USMLE Step 1 Experience – 272
Dr. Vinay Shrivastav
I finished MBBS in 2016 March and started preparing for USMLE immediately after that. I was an average/above average student in MBBS. I used to get mid 60% and first rank used to be mid 70s.. So i got decent score but not exceptional score. Now onto my USMLE prep. Initally, i did not even know anything about USMLE. But since there was some corruption in India and this new exam called NEET was created.. it caused a lot of issues for students. So i prepared for USMLE only as the exam had been in place since many years and it was a standardised test..unlike NEEt which changed so often that we didn’t know if we have to prepare for AIPG or NEET or what the exam pattern of NEET will even be. Anyways back to USMLE.. so i got all the materials for it.. i got books and video cds from a shop near my college. I used the following for my prep:
Kaplan Lec Notes + Vids
Goljan + Goljan Audio
UW – Printed Books (available in Delhi)
Kaplan Medical Ethics by Conrad Fischer – 100 Questions you are most likely to see.
NBMEs & UWSA tests:
UWSA – 260s on both
NBME 13 – 246
NBME 15 – 255
NBME 16 – 259
NBME 17 – 261
NBME 18 – 269
NBME 19 – 257
As you can see my NBME were the most predictive.. though NBME 19 was much tougher than the actual exam and i got a poorer score in that than i did in the actual exam.
First i started out with Kaplan Lec Notes + Vids.. it was not very helpful in any subject except Biochemisty. In biochem the guy who teaches it is very good and he goes indepth into the mechanism of how many biochemically linked diseases occur. The metabolism pathways which i just used to rote memorize in med school were explained very very well in this book and it’s lectures and i loved it.. It is a must do. The biochemistry section is the best in the Kaplan series..
Also Immunology is good as in my under graduation i did not understand this section well but Kaplan Immunology cleared a lot for me.. Also one more thing.. i have not done the videos of Immunology section of Kaplan.. i have done only the lecture book and not the video series as that lady who teaches it is boring as hell.
So..immunology was also amazing section in Kaplan..others are OK and not so great. I recommend you do Kaplan Biochem and Immunology very well and do the other sections only if they are helpful to you and you are weak in a section as UW and FA covers it very well.
In this phase of Kaplan I also had bought UWorld physical books which is just a print out of the shared screenshots of UWorld online.. It was helpful as i dont like doing things from a computer screen and i like to hold onto the book and mark and underline stuff. I did Uworld subjectwise and it helped me a lot when i was doing the thoery from Kaplan.. I also did FA in this stage..
Then i started Goljan Audio with Goljan Theory.. and it too is an amazing book and amazing lectures.. The lectures are almost 15 or so years old..but still the audio is very high yield and i got 7 questions in the test only from the audio.. I recommend everyone to hear the audio for sure..
Now i started with NBMEs and my scores started in the 240s.. I worked hard on my weakenesses and rose up from 240s to 250s and then 260s..
However just before gicing my test i gave NBME 17 and i got just 257 in it.. I was kinda disheartened by it as i was hoping to get high score in it.. as i had covered all my weaknesses.. But i guess that the test is very difficult as compared to the real deal..
Anyways..back to the real exam.. i worked for 2 weaks after my nbme 19 and tried best to revise all the topics i got wrong in NBMEs and in the UW Qbank.. So after that i took the exam..and i felkt after the exam that i did well but never in my wildest dreams did i imagine that i will score so well.. But i did !!! And if i can do it..then so can you !! Just work hard and do the basics and you will do very well.
While doing FA and UWorld.. do it word for word.. meaning..right answer and the wrong options explanations in UW both are to be done.. many people ignore the wrong answers if they get the question correct.. but the most important part of UW is the explanations.. I recommend you to work hard and do the UW qbank very well..when you dont know something..just google it and work hard and you will get the hang of the topic.. Do FA and UW very very well..learn the topics in those 2 inside out and you will do very very well..