Archive for February 2010

Falcon の Finale

February 23, 2010

Having completed the 7 week USMLE Boot Camp in Dallas, I have returned to my hometown to continue the campaign against failure. I arrived back home on Friday evening and on Sunday, took a diagnostic test to see how much I’d learned during the course of the retreat. I was pleased to discover that my score has improved (although I’m still not at the 220 I’d like to get on the Step) but there still remains work to be done. The early date for my final attempt at the COMP is March 16th and I have to indicate whether I’d like to sit for the exam on that date or defer it until May on Monday, March 1st. I decided that I’d use this week to blaze questions and practice tests and if, on the practice NBME exams I plan to take on Saturday and Sunday, my score is 70 or higher, I’ll commit to the March date.

The awesome thing about the Falcon Retreat is that the environment made it so easy to stay focused. I’ve barely been home a week and already I have had a flurry of social temptation, the likes of which I rarely receive. Between birthdays and events and dinners and other invitations, it has never been harder for me to retreat to my hermetic solitude. It is extremely difficult to buckle down and reach the 192 question-a-day minimum I’ve set for myself when friends and family are close by and eager to see me after my absence.

Alas, now is the time of sacrifice and commitment. I just need to keep reminding myself of how devastated and humiliated I’d be if I failed the COMP yet again and scare myself into sticking to the study schedule. One of my aunts offered to let me stay with her family upstate and study to my heart’s content in peaceful isolation. That’s definitely something I might have to consider, especially as the test dates* approach…

For those readers considering the Falcon Retreat, I have nothing but praise for it. The lecturers are, on the whole, fantastic, and the material provided is plentiful, easy to digest, and a great mix of high yield and in depth coverage of nearly everything one needs to know for Step 1. The biochem, neurology, micro and pathology sections were terrific and I defy anyone who sits through a path lecture not to become a Goljan groupie. Yup, even this hype-disbelieving skeptic got her book autographed. In truth, I wish it’d lasted another week…

*I will not bemoan the length of time it takes to schedule one’s Step date after passing the COMP until I’ve passed it…

What You Pay For

February 7, 2010

NGM Blog Central – The Cost of Care – National Geographic Magazine –

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That skinny orange line with the steep negative slope? That’s us.

Anyone who sat through (and stayed awake during) a cultural competence class during basic sciences could tell you that certain US citizens get an even worse deal for their dollars when it comes to health care. Note Japan’s line, however. You may have to bring your own sheets to the hospital* but at least you don’t have to worry about the bill when you get home.