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
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.
Glad to have all three steps behind me.