Posted tagged ‘Step 2’

How to Survive Med School

June 10, 2012

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During my final rotation, I had an awesome attending who would introduce me to his patients and proudly inform them that I was about to “walk the line.” On Friday June 8th, I walked it, and even though my diploma is dated April 30th, I don’t think I really felt like I’d made it through med school until that ceremony. It was often fun and fascinating but med school was never easy. If anyone were to ask me what my advice would be to the students just donning their waist-length white coats, I’d tell them these three things: (more…)

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The No-Meat Fast

September 29, 2011

I am pleased to report to all the cherished readers of this blog that I have passed Step 2 CK! Unfortunately, I didn’t achieve the 95 or above goal I’d been reaching for but I was able to improve upon my Step 1 score and for that, I’m pretty happy. Once again, the USMLE World Self-Assessment Exam was an excellent predictor of my actual score (I scored 2 points higher on the sim exam than I did on the real thing). I could’ve been a bit more diligent and honestly, I wish I’d had more time to dedicate to study isolation but still, I’m not unhappy with how it turned out. Had I managed a 95, I’d say I was proud of myself but with my 89, I’m content.

My cousin (who is one of my best friends and my faith role model) happens to be a very talented preacher and one of the things he often mentions in his teachings is fasting. Usually, I kinda zone out when talk of turning down one’s plate comes up. I guess I’m greedy and I sort of wondered why prayer wouldn’t be enough. When my more religious pals would talk about fasting for their high holy days, I’d admire their fortitude and self-control but think that I could never be devoted enough to do it.

After CK, I was pretty anxious about my performance. I hadn’t gone through UWorld at least 2 times, I hadn’t watched any bootleg test prep videos and the week before the exam, I succumbed to study fatigue and randomly slacked on question blocks to watch old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Powerpuff Girls. I was really at a loss on how not to fall into depression or go insane worrying that I’d failed when the idea of fasting came up again.

I began to consider the rationale behind fasting and something occurred to me that I hadn’t thought of before: the idea of sacrifice. It seemed like one of the main points of fasting was to make a sacrifice of something as an offering to God, a practice practically all the religions I’ve studied have in common. The end goal could be something as profound as strengthening one’s spiritual relationship but it could be something as simple and secular as a request. Instead of just wishing or hoping for something, one could make a pact – ‘I’m willing to sacrifice x for Your help with this one, God. I’ll make an offering of trust to back it up’. With this in mind, I decided to try this undertaking. For a little over a month, I became, essentially, an ovo-lacto-vegetarian. I vowed to give up meat until I received my step score.

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Things of Epic Importance

July 31, 2011

Never let it be said that I don’t keep my promises. I vowed in January to update once per month (and twice per rotation) and by God, I’ll stick to it! Well, last month’s updates didn’t really touch upon how awesome my MFM elective at Maimonides was (I’ll get to that) and at this point, I’m 2/3rds of the way through my peds core but the awesome stories will have to wait because on August 17th, I will be taking an exam of epic importance – the USMLE Step 2 CK. It’s taken me a while to really get into extreme study mode but as the fateful date approaches, I am getting more nervous diligent and trying to really study until my eyes bleed. The other epic thing on the horizon is the NRMP which goes live on September 1st – I’ve been trying to get my things together on ERAS but I’ve still got a lot of work to do. Hopefully once the CK is done, I’ll be able to take some time and really check in. Until then, please enjoy this fun game and this cautionary tale. And wish me luck – this is serious business from here on in.

Evidence-Based Test Prep

April 21, 2011

Since considering the pros and cons of trying to match in 2012, I’ve begun to freak out a bit about one of the factors over which I do have some power, namely, Step 2 CK. In order to maximize my chances at success, I have to pretty much annihilate CK and score a 99 (or whatever the three-digit equivalent of that is, say somewhere around 250?). The question is then, what do I need to do to get that 99? Which books do I need to read, how many times do I need to go through USMLEWorld, what should I avoid, etc. I know there’s no exact formula (e.g., Kaplan Live Course + UW + First Aid CK = 99 :?) but there’s got to be some consensus out there about what works when it comes to test prep and what doesn’t, right? (more…)

Decision 2012

April 13, 2011

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I recently had a stroke of good luck with the clinical department. After getting a head’s up from a fellow 7th semester that her number had finally come up in the mysterious calculus by which they decide these things, I decided to give them a call and see if maybe I might be able to beg for my last two cores to be put on my schedule. Since I’d been unsuccessful in this endeavor twice before, I didn’t have much hope for this third try but I guess I got an extra blessing that day because not only did they schedule me for surgery in August (I’d have sworn they were going to say that there was no availability until next year) but they also gave me psych at a hospital of my choosing (however, that one will be next year, at the end of January). I almost thought they were going to yell ‘psych!’ at the end of the call but when I checked online, my schedule had indeed been updated. With this unexpected boon, a previously blocked pathway within the realm of possibility began to clear – the road to the 2012 Match. (more…)

A Medical Student’s Favorite Word [UPDATE]

January 4, 2011

Aaaand it’s free again! Hurry up and get to iBooks and download it before it’s gone. I’ll post info about more free eBooks (not just for iPhones soon.

There are few things that can bring a smile to the face of any medical student. Perhaps praise from an attending or a cancelled lecture might instantly inspire delight but in my experience, there’s one word that always does the trick:

Free.

Med students love free food. We crave free time. We are secretly thrilled by free reign. And if you’re a med student who is equipped with a fancy pocket essential known as the iPhone, I can practically guarantee you’ll turn cartwheels when you follow the following instructions:

1. Go to the app store and download iBooks

2. Go to Store and Search for Kaplan Medical USMLE Step 2 CK Qbook

3. Download.

Surprise! It’s free.