June 8, 2013

Random Step 1 find of the day – Growth hormone

So… you know that growth hormone stuff that are used to help some children grow (if they are legitimately deficient in it) and that some athletes abuse?  Well, it used to be made from either animal carcasses, or ground up and extracted human cadaver pituitary glands.  Ick!  Which also meant that if it was taken from someone with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (aka a prion disease), people who got the growth hormone (GH) could develop it 10-15 years later (and die in a not-so-pretty, rather quick, fashion).  This actually happened to some people, apparently. :\

Thankfully, according to wikipedia, that old method of getting GH has been done away with, and now there is a biosynthetic one one on the market.

Also, other causes of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (that are known, according to UWorld) are apparently contaminated corneal transplants and implantable electrodes.  And of course if you happen to handle brains in some capacity (neurosurgeon, pathologist, in the morgue…)

Moral of the story: be careful with what medications/treatments you’re getting!  Might be a good idea to check out how they’re made (and any side effects too, as a general rule).

June 4, 2013

2 more weeks

Filed under: Med School and the MSTP,Step 1 — sanguinemare @ 2:13 pm

Just got off the phone with one of my school’s advisors since I obviously can’t meet them in person, being halfway across the country as I am haha.  Definitely feeling the burn-out – I’ve hardly done any studying the last 3 days, but that’s partly also due to a personal issue that kind of came rearing it’s ugly head… doing a lot better now though I think.  Praise the Lord.

Took a practice test yesterday – probably my last one (2nd test of UWorld) and my score was actually the same that my school’s practice test predicted back at the end of February!  Funny.  I really hope I can do better than that on the real thing though, given where I want to end up.  The good thing is that it was 20 points better than the last practice test 2 weeks ago, so hopefully I’m getting somewhere. 🙂

After talking with my advisor, I decided to go ahead and push my test back 1 more week, so I have more time to study in between blocks.  Right now I’ve just been doing blocks in untimed, tutor mode, which is great for efficiency because you don’t have to spend an hour on questions first and then go through each one after, but you can instead see the answers right away after you click.  The bad thing is that you don’t get time to come back to your answer choice and change it later, like you would on a real test, so the mechanics of taking a test are not realistic on that mode.  That’s why I’m planning on doing timed normal mode the last week.

So I’m just going to lay out the plan I talked with my advisor on here for reference later if I need it. Before that, some calculations.  At this point, I have 1280 questions left in UWorld (that’s 58%), and need to make up about 4 test block answers from yesterday + 2 kaplan test blocks from the 8-hour long simulated test, plus about 2-3 question blocks worth of stuff that I didn’t finish reviewing before moving on to the next block… = a total of 1280 unused questions + (9 blocks x 46 questions each = 414 answers to go through).  414 x 5 min a question = 2070 minutes/60 min = 34.5 hours.  Goodness gracious, just making up stuff is going to take 3 full days of studying!  Ack.  Better get cracking.

Anyway here’s the plan she suggested based on my last test scores:

  • Take the next few days to do renal blocks only – maybe 1 in the morning and 1 at night, with studying BRS phys on Renal and First Aid in between  (I’m amending that to start after I spend today and maybe tomorrow making up going through the answers of stuff I haven’t done yet)  She says it’s probably my most high-yield because renal is a pretty heavily weighted section in Step 1 so working on that will help a lot.
  • Next, go back to random blocks, on tutor mode.
  • About a week before, do another “practice test” of 4 blocks straight through, with Q-bank.  She says I can send her the results and we’ll make another plan based on that.
  • Then do timed, normal mode blocks (with review right after) and then another block, review, etc.
  • Continue until a couple days before the test (should be mostly done w/ Qbank by now).  The last couple days, just do focused review, rapid review sheets, etc. Do 1 question block (for an hour) max.
  • Daily pharm review which should help boost my scores a lot (pharm is one of my weaker points).  She suggests doing integrated review, meaning focus the pharm review on the system being studied that day, rather than doing random pharm.  She suggests not too long – maybe an hour a day at most.

What I’ve been noticing weaknesses besides pharm (and renal I guess) are heme-onc, repro, and lately respiratory and GI seem to be fluctuating quite a lot (either hits or misses).  Talking with her though, it sounds like heme-onc and repro are focused on much less relatively, and my respiratory scores in the practice test happened to be high so she said not to worry about that as much.  Actually now that I look at the bars I’m not sure why she didn’t say to focus on GI, since that was way lower than renal… hm… but maybe she thought it wasn’t that big of a difference?  Anyway, so first priority sounds like renal and daily pharm, then maybe heme-onc and GI, and not to worry so much about repro or endocrinology, which she says exposure (to UWorld questions) should be enough.

She also said to make sure to take breaks every day – a couple hours of non-studying (hah, I have no problems with that!) and to have a protein-full meal on the day of the test.  She also suggested bringing some juice for the last blocks of the day for a last burst of energy (non-caffeinated).  I think that’s a good idea because I can definitely feel my energy flagging in the afternoon.

And that’s about it for today I think!  Hopefully I can stay relatively on track!

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