I started this blog the day after I finished taking Step 1 of the US Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) boards. That was after second year of medical school, and seems like ages ago!!
And now, I have finished Step 3- the last step of the boards. That means that (provided I passed) I will never take an internal medicine exam again! It’s ophthalmology only from here on out. Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Step 3 is a 2 day exam. The first day is a 7 hour test that is made up of 6 1-hour blocks of 43 questions, and 1 hour break. I finished in about 6.5 hours. Honestly I felt like the first day of testing was so weird. The questions were way easier than I was anticipating. There wen’t many long question stems at all (on step 2 all the stems were super long) and there weren’t lots of medical questions. There were TONS of biostats questions, lots of ethical questions, lots of “what’s the best thing to say to the patient?” type questions, and lots of pharmaceutical advertisements.
(If you’re not a resident that paragraph meant nothing to you- sorry…)
The second day of Step 3 was more like what I was expecting. There were 6 45-minute blocks of 33 questions. Since those blocks were only 45 minutes, I did 2 at a time before taking a break which made that part go by super fast.
Then, there were the cases. Step 3 has the coolest component (in my opinion) which are these simulated cases you work through in simulated time. A patient will come into the ED or the office with a complaint. You can do an exam, order tests, admit the patient to the hospital, send them home, whatever you want. You can see the patient the next day, or you can have them come back in a week. Some cases are emergencies and only last a few hours of “simulated time” and some cases go on for weeks. I think they are actually pretty fun, and they went by so quickly.
I studied for Step 3 pretty much only using USMLE world. I did about 75% of the questions and then did a few hundred of the ones I had gotten wrong. I didn’t finish all the cases either- but I still felt prepared.
The old adage of studying is “2 months for Step 1, 2 weeks for Step 2, and a number 2 pencil for Step 3”. I was more like 2 months hard-core for Step 1, 2 months very leisurely for Step 2, and 1 month very leisurely for Step 3. Let’s hope I passed 🙂
After the exam was over, I packed up all my things and Kyle and I got on the road to Indiana.
The 10 hour drive looked pretty much like this the entire time:
Sunny and cold! Kyle and I listened to the podcast “Serial” while we drove- we listened to all 9 episodes. It’s really really good if you haven’t listened and you’re looking for a new podcast. I think the ending might be anti-climactic, but at least most of the episodes were good.
I hope you all had a great week last week and are ready for another good one! I have the next few days off and then I’m back to work on Wednesday. But my blogging should be back in full swing now that Step 3 is over 🙂
Have a great day!