USMLE Step 1 Experience – 250 – Dr. Hemel Ahmed
My experience step 1 : score 250 Dr. Hemel Ahmed
NBME 12 offline: 210 ( 6 months before exam)
NBME 13 offline : 171/196 ( 5 months before exam)
Nbme 16 online : 234 ( 4 months before exam)
NBME 18 online: 247 ( 1.5 month before exam)
Uwsa1 online: 266 ( 3 weeks before exam )
Uwsa2 online : 266 ( 1 week prior exam )
Nbme 15 offline:250 ( 6 days before)
Nbme17 online : 260 ( 5 days before exam)
My Background: graduated may 2012
Finished internship may 2013
Decision making : It took 2 years to make up my mind while I was preparing for FCPS in my home country, Bangladesh . Finally decided to prepare from November 2015
Study duration : 6 -10 hours/day for 9 months with 1 day weekly break to refresh myself .
Phase 1 : November to January :
Resources : Kaplan videos(2014) n notes & offline uw2014, Conrad ethics 2006, pathoma, khan’s 101 :
Physiology : watched videos n read notes once but couldn’t bite uw questions satisfactorily. Did 60% of uw offline then . kaplan + uw 60% took me 12 days.
Biochemistry and genetics : finished Kaplan videos n notes + uw in 15- 18 days .
Anatomy : Kaplan including neuroantomy (did not do uw)= 12 days
Biostat : epidemiology dr. Daugherty videos n Kaplan notes = 3 days
Behavioral : Kaplan 2014 videos + notes +40% uw = 14 days
Microbiology : Did Kaplan bacteriology in 7 days + uw 10 %
This was a crucial point in my preparation , one of my seniors added me in this group . Previously I was preparing alone and didn’t know much of the resources and strategy other than Kaplan. Was finding uw question really tough.Here I got to know about the importance of FA and uw and pathoma. I read at least 10 experiences who passed the exam with descent score and decided to skip Kaplan.
Pathoma : videos + book = 14 days, Conrad + khan’101 case= 4 days
Phase 2 : February to July:
Resouces : FA + Uw online 6 months subscription + pathoma+DIT+ biostat uw subject review+ Brs physiology
I started FA along with DIT in mid jan and finished them by February . I felt confident after doing DIT as they helped me the high yield information of FA which I used to need in solving uw.
Daily strategy: 30- 40 pages of FA in the morning , when It becomes monotonous I switched to uw as it was less stressful for me. I used to do 1 – 1½ block a day in random timed tutor mode with explanations. ( though I knew its better to them in timed but didn’t feel like to do in timed mode). Did Brs physiology 1 chapter a day in 7 days during which I withheld Fa n uw. Finished uw 1st time online in 3 and half months.
Revision: it took 25 days to revise fa 1st time, 20 days 2nd time , 18 days in 3rd and 15 days in last month of my preparation for the 4th time.
I revised pathoma twice without video . it took around 15 days each.
I did uw subject review of biostat twice. Took total 4 days.
Uw: I didn’t reset it. It was a big mistake. My revision strategy was using the “search keyword” . When I used to read a topic on FA ie DI ,I used to put it in search in uw and tried to differentiate primary polydipsia vs central DI vs peripheral DI.
Exam day ( 2nd august ) :
I took benzodiazepine before the big day which helped to sleep well for 5 hours.
Took usual breakfast . reached test center 1 hour before. Took chicken fry, sandwitch, 2 cold coffee for breaks. Divided my breaks as follows: 2 blocks + 10 mins + 1 block +7 mins + 2 blocks + 15 mins + 1 block +10 mins + 1 block finish !!!
Exam questions and my realization :
Microbiology : exam was easier than uw in this system. So I think FA + uw is more than enough
Immunology: it was very highly tested. They were not easy but doable from knowledge of Fa and uw.
Biostatistics : 50% qs were easy but 50% were WTF . I had no idea. I was poor in this subject from outset but at the end of my prep I saw some youtube videos which were helpful in guessing my answers
Behavioral science: it was toughest as I anticipated even though I did Conrad 2006, khan’s 101 cases I couldn’t find any idea to answer them .
Pharmacology: it was easy . FA + uw proved enough for me.
Anatomy: neuroanatomy was doable from FA n uw , gross antomy questions were tough but not many of them I got like 1/2 .
Pathophysiology: Cardio, respiratory, renal, hematology, dermatology, genetics , biochemistry : difficulty level was littile less than uw. FA + uw covers them well. Kaplan biochemistry and genetics were also helpful here.
Endocrine: Most highly tested subject in my test. Lots of up and down arrows , but ½ graphs. It needs Brs physio to understand to ace them along with uw+FA
GIT: tough but doable by adding brs physio with FA + uw.
Radiology. Histology slides : I got 2 CT scan , 3 histopath slides, 1 MRI, 2 heart sounds, 1 ECG UW covered them well for me.
I regret for:
- Not starting Fa instead of Kaplan
- Not spending more time with uw from the beginning.
- Not practicing to uw blocks to solve keeping 10 mins in hand as I was in short of time in exam .
- Not getting a study partner in the early phase of my preparation.
Best of luck guys !!!!
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