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Blueprints Computer-based Case Simulation Review: USMLE Step 3 Paperback – 1 Aug 2004

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"This book would have been the best resource for the CCS portion of Step 3. It provides a great analysis of how the CCS portion is organized and what the test makers are evaluating. In addition, the strategy provided is the one to know for the CCS. This book is the only one that I've seen that specifically addresses the CCS portion. Other books just have a page or two concerning a portion of the test that is a significant portion of Step 3." - PGY-1, Family Practice Resident "The variety of cases presented is excellent. They represent a sample from each of the major disciplines in medicine that are frequently tested. I think this book has some excellent tips that WILL increase the reader's score by focusing their attention on certain aspect of testing which the reader might have not noticed. The tips alone would be worth the price of purchase. Overall this is a very good book and I would recommend it for its purpose to improve one's score on the computer portion of the Step 3." - International Medical Graduate "This is a very valuable book. Now that I've read parts of it, I feel like others are missing out and I would have missed out as well. I would recommend this to every resident studying for Step 3 as well as every 4th year student that needs to understand how to prepare for Step 3 well in advance. There's nothing like this book in any of the books I've used for studying." - Intern, Transitional Year "I think a guide for this portion of the exam is very useful. In general, I think most students feel it is the "easier" part of the test. But it is not intuitive and there are definitely a few pointers that help in figuring out strategy. Just playing with the case examples does not address some of these lessons that can help a student optimize their score." -Clinical and Research Fellow, Department of Dermatology "I think that this book is a wonderful idea! The CCS portion of Step 3 exam is so clunky & clumsy. I never did quite get it, or understand what the heck I was supposed to be doing. While the portion of the exam was fun in theory, there were many problems in learning the "rules" of interface. Also, the relatively few number of cases that were available on the practice CD did not give me enough time to get familiar with the program." - Clinical Fellow, Psychiatry, PGY-IV Chief Resident "This would be a great book for residents to purchase. Not many books provide specific advice for the CCS like this one does. This is must-have. The sample cases are very stereotypical of what to expect on Step 3 - I had some very similar if not the same type of cases. I just finished step 3 today, and I wish I would have had this book to prepared!" - PGY-1, Family Practice Resident "I think the sample cases are great. They are accurate in terms of content and types of scenarios. I appreciated the curves thrown in with the secondary diagnoses and the attention to setting. These are accurate to the exam, and the items that are difficult to pick up on in computer-based simulation vs. reality. - General Surgery Resident "I did not realize the need for help in the case-based portion of Step 3 until I read this. I just figured I'd learn enough during internship to go through it easily, but the hints/tricks are very helpful." - Intern, Transitional Year

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Very helpful 27 Dec. 2006
By tru_tiger - Published on
Format: Paperback
I don't know what test one of the other reviewers was taking, but this book was very helpful in preparing for the CCS portion of the USMLE Step 3 exam. More important than giving you a set of cases to memorize, the book teaches you a logical and easy-to-remember approach to the cases. If you use the book properly (and don't just read the cases but actually WORK THROUGH them step-by-step using the approach taught in this book), you'll find that you'll be able to figure out any case thrown at you during the exam without losing your wits or your cool. Because NO ONE can anticipate EVERY possible case out there and memorize it. BUT you can learn an approach that will help you get most of the points for working through a case -- which is what the exam is testing -- and most likely lead to the correct diagnosis, too.

In addition, the book gives you tips for managing the clock during cases (VERY important) and a list of commonly overlooked orders, which helps give you valuable points on the exam. There is also a section that talks about cases you are likely to see or NOT see on the exam, so you can focus your study onto high-yield topics. An appendix gives a short list of other online cases.

There are only fifteen cases in this book, but the explanations for each case are detailed. After reading this book, I reviewed the 100 cases in First Aid for Step 3. The additional 100 cases helped me practice my approach even more and gave me common cases to memorize for the exam. (You need to use this book before First Aid because the explanations in First Aid are very minimal.) After doing both of these things, along with going over the official Step 3 CD, I felt very prepared for the CCS part of the exam and actually thought it was the easiest part, unlike some of my peers who only used texts like Crush Step 3. I think the big difference was Crush Step 3 and similar books only focused on facts to memorize (more important for the first day of the exam). I can state for a fact that there were cases on my exam that were in NO review book, BUT I was able to stay calm and work through them efficiently and effectively using the strategies I learned in this book.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
dont tell the test makers 8 Feb. 2006
By J. Vinodhkumar - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book will help you pass the comp. sim. part of step 3. Some of my cases came straight out of this book. It also shows you how to score brownie pts. ie..educating your patient. Dont follow the suggestions for how toggle between screens or how to write in your answers- just follow the cases and get the practice disk from usmle step 3 website. You will not be disappointed with this book..It is all I used for the cases and was ready to rock and roll.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Ok! 13 July 2010
By Asrai - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was ok to give you a guideline on the algorithm of this test, if you can wing it from there and doing an IM residency you'll be fine, but if you are in path or derm or psych, anesthesia etc. and out of the bread and butter of internal medicine then subscribe to an interactive bank.. Even though I did a hundred cases, I was so ill prepared for the exam day CCS, they were just horrid.. you can order the million dollar workup and still not have a diagnosis, I had a patient who kept complaining of sx completely unrelated to her other findings and I have wracked my brain tying to see a correlation between the two, and the case ended before I could complete her care or figure out the diagnosis even if you start with a few differentials and the tests won't confirm your suspicions.. I don't know about other people's experience with step III but I walked out feeling like crap.. this book was an easy introduction and I recommend it for that just as an outline before you really hit the hard cases, as well trying the USMLE CD that they send out or is on the website just to get a feel of the software.. I can't say that I have found anything as realistic by way of practice to the actual test but a few Question banks out there offer a broad range that might better prepare you..good to know just the basic workup for most pts. that come in but my experience is that they weren't helpful on a few cases and after introducing invasive procedures to the mix I wonder if it actually subtracts points and nullifies any previous positive effort..

good luck
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Step 3 hopeful 25 Sept. 2007
By MUTS - Published on
Format: Paperback
Not only is this book concise and affordable, but it is also extremely helpful. I am writing this review after having taken step 3 and I can say that the content is a good reflection of the test. Good luck!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
ridiculously overpriced for the content 16 July 2010
By Valar1 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is a pamphlet with less than 70 pages of actual content- waaaay overpriced at 30 dollars. The actual pages dealing with strategy and the test are about 25. the rest are 15 practice cases. The so called method of approaching a CCS patient that reviewers here are finding revolutionary is the same thing they teach you on your first rotations- the H&P and orders needed for various types of patients. for heaven's sake, don't waste your money on this thing, what a joke.

If you have any sense at all go do Usmle World's CCS cases. I have also heard of some people doing USMLE consult cases. Kaplan only has a MCQ bank[1,140 Q], no CCS cases practice. Other than that, I've reviewed the Conrad Fischer: Kaplan's Master the boards book and First Aid Step 3. Every time I take a USMLE Step some reviewer here says not to bother with First Aid, they were completely off, but every time I come home after the exam I review my material and find that First Aid has the best picture of the exam. I am hoping that holds true here as well.
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