USMLE Step 1 – 242 Experience – US Medical Student

Just opened my score report after putting it off all day during my clerkship due to being filled with dread – hopefully my experience serves as some encouragement for those who didn’t score too hot on practice tests!


Baseline CBSE (12/2016): 60, which correlates to 175

NBME 15 (3 weeks out): 221 with 35 incorrects

NBME 19 (10 days out): 223 with 30 incorrects

UWorld (1st pass, timed, random): 71%

I finished all but 4 blocks of UWorld; I only did one pass and did not review incorrects. I started with scores in the 40s and by the last couple of weeks was scoring around an average of 78% with a range of 68% – 90%.


Actual Score (4/6/2017): 242


I did USMLERx casually for about six months before dedicated and finished about 50% of the question bank; I also did one pass of FA and Pathoma before dedicated. Dedicated was 5 weeks long for me, during which I did the majority of UWorld, went through two additional passes of both FA and Pathoma, and listened to all of the Goljan lectures once. I didn’t take any other NBMEs or any UWorld Assessments because after NBME 15 and especially after NBME 19, I realized that practice tests were only severely stressing me out since I wasn’t meeting my expectations. At that point during dedicated, I decided that having a positive mindset was more important than what I could gain by doing additional tests – so I just stuck with UWorld and did as much as I could until the day before my exam.


I thought my actual test felt almost exactly like doing 7 blocks of UWorld, and I was weirdly very relaxed during it (like 100x more relaxed than when I was doing NBMEs) because I was just ready for it to be over and to experience fun again. My test was fair, with a healthy dose of both gimmies and WTF questions (don’t let these stress you out; just guess and move on). In my opinion, I think doing UWorld in timed, random blocks was the most helpful because one of the hardest aspects of this exam (at least for me) is the constant recall of random information, especially information that I reviewed weeks ago. Pathoma is a must – I can remember at least several questions off the top of my head that were ONLY in Pathoma, so I was really glad I did that 3x. FA was used mostly as a checklist rather than for rote memorization, and Goljan was very fun to listen to and really good for morale. I also used Sketchy Micro during the school year and Sketchy Pharm during dedicated as needed.


Hope this helps someone, and I’m happy to answer any questions!

If this experience helped you, check out the following experiences:

How to Save Time on USMLE Test Day ?


USMLE Step 1 Experience – 265 – Must Read

December 27, 2017
%d bloggers like this: