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Boards Step 2 Prep

July 13, 2008

Well now that I’ve gotten more settled into my new house and new job, I know I need to finally buckle down and study for Step 2 of COMLEX. I’m taking the PE (physical exam skills) in Philadelphia on Aug 5th. Ya, I know, Philly?! Its the only place they offer it. Then I am taking the CE (written clincal exam) in St. Louis on Aug 8th. I’ve chronicled my Step 1 prep, now to stay accountable, I’ll do so again. Wish me luck!

Updates:
7/13 – I had big plans for this weekend. Yesterday I did ok, getting in 4 hours of lecture. Unfortunately all day today I was sidelined by allergies and a killer headache, so I chilled out and read just a little bit in First Aid.
7/14 (t minus 26 days)- Roxy got herself all scraped up this morning shimmying under the chain-link fence, and I already felt like shit since yesterday, so I decided to call in sick and take her to the vet. They patched her up & she’ll be fine apparently, and after finding more allergy meds, I’m fine too. Since the incident, she constantly wants to be underfoot, which worked out fine b/c I spent most of the day at the desk trying to figure out renal stuff. I didn’t get as much done as I would hope with a full day off, but I think I’ve gotten a handle on my arch nemesis: the kidney.

Roxy underfoot and showing off her black eyes

7/16- OK, so I didn’t just forget to write anything yesterday. I was having kind of a bad mental health day. I trace this to not taking my Lexapro for 3 days. Who knew the result would be me watching a marathon of Kitchen Nightmares and then trying to eat my weight in peanut butter? I occasionally do drug holidays to assess my level of anxiety and relieve some of the side effects I get, like not wanting to be touched. A side effect I don’t think Josh would appreciate when he visits tomorrow. But then again I don’t think he’d appreciate me being all sorts of crazy and 20 pounds heavier either. So I made my holiday briefer than I thought I would and started back today. I already stopped having the appetite of a hobbit (seriously yesterday, I wanted elevensies) and was able to get work done tonight.
7/17 – Got a little bit done tonight, but honestly I spent most of my time cleaning and in general being too excited to concentrate since Josh is driving in tonight. And singing Legally Blonde: The Musical songs. Because omigod, omigod you guys!
7/21- Josh visited this weekend so I didn’t do any COMLEX. I did things like host a BBQ and go to the fair instead. I had alot of fund, though I really made the most of it knowing that I won’t see him again until the first week of September, and that there is no reason after this weekend not to totally buckle down on my studying. Tonight I finished reading kidney finally, and then took care of all the derm except whats in the MKSAP. Hoped to get more done, but did I also mention this was the weekend I got a new smartphone (Moto Q) and an iPod Touch? They’re so perrrty.
7/23 – Tues I was really busy so I didn’t get anything done. I shadowed in the clinic all day, fielded 2 long phone conversations, went to Walmart, and spent 2 hours in Il Spazio having the worst dinner ever. I’m sure glad the drug reps were picking up the tab, otherwise I don’t think we could have appreciated the comedy of errors. In the afternoon today, I somewhat made up for that lack of productivity. I was really pleased with myself, until I got home and developed a pretty bad headache. I took something and then laid down for a 2 hr nap. When I woke up, I had alot of residual grogginess and concentration issues, so I watched a couple episodes of Arrested Development and went to bed early.
7/24- Sorry this is late but we have been having some wicked storms lately. Lightning had the lights flickering all night, with full 5 second outages like 7 times. I was able to get all of Endocrine done except for the last like 1/4th of the Clinical Atlas section. It was then that Bethany returned from studying at the school with a picture of how the rain water had flooded the lawn of the school up to her thighs. I had hoped to wait out the torrential downpour to take the dogs out for a walk (my backyard has more grass than it did when I first moved in, but its still pretty much a big mud sink hole right now) but after 12 hours of saying this, the dogs were giving me some pretty big desperate eyes. So I put on clothes I didn’t care about & a hooded jacket, and waded across the street. Tessy swam. Roxy ran across the water like Legolas on snow. At least thats what she told me, since shibas don’t swim obviously and I couldn’t see in that rain. It was like running under a waterfall for chrissake! Only with lightning striking in trees 20 ft away. After they finally both relieved themselves (I don’t blame them for taking longer, it probably felt like pooping in the shower), we waded against the current, up the hill, got inside, and we all looked like we got pushed in the pool with our clothes on. And then what does everyone want to do after being in the pool? Take a nap…in mom’s bed…still soaked. Ugh….so that was fun!
7/25 – I had a chance at work to finish up with Endocrine, so I decided to take the evening off and really hit it over the weekend. I played around on my iPod, went shoe shopping (got these & these & these) and watched 3 of Bethany’s 300+ DVD collection. Good times.
7/26- Tried a change of pace by studying at JavaCo coffeehouse. Might have worked better if I didn’t sleep in until like 1:30 b/c at that rate, I didn’t get going until 3:30. Then it closed at 7pm. I was able to get GI done, but I’m thinking to be done by the deadline…I need to step it up!
7/27- I had hoped to do all of Ob/Gyn, but only got through OB due to the storms. I spent a couple hours studying like this:
7/29- OK, so Monday I wasn’t doing so well. I have been making the mistake of not taking the best care of myself…not taking the vitamins & meds I normally do, not eating that well, not getting enough sleep…and it all came to a head on Monday. My anxiety level was 9.5 and so I spent most of the time kinda talking myself off the edge. I went to be early and woke up today, beating myself up for letting me get to that point, but ready to kick some butt to make up for it. I got done with Gyn, and got a good start on Cardio. I then packed all my shit and drove down to Dad’s. That obviously took a 3 hour chunk out of the night, but now that I’m here, I’ll have 5 solid days with no fellowship to go to, nothing I need to do, except focus on COMLEX. And drink Dad’s booze 🙂
7/30- Alright, before you say “Michelle, you been saying the whole time that the only reason you don’t get more than one thing done per day is b/c of the fellowship, etc…but when you get to your Dad’s, you’ll pound it out…but how many did you do today?…ONE…what gives?”…well, first of all, Cardiology is a long & complicated chapter with a comparatively long question set. Second of all, bite me…just kidding, but I did take some me time to sleep in, de-stressify (yes thats a word, like “untruthitude”) and of course, catch up on Project Runway. So…wait till tomorrow to yell at me for slacking 😛
7/31- OK, so commence yelling. I just got the one thing done today. In my defense, I’d like to say Neuro is HARD. And that I was delayed severely by another bad headache this morning. Seriously, I have never had problematic headaches in my life until recently. What is up?
8/1- I decided that the main reason I have been getting headaches and feeling worn down in general is that I have been pushing myself too hard. I took it easier today, just doing a comparatively easier chapter, then spending most of the evening canoodling with Katie at Charlie Gitto’s. It was just what I needed to lift my spirits.
8/2 (t minus 6 days)- As you can see, I kicked ass today! I knew resting my brain would pay off. Apparently, your brain is useful for effective studying. Now hopefully I can do it again tomorrow. Y’see, I am leaving Monday morning for Philly to take the COMLEX PE. I won’t have internet until I get back Wed afternoon, but my Combank Q sets expire Tues. So, I’m gonna try my best to finish up the Combank tomorrow and the associated chapters. Ambitious….but but doable I think. We’ll see 🙂
8/3- I worked really hard today to try to finish and though I got alot done, I fell just a little short on Peds & OMM. OMM is ok b/c I have a separate test booklet for that, but hopefully I miscalculated and will have access to Combank on Wed as well. I doubt it though, I’m pretty sure it runs out Tues and I’ll be gone until Wed. Ya, that’s right, I’m heading out to Philly tomorrow for the PE and I won’t have internet access until I get back Wed. So, I’ll report back then with what details I can share (I am NOT failing a $1100 test b/c I blabbed about the test online!). Well, wish me luck!
8/4- Woohoo! The practice tests work on my iPod Touch and the hotel room has free wifi. I’ll do as much as I can tonight but I suppose I should still review a little for the PE tomorrow.
8/7 (t minus 12 hours)- Well the PE was a bitch but I survived. I took the last couple nights off to let my brain recover from 8 hours of SOAP notes and the jet lag from Philly. Tonight I’m over at Katie’s. She’s not here and I’ll be sleeping on a giant bean bag called “the Love Sack.” But her brothers let me in, its much closer to the testing center than Dad’s, so its cool. I’ll be trying to get through OMM and get to sleep at a decent hour. I never seem to be able to before big tests, too much floating around in the noggin.


Board Prep Material:

GOLJAN STEP II AUDIO
01 – test strategy, sens/spec check (7/12)
02 – more sens/spec, p450 check (7/12)
03 – hyper/hypovol, DKA, hyponatremia, ADH, baroreceptors check (7/12)
04 – changes in pregnancy, geriatrics, fluid & hemodynamics check (7/12)
05 – renal/diuretics, hyperaldosteronism, edema, total body sodium check (7/14)
06 – Fluids, CHF, SIADH, Acid-base check (7/16)
07 – Acid/ Base, RTA, Blood Gases check (7/16)
08 – Acid/ Base (cont), Potassium d/o, Genetics check (7/16)
09 – Genetics (cont), Adrenals, hemaphroditism, hirsutism check (7/17)
10 – Hirsutism (cont), Carrier rates, ambig genitalia check (7/17)
11 – Swan-Ganz Catheter, Nutrition, Obesity, Vit ADEK check (7/23)
12 – Acid/Base review, physical dx check (7/17)
13 – More nutrition, clinical oncology check (7/23)
14 – oncology, paraneoplastic syndromes, most commons
15 – Oncology, Prostate, Gyn, Spiders, Skin
16 – back to oncology
17 – More Derm
18 – End of derm, endocrine
19 – thyroid, parathyroid
20 – Eyes, Ears
21 – More ears, begin photo review
22 – Short rheum
23 – Other endocrine tumors

FIRST AID FOR USMLE 2
Cardio check (7/30)
Derm check (7/21)
Endocrine check (7/24)
Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine check (7/13)
Gastrointestinal check (7/26)
Hem/Onc check (8/2)
Infectious Disease check (8/3)
Musculoskeletal check (8/2)
Neuro check (7/31)
Obstetrics check (7/27)
Gynecology check (7/29)
Peds check (8/4)
Psych check (8/1)
Pulmonary check (8/3)
Renal/GU check (7/14)
ER check (8/2)

COLOR ATLAS OF CLINICAL MEDICINE
Infections
Skin check (7/23)
Joints & Bones
Respiratory
Cardio
Renal check (7/21)
Endocrine check (7/25)
GI
Liver & Pancreas
Blood
Nerve & Muscle

MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE SELF ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
Cardio
Endocrine
GI
Hem/onc
Neuro
Primary Care
Pulmonary
Rheumatology

OMT REVIEW BOOK check (8/7)

MICROBIOLOGY BUG VIDEO

COMBANK QUESTION SETS
Cardiology ( 54 ) check (7/30)
Dermatology ( 16 ) check (7/21)
Endocrine ( 33 ) check (7/24)
Gastrointestinal ( 36 ) check (7/26)
Gynecology ( 48 ) check (7/29)
Hem/Onc ( 28 ) check (8/2)
Infectious Diseases ( 35 ) check (8/3)
Medical Ethics/Law ( 42 )
Nephrology ( 20 ) check (7/14)
Neurology ( 44 ) check (7/31)
Obstetrics ( 36 ) check (7/27)
OMM ( 55 )
Pediatrics ( 61 ) check (8/4)
Psychiatry ( 32 ) check (8/1)
Pulmonary ( 48 ) check (8/3)
Rheumatology ( 23 ) check (8/2)
Surgery ( 38 ) check (8/2)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2008 8:57 pm

    Michelle:

    What are combank question sets and how can I get access to them as I prepare for my exam.

  2. July 17, 2008 12:53 pm

    http://www.combankmed.com/
    Its a great question set for the comlex

  3. Jack permalink
    September 15, 2009 4:59 am

    I actually used three question banks to prepare for the COMLEX and COMQUEST practice questions were BY FAR the closest to the actual COMLEX. I would recommend them highly. Their website is http://www.comquestmed.com

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