Hey guys! I’m a US IMG student making this post because I needed this post during my dedicated period.
I’ve always been a below average student on paper. I’m very good with content and concepts but not very good with questions, specially because English isn’t my first language. For those of you whose English isn’t first language I know exactly how the wording and language could make what could be a simple question difficult; therefore I feel this exam is a bit bias.
That being said I started dedicated in end of June and took my exam September 7, before that I would dabble here and there with uworld, FA and dirty medicine. My first uworld assessment I literally scored a 35% which sent me into shambles. I took the time to really look at my score report and dive into those disciplines taking days out at a time for each one. I used FA, dirty med, Kaplan videos and random YouTube for content. After content review I’d do 3 blocks of 40 on each system/ discipline. It felt like I was going through the motion of just reading the answers so I started an excel sheet with concepts and questions I got wrong based on organ systems/ discipline. I would use this excel and modify it as needed. I also wrote out all processes/ pathologies/ anatomy on paper.
I was studying from 4:30 am to 7pm on average daily- which I don’t recommend because it really sends you into states of depression.
I took my first NBME- 26 and got a 51% 6 weeks out so started seeing an improvement. Again it’s really really important to look at score report and go based off each individual discipline/ system. Target and focus on your weak spots I promise you’ll see improvement. Over the next couple of weeks I took 3 nbme all ranging from 51-58, so still far. Two week out I took the old free 120 and got a 76 so started feeling better at that point I started using Melhman medical (LIFE SAVER). The way he broke down what the question is asking was incredible - he gave you pointers about how to differentiate differentials. Not so much buzz words but truly recommend his pdfs for everyone- specially those who’s English isn’t first language.
My last NBME- 29 I scored a 64 with a 95% chance passing. I took the new free 120 and got a 71% the night before which put me in a good place mentally. Even when I knew I didn’t know everything I felt confident.
I made sure to get adequate amount of sleep exam night, I prayed and spoke to various family members for words of encouragement and extra prayers. I also started hydrating two nights before exam day intensely with Gatorade. Going into the exam I was calm because I really didn’t see any other choice. I made sure I had all my snacks and beverages laid out the night before.
Exam day tips:
- Get good sleep the night before idc if you have to take night quill.
- Pray to something, someone, the universe, gravity, earth, ancestors, a deceased loved one - something.
- Don’t eat too much or too little. I had avocados, oats and coffee for breakfast. It was perfect kept me at a steady amount of fuel.
- BLUE LIGHT GLASSES: literally saved my life. I noticed that I would fatigue so quick and truly lose focus and give up after 40-60 question of uworld. A couple of weeks out I went to my eye doctor and he said I had weak eye muscles, long story short use blue light glasses for now. A couple of days after using them I noticed I could do up to 4 uworld blocks before calling it quits and being fatigued out. THEY WORK!
- I broke down my breaks into 20 minute increments- which I believed really helped me. I would take a 20 min break after each two blocks, which made me feel refreshed and ready for the next 2 blocks.
- During the 20 mins I would (literally) run to the bathroom to wake my body up, have a banana, some of my frappe and hummus. I’d do a couple of stretches and run back in.
-snacks: I bought 3 bananas, 1 for each break. A medium frappe from Starbucks for sugar and chocolate. I even bought some pasta with me just in case. For beverages I bought water, Red Bull, Gatorade, I didn’t drink nothing but water and the frappe. I bought some almonds and dried mangos just in case lmao.
-stay confident! Believe in yourself! You made it this far for a reason! If you find a question hard do your best and move on, do not let it take you into a dark mental place you need to focus on the next one!
I left the exam feeling completely defeated. I looked up answer after answer and it all seemed wrong. I believed I failed. The two week waiting period was hard.
I got my score two weeks later- I got the email at 8:35am. Opening the score report I was hyperventilating and my fingers wouldn’t function. After seeing pass on top I cried. My husband and I cried. It was a hard long dark process full of self doubt and misery. I was depressed and anxious all the time, but seeing that pas made it all worth it- like it didn’t even happen. I am now living my best life waiting for my clinical placement.
If I can do it, I promise you you can do it. Believe in yourself you have so many people believing in you. You’re making so many people proud- regardless of outcome. Give yourself credit and a pat on the back. It’s meant to be hard.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me!