Settling the Score: Setting Step 1 Goals

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By Patrick Sylvester

What’s in a score? Would that which we call Step 1,
by any other number, match as well?

Often discussed in private conversation and talked about ad nauseam on forums/blogs is the idea that one often starts the process of studying for the USMLE Step 1 with a particular target score in mind. This idea is usually formed by a general perception of what specialty a student is interested in as well as an expectation that that student has for himself based upon his or her prior academic performance.

Let’s be honest – there’s probably nothing wrong with that. Personally, I think the right attitude exists somewhere between “I have to get X score or else” and “Who cares?”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some information provided by the NRMP* through their document “Charting Outcomes in the Match, 2011.

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USMLE-Rx Step 1 Qmax Challenge #3063

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Check out today’s Step 1 Qmax Question Challenge.

Know the answer? Post it below! Don’t forget to check back for an update with the correct answer and explanation (we’ll post it in the comments section below).

USMLE-Rx Step 1 Qmax Challenge #3063A 50-year-old man comes to the physician complaining of abdominal fullness, fatigue, and weight loss. He reports no fever, chills, or night sweats. On examination his abdomen is soft and nontender but mildly distended, with an enlarged spleen. His most recent complete blood count results are:

Hemoglobin: 10.5
Hematocritct: 31%
WBC count: 3200/mm³
Platelet count: 55,000/mm³
The patient’s peripheral blood smear is shown (see image).

Which of the following disease processes is most likely causing this patient’s problems?

A. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
B. Chronic myelogenous leukemia
C. Follicular lymphoma
D. Hairy cell leukemia
E. Mantle cell lymphoma

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Want to know the ‘bottom line?’ Purchase a USMLE-Rx Subscription and get many more features, more questions, and passages from First Aid, including images, references, and other facts relevant to this question.

This practice question is an actual question from the USMLE-Rx Step 1 test bank. For more USMLE Step 1 prep, subscribe to our Flash Facts and Step 1 Express video series. Score the best deal on all three products with a Step 1 Triple Play Bundle.

A Basic Guide to Research for IMGs

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By Sasmit Sarangi

The number of IMGs doing either short-term or long-term research has increased significantly over the past few years. In my opinion, this has been driven primarily by increasing competition in the residency application process and, as a result, IMGs try to seek an extra edge.

Generally, the end of the US academic year is not the same as other countries, and IMGs often have several months between their graduation and the start of the application process. Many candidates now seek to utilize this time in research efforts.

Though it is incorrect to view research as essential, it can be a significant boost to your chances in certain specialties, at academic programs in particular, if you have complementary research experience.

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Step 2 CK Advice Part 2 – Scheduling

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By Luke Murray

Click here for part 1 of this series.

Step 2 CK Advice Part 2 - SchedulingStep 2CK, in contrast to Step 1, is really NOT about figuring out ‘how to study,’ or at least, it shouldn’t be. We have hopefully, through trial, error, and feedback, figured out how to study for a Step exam already. What IS different with Step 2CK when compared to Step 1 is the importance of planning. Yes, it’s also extremely important to plan out how you’ll attack Step 1, but most of us have time off to study. Consequently, when our study plans don’t match our study reality there’s enough buffer to still accomplish our goals.

In contrast, when you’re supposed to be studying for Step 2CK, you also have the challenges of residency applications and scheduling and attending interviews. This, coupled with the fact that you have much less time ‘off’ to study and will need to do much of your studying during rotations, means that you’ll sink (and be constantly stressed) if you don’t have your ducks in a row. I know this, because I did exactly zero of the things listed below and wished countless times during my fourth year that I had followed this exact advice. Fourth year was far from a vacation for me. In fact it was just as stressful of a med school year as any other, exactly because I did not do the following.

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USMLE-Rx Step 2 CK Qmax Challenge #23840

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Check out today’s Step 2 CK Qmax Question Challenge.

Know the answer? Post it in the comments below! Don’t forget to check back for an update with the correct answer and explanation (we’ll post it in the comments section below).

USMLE-Rx Step 2 CK Qmax Challenge #23840A 55-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease presents to her physician with her fourth episode of postprandial right upper quadrant pain, nausea, and vomiting. Unlike her previous presentations, the pain is more severe and has persisted for 24 hours. Her temperature is 39°C (102.2°F). Physical examination is notable for right upper quadrant tenderness and cessation of inspiration during deep palpation of the area. Amylase and bilirubin levels are within normal limits. Results of ultrasonography are shown in the image.

What is the most appropriate next step in management?

A. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, stone removal, and sphincterotomy
B. Immediate appendectomy
C. Intravenous antibiotics and hydration alone
D. Intravenous antibiotics and hydration, and elective cholecystectomy in 4-6 weeks
E. Intravenous antibiotics and hydration, and then early cholecystectomy within 72 hours of symptom onset

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Want to know the ‘bottom line?’ Purchase a USMLE-Rx Subscription and get many more features, more questions, and passages from First Aid, including images, references, and other facts relevant to this question.

This practice question is an actual question from the USMLE-Rx Step 2 CK test bank. Get more Step 2 CK study help at USMLE-Rx.com.

Know Your SOAP (just in case…)

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By Sasmit Sarangi

Vamsi wrote an excellent introductory post on the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) last year. The SOAP is the current system for filling unmatched positions in the Main Residency Match. This post is primarily a companion piece to Vamsi’s post and I would encourage reading both.

An unmatched applicant can apply to up to 45 unfilled programs (35 max in the 1st round of applications and 10 max in the 2nd round) using the ERAS website. These applications are followed by communication initiated only by the program.

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Don’t Miss Thursday’s FREE Webinar: First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 by Dr. Tao Le

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Join us for a FREE Webinar on March 13

Space is limited.

Reserve your Webinar seat now at: http://bit.ly/1jLtwCW

 This high-yield talk from Dr. Tao Le, the series editor for First Aid, will cover the basics of the USMLE Step 1 including an overview of the boards, goal setting, high-yield topics in each subject area, study strategies, review resources, and study schedules.

Stay with us after the webinar for a live, interactive Q & A session.

Title: First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 by Dr. Tao Le

Date: Thursday, March 13, 2014

Time: 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about how to access the Webinar.

System Requirements

PC-based attendees Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer

Mobile attendees Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

apamsa webinar

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