Two down, Five to go!

I took my last exam as a second year medical student this morning! Whoop!
Our last course was called Great Syndromes and was a rather interesting one (I'm still not sure what the objective of it was). We took the course with our school's PA students and basically covered several multy-system syndromes like fever, SLE, etc. There were no reading assignments and most of the lectures were pretty good.
It seems they let out the clinicians for us in this class. Dave'll get a kick out of this, but our Anesthesia folks kick ass! They did several lectures on critical care topics and were damned impressive. I'd have to put them among the best lectures we've had in the past two years. Of course, the fact that I'm much more interested in clinical topics than basic science ones may have a tiny bit to do with my opinion.
I now have until June 23 to kick back, play with my kids, drink beer, play video games and, oh yeah, study for Step I.
Just on the off chance that there was anyone out there dying to know how I'm studying for the boards, I'll tell ya. Over the past two months, I reread Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple, Lippincott's Biochemistry, USMLE Road Map Pharmacology and Clinical Neurology Made Ridiculously Simple. I've also been going back over the Step Up and consulting various review books when I hit something I'm really puzzled about. For the most part, I rely pretty heavily on BRS pathology and BRS physiology.
The main part of my efforts, however, is on First Aid and Kaplan's QBank. I'm in the process of going through First Aid, taking painfully detailed notes as I go. If y'all haven't seen it, First Aid is a review book that is set up as a 'databank' of facts. It is horrible for trying to understand things or learn them for the first time but it rocks for helping with the brute force memorization. I've used the first two years of medical school, plus the last two months to try to learn and understand important concepts. Now it is time to just cram the factoids in and practice, practice, practice.
Anyway, that's my plan. I'll be able to say if it was a good one or not on June 11.
My wife and I are going to 'loan' the kids to their grandmother for that night and go play in Houston. The next morning, I'll be on a plane for Chicago. I'm going to the AMA meeting there and plan on truly enjoying all the fun the city has to offer, completely unburdened by any thoughts of studying.
Now that I've given in to my verbosity jones and crowded the forum with my ramblings, I'm off to do some QBank questions. yippie.
Take care,
Jeff Jarvis, MS-II

Whoop! for Jeff…not that we know what that is in Cane Country.

Jeff, the combo of First Aid and QBank, plus all the reviewing you’ve done, puts you in great shape to kick butt on Step 1. Congratulations on getting done with the horrendous ordeal that is MS-II.
One of my classmates this morning noted that our MS-IV colleagues graduate next weekend, “and then we are the top dogs!” We all laughed, a little nervously, at the idea that we’re ready for being acting interns and the like, but ya know what? I feel ready. Not to mention that third year lasts forever and so it will be good to see it end… on June 27! But maybe thinking like an MS-IV will help this last rotation go a little quicker, who knows?!
I am currently scheduled to take Step 2 on July 25, not starting any of my fourth year courses until after that. You know what is REALLY amazing, is that I don’t feel a clutch in my stomach or even any particular worry when I write that. It’s like life has become one big test and so this is just one more, ho-hum, prep for it and get it over with and then on to the next task. I would have never thought I’d get this blase about such stuff.
go get 'em Jeff!

Hi Guys,
I used First Aid and Q-Bank for USMLE Step I. It worked quite well but after three weeks of doing questions, I was so tired of the stuff, I could vomit. When I went in to take the actual test, the test center was having difficulty getting the computers up for the morning. They offered anyone who wanted, a raincheck to come back within the next week. Most people took them up on this offer so that they could run home and study. There were two of us who said we would sit there all night until the computers came up. There was no way I was going back home without taking that exam. Six hours later, I was finished and heading out for a cold beverage.
For Step II, I just got tired of reading stuff off the computer screen. The scenarios are pretty long. It is almost totally Internal Medicine so put your emphasis there. I finished my third year with Internal Medicine so I was pretty sharp for the test. Take it early so you don't have anything between you and graduation during fourth year. Step II is very straight-forward and not much like Step I which can be overwhelming. You are probably going to get at least 20 points higher on Step II than on Step I.
I am scheduled to take Step III at the end of June. I just want to get the thing out of the way. You have a total of 7 years from the date that you took Step I to take and pass Step III or you will have to start over. I took Step I in 2000 but I am not waiting. As I go further in surgery, the little medicine details become more remote. I am sharpening my #2 pencils even now.