Sunday, June 20, 2010

Medical Boards

I had a near death experience today, well more like this entire month. Preparing for the USMLE and COMLEX board exams has finally taken a toll, but the good news is that one test will be done in just a few days.

The Final Push

Two years of medical school, 3000 practice questions, four weeks of intense review, multiple passes through study materials, numerous white board topics and more information than I can fit in my head have come down to this. Working on 5-6 hours of sleep after studying 14-16 hours a day gets difficult with all those facts rolling around in my short term memory. From biochemical pathways and pharmacologic principles to microbiological tendencies and pathologic maladies the pieces are starting to come together.

In just a couple days I will be sitting for the first of two exams and every waking thought seems to bring me back to topics I don't have memorized. Feelings of anxiety and trepidation are fought by the thought of having all of this behind me. I can't decide what I am going to do first when it is all over, take a nap, exercise or celebrate. The catch is that when I finish the first exam and recoup, it will be time to dive back in for another week of COMLEX preparations. As if the sundae were not big enough, its cherry topper is the start of rotations the day before my exam. Fortunately I still have an appetite, does anybody have a spoon?

Board Prep Question of the Week
An aspiring medical student opens up his Step 1 score report and is elated to find that his score is 230, a 92 on the 1-100 scale! The score report indicates that the mean on the exam was 215 and the standard deviation is 15. Assuming a normal distribution, in which percentile is the student's score?

A. 63.5%
B. 77.3%
C. 84.1%
D. 97.7%
E. 99.9%
Answer & Explanation


  1. That's funny...that's exactly how Seth looked when he came from study at 2 in the morning. Really Josh, thanks for studying with Seth and making sure he hit the books this past month. And thanks for putting up with his silly antics, too. One test done and one more to go.

  2. He certainly helped me loosen up a little when I needed it, and he was good to keep going strong even late into the night. We'll soon be done and on to better challenges.

  3. Near death experience - that is accurate. No one can know till they've been through it..Literally feels like we're climbing a mountain and the higher we get, the less oxygen we get. I'm starting MD soon.. not looking forward to another 3 years of torture..oh well..

    1. So true. Best of luck on the next leg of the journey!


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