Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Will You Do With That Freedom?

Today it ends.  Step 1 may have taken my life (for the past 6-ish weeks) but it will never take my FREEDOM.  Alba gu brath!! (Pretty sure that translates to "I'm getting a 280 on Step 1!" - jokes, I'll totes be happy with a 270)

I've never actually seen Braveheart, don't tell anyone.  Things end well for William Wallace, though, right? Right?!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pump Up Mix

The test is officially one day away (tomorrow - the test is tomorrow).  As a special treat, I would like to share with you the music I listen to when studying gets me down and I just need something to pump me up.  Most of the songs are old, because it's only fun if you know all the words.  Judge away (and judge you will because my taste in music is so odd), but there's no way you can listen to any of these songs and not belt them out at the top of your lungs.

After listening to any of these songs, I am always re-ready to take on the world.  Although sometimes I get carried away and will listen to an entire Broadway show before I'm truly ready to study again.  And sometimes it makes me sad, because it reminds me that I will probably, PROBABLY, never be a Broadway star, and I think that's a fact that I just need to learn to accept.

And so in no particular order, I present to you my pump-up mix:

Hairspray: Good Morning Baltimore, You Can't Stop the Beat, Without Love
Wicked: The Wizard and I, Defying Gravity
Sean Paul: Fire Burning
Eminem: Lose Yourself
Lady Gaga: The Edge of Glory
Guster: Come Downstairs and Say Hello
LMFAO: Party Rock Anthem
Kid Cudi: Up Up and Away
Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run
Mamma Mia: SOS, Thank You For the Music, Take a Chance on Me, Honey Honey
Rent: Out Tonight, La Vie Boheme, Take Me or Leave Me, Today 4 U
Billy Joel: I Go To Extremes
Annie Lennox: Walking on Broken Glass
DJ Sammy: Heaven
Elton John: Crocodile Rock
Goo Goo Dolls: January Friend
Green Day: J.A.R.
Led Zeppelin: Misty Mountain Hop, The Ocean
Mariah Carey: Hero
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody, Don't Stop Me Now
Sum 41: Fat Lip
Bonnie Taylor: Holding Out For a Hero (the Footloose version is also acceptable "yeah!")
Tom Petty: Don't Do Me Like That, Surrender
White Snake: Here Go I Again on my Own
Whitney Houston: Greatest Love of All, It's Not Right But It's Ok

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Weirdest Study Habit

This post is for anyone who is still under the impression that I am a normal human being (spoiler alert: I'm really weird).

Naturally the more I study, the more questions I've been getting right in UWorld.  However, I still get very excited with every question I get right, especially if it's particularly hard, or I got a similar question wrong earlier and *GASP* I actually learned the concept!  And because I study by myself, I have no one to share that excitement with, so I totally high five the air.  And not just one semi-fist pump type high five, but a whole rally of high fives as if there were a receiving line of people in front of me just waiting to share my excitement by accepting my high fives.

For illustration purposes, I've included Liz Lemon, but imagine the high fives more at face level, and going from left to right (you know, to make sure I don't miss any of the people who are lined up in front of me waiting for my high fives, as imaginary people are wont to do).

It's the little things in life.  And correct questions cannot go uncelebrated.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Multi-Level Thinking

Here's an example of a question (UWORLD I'M NOT STEALING YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, I SWEAR; PLEASE DON'T COME AFTER ME): a patient has X symptoms (ex: low HDL levels), what would you use to treat the side effect of the drug you would give that patient?

You have symptoms, so in your head you come up with the diagnosis (in our example, hypoalphalipoproteinemia).  Once you have that diagnosis, you have to know what drug you use to treat it (niacin).  Once you've figured out (read: remembered; there's clearly no actual reasoning through it) the drug, you have to remember its main side effects (facial flushing).  And finally, once you have the side effects straight, you have to remember what other drug you can use to treat those side effects (aspirin).

You can know 3 out of 4 of those facts, and the world may never know it, because you're still going to get that question wrong.  And that is why these questions are so confidence-depleting and soul-sucking.

Monday, May 7, 2012


In case anyone cares, here is my subject schedule (for those 4 hour afternoon review sessions) for the next 9 days.  Pardon the curse word, it makes me feel better.

Crunch Time

Well I'm in the airport in Dulles, waiting for our late aircraft.  They say we're leaving at 7:05, but as it's 6:52 and there's no plane at the gate, I don't really believe that.  At least there's free internet in the airport here, unlike at Newark.  I'm on my way back from an amazing weekend with AMSA (American Medical Student Association).  More about that another time though.  The weekend has been a little overshadowed by traveling woes. 

I'm now 9 days away from Step 1 and I'm definitely starting to enter panic mode.  I was supposed to get home last night, but because (I'm pretty sure) United has a personal vendetta against me, I'm still here outside of DC.  In terms of studying, I've now gotten through First Aid and all the UWorld questions once, so I now have the rest of the study time to cram everything in a second time.

So here's my plan for the rest of the study time.  Every morning, 200 mixed UWorld questions in test-taking atmosphere (meaning timed blocks of 46 questions, not looking at any answers until I finish all of them).  Lunch while I go through the answers.  Followed by 4 hours of review (2-3 chapters of First Aid each day depending on how weak in the subjects I am - I'm looking at you, GI).  Break for a run, shower, and dinner.  Then 100 mixed questions from Kaplan (since I haven't done those yet, and I want to make sure I do some new questions).  Then half hour to an hour of flipping through pharmacology flash cards before bed.

This strict of a schedule is probably something I should have been doing all along for a maximal score, but I don't really think it would have been sustainable for me.  But hopefully I can keep it up for just over a week.  And then vacation!  And then surgery rotation.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Am I Unethical?

It's one thing to get a question wrong that most people get right when the question is simply asking for a fact.  You can always defense-mechanism it away (that's a verb) by telling yourself things like, "Oh I haven't studied that section that well yet" or, "Oops I misread the question."

But last night I got an ethics question wrong that 78% of people got right!!  An ethics question!  And apparently it was obvious enough that a vast majority of people knew the answer.  What does this say about me??