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What You Need to Know About the New COMLEX
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

It can be frightening going into an exam without knowing exactly what you are going to find. The NBOME for this year’s exams cycle is implementing a “new COMLEX” Level 1 and 2. The “new” Level 3 examination has already been in effect since September of 2018. This post is going to focus on the few things we know about the new Level 1 and 2 based on what the NBOME has revealed thus far.

MST's COMLEX OMM Cheat Sheet: The Highest of Yields
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

As an osteopathic tutor at Med School Tutors, I have had a ton of experience with students preparing for the COMLEX. Through my own testing experience and the experiences of my students, certain examination topics have come up so many times that I tend to refer to them as “COMLEX canon”. This canon of core topics is broad, but unique to the COMLEX among the topics is OMM.

4 Reasons Shelf Exams Matter
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

If you are in your third or fourth year of medical school, you're deep in the excitement of core rotations ... and shelf exams. We know you're tired and longing for a little more sleep, so to help you stay motivated, here are four great reasons why shelf exams will help you on journey to becoming a doctor.

1. Shelf exams matter for your clerkship grade.

Do I Need a COMLEX QBank? (a.k.a. Is UWorld Enough?)
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

In short, yes. The COMLEX is different enough from the USMLE in enough ways that a dedicated question bank (QBank) is necessary.

Here are a few reasons you need an extra QBank when studying for any level of the COMLEX:

Blood on the Brain: High Yield CT of Intracranial Hemorrhage for the USMLE
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

Identifying hemorrhage within and surrounding the brain on non-contrast CT is very high yield for all steps of the boards. Knowing a few simple features of the imaging findings for each bleed type will help you use the images to your favor and answer the associated question with ease.

One concept that applies to all acute blood on/in the brain for the sake of the boards is that blood is high density, that is it appears white on the CT images.

How the Pomodoro Technique Makes Med School Studying More Effective, Any Way You Slice it
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

The pomodoro technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s as a way to improve focus and efficiency. "Pomodoro" is Italian for "tomato," and the study method is named after traditional tomato-shaped kitchen timers.

Six Reasons Students Flounder on the USMLE & How to Avoid Them
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

Want to avoid floundering on your USMLE? Here are six reasons students sometimes do, and how best to avoid these pitfalls:

Radiology for the USMLE: Abdominal Anatomy
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

Imaging anatomy can be high-yield, especially on Step 1. Not only can you answer questions asked directly about what is visible in an image, but you are able to apply the anatomy to sort of “get your bearings” in order to answer higher order questions. For example, by knowing where the liver is in the abdomen when given a CT, and identifying that there is a gross abnormality, then you have instantly aided in cutting down your differential diagnosis by moving from “abdominal pathology” to “liver pathology.”

Radiology for the USMLE: The Chest X-Ray
Posted by Ryan Kelsch
Chest X-Rays are one of the most common images given on the boards. The boards do not expect greatness when reading images: only to spot the obvious abnormality and to apply that information to the question given (see " Radiology for the USMLE: A Stepwise Approach " for a more detailed explanation of this). Here are a few of the most commonly tested findings and how they might be used as tools to answer the question:

1. Pneumonia

Histology for the USMLE: How to Identify a Granuloma
Posted by Ryan Kelsch

Probably the most tested histological feature on the boards is the granuloma. If you can recognize the granuloma on a histology image, you can learn a lot about the disease process they are describing in the vignette and narrow your differential diagnosis significantly. As a caveat, I am not a pathologist, and a pathologist may cringe at my description below; but for the boards this description will help you find the granulomas almost every time.

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