USMLE Exam & Qbank

Qbank is extraordinarily helpful for integration and even learning new material. You can do up to 40 questions as a time, either on particular topics or random questions, timed or untimed, and with feedback after each question or at the end.

“just read First Aid”? It’s terrible advice. Because unless you know the concepts well first, First Aid won’t help you. Without good foundational knowledge, Reading First Aid = Good way of wasting your time:  Doing well on the USMLE includes knowing how to integrate the concepts in between subjects.

Besides, you must know how to apply it to clinical scenarios. Question interpretation is using your knowledge to understand every sentence in a given context. Each line in a vignette has a purpose. Question interpretation is the key to achieve a high score, and you need to know what each sentence means. Most students will use resources like First Aid and UWorld. The question is, how?  

I suggest you should start using the Qbank as early as possible in your preparation. Waiting to do QBank questions only prevents you from the identification of your knowledge gaps. For example, if you reviewed cardiovascular physiology, then you should start doing the question on the reviewed content. Here are some of the strategies you should apply during your preparation.   

Qbank Dos:  

  • Use the Qbank at least twice.  

  • Use two different Qbank, and I would suggest using Kaplan and UWorld.  

  • Use the Qbank throughout your USMLE preparation.  

  • Before you read the explanation, reexamine the question to recall the scenario.  

  • Do you have a study partner? Use Qbank questions and discuss the answer choices.

Qbank Dont’s  

  • Don't do the questions on the content that you haven't covered it yet.   

  • Don't do the questions in the public place.  

  • Don't do questions in untimed or tutor mode.  

  • Don't read the explanations of incorrect answers only.  

  • Don't do questions on a specific subject or organ system.  

  • Don't write detail notes into the first aid.   

Suggestions:

If there are images involved in a question, look at the image first and try to understand what the image is showing you before reading the question vignette.

When you revisit some questions for a second pass, focus on your weakest areas, and on questions you missed before.

Kaplan Qbank and UWorld questions are as close to the real thing as possible. If English is not your first language, it can be challenging. You have to understand the way the examiners are writing the questions. You have to know how they are integrating the concepts. Also, you have to work on time management.  The Qbank is your best friend, and the one tells you your strengths and weaknesses. You always want to do the questions in time mode and on multiple organ systems are subjects. It would be best if you read the explanations of all answers correct and incorrect. This will help you to retain most of the concepts that you might have ignored while reading the review book.  

If you are an international medical student and recently started doing the Qbank questions, your score might range in between 30% and 40%.  Please don't feel disappointed and don't give up. Roughly 50% of the questions you’re missing on your test are NOT because you lack factual knowledge. It's mostly because you are lacking the test-taking strategies and doesn't know how to integrate the concepts and interpret the question.

I would suggest find a motivating study companion someone who can improve your knowledge and hold you responsible. Set up a regular weekly session where you can reexamine what you have learned and determine what you need to learn.