How to Prepare for the USMLE: Volume

I’m not feeling great today. Day Four is almost over, and I’m overwhelmed. In the back of the HY Biostatistics, Dr. Glasner says that most students give Biostatistics 4-5 hours review for the USMLE. I gave it a solid 12 hours. It’s a weak subject for me and since I’m solid in others (like Physio) I figured I could indulge myself a little.

I barely finished the material with any confidence. I logged on to the USMLE World Q Bank and tested myself against their 60 Biostats questions, expecting a score for the effort: 71% and a kick in the teeth. After 100+ pages of Biostats no less.

That was Day One. Day Two and Three were spent with Behavioral Science. After 200+ pages of it (between the High Yield and the Kaplan Lecture Notes) I am nowhere near where I want to be. Most of the Epidimeology goes in one eye and out the other and I disagree with most of the Legal/Ethical issues for which I have to provide “correct” answers. It’s a frustrating subject for me anyway, and now I have to move past it without any confidence in what I’ve learned.

Today is the first of two days devoted to Embryology. The High Yield Embryo is 177 pages long, and I’m on 93 after 10 hours. I like to go slowly, making sure I completely understand a thing before I leave it, but this is killing me. It’s all interesting and I’m making new connections between different disciplines and, dammit, I’m feeling that rush of being constantly challenged… …but I’ll have to give it up.

I can’t maintain this, or at least I don’t feel like I can, and I don’t want to admit that I’m not going to know everything for this test. I want to believe that I have enough time and that I’ve done enough work in the last two years that this is attainable.

But the volume. The VOLUME.

My ass is sore, my back hurts, my eyes are straining, and I feel like taking the test tomorrow just so it’s over with. But that’s March 14th, 65 days away.

Return to USMLE Step 1 page.

6 Responses to How to Prepare for the USMLE: Volume

  1. The Overmind says:

    First of all I find your website very informative, but on he otherhand I find that you portray a very negative attitude about the heaps of work at hand. This would not only invoke false beliefs on propective usmle examinees but also demotivate them and slow them down. I think you should be more positive in your statements as this would help your readers succeed in there endeavors towards fulfilling their goals of studying for this upcoming challenge.

  2. Overmind, I’m not going to patronize the people that read this. It’s pretty clear from the start that these are my opinions, my frustrations, and (unless you think you are like me) only necessarily apply to me. I also think that the feelings of being overwhelmed are pretty universal for students preparing for this test and that what I relate here is not uncommon.

    I do not think that people reading this and seeing my frustration will lose motivation. I think, instead, that the downtrodden student will read this and realize that she is not alone, that the feeling is normal, and that it passes. If I was instead constantly upbeat, this would be a false impression. I have great days and shitty days and I’ve written about both.

    I do not think that being false is helpful as a scare tactic or as a pair of rose-colored glasses, and so I will not be artificially upbeat or melancholy. What I write here is what I am genuinely feeling and I think that is why it is useful. Being false, especially in the context of a journal or guide, is patronizing to the people that read it. They are adults. They are in medical school. They are past the age of swaddling and coddling.

    Thank you for the kind words about the site. I hope others find it informative. Because your mind is not my mind, it’s expected and normal that you would find certain aspects too dark and others too bright, but this is not a plus or minus that can (or should) be corrected. It is instead something intrinsic to what makes each of us not the same.

    • alicebelike says:

      werd… :) (totally agree with you)
      p.s. Love your blog/site. VERY helpful, and real. I’m going to take your advice. I’m planning on taking my step 1 in a few months time. We’ll see how it goes :)

  3. smalley says:

    this is a really good site……
    good work dude……

  4. smalley says:

    good luck for ya exam..

  5. […] this post, I wrote about being frustrated with the amount of material I have to cover. An indivdual from SGU […]

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