Fortnight of Hell – Addendum B – How Not to Prepare

Available from the NBME website is a. pdf of sample questions for each of the subject tests they offer as well as a breakdown of topics covered on the test. Having been soundly rocked by the neuroscience shelf, I can tell you that those questions are NOT indicative of the level of difficulty of the exam. In fact, the sample questions will trick you into thinking that you are better prepared than you actually are. After studying for most of the weekend, I tried the 20 neuroscience questions as well as the clinical neurology questions and  handled them pretty well. ‘Okay,’ I thought to myself. ‘This shouldn’t be so bad.’ Oh, how wrong I was…

I’d also used the questions to gauge my performance prior to the other shelves and they didn’t seem so misleading for biochem or histology. One of my pals mentioned that they’d been ridiculously easy compared to the anatomy shelf, which kind of kicked our butts on Friday, but I didn’t notice how off the questions were until today. If you’d like an idea of how questions are worded or of how long question stems will be, the samples give you a pretty good idea. However, assume that the sample questions are representative of the easiest ones that will be included. Don’t be fooled by your facility with them. Stick with BRS.

At least I’m nearly done – there’s the physiology shelf tomorrow morning, widely acknowledged to be the most difficult of the bunch (especially since some of the concepts covered on it are not topics that have been covered in our physiology course) and then, Mini III on Thursday afternoon. The neuro shelf left me feeling like I’d been hit in the head and I’m really starting to get to the point the upperclassmen warned me about: the point at which the fatigue of all this examination has one wanting to bubble in all ‘C’s and be done, just to get it over with. The physio shelf is worth 15% of the total physio grade, whereas the physio portion of Mini III is worth 35%, so I’m going to spend the next couple of days essentially preparing to annihilate Mini III and hope that that overcomes any poor shelf showing.

It’s the final stretch – wish me luck!

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