Thursday, May 28, 2009

step 1, the recap

first of all, omg i am so glad that the test is over. i wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.

timeline of the day:

- woke up, fell outta bed, dragged a comb across my head...ha, no seriously, that's what i did. i had some yummy muffins for breakfast that my awesome friend brought over the night before. i packed my lunch and some snacks. i looked over heart murmurs and the cardiac output cycle chart thingy because i always confuse mitral and aortic valve closings for some odd reason.

- left my place at 8:00, got to the test center about 8:15. they weren't letting anyone in yet, and there was a nice sized crowd of folks from my class there. we chatted nervously about the doom to come.

- they let us in the waiting room. i won't name names, but OMG SOMEONE WAS SOO F'ING ANNOYING. he kept saying things like "there's 50 questions per block!" there's only 48. "there's no calculator on the test". YES THERE IS YOU IDIOT. "there's a word highlight limit." wtf you counted all the words you can highlight? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU. i never wanted to slap someone so badly before. and then other people were talking about "so and so makes ___% on their world blocks, blah blah." i really wanted to just tell everyone to chill the something out because I DON'T CARE.

- the testing folks call me back. i got seated in the corner. i felt like i was calm enough, but after the tutorial ended, and the first block began, i was FREAKING out...my hands were shaking, heart racing, the whole 9 yards. i don't remember anything from that block at all.

- after block 3 i think, i started having a massive left sided frontal/temporal headache. my face went numb. i thought OMG I'M HAVING A CONVERSION DISORDER DUE TO STEP EXPOSURE, but then, i guess it can't be conversion disorder if you know it's happening, i suppose.

- to shorten a long story, i took breaks after every block. i used the full hour for each block...i was testing a lot more slowly than i normally do. just fyi...when there's 2 minutes left in the block, a pop-up will tell you. DON'T LET IT FREAK YOU OUT. because i sure was NOT expecting it a few times. also, i had about 3-4 audio questions. all heart murmurs. i'm so glad i looked at the heart murmurs that morning, but i have no idea if it helped me out or not.

to sum up the test experience, i honestly have no idea how i think i did. sure, there were questions i knew the answer to immediately, and then there were the OMG I'VE NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. and then there were the ones were i'm going I KNOW THIS ANSWER, and then they state the answer in the vignette. and i'm like, damn. when i left the testing center, my body and brain was so exhausted, i started to cry. not like the "i just failed" kind of cry, but "i'm so confused i don't know what to do". i quickly stopped, called a friend on the way home, and just verbally dumped all my emotions on her. (thanks for listening!) H was at my place when i got back, and that was really nice too. we ate dinner with A and her husband at a fancy restaurant...i got the lamb chops and they were delicious. and a glass of my favorite beer. woo.

so here's to hoping that i passed. i'm sure i did, but alas. i'm just glad that my desired field is not at all competitive. goal 1: to pass the step. goal 2: hopefully i have a 2-- as my score...haha!

now i'm going to make some strawberry cupcakes with kahlua buttercream frosting. make a cupcake delivery. and then eat lunch with some friends. it's nice to not have any responsibilities but having fun. girls only beach trip is next week! road trip with H is this weekend! life can't get any better.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

THE STEP IS TOMORROW!

the title says it all.

today i have leisurely reviewed some pharmacology and whatever else strikes my fancy. i ate lunch with a friend, and then went and did some shopping. i got 3 shirts...plain gap ones that i can wear to clinic as well as around town, all on sale. woo! now i'm at home and about to vacuum out a carpet stain...i'm so excited because i've been wanting to get rid of it for a while now. H is going to cook me some delicious dinner, and i'll lightly review some more.

tomorrow i will wake up at 6:30, shower, and eat breakfast. i will pack my lunch and some snacks: pbj sammich, dried fruit, cashews, cliff bar, banana, and water bottle. i don't know what i'll do about the caffeine situation, but i'll figure it out. i'll probably leave around 8:00 to get to the testing center. test begins at 9:00. aak! i have a fancy dinner planned with another friend who takes the test tomorrow and her husband...sort of like a double outing. woo! fancy food! i think i might get a filet mignon...or some lamb chops...aah! i'll definitely be tearing into some wine i have been saving for a few months when i get home from the test...

i'll update with my test experience for sure...happy thoughts!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

step 1 study: day 25

beginning in the book of steps, chapter 1, verse 1:

and on the 27th day the Lord said "frylime, ye shall take the test, and it will be good. if ye shall fail, ye shall plucketh thyself off the floor, stop the gnashing of teeth and flailing of arms, and commence again. if ye shall pass, which ye will of course, ye shall be named happiest of all frylimes. and then some."

yeah, wednesay is the step. aak!

at this point i am not taking any more practice tests. i do not need to psych myself out, but on the other hand, i am confident i will pass. i am not letting myself believe otherwise. this test means too much for me to just mentally blow it off.

also, i just tried some green tea ice cream. my brain got so confused...it's like OMG creamy like ice cream, but TASTES JUST LIKE GREEN TEA. bafflement! it's good stuff!

ok, more reading of first aid. alas! then maybe some chai tea latte from the coffee shop...the other day my doctor told me to lay off the caffeine. i'm trying to be good...boo!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

step 1 nightmare (also day 20 of study)

just had to share this:

sometime last night? this morning? who knows...anyways...i had a dream that we were waiting to get our step 1 scores back. for some reason they had the score printouts and left them in our chairs where we sit in the auditorium for class. H was with me to get my score...i run to the chair where i have ALWAYS sat for the past 2 years, and grab my score sheet. the number says "252" and i freak out and get really excited. i look again after i've calmed down and it doesn't say my name. uh oh. so then we start looking around, i'm in a panic, and the paper on the chair next to me had my name. i read it, and the score said "64". i then woke up crying.

just fyi:

you gotta have a 185 to pass. 220 or so is average. 252 is unfreakingbelievablyawesome. 64? is that even possible? boo.

***

and with that, i am refining an abstract to submit to another conference...cross your fingers that i get accepted to present! poster or platform, no big deal either way. i just want to go!

after that, more reading. behavioral science, reproductive, biochem, and immunology. egads. i have much to catch up, i may just do a few questions later tonight instead of my normal afternoon question session.

Monday, May 18, 2009

step 1 study: day 19

this morning i woke up to the sound of cats mating. i know, gross, but alas. all the howls, cries, etc, just eew. get a room! haha...

i took my practice test at the center today. i'm glad i did because now i feel very comfortable with the setting and the timing of everything and whatnot. now i know there's a microwave i can use, just in case, though i may go the sandwich route instead just to not have to worry about that. i made a decent score...according to some online calculator i found it correlates to a score that shows that i am making improvement, which is always good. not quite to what i really would like to have, but better than where i started.

i'm almost done with reading through all the systems in first aid...just have to finish biochem, immuno and micro, and behavioral sciences. oh, and reproductive. it sounds like a lot, but actually, the only horribly long section is biochem. the other stuff i enjoy reading so it's not so bad. i want to read through the pathology rapid review this week as well, and do more questions. also should do another practice test or 2.

aaak! it's coming up soon!

and i've decided to get a pda for reals...J, thanks for that website link. i'll probably visit it more once i get my new toy. i think before i gym tonight i'm going to check out the local tech store and see if they have any on display so i can see it before i order it online.

peace.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

step 1 study: day 18

my birthday yesterday was tons of fun! thank you to everyone who sent me happy birthday wishes...it certainly means a lot to me. i got to hang out with my family and some of my good friends. i'm glad everything turned out low-key...that's how i prefer things anyway.

but now, alas, i am a day behind in my studying. EGADS!!! ha, no big deal...i'll just try and double up today. i take my practice step 1 at the real center tomorrow at 9:00 am...i know it's only 150 questions, so a part of me is tempted to do another nbme in the afternoon to simulate "all day testing". maybe i'll do that on tuesday...just depends if the test at the site tomorrow will give me a bar graph score sheet. i really depend on those to see if i'm improving.

i'm getting more and more freaked out about this thing! i'm in my final push...10 days from now i'll be sitting to take the real thing, and i am nowhere near on my practice scores where i'd like to be. i'm scared. boo that.

ok today will be:

- psych/behavioral sciences
- reproductive stuff
- questions
- going over more biochem if i have time

aaak!

Friday, May 15, 2009

step 1 study: day 16

today's agenda:

- read GI
- questions questions questions
- biochem?
- MASSAGE!!!
- day before birthday dinner of some sort with H!!!

that's right kiddos, frylime is getting her first real massage EVER today...one part "birthday present to myself", one part "omg step studying is killing me", and one part "self-induced right latissimus dorsi overuse injury secondary to overzealous vegetable chopping techniques". H has ordered me to not chop veggies anymore, and that he would do it for me. how LAME is that? i guess my chopping techniques just suck. just like my usmle world qbank overall correct percent. alas!

tomorrow for birthday plans my family is driving over to eat dinner...my brother's birthday was on monday, so my parents are being efficient and pushing our two celebrations together. i think we're going to go to a local pizza place where we can sit outside on the porch and have "upscale" pizza, but then there are hamburgers and pastas at the ready just in case. and i can have a beer. or 10. haha! i'm excited about getting older...i'll be turning 24. i like it...2*12, 3*8, 4*6...i likes it very much!

i'm still having my mini-freak outs...yesterday wasn't as bad as they have been. i did 2 question blocks of 25 questions each and actually had a little bit of improvement. i have 1290 questions left...i know i can finish them all and them some...well, i need to go over all the marked ones and incorrect ones for sure. just got to ramp it up up up!

on wednesday my GIRL GANG and i decided that once step scores come out for real, we are NOT sharing. we've been sharing progress and what not, practice scores vaguely and whatever, but for the real deal, our lips are zipped. i don't think anyone was planning on telling their scores anyway, but at least we officially said it so nobody feels obligated. the step 1 score, i guess you could compare that to "the number of people you've been with", so to speak...just an example for the average joe out there reading. it's just not something you ask or give out, unless you're really arrogant or trying to show off or something. the only people that will know my score are me, the appropriate faculty, and residency programs. and maybe i'll tell H, but that's it. not even going to mention it to my parents...

ok, let me get on to studying...!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

step 1 study: day 14

this is harder than i could have ever imagined.

i took another practice yesterday, and only scored 2 points higher than last time. i was a bit bummed because i was wanting a higher jump than that. alas. but then i analyzed my "performance bar graph" and it showed vast improvement in the areas that i've already studied. and it also showed EEK! for the areas that i have yet to get to. so that in itself was encouraging...at least what i've intensely gone through has improved. and i should get through the rest of the organ systems by sunday. then i have 1 full week for bugs and drugs and review, and then the weekend and few days before the real step i can just read through first aid all over again and QUESTIONS.

last night i had a mini-freak out, alas. seriously, the test is 2 weeks away from TODAY. i cannot afford to not do well! aak.

today is renal and then more biochem. i couldn't stomach all of biochem yesterday. alas.

oh, and i'm in the market for a PDA. i don't want a smartphone because i treat my phones like crap. if anyone has any suggestions, holla. i think i'm looking at one of the HP models...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

step 1 study: day 11

boo step! boo!

i'm thinking of rearranging my schedule a bit and taking a practice test tomorrow. i really want to see if i've improved any...i sure hope so!

i'm drinking some green tea with honey and it's tasting a bit weird...alas.

today i'm tackling musculoskeletal and connective tissue. doing questions on that topic, and then i'm going to brush back up on cardio and endocrine of course. i need to get more ground covered as far as questions are concerned.

also, 6 more days until my birthday. yay! i love getting older...something about adding a number makes me happy and feel more wise.

Friday, May 08, 2009

step 1 study: day 9

i'm not going to lie...studying for this exam is really hard, mentally and physically. for the past 4 days i've been getting up, going to school, bunkering down in a room, and reading. then i eat lunch. then do questions, which evidently i suck majorly on, and then feel sad and depressed. then i come home. i've been forcing myself to do some gymming every other day so i can at least stay healthy. so between that, and eating, i get my "evening" break in. then it's more studying until i end up falling asleep with the computer in my lap.

yesterday i had an epiphany that the way i have been studying (up until the epiphany) was all wrong for me. before i was doing a random question block (48 q's), and then reviewing all the answers. nothing was improving for me, in fact, it seemed like i was regressing. so i had my epiphany and now i'm going to do systems-oriented question blocks in tutor mode, which means as soon as i click my answer the explanation pops up. instant feedback, and my brain is able to go YAY or OOPS and fix. i'm writing notes as i go. of course, i should do some random blocks here and there to gauge my progress, but this new way, at least i'll be able to retain more of what i read in the morning.

last night H and i went and hung out in this "hip" little area around the school. we ate burgers outside on a porch, and then walked around a little bit. we went and had a beer at a restaurant advertising a happy hour, ran into some friends, and then came home. it was quite refreshing. and since today i'm not going to campus to study, it's almost like a new beginning. something like that.

so since my schedule said today was to finish up hem/onc, but i read it all yesterday, i'm going to take the opportunity to finish reading up on endocrine physiology and read up on some more cardiology. the 2 practice tests i've taken tell me that my 3 worst areas (i mean, i'm bad all around, but alas) are physiology, cardiology, and pharmacology. i understand why all 3 are bad, because physiology is tough, cardiology is basically a whole ton of phys, and pharmacology, eek! (random, i'm so glad i passed that class with a good grade! it was technically my worst class of the year, and my board score is laughable compared to all my other ones. but it's over.)

the nice thing about step studying is that everyone above us has "been there before". the other day i was taking a time out from myself and must have had a horrible facial expression, because a bunch of M3s who saw me sitting there came up to me and said some of the most encouraging things. i have to say, it did make me feel better.

ok, now i will wash dishes that i have been neglecting for a few days and read. i will then eat lunch, and go to my favorite coffee shop and hammer out questions. hopefully today will be better than the last couple.

Monday, May 04, 2009

step 1 study: day 5

today sucked.

seriously.

i mean, i got a lot of terrific studying in. great studying. but then it all came down to the question block i JUST finished at about 8:50 pm. and it sucked.

so that just clouds all the lovely advances i made all day. grrr...

Saturday, May 02, 2009

step 1 study: day 3

so day 1 of studying was good. day 2? eh, i was able to get my embryology and genetics in like i wanted, but i didn't even start up on biochem. but now that i think about it, it may be better to sprinkle biochem throughout my study rather than spend a day on it, because that is probably my absolute weakest subject.

also, yesterday and today is packed with wedding festivities. not MY wedding, but the wedding that i'm maid of honor in, and yes, last night during the toasts i cried my butt off. (wasn't expecting to cry, but as soon as i stood up, BAM. tears. alas. but i still managed to say everything and got some laughs...haha. but i'm a cryer...hopefully that means i won't cry tonight during the actual ceremony.) my friend that is getting married is jetting off soon to genetic counseling school. i don't know what i'm going to do! she is my non-med school friend who knows about all things medical so that she understands EVERYTHING that i complain/whine/moan/etc about. but she's moving off to a city where i can take STEP 2 in, so yay for free room and board!

i'm going to start reading up on my cardiology unit...what i've done is devoted 2 days each to the various organ systems. first i'll read up on the anatomy and physiology on the first day. then all afternoon i'll be doing questions and reviewing said questions. in the evening, i'll review stuff already studied, most likely by reading through first aid...and read biochem! i've also scheduled a few "total review" days and threw a few practice tests in there as well. from my research on SDN, if you just commit first aid to memory, then you're good. haha! (also, if you are not familiar with that site, please visit it. they have all kinds of helpful tidbits and interview feedback, etc.)

so here's to the heart...woo hoo!