My Tips for Passing Step 3

10/13/2011 9:59:56 PM
I'm a 2nd year Peds resident who didn't remember anything aside from Peds when I took the test approximately 3-4 weeks ago - I read Kaplan's Master the Boards three times over 3 months: the first time, a few pages here and there on good call nights, etc. (I didn't retain much that time); the 2nd time I read it over the period of a 7-10 days (50-100 pages/day) approximately 2 weeks before the exam, and then I skimmed over the portions I knew would pose a difficulty for me for the last week before the exam. This book is ALL you need, textbook-wise.

I also answered the UW questions once after I had read the book the 1st time (w/o having retained much), doing around 100/day -- my % at this point was in the mid-50's. I marked the questions I got wrong and didn't spend much time reviewing concepts. After I read the book the 2nd time, I went through each section of the book & did the questions I'd missed that corresponded and made notes in my book. I did this until I'd gone through all the missed questions, bringing my % up to the mid-high 60's.

One week prior, I also did the assessment and my score was passing, but not impressive (I can't remember what it was). I went through maybe 1-2 cases/night for the last week. The UW cases are great for practice and indicative of the types of cases I saw on my exam, but really only 1-2 repeats (mostly the big stuff). You will undoubtedly get 1-2 cases in which you have no idea what is going on, or that is not going the way you'd like, or your patient isn't improving, etc. I know I definitely took a patient to the OR without needed to because I got impatient and I also had one case that I couldn't figure out at all. However, 3-4 cases will be ridiculously simple, 2-3 will be BIG things that any sane person would test you on (think pulmonary embolism, MI, GI bleed, etc.). The cases are FUN and common sense. Practice the cases on UW and get the gist of the program and what you are expected to do and you'll be fine.

Timing is crucial - the stems are long and you will be exhausted of reading. The questions themselves are not terrible, mostly Medicine/Peds/Ob-Gyn and big topics. The first day was not terrible (many colleagues said they felt like crying after the first day, but you really have to be positive because you still have one whole test day to go). I didn't realize this, but the question blocks are also split into "inpatient" and "ER/outpatient." The ER ones were easier and tended to ask more about diagnosis or had simple answers like "intubate." The 2nd day is easier b/c of the shorter blocks and the cases.

All in all, I'd say my hardcore study time was maybe 4 weeks. I knew Peds so didn't have to focus on that chapter much, but I swear I couldn't even remember anything significant about Medicine when I first started studying. This was during a time period when I had a subspecialty rotation, so usually 8-5pm sort of days. I just carved out time in the evening to do my reading and used every free minute of easy call-nights to read/go over questions. I was definitely stressed out and would not recommend a 4 week plan, but think preparation is definitely doable in 6-8 weeks. I surprised myself with a 237/99 - I'm still not sure how it happened, but I will say Kaplan and UW are ALL you need, as well as a little focus and a positive outlook.

Good luck to all!!!

10/13/2011 11:35:59 PM
Congratulations, Agree with UW. But Kaplan is absolutely useless

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