May 3rd, 2003

Nescafe rabbit

Well, that's actually encouraging...

Registered on Thursday afternoon for the field trial of the NBME self-assessment practise exam for the Step I of the Boards. You know, that thing I keep freaking out about that will let me continue on for my MD? The administering body is testing a new online self-assessment system that will let you take little practise tests, and they needed some people to do a volume load test on it. I figured hey, a $45 practise exam from the people who write the boards, for free? Sign me up. I like practise exams - the more I know what to expect, the better.
Signed up, waited until today (deadline was 19:00 today) to take it. Four sections of 50 questions with an hour for each yields 200 questions, 4 hours max. I didn't spend too much time on any of them, figuring that if I had to do a lot of thinking to work out a guess I'd need to study it anyway. So it only took me an hour or two. And the best part is that then they spit back a profile of how you did in each topic, and how you would have scored on the Boards. Sort of like the PSAT.

Please note that I have not studied for the National Board Exams yet. I have not picked up a Pharmacology book in 5 months, nor a Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, or Neurology book in a year. The only thing I have studied is Pathology for the final (and I'd better get my ass in gear on Medicine for Monday). That said, when my assessment score came back at 410, I was startled.
"The score you received...ranges from 200 to 800. It is scaled to have a mean of 500 and a standard deviation of 100 in a reference group of USMLE first-takers from accredited US schools." Translation: I'm within 1 SD of the mean, even if just barely, unprepared. In the 30th percentile, in other words. And the things I haven't touched in 6 months to a year - histology, biochemistry, neurology, microbiology, and pharmacology - those things are where I scored low to borderline. I know exactly what I need to study, and I should be just fine.

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I have a Kaplan assessment to go through in a couple of weeks, after I've studied. And right now, I think I'm going to go remedy my issues with the heart, kidney, and gastointestinal system. For Monday.
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