Deep Bhattacharyya 263 Step 2CK Experience
MBBS in 2011 from India (distinctions in internal medicine & gynaec.)
Entered into otolaryngology residency in Mumbai , India and completed it in 2015(Gold medal and state highest).
Want to do a residency /fellowship in USA in otolaryngology or any related field hence decided to give the MLE a go!
Step 1: 4 months. Started studying in July . wrote the exam in November 2015. (lot of gaps , 2 family marriages, wife getting a pill stuck in her throat and needing esophagoscopic removal etc. colorful events featuring in regular intervals in this phase)
Prep details: (disclaimer: I m not really rich and am doing this whole USMLE dream on a rather shoestring budget. So all my sources are off the net or thanx to some amazing people out there. Any resources I mention below I ll gladly share FREE of COST!! Just drop me a message. Just be sure to return the favour to others when you re done)
1. Kaplan : the quality of the vids are totally unpredictable. So here’s my POV of them.
MUST : a. steven daughtry s epidemiology and biostats (2010). Amazing amazing vids . useful for step 1 , step 2 & I daresay life!!! (he s also covered the same for Becker in 2014 vids, so if u have that u can use that too).
b. Biochem :Sam Turco vids all the way. Amazing stuff!! Best of all he cuts down the stuff u need to know by half straightaway by calling most enzymes low yield. So u can distill out the really high yield stuff!!!
c.pharm :Lionel raymon (the frenchie) good entertaining stuff but not as reliable as the above two! (has done the same in becker in 2014. Updated stuff. Use them if u can get ur hands on them!!
BE DEAD BEFORE YOU WATCH : the micro , immunology(moscatello) , pathology (by cone) ,anatomy (white) and most of physio (though kudrath is good in places ). Even Fischers physio part sucks (and that’s saying something)
So, what did I use? : micro and immune I recommend mary ruebush lecture series(becker) .succinct, classy stuff. (also for immune there s a site called usmlestrategy99 or usmle99 … the guy s called mobeen syed. He does an amazing job of immuno. Makes little cartoons and shows the big picture that’s so difficult to grasp for immune)
Physio: skip the vids. Pathoma covers a lot of it!!! Rest just read costanzo physiology!!! Pure gold!
Anat :skip vids. Waste of time.
PATH::: the big boy! DONOT REPEAT DONOT READ GOLJAN!!! (it may be useful for AMG s, but for us its too too dense and it goes too much into Step 2 territory!!
PATHOMA (the dark knight of pathology, the deadpool of USMLE) !!! stick to it. It .covers.everything. period.
John barone s lectures (the old 2004 edition or the classroom anywhere version). Only use it for the following reason …the old barone makes you golden with histology and u don’t need to bother with anything else. The new ones are longer but he z one of my most favourite teachers ever… so I guess am a bit biased…. (smiles sheepishly!!!!)
Books: first aid .(take notes into the book… staple white pages on it.).its ur bible!!!ur quoran!ur gita .(insert any other holy book as per preference… but u get the point right??)
Pathoma book to go along with the videos.
Clinical micro made ridiculously simple
KNOW THESE BOOKS LIKE UR GIRLFRIEND KNOW S UR SMARTPHONE UNLOCKING PATTERN AND YOU RE GOOD TO GO! DON’T NEED ANY ANY ANY OTHER BOOKS.
NO … NOT EVEN THAT ONE. NOPE . NOPPITY!!!
QUESTION BANKS: ok the bad first! Kaplan qbank! Its like justin bieber in a question bank format i.e idiotic, full of itself, thinks it s the smartest thing around and basically utter garbage! Don’t do it! I beg you! (I went with the more questions cant hurt theory and ignored good advice and tried it. The realization ? it does . the Kaplan qbank is so different from the usmle questions that it ll set you back in your scores cos u ll stop thinking “how do I solve this?” and go into “have I mugged this “ mode!!
I ll give you loaadddsss of alternatives …. Trust me … just don’t do Kaplan!!!
Part 2: ok so you re thinking right now …. Ok I get what not to use !!! but should nt you be telling us what to actually use instead of cracking lame ass jokes?
Uworld!!! (really , woow, this is what you were building upto for all this time??) yes and no!
Use uworld twice. Once in subject format and once mixed! Well known advice but the highest yield advice ever , so I choose to repeat!! Do not mug the questions. Just understand the topics and the ways in which questions are asked. Try to make sure if u see the question in the exam u can arrive at the correct answer using the knowledge you already have!!!
Usmlerx: I d recommend as my second choice qbank. Little less tough then UW but pls use the 2014 edition. The 2010 torrent out there is justin ish!!
If u ve done these … and have time should you attempt more questions??? Yes yes yes! Step 1 is a test of knowledge whereas step 2 is a test of application. So doing more questions is infinitely more useful in step 1 than step 2!
a. Lippincotts illustrated q and a review series. (a little tougher than UW). But go through if u have time. Best pick: pharm book. I got 3 -4 questions only thx to this beauty!
b. Grays review of anatomy : doing this book will help you much more than watching vids!
c. Guyton and hall review of physio: the UW bank is a little weak on physiology questions!! (its only weak point as I could see) supplement with this books and you are gonna be untouchable (in a good way .. not in a pariah way!)
So, bottom line approach: stick to the basics, understand the concepts and rock the exam!!! Overall enjoy it!!
Books: ok mtb or not mtb??? People either love it or hate it. Honestly having used the book , I totally understand both viewpoints.
The pros: it cuts to the chase! fishy doesn’t give u the typical foam on your coffee to bulk up the book. He does nt care if the book is treasured by future generations as a comprehensive encyclopedia of medical knowledge! He jumps from topic to topic, leaves topics halfway but boy does he get the job done . (I still don’t know wether the topic skipping is intentional as fishy s publishers claim or due to my long standing doubt that the guy has a severe case of ADHD!) but anywhoo… it works. He teaches you to think like the boards…. And highlights the most basic thing we miss … you don’t need to be a Marilyn savant (highest IQ ever recorded. You dint know that ?tchah!!! read Dilbert ,educational series of books) to ace the step 2 ck! You just need to be able to apply what you already know! So, all things considered I read mtb and would recommend it ! (yep I saw step up, yes yale g too, yes first aid too )
Cons: the conniving evil of MTB lies in the fact that there s 3 books mtb 2ck, mtb 3 and mtb internal medicine boards! And fishy s cleverly (..or due to ADHD) left out and intermixed topics to make us feel the books are different! The truth ? its not. Use mtb 3 for all subjects except internal medicine . use mtb internal medicine /mtb 3 for the medicine part.
The trick: the first time you read mtb note down the key information given in a page! You ll find fishy showing off for half a page for 1 major info! So next time round just read the point and ignore the showing off!
Other books? First aid for step 1! Oh u mean step 2? No! I mean step 1!!! Read your first aid with your mtb .trust me you ll get at least 5 to 6 questions straight outta step 1 first aid!
Step up to pediatrics! Awesome book. Gives you a diff diagnosis approach per complaint!! Gold !!
Step up to surgery : quick read . optional!
That’s it!!!! Do not touch any other book! Try to keep as less time between step 1 and step 2 ck (so as to write the step with your step 1 knowledge fresh in ur cortex/amygdala… whatever! (any of you planning to correct me here … I m through with my steps so I don’t need to care nyeeehhhaaahh( sticks tongue out!!!)
Ok question banks:
Remember how I told you the kaplan qbank for step 1 was like j. biebs. In a q and a format ? well step 2 ck qbank is nt like that at all!! In fact it s so deeply hideously horrible that I could nt compare even J.B with this!! (though if his bare ass camping trip pic crops up in my browser one more time , I mite).
The step 2 is not about knowledge . most of it is what we already know from step 1 ! but its about rearranging that knowledge in our heads so that we can apply it to real patients. And that’s exactly why the Kaplan qbank is more dangerous here than in step 1. Where in step 1 it was mere garbage , here it can actually guide you wrongly where your approach to questions changes!!!! Avoid at all costs!!!
UWorld! U beauty . solve it twice. Subject wise and mixed !dont mug. Try to make sure u can work your way to the answer without needing to know any obscure fact!!
Here , less is more! Stick to UW! Don’t do obscure sources because step 2 is different from step 1! Bad questions can actually hurt your score!!!!!
Cms and nbme : confidence booster! But really don’t make that much of a difference ! few topics extra! Plus you cant know if your answers are right or wrong! So if you re rich (take it legally like a responsible person). If you re hard up… like yours truly … keep it for the end of the prep. Go through them in the last 15 days. That way you ll end up with maximum 4-5 unsure answers per block! Research them online !
Usmle rx/usmle consult : could nt get my hands on them. So cannot comment!!!
Overall … keep calm, the exam is a beast but enjoy it!!it ll be a rewarding experience!
Do let me know if you need any help, material or any difficult topic explained!!
Prepping for step 2 cs!
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