I thought this test was the worst/hardest/most painful test I had ever taken in med school. I had gotten through about 1/4 to 1/3 of Swanson's word for word and had skimmed the rest of the book...answering some questions here and there. This was my first rotation, so I did spend a significant proportion of the rotation learning how to write notes and remembering how to do the physical exam, etc., as opposed to studying... However, I thought that Swanson's did a very poor job of preparing me for the exam. I would have done better if I had re-studied Step 1 material. This test had some questions that would probably seem very easy if you were taking it after some other clerkships (for example, peds question on immunizations or ob questions on things--my fam med didn't have ob). The sad part...if I were to go back...I don't know what I would study. I am not aware of a better resource. The good news: this test has a HUGE curve... good luck.
Last Edit: Sept 23, 2005 13:40:58 GMT -5 by Eileen
DONT USE SWANSONS! Use a step 2 review book like Boards and Wards or First Aid for Step 2.
To me, this test was not over Family Medicine. Its a mini Step 2. It wasn't even focused on outpatient medicine. I started reading Swanson's and, granted it has good information, it is not high yield for the shelf exam. If you want to do well on the shelf, I think your time will best be spent doing Step 2 review books. I gave up on Swanson's during the last week of the rotation (mostly out of defeat in realizing there is no way in hell I could get through it all), and switched to reading First Aid for Step 2. That helped me more than anything else. Just my two cents.
You will definately be better off if you have had medicine first. I would say that it is about 85% medicine. Very little peds, psych, and OB. Don't worry if you haven't had this yet. I would say I had like about 10 peds questions, 5 psych, and maybe 3-4 OB questions. Definately information that you can get from browsing over those sections in Boards and Wards.
For practice questions, another good source of questions besides Swanson's is at familypractice.com.
Note: The Department lets you check out about 2 tons of books for $100 that is refundable when you return them. Swansons is included in this, and the black Lange book is good for looking up information about particular things you encounter in clinic. Really, I think the most use I got out of these books was the incredible weight training upper extremity workout from carrying these bad boys from the family medicine department to my car parked by the classrooms. I was feeling the burn.
I aggree with Betsy. I bailed on the books from MCG...and really didn't open many of them at all. I read through 1st Aid for Step 2 CK and then read through PreTest for Step 2 (Clinical vignettes)...be forewarned though, this book seems to be made of questions that pretest cut and pasted from their other books (ie Psych, Peds, OB, etc.). I thought that these questions were very difficult in that every patient had multiple confounding illnesses...ie patient presents with SOB, but patient has PMH significant for CHF, COPD, DVTs, Recurrent Pneumonia, and they were left in a room by themself playing with a small toy and had the sudden onset of wheezing....so this is a little bit of exaggeration, but knowing how to differentiate between multiple similar illnesses will help you a great deal. I would also aggree that most of this test was medicine (granted I have not had medicine yet). I think that the Swanson's question are not in shelf format (too many all of the above type questions and percentages)...but more power to you if it is helpful to you.
I used the Family Medicine Books that were supplied by the office (b/c they were free). I didn't use any of the books provided except Swanson's...which looking back on it was not a very good study aide. The questions are not in the same format as the shelf exam (for example there are too many choices that include all of the above, choice a and c, none of the above etc. and negatively worded questions that the NBME has done away with). However the explainations are fairly good at the end of the chapters, and the book was better than nothing. Plus it saved me some money. Also the small family medicine pocket reference book they give you is pretty much worthless. Every time I tried to look something up, I had to find another resource b/c what I was looking for was not in the book! Save yourself some time (and weight in your coat) and use uptodate.com on campus or some other reference if off campus.
Don't bother with the books from the Fam Med office. No other good recommendations other than what I've heard from others: use a Step 2 Review book! The shelf is extremely broad, very painful, and is based on "next best step" kind of clinical questions (as in, what's the next best step in diagnosing this one-in-a-million disease, that you never saw and will never see? Diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia... forget those, they're not important.)