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How Do I Score Well on USMLE® Pathology?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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For individuals who want to score well on USMLE® pathology, some good test taking skills combined with detailed knowledge of the test will often yield results. The USMLE® pathology test is part of the greater United States Medical Licensing Examination or USMLE®, a major test for the credentialing of doctors in the United States, which students take while in medical school. USMLE® pathology is part of USMLE® Step 1, where students get tested on the basic kinds of knowledge that they have accumulated during several years of scientific study.

The basic point of approach for studying for USMLE® pathology is to look at the various ways that the subject is usuallly represented on the test. The test will generally include elements of general pathology, cardiovascular pathology, gastrointestinal pathology, and reproductive system pathology. Other common elements include hematology, endocrine pathology, and musculoskeletal pathology, as well as many more specialty areas.

In addition to general types of pathology, students should anticipate the kinds of questions that will be asked on the test. For example, a USMLE® pathology test can include some scenario-based questions, where a patient presents with symptoms, and a group of multiple-choice question that relate to diagnosing or identifying a pathological condition. Other questions are in the form of descriptive challenges, where a student must identify a particular pathology from a list of properties.

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Another good step toward the best study habits for this test and other parts of the USMLE® is to identify study materials that have the broadest and most effective scope. Paging through a study book or other resource, the student can get an idea of how well that item covers the many types of pathology that may be included on the test. It’s also important to think about “learning modalities” or ways of learning; while some books are text-only, other pathology study materials can include color charts of pathology by anatomical category, which can help a student immensely in comprehending and memorizing all of the information they need for the test.

For students who want to pick the best books and resources for the USMLE®, some Internet forums where medical students connect can provide good tips on what books are most effective. Individuals preparing for the USMLE® pathology exam can also use these forms to get more information about what they can expect on test day. The general strategy of identifying testing challenges, and thoroughly studying for them will often help students to produce high scores on this challenging portion of the USMLE®.

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