USMLE Step 1 Experience – 272 – Rochelle Howell
Finally got my score card back and it is an amazing 272 !! Could never have expected this amazing score.. it is beyond my wildest dreams and also beyond my most recent NBME test or for that matter it is higher than any NBME test i have ever given. In this article i am going to break down the exact method step by step how i reached this score and how anyone could if they have a decent baseline knowledge and are willing to work hard. The solution to most things in the following experience is related to: “Spaced repetition technology” and in particular the free software called “Anki”. It is 100% free so like i am not pitching for sales of any company and as a matter of fact i recommend that you DO NOT buy and anki cards or even use the free ones as they are not really that good and at the very least even if they are good they are not customized to your own learning style.
I basically studied from a ton of sources and put it all into ANKI by making my own decks. In the end near my exam i had around 11K cards. Why and how are so many cards useful.. let me explain it:
How to use anki for USMLE ?
Or rather i should say How is anki useful for USMLE Step 1 ?
So basically what happens is that once we read something we forget it in a few days and the way Anki works is that it re-inforces concept at the exact time that we are likely to forget it. This makes sure that the information that we have read stays in our head. So basically if you make anki cards and make sure you follow the schedule and do the cards daily then the information will be stored in your head indefinetely and you wont have to worry about it. The reason i liked this is because i was always vary if i am actually going to be able to remember everything i study. I used to read and forget in a few days..but what anki did was that as long as i am willing to put in the time and effort everyday to review the cards i would be able to remember the material indefinetely. This helped me memorize really small minutae which i would otherwise never have been able to remember. So that’s enough of why you should use Anki. Now onto my journey…
So let’s start by the resources i used and the method i used these resources.
I did the following materials:
First Aid USMLE Step 1
Kaplan Lecture Notes & Kaplan Videos
Boards and Beyond
Fundamentals of Pathology by Hussain Sattar
Rapid Review Pathology by Edward Goljan
BRS Gross Anatomy
BRS Behavioural Science
High Yield Neuroanatomy
UWSA 1 and UWSA 2
Kaplan Sims and Kaplan Diagnostic test
NBME all – offline and online
From all of these books i would take out whatever information i did not know already and put it into Anki – Important: If i knew something from my medical school days i did NOT put it into anki.. as unnecesarily overloading info into the cards is worthless.
Out of above resources i did mainly questions ONLY from the BRS books. As far as First Aid USMLE is concerned i made sure i knew it inside out word for word. I would make sure that i knew everything in it…and for that i had to google a lot and see wikipedia also. Same is the case with UWorld.. For these 2 things i did above and beyond the basic books.. For the rest of the books i would not go beyond the books as the books themselves were exhaustive themselves. I took all the information and put it into Anki and the thing is you have to just trust the process.. Just trust the software and it will make sure you remember.. but of course you HAVE to do the questions daily..meaning whatever flash cards are to be done today you cannot under any circumstances delay it or procrastinate it. You have to do today’s work today. If you do that you will memorize everything perfectly.
I gave NBME 16-19 online. I dont have the scores of those but they were all in the mid 260s.. so i dont remember which one was which. I gave the tests within last 2 months before the test. So those scores were from the similar preparation level. There wasn’t much improvement as i believei gave it in last 2 months within a span of i think 2-3 weeks only. All of them were mid 260s and hence i was sure i will score well.
As far as the exam is concerned i can’t divulge questions so dont ask.. what i can say is that if you do above method and do it exactly as i say then you can expect a similar score.