Friday, May 30, 2014

5-year Anniversary & ISP Update - NBME #15

Click to embiggen.

Five years ago today, this is where Wife and I were - gettin' hitched. Now, she's an RN and I just finished my second year of medical school. Time is flying, and today was packed.

This morning, I took another NBME practice exam - more on that below - while Wife took Hobbes to the Dog Beach in Muskegon. When she came home, I took the afternoon off. It also included a scavenger hunt, complete with poem clues and hidden gifts. It was a ton of fun. We do the "traditional" anniversary gifts - a different material for each year. This year was the wood year, and it was the first year we actually made each other cry a bit with the meaning and emotion inherent in our gifts. I got her a carved figurine that has special meaning, and she got me a handmade/carved wooden bowl from the Holland Bowl Mill. I can't explain why it meant so much to me - it's just awesome. She personalized it with the wood-burned verse Ruth 1:16 around the edge - "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay." on the top and "Happy 5 years!! Love, [Wife]" on the bottom. She gets me. It is good.

For the less fun news, brevity is best:

Took my 3rd 4-hour practice Step 1 exam today.

Score has gone up quite a bit, yet not enough quite yet.

I sort of wish I had a better idea of what my expectations should be during all this.

Sharing scores feels awfully... personal. So I'm not doing it.

At least not until it feels like Step 1 doesn't matter anymore. Then I might share.

I will say this: I want my score to go up.

And so.

I study.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

ISP Blur

I hardly ever know what day it is.

Officially 2.14 weeks into my Intensive Study Period (ISP). Took a $60 practice (4-hour-long) Step 1 exam yesterday. Score went gone up 27 points from the diagnostic one I took at the beginning of my ISP. Hoping that's a good increase. Hoping to increase a bit more over the next 3 weeks. Hoping to not burn out...

Currently doing 100-120 practice questions/day with Pharm flashcards and the equivalent of 150-200 pages of reading between First Aid and question explanations. 8-12 hours/day of at-the-desk, distractionless (phone off, deactivated Facebook, email closed) time spent studying, not including breaks, six days per week.

This is the most rigorous / mentally straining period of study I've ever experienced.

Every night my brain feels full.

Three. More. Weeks.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

M2 = Done; On to ISP

Previous post: http://bit.ly/1kZ3sVI
Ahh, nostalgia for freedom...
This is a very quick post to announce that I've officially completed the first half of medical school!

On Monday, I passed the Digestive (Gastrointestinal) Domain. The next thing on my plate is the infamous Step 1, which will (for me) be in mid-June. That leaves me 5 weeks and change to prepare effectively. I spent the past two days relaxing and coming up with a study plan, which basically consists of doing as many practice questions as possible while also reading as much as I can of First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2014.

During this Intensive Study Period (ISP) as it has been dubbed, I will be foregoing all forms of social media. That means no Facebook and most likely no blogging. What little spare time I allow myself will be spent on 1.) Family and 2.) De-stressing by way of running, playing with my dog, reading, eating, and sleeping. I'm currently planning an average of 8-10 hours of active studying, 6 days per week, taking Sundays completely off for church and family.

This means I will most likely not be posting on here for the next five weeks. That could very possibly change, don't be surprised at the silence if it doesn't. I'm still here, just with my face buried in computer screens, books, and pillows...

After the test, Wife (who is now officially a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurse, by the way! Whoop Whoop!) and I will be escaping for a week to the illustrious Smoky Mountains in North Carolina for a bit of R&R. I doubt I'll be posting much that week, but you can probably expect a blur of photos once we get back.

Till then... Over and out.

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