USMLE Step 1 Experience – 247
Some general thoughts and beliefs:
- First off I want to thank Allah for his generosity and my family for their support.
- Stay with Allah, pray, pray and pray. He will give you.
- Believe that you will make it, imagine yourself writing down your experience when you score the number you dream of. Before I got my grade I was counseling myself and saying that if I got at least an average grade I would be satisfied, but Allah has given me much more than I expected.
- Stay humble and respecting of your parents, for one prayer from them can change your life.
- If you want to achieve something you haven’t before, you need to do something in the process that you are not used to. Wake up in the early morning, make some time for revision, write notes, WHICHEVER works for you.
- Look at this experience, and others, but tailor them to yourself, you don’t have to follow anyone very meticulously, we have different backgrounds and knowledge.
Study period: 3.5 months, It was not interrupted at all, I had no off days except maybe a day per month, it was very exhausting.
Took step 2 CK before this
2) FA (except for pathology, I didn’t touch it from FA, I did the first 5 chapters, dermatology, resp and cardio from pathoma)
3) Pathoma (only around 7 chapters)
*Note: my step 2 ck knowledge helped me moderately.
* I did not touch any Kaplan book nor BRS
The amount of hours I would study everyday was unreal, I was killing myself to achieve this, because it was a short time and I wanted to get over it. I reached the point where I study around 14 hours a day. I don’t want you to do that, unless you are short of time. It is better to stay comfortable while studying, however don’t take long breaks or else you will forget.
I started by solving uworld offline and system wise, I tackled the my weak topics first like biochemistry, annotated on pathoma and FA (of course pathoma I didn’t go over the whole book afterwards, but I still recommend that you do go over it all) it took me maybe 2 months, I was also reading FA simultaneously. After finishing the first run of uworld I finished what I had left of FA. Then I did NBME 16 online and got 218. My exam was like a month from this time, so I knew I wasn’t far from my goal, I postponed two weeks and started the second run of uworld again with FA simultaneously, but this time I did uworld ONLINE and RANDOM. After around 20 days I did nbme 17 online and got 230, so I knew that my exam should be a month from that day. I finished around 90% of uworld and around 70% of FA in this second run and then did nbme 18 online and got 237, I wasn’t happy here because I expected 240s, and my exam was like 7 days far, so I postponed a week and I was like this is it, im not postponing anymore. This those two weeks I finished the second run, did the third run (only the mistakes of my second run) which took one or two days, I had like 320 Qs. And also I finished FA for second time by the last day before the exam. I then did nbme 15 offline and got in the 240s, so my confidence went up a bit. I did not have time for uworld assessments, but I still think they might have been of benefit.
The day before the exam I barely finished my second run of FA, I left the subjects that needed memorizing till the end, so micro immune and genetics and of course biostats.
I took a sleeping pill the day before to get good sleep (be careful what you take because they can make you drowsy, I tried it a few times and knew which dose to take and when to take it) , I recommend Melatonin, it doesn’t bother me the next day.
I got 268 questions, all were 40 Qs except the last block was 28, you have one hour for each block, including the last one, which was great. In each block I would have around 4 minutes to revise the marked questions.
The exam is a bit exhausting so I recommend you train yourself for it, make a day or two before the exam where you simulate it. Take like two nbmes and solve them in 8-9 hours with only an hour break, because you get to a point in your last two blocks your brain slows down, and you need to read the questions more than once to understand them.
Biochem was VERY low yield, I was very glad that I didn’t stress much about it, Just tried to have a general 70% understanding of it without memorizing each and every detail, I barely got 4-5 biochem questions in the whole test which weren’t hard to solve. Genetics, pharma, micro, immune, biostats were all enough from FA and uworld . I got a few ethics questions that I’ve never heard of. Some people told me those ethics topics are covered in Conrad fischer 100 ethics cases.
There were a few clinical cases, they asked what is your next step? What is the most likely diagnosis? To me they were easy
Of course there are some weird questions that I had no idea about, so I just try to think of it, Answer whatever and move on.
NBMES and how to use them!!!! (important section to read)
- TRY TO SOVE THEM ALL!!!!! EVEN THE OFFLINE!
- I got around 4 questions repeated exactly from nbmes, along with 15,16,17,18 I did 11 to practice by my self.
- When wanting to make a decision about postponing or not, make an online one, because offline is never accurate, even if you and your friend make the same number of mistakes online you might get a different grade, because different questions are scored differently.
- Time yourself and take minimal breaks while you do it
- Let it be in the morning, when you’re still comfortable and ready, not in the end of the day after reading and cramming a lot of information, your brain will get tired.
- Before each nbme and the exam day I would revise biostats with everys ingle formula FA, so that includes biostats, pharma, cardio, renal and resp. To keep them on the top of my head.
Finally, pray for me. Wish you all the best.
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