June 6 2003

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The big day has come and gone. I took the USMLE Step 1 yesterday. The test is administered here in Jackson at a Sylvan Learning Center. They have a small room with 15 workstations set up with just table width partitions between them. I arrived at 7:45 for my 8:00 appointment and was greeted by about 8 of my classmates who were waiting in the lobby. One at a time we were taken back, signed in, assigned a locker for our lunch, study notes, etc., and put in front of a workstation to begin the battle. It was 8:15 by the time I got started. I zipped through the tutorial, and then knocked out the first two blocks of 50 questions before taking my first break. I got through blocks 3 and 4 before taking a lunch break. I had brought my First Aid book with me to the testing center, but I had no desire to look at any material during lunch. I got the last three sections completed and was out by 4:00 p.m. It feels great to really be through with the M2 year now but somehow there is also a nagging anticlimactic feeling as well. It will be up to 6 weeks before the results are in and I will be almost through my family medicine rotation before I learn my score. Overall I thought the test was very similar in difficulty and scope to the Kaplan Q-Bank. There were a few questions that were almost identical. The word handed down from upperclassmen is that if you were getting around 55% correct on the Kaplan questions, you would pass the Step and if you were in the 60% range you could expect to do just fine. The last few days before the test I was scoring around 65% so hopefully the conventional wisdom will prove correct. I heard somebody describe the relative difficulties of some of the prep questions out there. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most difficult, they gave Med-Revu an 8, Kaplan a 4 and the actual exam a 3. I was a little discouraged because there seemed to be a LOT of questions that I just wasn’t sure about, but I think I tend to mentally minimize the number of questions that I felt positive about.

I had a very relaxing day today. I read the paper, worked the NYT crossword, and got a workout and hot tub bath in before seeing my kids closing ceremonies at the VBS they attended all week. In the afternoon, I picked up some beach clothes for next week at Old Navy, and went to the movies to see The Italian Job. This was one of the movies where the trailer had given up entirely too much of the plot. Of course if you saw the original (which I haven’t) then you know the plot anyway. It was pretty good but the chance to do anything fun without guilt was the real attraction. I even saw my favorite UMC librarian at the theater who asked “Shouldn’t you be studying?”

Tomorrow the whole family is heading to Lafayette, LA for Macey’s softball tournament and on Monday we leave for a few days in Destin.

The answer to last entry’s quiz was the subarachnoid space as most of you knew.

Oh yes, one other thing, I was paging back through some of my past entries and noticed that some comments had been posted since the last time I saw them. Some of these were obviously fairly dated and asked questions that I never responded to. The deal with the comments is that they get posted on the page of the original entry and the diary writer gets no notification. I don’t know if you posted anything unless I manually go back and check. If you asked me anything via a comment and I didn’t respond, that was the deal. You can reach me or any of the other writers via the “Email writers” link in the top left corner. If you want a reply, be sure to supply your correct email address on the form provided. I have heard from a whole bunch of you out there and I appreciate all of the comments! Take care and I’ll report back after my vacation!

About Marcus Lee

Child Neurologist
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