I writing to let you all know, I’ve passed my NPLEX I!!! Another milestone completed! I’ve took the February 2016 test and thank God the weather was right or I would’ve rescheduled! My mom came with me and we booked a hotel at the testing site. I had a blast with her! That was a really tough exam and I would have aged a million times over if I had to take that test again. This year, they were obsessed with neurology, and renal science, the two most dreaded topics for me. What I’ve used to study and tips were:
- *******IMPORTANT******TAKE THE TEST WHEN YOU ARE READY! You can take it during the summer (August) or winter (February), even after you graduate the program (I didn’t even know that!). NO RUSH! I have known some people who took the test three times or failed last summer and had to take it over in February. These people were not ready. I didn’t take the test last summer because I knew I was not ready. I was busy with summer clinic plus I had to preceptor. I’ve opted out of it. I didn’t want to re-take the test, travel, and spend more money. It adds up! Anyways, don’t let people pressure you in taking it for the summer. You take it on your own terms! This is your money and your time. Us as NDs, have the luxury of taking the boards anytime, so again, no rush. DOs and MDs don’t.
- We had a naturopathic resident, who did many sessions and broke down the USMLE. She broke it down in such a way, a child could comprehend it. The USMLE book, was an excellent book that was enough to pass NPLEX I. However, in some areas, it was dry (Biochemistry especially!) so she made it bearable and I appreciate it. She was awesome.
- I’ve made digital notecards from the USMLE
- I’ve studied three months before. The last month, was nothing but practice questions.
- I’ve made cheat sheets of amino acid derivatives, eicosanoid synthesis, catecholamine synthesis, essential amino acids (also acidic, ketogenic, basic, and branched), end codons, and insertions/innervation/origins of the muscles.
- CRANIAL NERVES! CRANIAL NERVES! CRANIAL NERVES! Also, lesions.
- Again, USMLE was enough, at least for me because a lot of the information in there was on the boards.
- I didn’t use the Healing Mountain Study Guide (I’ve looked at my friend’s copy, it wasn’t enough, had a lot of mistakes, and wasn’t working for me), but the question book was good. Sadly, Healing Mountain maybe going out of business. 😦
- Meditate and have a good time the day before! My test was in a hotel. My mom came with me and we had so much fun.
When you complete the test, stay away from negative people or who talk about the answers. At this point, it doesn’t even matter. Spend that time enjoying life and focusing on school. It will get your mind off the test until you wait for the results. A month, is a long wait! Being surrounded by negativity, is taxing and you would need to rejuvenate from all the energy lost when taking the test.On the boards, you will have questions that can be more than one answer. CHOOSE THE BEST ANSWER! Like Dr. Hubscher, ND, DC said (Physical Medicine Professor here at UB) “On national boards, It’s not the right answer, but the BEST answer”.
Just relax and breath when taking the test. Read the questions carefully. You have a lot of time. They will provide pencils for you and water if you need it (you can bring your own water bottle).
***This is a time to be excited! You are half-way there to becoming a licensed physician! Very exciting!
- Fish (wild caught salmon, anchovies, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers. These have less mercury in them. Mercury, can mess with memory. Eat 2 ounces a week)
- Snack on nuts and seeds ( flaxseeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, brazil nuts, etc. 2 cups/day)
- Take in tons of flavonoids (berries, onions, garlic, apples, tomatoes, celery, grapes, bell peppers, etc 1 cup/day)
- Vegetables! I ate at least two bowls of salad or one healthy stirfry a day. Especially cruciferous veggies
- I reduced my intake of sugar, dairy, and bread (Dairy, sugar, and bread make me exhausted. It was hard to give up, but I did. Well worth it because I had tons of energy to study, remember, and stay up. )
- Reduced caffeine intake and crappy food. I would drink a cup of coffee every three days. I avoided or limited sweets.
- Herbs and supplements (GREEN TEA especially! Awesome for memory! I made a nice tea blend of green tea, gotu kola, golji berries, and hibiscus. All help boost memory. I’ve had an adaptogen tincture made at the UB clinic to aid the adrenals (dandelion leaf, schisandra, astragulus, and eleuthro). One dropperful a day in water. I was told by a colleague to take A LOT of supplements….no…just pick a few herbs, drink them as teas or make them as a tincture. Less is better and I hate swallowing supplements, especially too many. Too many supplements, can weigh you down, especially if you don’t need them. Get your vitamins through food.
- Drink the appropriate amount of water to prevent dehydration
- Mediate. Imagine passing! See yourself as passing! See yourself as knowing and picking the right answers because you’ve studied hard! Believe that you received all “Ps”.
- Get a good night’s rest!
- Practice deep breathing from the diaphragm. Helps you relax and to stay calm during testing.
- Smell Rosemary, lavender, or sage. Helps with memory! 🙂
I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during these stressful times. If there are anymore questions you have about NPLEX I, let me know! On to NPLEX II! 🙂