USMLE Step 1 – 240 Experience – US AMG
tl;dr: Planned on UFAP, assorted Sketchy Micro videos, and working on weak subjects in Kaplan/USMLE Rx QBanks over 8 weeks dedicated prep. Moved my test date up by 6 days after scoring close to my goal score (250), but slacked off during the last week. Score in parentheses are NBME scaled scores for CBSEs/CBSSAs
- UWorld 1st pass average: 69%
- School-based CBSE #1 (6 months out; 2/3 pre-clinical complete): 195 (68)
- School-based CBSE #2 (2 months out; at end of pre-clinical): 200 (70)
- NBME 12 (6 weeks out): 207 (400; 80% correct)
- NBME 13 (5 weeks out): 242 (580; 90% correct)
- NBME 15 (4 weeks out): 225 (490; 84% correct)
- NBME 16 (3 weeks out): 238 (550; 87% correct)
- NBME 17 (10 days out): 248 (600; 92% correct)
- NBME 18 (5 days out): 250 (610; 89.5% correct)
- Actual: 240 – received 3 weeks after test day.
My average without the first 3 scores was ~240 without the CBSEs & NBME 12 (229 with them included), so it ended up being pretty spot on. I didn’t do any step prep prior to dedicated, however, I did complete 1 pass of Pathoma and most of Sketchy micro during pre-clinical, which was a 1.5 year systems-based curriculum. In addition, I used most of Kaplan and USMLE-Rx Qbanks throughout pre-clinical, but seldom used First Aid before dedicated step prep. Unsure of my class rank, but my block average was above 90%. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t change the way I approached studying during pre-clinical, even though I was freaked out once I started UWorld.
As I mentioned above, UFAP was my primary study method. Though I planned on taking 8 weeks to prep, I was sick of studying after finishing my 1st pass through UWorld and started redoing incorrects (72% through a pass w/ 74% average). I adhered pretty strictly to completing 80 UWorld Qs/day, 5 days/week – took at least 1 day off per week and the 6th day was usually for NBMEs. I finished a 2nd pass through Pathoma a bit later than expected and watched Sketchy videos I missed in pre-clin + some pharm videos in my weak areas. Only made 1 full pass through First Aid and if I’m honest, it might not even be a full pass. I hated reading FA, so I tried to review relevant pages while reviewing UWorld questions (see more on this below).
Started by doing timed/random Qs, however, it was taking forever to review my answers (~4-5 hours/40 Qs), so I switched to random/tutor in week 3. In addition, I reviewed relevant pages of FA as I went along and I got more efficient at reviewing Qs (~3 hrs/block). I marked each full page in FA after reading it to keep track of what I covered, then I finished whatever pages were left over in week 5. This probably isn’t the best way to review FA, as it was extremely fragmented, but I couldn’t get myself to read it otherwise. Looking back, I still wouldn’t do another pass through FA and the bulk of what I learned came from UWorld.
Overall, my score is a little bittersweet, but in light of everything that’s happened in the past year, it could have gone way worse. My last two NBMEs were at my goal score, so the 10 point drop stung a bit, however, I did have weak areas in my knowledge base and made silly mistakes on test day. That being said, I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish and hopefully I can still pursue the specialty I’ve been eyeing. Good luck to everyone else!
If this experience helped you, check out the following experiences: