle. So as I mentioned. I recommend that you do the DVDs only once with the first read and do not need to repeat it again with the next read as they are time consuming. Some people with high 99 hated Kaplan Patho book and DVDs so they only used Goljan Book. I don’t advise that you waste too much time on anatomy. You do not need to study extra books like high yield which is a waste of time. Some people I know didn’t do DVDs and got good scores so it’s up to you as to what u decide. Don’t worry if you don’t remember anything by the end of the first read. I gave three reads as follows. There were some newer drugs which were mentioned in Kaplan Mcqs and Uworld but not in Kaplan Books so I added these drugs in my notes too. I personally did not use the Goljan Audio lectures so I cannot comment on it. I only went through the . A lot of softwares like Power DVD have the option of capturing frames and I used it for saving the slides and reviewing them later. Go over the books and do the DVDs side by side. As I mentioned previously. study what suits you in the end. First read Kaplan Series Kaplan 100 cases of ethics Epidemiology and Biostatistics for the USMLE (Appleton and Lange) Goljan Pathology DVDs The first read is the slowest and the one in which you build your concepts.Pharmacology:I wrote the name of the drugs in each class and wrote their important points and side effects on a separate piece of paper. That’s normal. When I viewed the Kaplan Patho DVDs. I also saved the slides they displayed. As you go through the DVDs make additions to Kaplan but do not write each and every word. I used both Goljan(old edition) and Kaplan for pathology. These notes took less time to revise and may be important for people who fear pharma. Also I did not find Microbiology DVDs very appealing so you may skip them if you want. but I recommend nothing more. You can watch the DVDs on software like Power DVD which has the option of speeding up the lectures which results in the lectures being completed in less time.
You won’t understand First Aid till you have your concepts which will be made by Kaplan.CT/MRI/Xrays from Netter atlas. This is the most important part of polishing your preparation for your exams. Subscribe to the $99 package which lasts one month and select all the subjects. the few ones given in the end of the chapters. Give each block in one hour (timed mode) to make it as similar to the exam as possible.usmleworld. Also all the information is still fresh in your mind so don’t delay the exam unnecessarily. Start First Aid during this read but don’t use it religiously.com ) Sample exam (www. Note down the points which you feel are not covered in the Kaplan lecture notes. This is because you will be in practice and constant practice helps you with your time management. . Try to schedule your UWorld as close to the USMLE as possible. Second read Revise all the books (you may not read Kaplan 100 cases of Ethics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics for the USMLE in the later reads if you think you have gotten the hang of it Don’t waste time on DVDs in the second read (Some people who don’t go through Kaplan 100 cases of Ethics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics for the USMLE just go through the important chapters of Behavioral sciences DVD) Kaplan Q bank Original First Aid (I recommend that you get the original one and not the cheap print as the slides and pictures are useful) In the second read you should start Kaplan Q bank which will give you an idea on what to focus on and about the high yield topics. Write down the important points as you read the explanations of the MCQs as you will not have time to go over all the MCQs again. The software used in this is almost exactly the same as in the real exam so you are simulating the real thing. subspecialities for each block.org) In the third read you should start UWorld online. I didn’t go through Webpath and I think the slides from Kaplan DVDs and the ones in First Aid are more than enough for the exam. The information which is not covered in Kaplan or First Aid will be covered in UWorld. So First Aid is a very important book but not your only book. Third read Revise Kaplan + First Aid U World Online (www.usmle.
It is exactly the same as the one in the exam. Take the exam tutorial on the USMLE site so you do not have to waste time going over the tutorial on the exam day. You have 40 minutes of break time and if you skip the tutorial you have 15 min extra added to the break time. a football match and take your mind off the exam. If you have not studied anything for 8 months then a few more hours won’t do wonders for your scores. Your concepts have been made by now and last minute studying is useless so relax!!!! Watch a movie. .The time taken for Step 1 preparation is variable. Don’t cross question yourself. Use those and check your mouse if it’s working properly. Go use the restroom if you have not already. In the end is an optional survey about the exam experience. Before he realized his sleep pattern it was time to go give the exam Don’t use long acting sedatives (Valium) to go to sleep as they affect you the next day and you will be groggy and sleepy. Exam Day Reach the Prometric centre early. The last thing you want is a full bladder during the exam. Don’t study on exam day or in exam break and take juices. whether it is REM or non REM and what the EEG pattern would be like. If you are studying at home and only preparing for Step 1 then it should take you 6 to 8 months. It is variable among people doing their house jobs as it depends on how tough your rotations are but I gave my Step 1 within two and half months of finishing my house job. They will tell you that they have studied everything that is to study under the sun and make you feel like an idiot. You need a fresh mind for the long exam the next day. Day before the Exam Stop studying by 6 pm. Sleep early and do not study till late. Go see the Prometric centre at least a day before so you don’t have to freak out the day of the exam in case you don’t find the centre. the time will be added to your break time but remember the time for each block will remain the same and will not increase. I recommend that you don’t skip the tutorial completely. Stay away from position holders and people who freak you out about the exams. My friend while trying to sleep the night before was figuring what type of sleep he would be going into. there is an option for checking the headphones and adjusting the brightness and contrast for your screen. In case you finish a block early. The most important is to take a leaflet of Panadol Extra which is a lifesaver!! Take it as soon as you think that the headache is about to hit you The step 1 exam has eight blocks of which the first block is the tutorial and the next seven blocks are questions. snacks or what ever you like that day. If there is any problem then inform the people at Prometric who will then allot you a new computer. That’s the last thing you need when going to give your USMLE exam.
If you don’t understand a question just tick on any option and flag it. When you are attempting a question.Each of the blocks in Step 1 had 48 MCQs when I gave the exam but now they will have 46 MCQs. it’s the same drill but you have 9 blocks. the 1st block is the tutorial and the rest 8 are the questions. I read the last line of the question first so I knew even before reading the question as to know what was asked. If you spend too much time on one question then you may end up leaving questions in the end which you may have easily solved. 22 questions by 30 min and so on. There is no negative marking and you may get the question right by chance so never ever leave a question unanswered. just remember that most of the information that the USMLE requires you to know is in Kaplan and UWorld. In each block there are 44 MCQs. Make sure that you manage your time properly. Most of the time it is what you already know but you can’t understand what they are trying to ask you. How to attempt questions? I had this technique which I used during my O and A levels and continued in my USMLE too. In my step 2 there were 44 questions so I made a mental note that the first 11 questions should be done by 15 min. Then I looked at the options. did I start reading the whole question from the beginning. When you have time in the end you can return to the flagged questions. So if you don’t get a question then it’s most likely that you have not understood what they are trying to ask. You can practice this technique when you solve your online UWorld and give the sample exam. In step 2. Don’t waste too much time on one question. Try to be ahead of these markers as the last few questions may be the most time consuming. . There is also an option of highlighting the question and crossing out the options. After that only.
As I said before. If you really want to do DVDs then you can do Cardiology and Gynecology. . What to study? Only Kaplan Series UWorld Mcqs That’s it!!! You do not have to study anything else. use it as a learning tool and not for evaluation. Practicing UWorld with the first read will let you understand the pattern and identify high yield topics. studying smartly is the key. How to study? As for Step 1. I do not recommend even the DVD’s because the ones available are the old ones (2001) and a lot of recommendations have changed since then. If you suspect an obvious mistake then just double check it from another book. Beware of mistakes in Kaplan as there are a lot of minor mistakes here and there so do not take in every word of Kaplan blindly. I do not recommend First Aid and Kaplan Qbank for Step 2. This time however I suggest you solve U World with the first read. three reads of Kaplan is more than enough. two reads may also be sufficient. Like in step 1. This way when you give your second and third reads you will know what to focus on. Everyone gets whipped in U World in Step 2 so don’t worry about that. For those who dare. I would recommend that you should attempt step 2 within 3-4 months of step 1 because a lot of background knowledge from Step 1 will still be fresh in your mind and help you in step 2.The syllabus is much shorter than Step 1 and takes less time.USMLE STEP 2 The subjects tested in step 2 are Medicine (Most important) Pediatrics Obstetrics and Gynecology Surgery Psychiatry Step 2 is an exam in which the grades of Dow/Smc people generally fall as compared to step 1.
Should I give Step 1 first or Step 2? I would recommend that you give Step 1 first especially for people from Dow/Smc as Step 2 is generally not our strong point and we score better in Step 1. Those with green cards can skip their house jobs if they want but I recommend Pakistani nationals (especially guys) to do their house jobs. Just remember you have only one chance to give your steps and you cannot give it again to improve your score. The reason is that we only study Step 2 subjects in final year so it’s not smart to give the exams before you have gone through the subjects properly in college. If you think that you can get a good score then sure. Old edition or new one? Try using the new edition of books Not a good enough score on U world? I know people getting 65% on U world getting a 99 in Steps and others with UWorld scores of 80’s also getting a 99. Whether to do house job or not? The knowledge and experience you gain during your house job does help you a little bit in the exam especially in Step 2 but it wont cause a dramatic increase in your grades. So there is a wide variation. Step 1 can be given during MBBS but I do not recommend attempting Step 2 during this time especially for Dow/Smc students. The subjects studied in Step 1 will help understand the Step 2 subjects much better. There are too many ifs and buts in the process so better secure the Pakistan option. Only time you can give it is when you fail or after 7 years as the results are valid for 7 years.FAQs Should I give my steps during my MBBS? This is a very personalized decision. Just use it as a learning tool rather then a prediction tool . go ahead. People from AKU do give it and get good scores but their syllabus is different from ours so their method of attempting steps does not apply to us.
When you hear/see it then you will be merely confirming your answer. How to attempt Audio/Visual questions and ones with slides and CT scans/MRI etc? People panic when they see an audio visual question. Just keep your nerves. Also I would thank Dr Syed Ali Hamid. I would be overconfident and if I got a bad score I would be under confident. Only postpone it if you feel you can do something different this time. solved all the MCQs and done everything properly then postponing your exam is senseless. I just did an MCQ book for FCPS a few days before the exam and I passed. So if I got a good score. In some ways these questions are easier than other questions because they have one extra hint in the shape of the audio visual clip to help you find the answer. Should I delay my exam? If you have given three reads. Dr Mohammad Ali Khan. When you read the question you will have a pretty good idea what to look for in the audio visual clip. It predicts your score and I don’t like to have my score predicted. So yes it’s enough to pass FCPS Whether to do NBME? I never did it as I heard it predicts your score accurately. Are USMLE Step 1 studies good enough to pass FCPS? All my friends who were preparing for Steps passed their FCPS. When you encounter such questions don’t look at the audio visual clip or the photo first. Dr Isra’a Khan and Dr Rida Ashraf for going through this document and for honestly sharing their tips and methods of studying. Whether to do UWorld sample exam? Same problem as above. Go straight to the question. Thus I never used it. . ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my friend Dr Ahmed Jawad from AKU who had guided me along the process of my Steps.
I will keep on updating this document and get the feedback of various other people with good scores and add their views too.I hope this information will help you in your Steps. Dow Medical College. Batch of 2008. Dr. . 20 June 2010. Take care and best of luck for the future.com .pakmeds. In addition my friends and I will upload more helpful information like CS tips. Faraz Khan Luni. So you may check the updates on the website www. Dow/Smc friendly program lists and other information which will be helpful to you.
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