USMLE Step 1 Experience – 273 – Must Read :)
I’ve never posted here before, but have done lots of lurking and learned a lot from reading all of your experiences. Thought I’d pay it forward by posting my own:
Test date: June 15
The summer after 1st year, I reviewed the material that had been covered that year in First Aid. Just light reading, nothing at all serious. I didn’t touch anything boards related again until winter break of 2nd year, during which I read First Aid in its entirety. When school resumed in January, I started listening to Goljan audio lectures as I walked to and from school. I also subscribed to Kaplan Q Bank and would try to do 2 random timed sections per day. At this point, there was still lots of material that I hadn’t covered in school yet (like all of Neuro, Repro, and Heme), but I did random sets anyways. I finished Kaplan Q Bank in early April. As soon as I finished, I did sets made of the questions that I had missed, until I made sure I could answer every question in that Q bank correctly. I also did sets made up of questions that I had gotten right, but wasn’t sure about (I had been marking them the whole time). So really, I ended up getting about 1.5x coverage on the Q Bank. Then I moved onto USMLEWorld and did the same thing, again covering it about 1.5x. I did the NBMEs when I felt up to it, and did the USMLEWorld self assessments after I had finished USMLEWorld Q Bank. Then I took the thing, that’s about it. Ha.
Here’s a summary of my numbers:
Kaplan Q Bank, 78% (This is the first pass, obviously it went up when I started repeating questions.)
USMLEWorld Q Bank, 82% (Same thing as Kaplan Q Bank)
NBME 3 (7 weeks out), 261
NBME 5 (6 weeks out), 268
NBME 6 (5 weeks out). 261
USMLEWorld SA1 (4 weeks out), 265
USMLEWorld SA2 (3 weeks out), 265
NBME 7 (2 weeks out), 268
NBME 11/12 (back to back, 1 week out), 268/268
Really, there’s tons of good advice on this website. I think the best piece of it I came across though was do it your own way. You know how you learn, so don’t get unnerved because people who are different from you do things different from you. The next best thing I learned here was do TONS of questions. If you want a great score, I think it’s vital that you do more than one Q Bank. Finally, as far as books go, the ONLY one I used was First Aid. If you know every word in that book, then you’re good to go. Granted, First Aid is not the place to go learn things for the first time, so if you need help understanding concepts then review in other sources that you like. I like Goljan Audio. But once you get it, switch to First Aid and don’t look back.
Remember that even though it’s a painful phase in life, studying for this exam has real value outside of getting a great score. This is a rare opportunity, to have designated time to consolidate and integrate your medical knowledge. Best of luck to everyone preparing!
If this experience helped you, check out the following experiences: