USMLE Step 1 Experience – 253 – International Medical Student

IMG here. I just got my results this past Wednesday. Like most of you I have been lurking on the sidelines and I just felt I should add my experience too to encourage others that you are not alone.


UWORLD: 75% first pass (94% on second pass of which I only did 47% of the qbank)

NBME 16: 236 (6 weeks out)

NBME 17: 240 (4 weeks out)

NBME 18: 246 (9 days out)

Free 120: 87.5 % (2 days out)


real deal: 253


Materials used:


Pathoma videos x2: Great resource indeed. I never read the book.


Kaplan Behavioral science videos (my weakest subjects area which I managed to change to stars on the real deal). Good resources, it helped me build the foundation I needed in order to understand the difficult concept that were in FA and uwolrd. I definitely recommend the videos. I remember after my nbme 16 I performed very badly on biostats and behavioral science. My performance had a star on the low side!


First Aid for Basic Sciences and First Aid for Organ Systems. These books were great for me because the helped me get a comprehensive review of the materials before I dived into uworld. The only downside is that they are a bit too old (released in 2012). First Aid team should release new edition!


Uworld: The most important resource in my opinion. It took me four months to do the first pass! Yes I am a slow reader sometimes I would do 25 questions only per day, doing just uworld from morning to evening. But I am glad I took all that time because it helped me absorb most of the high yield stuff and my nbme 16 actually shocked me because all I was aiming for was to get above 230. Hence I ended up taking other nbmes just to be sure that it was not a fluke.


First Aid 2017 together with usmlerx videos over the last 6 weeks. This was actually the first time I was opening FA in my entire life! It helped fill in the gaps in knowledge I had especially in those areas that arent covered well in uworld. So I took nbme 16 as the baseline before starting my dedicated studies. For my dedicated studying, over the last 6 weeks I focused on FA, usmlerx videos and uworld about one block per day. Basically I would spend the whole day doing usmlerx videos and FA, then do a block in random timed mode towards the end of the day. Some days I would even do less than a block per day. I did not believe in rushing, just slowly but sure was my approach.


The exam experience:


Well the first two blocks were hard. I marked about 15 questions on those blocks. The rest of the blocks had 5-6 difficult questions per block. My major take home from the experience and what actually helped me get a higher score was that I finished most of the blocks with a few seconds to spare. This helped because the only time I managed to finish with more than three minutes to spare I went back to some of my marked questions and changed correct answers to wrong ones! My advice to you dont second guess yourself UNLESS it clear you had missed something in the vignette then dont change you answer! Trust your instincts! Getting out of the exam I didnt know how I had performed and I basically repressed all exam content after realizing the five silly mistakes I had made. That helped me study a bit for step 2 CK without worries whilist I was waiting for my scores. Most of the questions I wasnt sure about I used process of elimination. It works!




The most important thing is to know yourself and do whats best for you. Do whatever it is that will make you comfortable and absorb the most materials. First get your concepts straight then dive into UFAP. those three resources are more than enough to get a 250 plus score. The only problem is that people dive into UFAP with a shallow base. Its kinda difficult to get the most out of these resources if the fundamentals are not in place. Yeah that was long I hope it helps someone ace the exam.


God Bless.

If this experience helped you, check out the following experiences:

How to Save Time on USMLE Test Day ?


USMLE Step 1 Experience – 265 – Must Read

December 27, 2017
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