Day 4: General Pharmacology III

I am exhausted! I spent all of today doing pharmacology. Man those ANS questions from Kaplan’s lecturenotes were so HARD! They give you a graph of someone’s BP or HR and administer 5 different drugs to the isolated heart/vessel, and you have to figure out how each drug would behave in the presence of that specific agonist/antagonist. They really made me think! I also did about 40’ish questions on pharmacodynamics/kinetics. Those were really hard too and I’m not really a math person 😦 so I ended up annotating the sample problems into my FA…I’ll just have to look at them one more time before the test.

Finally, I did 43 (that’s all I had) general pharm questions from my Kaplan Qbank. They weren’t nearly as hard as the questions they had in their lecturenotes so I was happy about that but I was very distracted as I was taking the test. I kept getting interrupted and so I made some pretty silly mistakes that I knew the answer to very well. I think without the distractions I had today I could have easily scored 85%.


I don’t know what I’m going to do with Cardio because according to my schedule I should have already finished at least the anatomy and physio part by the end of today….obviously didn’t happen and I seriously feel like I needed more time on pharm. I might have to use Sunday to catch up.

Okay well I have nothing else to say.

Till next time,


USMLE Step 1 Schedule

I was only planning on taking an hour to put this schedule together but I ended up spending 2.5 hours (well I was also cooking in between). Here’s what my schedule looks like at the moment. I still don’t know for sure if I’ll be able to choose June/18th as a potential date but that is what I’m shooting for!

*This schedule is based on reviewing FA!

Finally heard back from ECFMG!

So they finally received my applications (form 186)! They said I should be hearing back from them within 3 weeks! I just can’t wait to pick a date and get on with my ever-changing schedule!

Still working on HY Neuroanatomy while sipping my amazing turkish coffee! Smells so amazing…Thinking of taking an hour to modify my schedule as I now have to have a definite date for when they email me back! So nervous but very happy to hear from them. Better get to work.

Till next time,


High Yield Neuroanatomy

So today my day started out very “infertile” but things a little more excited towards the afternoon. The FedEx man finally delivered my High Yield Neuroanatomy book! I was so excited when Lippincott Williams & Wilkins asked me to review their 4th edition. It truly is an honor. I am a huge fan of the HY series and of their many little books, HY neuroanatomy happens to be my favorite! I mean James D. Fix did an amazing job simplifying such a complicated subject.

I have already read their 2e about 2.5X already but they insisted that I read their 4e and offered to mail it to me. I can’t wait to get started, although according to my schedule I should be doing Path today (which by the way has been super super slow!). I think I’ll need about 3 days to finish reading the book and while I’m at it, I might as well go ahead and review FA’s section for neuro.

*It’s gonna be fun* Image

Good Morning!

Good morning!
What a lovely winter we have this spring! It’s April, 15th but the weather outside makes you feel like you’re in December or January. Tis Sad. I have an appointment today with my ophthalmologist as my vision is slowly betraying me. Doing uworld questions and reading the explanations for hours and hours is really taking a tolls on my poor eyes….I really don’t wanna wear glasses. I don’t think they would look good on me anyways lol Now thats not something an aspiring doctor should say but I can’t help it. I’m a girl!
Well, I have a feeling today isn’t going to be very productive. I’d be lucky if I could get at least 2 hours of studying after my doctor’s appointment. It’s pretty snowy outside and coffee shops downtown are packed with really cold people looking for a hot cup of coffee and a warm place to stay until the storm settles. Huh!  I just realize something…”Really Cold” as in Ricketssia and Chlamydia bugs are “really cold” so they have to stay inside cells. Hahaha! Gotta love FA’s mnemonics.

So here’s what I have in mind for today’s very unpredictable schedule:
1) Get through as much of NBME 6 as possible (I couldn’t do much yesterday, I ended up taking the day off!)
2) Get through an old Uworld block which I failed to review after I got a not-so-impressive percentage
3) Squeeze in lunch with my brother (He’s helping out with interviewing MDIVs today for the Peds ER residency program!)
4) Possibly do 10 Random Uworld Questions when I get home (Won’t be before 5pm)
5) USMLE Slides: So I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time now, I want to come up with a list of MC tested images on the usmle. I know I haven’t taken the test yet, duh, but I feel like a quick read of FA gives you a pretty good idea of what kind of images are HY…and it helps to have them all in one place so you can give ’em a quick look before the big day.

Boy am I optimistic!

NBME 6, my 2 ¢

So I just finished taking NBME 6 and thought I’d write a little review on this form. First of all, I didn’t exactly make a very high score (see below), I barely passed. But I wasn’t very surprised. As I’ve only really been “studying” First Aid for the past week or so. So although everything looked familiar, I had a hard time recalling  information that I had encountered at one point or another. I made a few observations as I was taking the test:

1) No “spit it out” questions:

On average, I think there were about 6-10 questions on the entire exam that actually asked you to “recall” little minor details.

2) Immunology was tricky:

I was actually a little disappointed with my immunology performance. I consistently score in the low 90’s on uworld’s immunology blocks so I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the material. To my surprise, immuno was one of weak areas on the test. I thought the questions were very straight forward for immuno and I jumped at the answer choice as soon as I finished reading the question, without even looking at other options and I think that’s where I went wrong. So if you’re planning on taking this test, make sure you read all options as they have good, better and best options (i.e. there weren’t a lot of obviously wrong answers in the options).

3) Not a lot of Pharmacology

I was actually happy that there wasn’t a lot of pharmacology on this form as I haven’t started memorizing yet.

4) Pathology slides were heavily tested

So this was actually surprising…I expected to see histo slides of course but there were actually more gross specimen slides than anything. So they would show you *SPOILER ALERT* an image of a colon section with ulcerative colitis and expect you to know it. The stem of the question describes very broad type of s/s and then they throw the image at you…I felt like a lot of their slides were very similar to WebPath’s slides ( So that’s definitely a good place to start if you’re not very comfortable with such slides. Overall though, this subject was heavily tested on this form but the questions weren’t so “out of nowhere”.

6) Behavioral Science

Never been my cup of tea…in fact I haven’t touched this subject since I took ethics and biostats back in MDI/II so I’m not very surprised. The questions were fair though, nothing out of nowhere again.

7) General Principles of Health Disease

Not really sure what they mean by this section but I have an idea. Rumor has it that “disease prevention” type of questions are increasingly tested on the usmle…I’m certainly not comfortable with this subjects as 1) I have no “hands-on” clinical experience and 2) This section was completely ignored in medical schools. I’m actively searching for a book that covers the high yield principles on these topics.

8) Overall

I think it was doable and the FA/uworld combination should put you in a comfortable spot, provided that you have read the whole book and understood its content (not just memorized it).  There were some questions that weren’t on FA of course but not a lot and most were anatomy type of questions. I plan on reviewing the test possibly today or tomorrow.

9) What does this mean for me?

A 370 on the NBME means 191 on the real deal which is passing but its said that NBME scores have a standard deviation of +/- 10 points. So I’m still not out of the “danger zone”. Not what I wanted to see but at least now I know where I stand. I have a “valid” bench mark from which I can improve and track my progress. Here’s what I plan to do:

1) Continue going over FA

2) Continue doing uworld questions (I’m about 30% done)

3) Pray and have faith, it makes one fine pillow.

Till next time,