Ricardo Murguia – USMLE Step 3 Experience

Hey guys! I was about not to do so, but I think I would have regretted not to give back a bit from the people that were nice enough to share areas of improvement. My CK was a couple of years ago, so I really consider that I started from zero.

Preparation time: Superficial reading and familiarizing with concepts (1 month); Focused study (3 months)

Resources and Review

UWorld Qbank and UWorld CCS: Definitely the best resource out there for the exam, completed two times, just try to learn the concepts they expose you to, and you will develop the logic needed for the exam

Biostatistics review UWorld: It has all the necessary elements for all of you who wonder that. I think it has a key role in getting you through a way smoother day 1, especially since it can be the most demoralizing day for many

CCS cases: When I used it, I thought it was an amazing resource due to its feedback, but I would not be so sure if it gives you the right approach to the sequence expected from you during the exam. At best, it is a tool for getting familiarized with clinical cases and software use. Do not forget to use the real software from the website a few days before the real deal and maybe the only extra I would recommend here would be Crush the steps for CCS (I just read a few pages, but it seems helpful)

MTB Step 3: Read it twice, though I could only notice use from this in just 2 questions in the entire exam. Deem it necessary or not according to your time and criteria

Step 2 CK tables: Depending on how long has it been since your exam you may need them or not, I think the Qbank covers mostly everything, but I believe it helped me out, especially in day 2.

Step 1 Review: Stick to the basic of reading micro and mechanisms of action if you have the time. Something I realized is that you cannot be prepared accurately for this part since anything can come of it. I even saw a few syndromes that did not appear even on my actual step 1, but somehow, somewhere in the depths of my memories, I remembered a few buzzwords from First Aid that came to the rescue, so you will have to trust everything you have done previously to this day. I could only read a bit of it one day before the exam.

UWSA 1 (1 month before the exam): 207

UWSA 2 (2 weeks before the exam): 217

The real deal: 230

At first, I could not believe I was getting those scores from SA, that really concerned me and demoralized me. I was working at the time an average of 10 hours a day, with little time left to study, no more than 3 or 4 hours per day, I increased it to 5 or 6 hours 3 weeks before the exam. Also, I was going through a very difficult personal situation by the time and even considered to postpone the exam, but I realized my situation would not get any better soon, so I had to get rid of that. I remark this point for all of you who currently work, are parents or lack self-confidence after watching the SA results, it is not nice, but as far as I have seen, the majority goes through the same and the average in this exam is lower compared to the previous steps.

On Day 1, I was happy to have prioritized stats one week before and I think it paid off, especially for the confidence part. I would suggest leaving the drug add (1 per block) to the end, so you can avoid stress from that. Work very well your timing for this day so you do not run out of time in the last questions which may be easier for you. Just relax the day before and forget anything that it is not just you transferring your knowledge to the computer, do not think too much about if you were right or wrong, that is just wasting time and energy. Step 1 questions may come, but as I mentioned, they are unpredictable, so just believe in your knowledge, you got this.

On Day 2 (1 week set apart) I focused mainly on the CCS part. I faced many prognosis questions that I had no idea where to study from, I felt in a few parts like I was just guessing, but it is what it is, so make your best guess and read the files of prognosis here, it helped me with a few ones. No stats for this day, I thought I would be exhausted, and I was, at first during the MCQ part due to the exam stress for the whole week, but when you face the CCS cases you will get an adrenaline boost up to awake you up for sure. I strongly recommend you to use the USMLE website software even a day or two before the exam, because it is just a little different from the one at UWorld or CCScases, and you want the most realistic version for sure.

I hope this might help you out to get through this. I write this because it is a fact I do not see any of these reviews that frequently anymore, it is a bit concerning that once someone reaches the goal, does not leave anything behind for others, especially if you are an IMG, which I suppose required and benefited from others experience and support. Also, I write this for those going through hardship and very limited time, I was in some of the most difficult conditions for me to finish this, I think I could have done better, but I am satisfied with what I actually did rather than living with “ifs” or “could haves”. My best wishes for your endeavors, do not give up, look and give support, and hopefully, you will reach your dreams and satisfaction.

October 13, 2019
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