262 – USMLE Step 1 Experience IMG Dr. Bruton
Hello everyone. I told people who were inboxing me that I would post my experience. Sorry for the delay. Hope it can benefit as many people as possible.
exam date:nov 28th
total prep time:7months(intensive studying hours add upto maybe 3 months)
I am a fresh graduate so my weakest areas were basic subjects like Anatomy and Biostatistics.
Physiology: one read of BRS physiology(annotated with kaplan physio videos 3 years back). LEARN ALL PHYSIO CONCEPTS IN UW!
Anatomy: my weakest point. read HY gross, HY neuro, HY embryo. except for embryo nothing sticked. HY neuro is an awefully written textbook. So finally I just resorted to KAPLAN NEURO VIDEOS(Dr. JAMES WHITE, author of both kaplan and HY neuro). didnot even properly read the kaplan book but annotated all the video points on my FA. My FA neurology was loaded with cuttings of diagrams from kaplan book and HY book. Embryo:HY+FA.
Gross: FA+ UW(had no time left to even read HY gross again)
Biochem: KAPLAN BOOK+ Dr. Lionel becker lecture annotation( watched and anmotated 3 years back). just read once and jumped straight to FA. KAPLAN+LIONEL are the best learning source but FA biochem is the Syllabus(the topics you must know)
Immunology: Kaplan one read(really good book to brush up on the key mechanisms)then FA(again the ultimate syllabus!)
Microbiology: I read kaplan but its a waste of time.FA has everything important especially if you studied properly(from Levinson) during medschool.
Pathology: my strongest area. I studied selectively from Goljan(plus pathoma videos) in medschool instead of Robbins. So I gave it one read(there was no need, given how much we are drilled in patho during medschool). Then moved to FA.
Pharmaclogy: one read of Kaplan book+ Dr. LIONEL videos(annotated 3 years back) and then sticked to FA
BIOSTATS AND BEHAVIOURAL: struggled with it till the last minute. I dont know whats the formula for this one. watched kaplan videos(Dr. Steven Daugherty), read conrads cases, did UW biostats. UW and NBME Qs plus discussions on forums like this helped.
1st 3 months: just one read of books mentioned above but I struggled to set a constant pace. specially during anatomy. Bought UsmleRx but did maybe 10% of it. its NOT A GOOD qbank at all( you can do it if you want a lot of knowledge and have like 3 years to study). its very low yield from usmle point of view.
next month: started FA with very very selective annotations from the above sources( concepts I didnot know at all or things that were super important). Once you start FA you get properly focused and know what concepts are tested on exam.
next 1-2months: UW QBANK. THE BEST THING that ever happened to usmle!
timed/ random/single pass only:87%
2 blocks a day. read in depth the concepts that were totally foreign to me(like pten pathway etc) and wrote them down on small A4 paper cuttings and pasted them on relavant FA page. skimmed through learning objectives for topics I had a good grasp on. saved flashcards but never got the time to go through them. BUT UWORLD is really GOLD. SUPER HIGH yield
also tried to do 2nd pass of FA but could only finish like 1/5th of the book.
last 1-2 months:NBMEs online ones only plus 2nd pass of FA with UW annotations in between.
then(dont remember sequence for the following but)
UWSA2: 262 and UWSA 1: 271. same day
free 120: 91% . gave it in the last week in the actual Prometric Center to get familiar with the environment. really helps calm the nerves.
nbme 19:259 4 days out I guess.
nbme 18: 257 2 days out
on the last day I found old free 120s, did some of those and revised small topics I had a made a list of that I was weak in or that was pure memorisation like lipid biochem n lipid drugs, P450 inhibitors, developmental milestones, harmone signalling etc.
EXAM DAY: super nice staff and very calm and comfortable environment.
difficulty level: 60% hard( proper long stem make-you-think hard Qs). 30% medium. 10% easy.
exam was closer to UW but more proportion of hard Qs. somewhat like uwsa2 and some Qs seemed vaguely familiar to free 120 Qs but I cant say if they were exact same Qs. No scary anatomy though that I was anticipating.
Take breaks after every 2 blocks and specially after a hard block. Eat and drink something light in that and move around/stretch your legs, get some air. It will help you stay alert till the last block.
Just stay calm, there will be many Qs you will just have to shoot a guess for. Practise UW in timed random and do online Nbmes. it will develop reflexes to read fast without missing key info and help in time management.
some tips while doing MCQs
-Read as if you are reading for the last time (there is no time to reread a Q)
-make a habbit of highlighting all important info in your single read
-make a habbit of crossing out wrong options
-dont do calculations in your head. always use calculator
-always check labs with the given lab ranges
– always highlight what exactly they are asking(in the last line usually)
This will help you land on the right option and avoid silly mistakes.
GOODLUCK to everyone. Remember its just a licensing exam so dont compare your scores with anyone else. every person has different way to studying and different target. May you all achieve them!