03 June 2013

Med School Update: Step 1 Prep

If you've found yourself thinking recently, "I wonder what Scott is doing..." keep this picture in your mind.

This needs to be documented. I really didn't think it was possible, but Scott is indeed studying more for his board exams that he ever did for each of his courses. Scott likes to say this emphatically, mentioning that he also thinks he's learning more through board study than he ever did in his classes. I'm not sure that is the best addition to that sentence.

Board exams are crucial (though I generally like to downplay this fact when I'm talking to Scott so as not to amplify the pressure)! Osteopathic medical students typically take two different board exams between their second and third years, the USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX Level 1. Students must pass the board exam in order to move on to clinical rotations with hospitals and clinics. Even more than that, these first board exams will determine your residency options (insert pressure here). This first board exam score is one of the largest factors that residencies consider, even more so than grades from the first two years or your second boards taken after the third year.

So this relaxed image of Scott with his computer, study guides, and snack of choice really isn't unusual for the month of May. In fact, he posted this picture to his Facebook and he received comments from student friends like, "That's me, except with a bag of milano cookies." Here are some board exam resources we are aware of:

  • Doctors In Training (DIT)- a scheduled study course that Scott purchased in order to improve exam scores. Scott bases his whole day off what DIT recommends he review that day.
  • USMLE World Step 1 QBank- a question bank that was provided by Western University COMP-NW to Scott and all of it's students
  • Acland's Anatomy- a series of videos that review human anatomy and function
  • Pathoma- an online video subscription discussing pathology
  • Kaplan Step 1 course- Western University COMP-NW purchased the microbiology and pharm sections of this course for their students
  • Picmonic- Scott purchased temporary access to this tool of lovely mnemonics that help med students remember diseases by way of their photographic memories
  • Study with Substance P- audio files created by a now resident describing what is important to know for Step 1

That said, here is a day in the life of Scott from May until the end of June when rotations begin (excluding Sundays):

7:30 Am     Wake up and take USMLE World quiz, 25 questions
8:30 Am     Eat breakfast while watching hours of DIT videos
12:30 Pm   Eat lunch and take another USMLE World quiz over DIT subject matter
2:15 Pm     Go to the gym during PTI (SportsCenter, of course), with study resource for multi-tasking
3:00 Pm     Observe and Serve (Scott insisted I include his daily act of service for me. Today=dishes)
3:30 Pm     Hours and hours of videos, trying to break up the monotony, but continuing on one system
6:00 Pm     Katie time eating dinner, playing Ticket to Ride on the iPad, and reading scriptures
8:00 Pm     Picmonic study
10:00 Pm   Kaplan videos to review microbiology and make flashcards, until he's too tired to see


Method to determine the effectiveness of Scott's schedule - test scores. COMP NW hosted a practice exam on Tuesday this week and Scott more than passed. A nice feeling, for sure! We will be sure to update when exams and subsequent celebrations are over.