USMLE STEP 1 – 265 EXPERIENCE
Experience by Dr. Abel Joseph (Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, India):
Dear Step 1 takers,
DEDICATED PREPARATION TIME – 3 months
To be honest I started my preparation only at the beginning of my final year of med school, but back then it was very half baked. I was too busy with my coursework to get around reading much for the steps. I subscribed to usmlerx Q bank around early 2016 and started very positively but never got around to finishing it. I had done around 50% of it when it expired.
SUGGESTION – IF POSSIBLE FINISH Rx IN A MONTH, It really shouldn’t take more than that if you’re dedicated (I WASN’T – I pretty much wasted the bank). Rx will give you the confidence to get all the easy questions right but that’s all, I wouldn’t recommend it if your nearing test day-Stick with UW.
So for a year I was just reading the usual final year textbooks (Harrison’s Internal Medicine, Hutchison’s Clinical Methods, Goldman Cecil Medicine helped a lot in my step 1 preparation.)- But I guess you don’t exactly need it if you do the step 1 material well enough.
standard textbook and just have a look at FA. Trust me FA is such a simple book if you do it this way. But this takes time. I would RECOMMEND this for 1st year and 2nd year aspirants! Or final year students who plan on taking it a year later. This doesn’t require a lot of effort, Just look at FA after your done preparing for your monthly exam, it hardly takes 10 mins. Take SLE for example its about 10 pages on Harrison if you read that and look at FA you’d laugh.
After 8-10 months of very passive reading, We decided to apply for the step 1 around October 2016, At this point we also had to study for our final year exam. So all step 1 preparation had come to a standstill. 3 months of absolute clinicals, No basic sciences.(I Don’t know if this helped or just added to the pressure)
We finished our exams around December 2016, I was too exhausted from all the studying I decided to take a 15 day break.
EXAM DATE WAS SET ON 10th APRIL 2017
So around Jan 3rd I had subscribed to UWORLD(3 months)
Did my First NBME(Form 15) on 15th Jan 2017 – Got a score of 250 – I was happy with that score but I knew I had to work harder.
Here I’d like to point out the importance of setting a goal . I did it just to prove it doesn’t work but I did get close and that’s all you’re looking for I guess. YOU MUST DEFINE A NUMBER FOR YOURSELF, and not rest till you achieve it. (Hey I swear I know it sounds crazy but just try it. It worked for me and my friend.) The 3 months of dedicated study were fairly straightforward. I did UWORLD in random timed 1 block a day (I wanted to go much faster, But I couldn’t afford to do uworld again so I made sure the first time was the last time as in that’s how well you should try reading it. )
RANDOM TIMED 1 block a day
Time to complete – Over 60 days
Strategy – MEMORIZE, EAT, SWALLOW, CHEW, INHALE, MAKE LOVE to every line of UWORLD 😛 this will help you break 240s easily..
- Flag the questions you just know you have to see again!
- Copy the tables, Print them, write them, Many people say don’t memorize for the usmle. That’s true but I’d say go one step further, memorize what you understood. PEOPLE FORGET, Make sure you keep reviewing.
To people doing UWORLD right now, I know you’re getting frustrated, you feel like breaking your laptop. But calm down, breathe. This will show up on your exam one way or the other.
CONCEPTS ARE SIMILAR ON TEST DAY.
RESULT- Uworld turned out to be very predictive for me. So keep that in mind. You want to be giving UWORLD your best. It serves as a tool for learning and assessment
PROJECT NBMES & UWSA:
UWSA 1 271 (96th percentile)
UWSA 2 264 (91st percentile)
We all know how valuable NBME’s are. Nothing else to add on- JUST GOLD Strategy I used was – An NBME a week after the first month of world. Make sure you understand ALL THE QUESTIONS on NBMES. I used to hear a lot of rubbish about “Rubbish questions” “Too complex” “Wont be tested” If you find something too complex you haven’t read it right. THEY ARE TESTING SIMPLE CONCEPTS ON ADVANCED TOPICS
Most questions you can find answers on google.
MATERIALS USED DURING PREPARATION:
Pathology – Fundamentals of Pathology (Pathoma), UW and First Aid USMLE Step 1 –
I had Rapid Review Pathology by goljan too, but I just used it to look at pictures and the little notes by the side! It’s a great book to drive in some concepts..
Biochemistry – Dr Turco – Kaplan Lecture Notes for USMLE Step 1 & Videos, UW and First Aid USMLE Step 1
Pharmacology – Kaplan videos 2014, UW and FA
Physiology – BRS physiology, UW and FA
Microbiology & immunology – UW and FA
Anatomy – Kaplan videos 2014, UW and FA, SHELF NOTES
Behavioral science and biostatistics – Kaplan videos 2014, Conrad Fischer’s Kaplan USMLE Step 1 Medical Ethics: 100 cases of ethics, UW and FA
FLASH CARDS- SPACED REPETITION – Even writing on post-its and reviewing them occasionally goes a long way.
FIRST AID USMLE Step 1
Fundamentals of Pathology – PATHOMA
GOLJAN PICTURES WITH NOTES
GOLJAN RAPID REVIEW Pathology (Not necessary)
BRS BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE- Did the questions
KAPLAN Lecture Notes- SOCIAL SCIENCES
RX Questions – Helps you learn FA
High Yield GROSS ANATOMY + HY NEUROANATOMY
GOOGLE & GOOGLE IMAGES – VERY USEFUL!
ONE WEEK BEFORE TEST DAY – My first aid was so heavy with all the notes and bits of papers- I almost had a mental breakdown reviewing it. But I knew I had to. I actually took a picture of every page on FA on my iPad and zoomed in to read everything. Last one week was just FA. I think this also helped me keep really calm. I stopped doing NBMES and UWSAs by now. Didn’t want to freak myself out.
TEST DAY – 10th April
I slept really well the previous night. GOOD SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT. TIP: Read that UWORLD table on sleep habits. . I reached the exam centre around 7am (Exam was at 8) Got a call from my friend that he had postponed his exam as he fell sick. I kinda freaked out for 5 mins I started getting worried if I was going to be sick too. But I drank some water and went in for the exam. Block – Block 2 – BREAK – Block 3 – Block 4 – BREAK – Block 5 – BREAK – Block 6 – BREAK – BLOCK 7 (30ish questions). Head starts hurting around block 6. IT’S NORMAL. Don’t freak out. Your brain still works. I washed my face with that hand soap in the restroom 😛 It was disgusting, But it helped. The thing with doing all the practice tests is it makes you feel like the exam was just another day. -Our scores got delayed by few weeks due to some school verification issue.. But finally when it came it was worth the wait. Thank God
Cheers and Good luck
Congratz to my GURU(Dr SHEDAWG – Whopping score of 267) BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE SHIRE, MEN MEN and DODO 🙂 Thanks for all the support. It’s really a difficult time going through all that uncertainty especially for average students like myself. Hard work pays. Don’t ignore the little things in life – Teachers, Family, Friends they all help in a way that you might not even realize.
PS : PLEASE MEMORIZE THIS (Before you even open FIIRST AID)
Step 1 assesses whether you understand and can apply important concepts of the sciences basic to the practice of medicine, with special emphasis on principles and mechanisms underlying health, disease, and modes of therapy. Step 1 ensures mastery of not only the sciences that provide a foundation for the safe and competent practice of medicine in the present, but also the scientific principles required for maintenance of competence through lifelong learning. Step 1 is constructed according to an integrated content outline that organizes basic science material along two dimensions: system and process.
THESE FEW LINES ARE ALL YOU NEED ACTUALLY. Everyone has their own way of preparing. As long as you implement these few lines to EVERY question. You can get a really good score. 🙂
List of Resources used:
- USMLErx Q bank
- Harrison’s Internal Medicine
- Hutchison’s Clinical Methods
- Goldman Cecil Medicine
- First Aid USMLE Step 1
- UWorld USMLE
- Step 1
- UWSA 1 & 2
- Fundamentals of Pathology (Pathoma)
- Rapid Review Pathology by goljan
- Kaplan Lecture Notes for USMLE Step 1 & Videos
- BRS physiology
- Anatomy Shelf Notes
- Conrad Fischer’s Kaplan USMLE Step 1 Medical Ethics
- GOLJAN PICTURES WITH NOTES
- BRS BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE- Did the questions
- High Yield GROSS ANATOMY
- HY NEUROANATOMY
- GOOGLE & GOOGLE IMAGES – VERY USEFUL!
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