Worrying about the Board Exam

I know I know; it’s been about 3 months since I updated this blog but you can’t blame me. I’m in the preparation/hibernation mode for the USMLE Step 1. There is nothing much more to say since I haven’t gone further than the AICM semester. No one is allowed to do any further clinical rotations until they complete USMLE Step 1 unless you do the PASS program after AICM.

More Clinical Rotations before USMLE Step 1
After AICM, if you want to do further rotations before taking USMLE Step 1 then sign up for the PASS program. You can do a combined 7 weeks course with 4 weeks of Family Practice rotations incorporated with it; this is in Champaign, Illinois, which is a 6 hours drive from Chicago. It’ll be regular semester tuition but you have to pay for your living expenses in Champaign, Illinois. If you do the PASS program then you will take off 4 weeks off Family Practice rotations from the 96 weeks mandatory rotations for Saint James School of Medicine. So overall that’s 96 weeks minus 16 weeks from AICM, minus 4 weeks from the PASS program. So that’s 76 weeks left to do before taking Step 1. It’s not bad in my opinion, but I’m not a fan of Illinois nor their high living expenses. I’m from the South so, I’m NOT used to paying $1000 for a one bedroom apartment with a private parking space.  From the time I was in AICM till now they could’ve changed the program or the option so call the SJSM office in Chicago to confirm and get the details.

What I would do different if I knew then what I know now
Basically after all the things I learned I can point out my wrong doings and mistakes which I could’ve avoided that I recommend you readers/prospective students to consider.

1. Go to Bonaire to study in a comfortable environment. Don’t stay in a cheap place. Before you go to Bonaire, make sure you got money to spend, which means you’re monthly expense should be $1200/month so you don’t have to worry about starving yourself in order to stay in your budget. Also, if you can live walking distance to school that would be perfect, otherwise get a car. If you have to walk more than 5 minutes from your house to school then get a bike or a car because the sun, humidity, and the heat will burn you out.

2. MD4 in Bonaire should not be the time to relax. MD3 is hell in SJSM because it is the hardest semester and students don’t study as much in MD4 but you should use the easiness of MD4 and extra time to start preparing for USMLE Step 1. In MD4 you should finish going over Kaplan material; after you graduate from Basic Science you should not touch Kaplan at all. You can sign up for Kaplan web program and go through it at least once. Don’t waste time relaxing in MD4; and don’t let others persuade you to do so.

3. AICM semester in Chicago is mandatory from now on for all SJSM students finishing basic science classes. Don’t figure out how to study for Step 1 in AICM; figure that out before graduating basic science. You should not waste time in trial and error methods in AICM or even after AICM. Before you graduate basic science classes have a solid plan in what to do and what not to do so you can avoid wasting time.

So these are important points I can think of at the moment. Of course at the moment I have a tight schedule and blogging is not a priority because I start reading in the morning and before you know it I see that 4 hours passed by in a blink of an eye   I constantly worry at the moment and I have a lot of anxiety because this is the when all medical students will have their performance tested.  But with hard work everyone can succeed God willing.