Day 13: Questions

I’ve been feeling down lately. Today was supposed to be a productive day. I was planning to get through 200 questions but I could barely get through 75 and my performance on them wasn’t so great either, I used a qbank called exam-master since my qbanks don’t have anymore cardio anatomy or physio questions left. The plan was to start DIT today too but that didn’t happen. I hate how I can’t help but get involved in stuff thats happening at home. It’s really not good for my mental well-being.

Today I seriously thought about going back to the states to have a peaceful month of studying before the USMLE but I feel like that might actually end up wasting my time. First I have to find an apartment, then I have to find furniture and get situated etc. It’ll take at least two weeks and I don’t have that much time…I just have to suck it up and deal with it.

I’m also very frustrated with ECFMG. ALL of my friends (including the ones I’ve helped with their USMLE applications) have heard back from ECFMG. It’s very worrying and I’m not receiving any satisfactory answers from either my school or ECFMG. Not sure why I have to receive 3 freaking emails, 3 weeks apart, telling me the same exact thing. It’s so frustrating….I mean its not like I’m ready and just sitting there and waiting for that permit so I can book my test today and write it tomorrow, but having a date would hopefully get things going a little faster

I really did not intend for this to be a depressing entry. I guess this blog is becoming more like my ‘wailing wall’. I hope it doesn’t depress anyone who’s reading it but anyone who’s currently going through the USMLE journey realizes how stressful it can be. Okay, I’m going to end this blog with an inspiring quote I found online:

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Day 7: Review

I couldn’t fall asleep last night, my brain kept thinking about all kinds of  “medically related and non-medically related” things. I kept imaging what it would be like when this is all over…I don’t really have any specific plans although I think that might actually be helpful motivation wise, but I just want it to be over. Just to be able to wake up in the morning, make my coffee and breakfast, sit outside in my backyard which pretty much overlooks a whole lotta flat land and nothingness and just read the newspaper or something without being in a rush, without having to worry about starting Rx questions at exactly 7:30am. I miss that. Now don’t get me wrong, I do take some breaks every now and then and my Saturday’s breakfast is usually longer than normal days but I still can’t “enjoy” myself. I’m still constantly thinking about how behind I am or how much I have to get through in the morning and what the afternoon’s schedule is going to look like.

So I couldn’t fall asleep but as usual (for a Sunday anyways), I woke up at 7am. I’m one of those people that just cannot sleep in…I guess for the most part it’s a blessing that every medical school student wishes to have but not when you only got 3 hours of sleep the night before. Anyways, I got up feeling like “this was going to be a very lazy day”, fixed myself an egg, made some coffee and turned on my laptop to check my e-mail and when I couldn’t find anything (everyone is way too busy studying eh!), I went to check my Junk mail where my daily “horoscope” goes. I don’t really read those, just send them straight to junk mail but since I was bored and desperately looking for any excuse to not study, I clicked on today’s e-mail:

You have a chance as the day progresses to reevaluate your career goals with realism on your side, as well as to objectively decide what kinds of responsibilities you truly feel capable of, and want to, take on. The day can be quite productive simply because you are very much in the “here and now” and take special pride in what you do – and how well you do it.”


For some reason, this completely random quote gave me that motivation or that pat on the shoulder that I’ve been longing for. Take pride in what you do and how you do it. So I got up and decided to go back and review some of the topics that I had studied last week (Upperclassmen have always emphasized on the importance of repetition) . I was actually pretty surprised with how efficient I was today. I managed to get through all of pharmacology, all of pathology and all of immunology (which was slowly slipping into my unconscious mind). I wanted to do some question at the end but I am way too tired right now and I don’t think I’ll learn much at this point anyways as I have a massive headache and I can’t wait to fall asleep.

That’s it.

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%.

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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,

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 (http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/ORGAN.html#1) 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,

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