PR and Kaplan for USMLE review

Ok, here is the caveat: We have PR come in and do a 6 week review as part of our cirriculum at the end of Yr2.
Some have been unhappy with it and others happy. Some are going back home and doing Kaplan and others are just soloing it and doing QBank. I have WebPrep Software and also 9 books for questions.
I want to do this well and right since I am aiming at a 220+ as my score.
Should I just suck it up and do Kaplan when I return to the states or should I just do PR and then working in conjunction with the review class do QBank for 3 months allowing for an additional 5 weeks post to complete QBank and whatever else I have handy?
Any thoughts are welcome.
Just so we are clear:
PR starts in March


>6weeks
Qbank 3mo
end
Take USMLE.

I have yet to meet anyone who felt that classroom prep was necessary for USMLE. There was a Kaplan course given at GWU and although some people felt better for taking it, I don’t think anyone felt it made a huge difference. And the time factor seemed ghastly to me: they’d sit in the lecture ALL DAY, and THEN would go home and do QBank or whatever review at night. Now, I had some 12-16 hour review days, but I also had days where all I did was review, or all I did was QBank; studying/practicing all day and all evening was the exception for me, not the norm. 3 months of QBank, with your own review, is more than enough to get you a 220+.
Because I am cheap, I only did a 1-month QBank subscription. I did have a set of Kaplan books bought second-hand and i used those and First Aid as my main review texts. I did questions and studied for less than a month and got hmmmmmmmm (thinking hard here) I think around 210. I could have definitely done a LOT better with more preparation. So when I say a 220+ should be readily attainable with 3 months of QBank and self-study, I am pretty sure I’m right.
Although test prep courses for the MCAT are, for many people, an expected part of the process, that is not true for the USMLE - it seems very few people take a course. At least part of the reason for this (my theory) is that by the time you’ve gone through two years of medical school, you can, by God, take a test. Even all day stuff isn’t likely to faze you the way it would’ve before. It’s just another test.

Quote:

Ok, here is the caveat: We have PR come in and do a 6 week review as part of our cirriculum at the end of Yr2.
Some have been unhappy with it and others happy. Some are going back home and doing Kaplan and others are just soloing it and doing QBank. I have WebPrep Software and also 9 books for questions.
I want to do this well and right since I am aiming at a 220+ as my score.
Should I just suck it up and do Kaplan when I return to the states or should I just do PR and then working in conjunction with the review class do QBank for 3 months allowing for an additional 5 weeks post to complete QBank and whatever else I have handy?
Any thoughts are welcome.
Just so we are clear:
PR starts in March
>6weeks
Qbank 3mo
end
Take USMLE.


Hey JP,
If you have not already started, pick up Board Simulator Series (BSS), Basic Science and Normal and Abnormal processes. You should be doing these questions as you are doing your coursework. They are going to kick your rear end but look for an improving score. When you get to the end of your second year, do Q-Bank. One month is about all you need of Q-Bank question practice. At this point, you can pick up the three systems book for BSS. Again, BSS is far more difficult than Q-Bank or USMLE Step I but the subject matter is more in line with USMLE than Q-Bank.
USMLE (all steps) require you to use your knowledge [Step I-first and second year][Step II - third year] and [Step III- internship]. They will ask you to apply what you have learned. These are not memorization tests so having tons of subject based factoids is not too helpful. Q-Bank is good if you mix up the questions and use it to find your weak areas.
Most of USMLE Step I is Path, Physio and Pharm. The other disciplines are less represented with Gross Anatomy being the lowest yield subject. There are no "except" type questions on the exam. I would recommend purchasing the Fadem's "Behavioral Science" review book. This will be about all you need for Psych. BRS Path is a good review but you need to be tight in Path before you do a review. Your BSS (if you have been doing these all along) is great for physiology and pharm.
The biggest problems that I have with PR and Kaplan is that their review courses are organized along subject lines and the real exam is not. Everything is pretty mixed with some questions testing more than one discipline. Here is where BSS works well.
You should be setting aside a couple of hours on the weekends to do questions for USMLE. The exam has gotten more difficult in the past few years because students are better prepared. The PBL students are rocking because of their style of learning makes them automatically intergrate their thinking.
Finally, do not obsess about a specific number on USMLE. You have literally one shot at this exam and you get what you get. No single source can completely prepare you and the more integrated your thinking the better. That hasn't changed.
Also, pick up a copy of Step Up for the Wards. This is a great book for USMLE Steps I and II. I am also assuming that you have First Aid on your shelf already.
Good luck!
Natalie
Glad to have all three steps behind me.

You would be correct in this regard:

Quote:

I am also assuming that you have First Aid on your shelf already.


Use it once a week to check off stuff we covered and I date it and add small notes where appropriate. There are a few topics in FA that are missing. Go figure.
Anyway…thanks for the info.