Sunday, April 29, 2007

Physician salaries

While no one recommends selecting a specialty based on salary, it is one piece of data that medical students typically ask about. As seen below, physicians are paid quite well no matter what their field. However, specialists tend to make more than primary care physicians on average (specialists generally also require many more years of residency training than primary care physicians). It is important to note, though, that there are many cases of primary care physicians in ideal locations with excellent business practices earning significantly more than many specialists.

Bottom line: Specialize in a field that you find interesting and enjoyable. Don't worry about how much you'll be making; you'll be fine no matter what you choose.

Ten Most FAQ about USMLE Step 1 - from Tulane University

1. What is the national average USMLE Step 1 score?

The national average is a three-digit score between 215 and 220.

2. What is considered a “good” score on USMLE Step 1?

From my perspective, the test should be a pass/fail test. That is the way the test was designed. Having said that, specific scores are released. As a former residency director, I wanted residents to have passed Step 1 and Step 2 prior to matching with us. I did not really care about the score. Very competitive programs prefer applicants to have scores that are better than average. A commonly used benchmark for these programs is a threshold score of 220.

3. How are these scores used?

The scores are used for state licensure. You need to have passed all three or four steps of the USMLE within a designated time period (1 to 3 years following graduation depending on the state) in order to be licensed by the state board of medical examiners. Upon graduation from medical school, states issue “training licenses” for a limited period of time. Once these expire (within 1 to 3 years) you need to get a permanent medical license in order to continue residency training. To get a permanent license, all parts of USMLE must be passed.

4. Why are there two scores, one two-digit and one three-digit?

The USMLE provides a three-digit score for the exam. Some states require a two-digit score for licensure. The two-digit score is set such that 75 is a passing score. This is NOT a percentile. Percentile scores have not been released since 1999. The three-digit score is commonly used by residency programs and corresponds to overall performance on the exam. A three-digit score of 182 is passing and equates to a two-digit score of 75.

5. What is the maximum score?

This is hard information to come by. Theoretically it is 300. Scores above 280 are virtually unheard of. The high score this year for the class of 2006 was 259.

6. What do I do if I did not pass the exam?

You need to retake the exam. Typically students take one or tow months off during their third year. This time comes from the two months of “vacation” built into the clinical years.

7. Is it necessary to pass?

Beginning with the class of 2007, Step 1 must be passed prior to starting the fourth year and Step 2 CK and CS must be passed for graduation. Practically, it is difficult to match for residency without successful completion of Steps 1 and CS and CK. As mentioned, you need to pass all of the steps to complete your residency because of licensure requirements.

8. What was Tulane's average score?

I will get that information in May or June of 2004. We usually do about the national average and that appears to be the case this year as well.

9. What specialties rely on board “scores”?

ENT, orthopaedics, radiology, ophthalmology, and urology seem to rely on actual scores more than other disciplines.

10. If I want to enter one of these specialties and scored below average, am I doomed?

Hopefully not. Again, the scores are not meant to be used in this fashion. I would advise you to prepare hard for a higher score on Step 2. Additionally, many residency programs look at more than just scores (all should in my opinion). Do an away rotation, get the program to know you, do research in the field, do well on your clinical rotations. All of these things will help.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Goljan Pathology stuff for download

Have you heard of Goljan Pathology lectures? Some common misspellings are Goldjan, Golljen, Goldjen and Golgan.
I am sure you have heard the buzz that is going on about Goljan Pathology Lectures and wondering how can you get them?

There are 2 ways - one is free, another is not.

1. Free way to get Goljan Pathology Lectures - try searching as much as possible the internet. Most of the links are posted on rapidshare - so it might be a good idea to search for Goljan and rapidshare... If you are lucky and find the goljan download link -congratulations!!!

2. You can also obtain Goljan lectures by paying a small fee. For really small fee you can get the full set of Goljan Audio Lectures on Pathology, Goljan High-Yield Pathology Notes and Goljan Pathology Slides...

The small fee is just $16.99

Try here if you think that you can afford spending $16.99 and get them within next 10 minutes.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Advise how to improve your usmle step 1 result

I finished Step 1 a few months ago. My score was–99-- (I could not believe it when I was holding the card and I almost fainted).

I used so many resources for my study, but I have to say that KAPLAN IS THE BEST. I was working as a salesman, for a few months before I decided finally to stay home and study (of course I had some money saved aside at the time).

When I started to study, I though that getting over 85 is just a dream but I made it all the way to 99. It’s all about the resources that you use and the amount of concentration that you have when you sit down on your desk and study. If you want to score over 90 you will do it, but if you just want to pass, your score will be around the passing limit.

As much adrenaline as you have in your body when you sit down to study, as much added points to your score you will get.

Here is the list of my study materials:

1--Kaplan preparation center video lectures (about 194 hours) and it’s the latest edition in the center as of May 2005. I have to tell you that I would never have gotten this score without these video lectures.

2--Kaplan notes scanned on the external hard disc (2002 Edition and it has no markings). These notes helped my so much especially the few days before the test when I needed to review each subject in just one day.

3--A complete set of underground clinical vignettes. Understanding the clinical applications of Step 1 has helped me to read the questions on the test so quickly and even expect what they are asking me before reading the final part.

4--Dr. Goljan Notes and high yields facts and Pathology slides (all scanned on the hard disc). Dr. Goljan is the father of Pathology preparation for step 1 and his stuff is a must if you want to score high.

5-Kaplan Pathology library organized in body systems (I saw a lot of slides and picture on my test).

6--Kaplan Webpreparation with their own notes.

7--Pharmacology, Pathology and genetics live audio lecture recorded from Kaplan live lectures. I had these tapes from one of my friends who finished his step 1 and scored 94 and he encouraged me to use them if I want to ace these topics on the test and he was absolutely right.

8--One CD with more than 3500 questions in Pathology. It made Pathology for me like the air I breath.

9--My own tips and remembered high yield facts and topics that I personally saw on the test. I wrote down more than 2500 topics and tips the week right after the test.

10--Kaplan Qbank in Microsoft word format. ( AGAIN KAPLAN IS THE BEST)

11-NMS software for step 1 (6th Edition).

12—A Complete set of Rapid review CD’s (more than 3500 questions arranged by the subject).

13—Kaplan IV bank.

14—Pre-test books (only Biochemistry, genetics, Pathology and neuroscience).

15—More than 10,000 questions and tips remembered by other students that I used to concentrate on what to study.

16—Board simulator software for step 1.

17—Mnemonics that help you remember the hard to remember facts.

18—Some diagrams, charts and flash cards, I personally made during my 9 months study.

19_Gold standard audio review CD’s (55 CD’s) for step 1 (complete). I have used these CD’s during my exercise in the Gym and in other times when I was so saturated and bored from studying and needed a different format of studying.

20—Pass program notes (over 200 pages of tips, high yields, and high lights) it took me just 4 days to read all over these great material and I would say that it added at least 3-5 points to my score.

20__More stuff that I have prepared myself over the months during the time I was studying and even after I have finished my exam and before the results came in the mail. cheers

USMLE Step 1 Advice

What you NEED to have:

1) QBank, 2) First Aid, 3) BRS or other relatively high yield review books for most, if not all subjects. 4) BRS Micro Flash Cards and Clinical Micro Made Ridiculously Simple


“You spend 20% of your time learning 80% of the material.” - Dr. Wiese

Don’t get hung up on minutiae. Details will get you nowhere without the big picture.

“Do QBank and First Aid and you’ll be fine.” – Maya Jones T4

Getting ready is actually pretty easy. There are excellent resources at your disposal. Below, I have some suggestions to maximize your return on these investments.

According to Dr. Markert, students will burn out if they schedule their Step 1 more than 3 weeks after they finish their shelf exams.

Burnout is something that should be respected. Three weeks of prep time is optimal. Trust me. You’ll go crazy with any more. 3 WEEKS.

Be humble. Do the work now so you can relax when you take the test.

Medical students are neurotic messes about this Step 1 thing and it gets ugly. Good preparation will make this a considerably less-painful experience.

Micro was not the strongest subject last year. Learn it yourself. Use the Clinical Micro book with the flash cards and you’ll be very well prepared.


Already you should be using your First Aid to help review for your block exams.

Working on current material is very important. Don’t cheat yourself out of learning the material well the first time.

Get registered for the Step in January. Plan a 3-4 day break after your shelf exams in June. Schedule your test day to give you 3 weeks to prepare for the Step.

In February, you should put together a schedule, giving yourself enough time to blast through a BRS in a week or two. Getting up to study is the hardest thing here. Make sure you spend time on your weaknesses!!!

Studying with a friend helps a lot as other people will constantly throw you great material. Don’t study with anyone who is overtly competitive or negative.

In March or so, start using QBank. There are pitfalls you can avoid: 1) using the “tutorial mode,” 2) doing short tests and 3) not checking answers. You MUST do FULL-length tests of RANDOM questions at the correct pace to build your stamina. Tutor mode and short tests give you a false sense of security. Checking the answers is essential because QBank tests 2,000 important factoids/concepts/buzzwords.

By April, you should be getting better results on QBank as you develop your test taking strategy (ie. get questions by eliminating wrong answers instead of knowing the right answer). Finally, use your QBank Percentage Right as a monitor of your improving test-taking strategy and knowledge. That Average Percentage Right means nothing.

Before your shelf exams, use the BRS books, and First Aid for Path and Pharm. Condensed material will help get through everything (remember Dr. Wiese’s advice).

AFTER the Shelf exams, take three or four days off. That’s right Turkey. You will need some rest.

If you finish QBank and are dying for more computerized questions, try QBank is better, but these will help you on your test stamina and technique.

After a day off, take the Kaplan Full Length exam TWO weeks before your test day.

After a day off, take another full length test ONE week before.

Then blast through first year stuff you haven’t gotten to. Get through Pharm and Path again. In the last few days cram any memorization intensive stuff.

Take a day off before test day. Relax. Drive to your test center. Watch a movie. Have a good dinner. Get some sleep.

TEST DAY!!!! Bring some sandwiches, coffee in a thermos, fruit etc. Avoid things that will provoke a huge insulin surge. I suggest bringing 2 bottles of Fresh Samantha (the green stuff). Don’t stress on the first section as it’s notoriously difficult.


Is USMLESTEP a scam? Certainly not!

So, you have come across the and wondering whether you will get the materials you want or not!

Couple of points here.

1. Hypothesis #1: The site is a scam as it does not has materials and just run away with money.

Let us test this hypothesis. does have materials and this can be easily proved by reading some of the feedback here:

So - you can see that does have the materials and there are people who have received it and started using them.

2. Hypothesis #2: The site is a scam - it does have materials but does not send them and just keep the money.

Let us test this hypothesis. If it will be the case - you will have a lot of people telling they have not received the package. What we see is quite opposite - 1 or 2 people claim that they believe this is a scam but they never tried this themselves. They know someone who knows for sure this is too good to be true.

You see my logic?
Again - go and read some of the feedback here:

Try PM the people who posted the feedback and talk to them.

Or you can just knock the MSN Messenger and ask for some freebies from

I am sure you will get them within 5 minutes...

Hope this helps.
Try checking