USMLE Step 1 Experience – 257 IMG – Dr. Mohamed Mustafa – Egypt

USMLE Step 1 Experience - 257 IMG


Hi guys , i wanted to present my experience in a video , because i am not good in writing , but many guys keep asking me for my experience , more than 100 private messages 😀 so i am gonna write it.

Lets start ..

Basic Info:

– I am a 6th year medical student , Al-Azhar university , new damietta city . Egypt .

– preparation time : 9 months in 2017 and 5 months in 2015 . with 1 year pause inbetween .

– exam date : 13/9/2017

– result : 257


– In first 5 months in 2015 i used kaplan videos 2010 , along with kaplan lecture notes and Fundamentals of Pathology – pathoma videos and text

– In the 9 months of 2017 : i used First Aid USMLE Step 1 along with DIT 2014 and Rx q bank offline ( solved almost 500 qs ) ..this took me about 2 months .

– Then i used UWorld offline , system wise along with fa. I study subject in fa then solve its relevant qs in uw …i had 74% right ….this took me 2 and half months

– Then i did fa for 3rd time… in about month ( yes i am very lazy and after i finish something i take many days off_

– Then i subscribed for UWorld online for 2 months. I used only 1.5 month , and left 500 qs . unsolved ( i had 91% right ) .at that time i did fa for the 4th time.


1 – As you see i used the most usual materials , no odd stuff like sketchy or shelf notes or Rapid Review Pathology – goljan ..etc . i say this not to tell you they are bad and dont use them ( in fact i know nothing about them ) , but to tell you that it is not a must ! you can score high without them . i am a simple guy , i chose the least number of resources as possible . so use those extra stuff only if you think you really need them , not just cuz every one use them so i must do like everyone does !

2 – As you see i did old versions in kaplan and fa ( 2015 ) . i had fa 2017 pdf but i didnt use it very much . i guess 2015 was good . so if you are gonna start buy the newest fa , but if u already started with older version continue with it and have pdf for the new one just to be save and not worry that u r missing something.

3 – There are too many books and q banks you cant use them all . i know when you chose something , you will have the feeling that you chose the worst one and u r missing a better resource …NO ! just focus on the source u chose , you are not missing any thing

4 – Always use questions with study , Always ! questions makes you organize your mind and know the high yield parts

5 – In early stages , use rx , cuz it is a fairly easy, then use uw . only uw is like exam , only uw will help u . i did few kaplan and patest qs .. no they werent like exam at all ! .

6 – Online uw is just like offline . only good thing in online is that is has time ! so u can practice time management . so if u dont have money , u can use offline random timed version . solve 40 qs per setting ! always 40 no less !

Self Assessments:

In sequence i did all NBME offline except 16 ( all timed except 13 and 16)

– nbme 13 ( 5 months before ) –> 51 mistakes

-nbme 16 ( 3 month ) –> 230

– nbme 15 ( 2 months ) –> 27 mistakes

– nbme 17 ( 2 months ) –> 21 mistakes – then i did forms from 7-12 , whenever i feel bored of study , i didnt have a particular pattern or so . i had 21-27 mistakes

In last week i did one of the following every day :

– uwsa 1 online — > 264

-uwsa 2 online –> 251

-nbme 18 offline –> 27 mistakes ( 244 )

– nbme 19 offline –> 31 mistakes ( 227 )

– free 120 qs –> 87%

NBs :

1- Do nbmes as early as possible . some people have false belief that it is done only before exam .. NO ! ..ONE BIG NO ! . do them after you finish every stage in your study to know where you stand and how u progress .

2- Old nbmes are just like new ones

3- Offline nbmes are like online ones,BUT they are not for assessment . As you see most of my nbmes were offline , and i didnt put score beside them , just count the mistakes . offline are good as study material by living in the environment of the exam and pressure many times . know where you are weak and strength it by using pathoma and kaplan . You can use other stuff like google and wikipedia , but i didnt ( i tell you was very simple ) .

4- First nbme will always be bad … dont worry we are all like this . nbme has a different way of asking qs so first one may be odd for you .

5- You can use first time nbme in a non- timed pattern , but then you have to use it in a timed pattern .

Last month to Last week:

So many people keep asking me how did you handle the last few months , weeks , days , or whatever . i will tell you something , i really opened the computer one day , looked at the date , and said WTF it is only 2 weeks to go !!

what i mean is that i wasnt really prepared , i put a plan and all these stuff , but i kept having the feeling that i still have time and i will make a one big remontada (means comeback) better than what barcelona did and i will master every thing by the last stage … however i found my self one day in the last stage !!

i dont recommend this ofcourse , but i want to tell ppl who feel they havent done a lot in the end , dont worry , keep studying like you do , last days are not much different than another days

just make sure you repeat fa many times , master uw , and solve as many nbmes as possible ( all if you can)

last week , i recommend one self assessment a day . dont pay attention to details at this stage , just know the big picture and work on you mistakes.

Last 2 days:

I hadn’t studied in those days ! . To be honest i reviewed rapid review at the end of fa and reviewed formulas ( i had only one formula in exam and it was very easy straight forward )

So what i want to say is at this point study is over ! what is done is done ! so what should you do ? you should plan for exam strategist . like materials you will take with you , have a hotel arranged if you will travel , relax and relax and relax . for me the two days i finished the whole season 5 of house of cards 😀 . if you are a coffee addict like me dont drink them in those days to allow receptors to show up in ur brain in exam day

Night of Exam:

Again no study ! . travel early to the hotel if you will . prepare your stuff , you will need only coffee , few sandwiches and chocolate bars . just take small bag , prepare it next to ur bed

Again relax , it is over now , anxiety wont help you , if any thing it will just make you miserable

what about sleep ? ofcours it is obvious if you can sleep it is better BUT it is the most natural thing that u get insomnia at that night ! guys we dont have a switch button to make us sleep ! so practice one or two weeks before to sleep early but if you couldnt dont worry , many ppl got high scores without sleeping 8 hours ! . ( i know some ppl have that button and they can sleep at any time , those ppl i will search for them , find them and kill them)

Day of Exam:

Ok it is the day ! the day that will determine your whole future , the day that will make you either happy or sad for the rest of you life.

Let me tell you something , if you think like that in the exam day ,then you are such a big loser and you will never get a high score !

Guys it is just another day , yes it is important , yes it will affect your future , but it is not the end of the world ! if you think your future is very fragile that it will be damaged by 8 hours exam …. then let me surprise you : you dont have a promising future , and you do have a fragile one

You are much better than this , much stronger than this.

So with such mentality you should start you morning . wake up just 1 or 2 hours before exam . not more than this , remember you prepared every thing last night !

All instruction will be told to you in the center from the moment you enter the center till you leave it 8 hours later . i used to think of them a lot and ask ppl to tell me what they did , but i find that it was easy and all self explained.

So you are waiting till they call your name , and you see other applicants like you praying and crying and having some tremors like they have parkinsonism , and if someone approaches them they will shout nd say leave me alone . when you see those you should laugh inside you self and make sure that those guys will not get high scores . just relax and have fun , i went to cafeteria and drank a coffe and had joked with workers there ( though they were angry dunno why 😀 ).

They will call ur name , u will enter exam room , and suddenly u find a question infront of you ! WTF just like that ? yeah just like that . so if you have anxiety , or u are not prepared enough ( by solving as many nbmes as possible ) you will panic , and time will go like crazy , and you will finish the block with a lot of stress , the next blocks u will have time but u will be depressed so as u see it is a sequence . so what should u do , just relax , u did this many time before , remember exam is much easier than uw ( yay !!) .

never spend more than 1.5 minute on a question whatever hard it is …NEVER !!!

exam is like uw and 120 sample qs . with the oddness of nbme . all topics are almost from fa , but sometimes it is in a tricky way so if you can understand you will not have a problem . many qs were the same as nbme . many photos came from nbmes but they ask something different .

i had many cardiology questions .

ANATOMY , really it will always be difficult with many ( but not all ) qs not from fa or uw . you have no choice but try your luck ! dont worry everyone will do like you . in fact , as you see in my performance i wanst very good in anatomy ( and biostat ) . biostat was easy but i did silly mistakes.

Last 2 blocks are very hard , you will have diplopia like you have myasthenia gravis . you will get progressive headache like u have a brain tumour . So take paracetamol before exam. Remember to take any drug many times before exam , you dont want to have anaphylaxis in exam and die there , you want to die in ur house like any normal person. 😀

About clothes and breaks . they make a lot of things to you as if you are an gang member but what i discovered that this doesnt take so much time like ppl keep saying . not more than 1 minute . so dont worry about those stuff . time is more than enough , i had 3 breaks , and i had 30 minutes remaining , so i could of taken 2 more breaks easily . i prayed, had lunch and coffee in the 3 times ( yeah i eat a lot like i have prader-willi syndrome ) .

after you finish exam you will be very tiered . you may have the feeling that u did a lot of mistakes . very normal . now go and sleep or play playstation or meet hot girls or whatever makes u happy , the damn exam is over ! .

After Exam:

ok , you cant have fun . you cant play PlayStation , u r miserable like me and cant talk to girls . It doesn’t matter , cuz you will always keep having flash backs as if u have post traumatic stress syndrome . importantly , u will have flashback to only the ones you did wrong . and you will say : omg ! if these mistakes only i remember what about those i dont remember ?!! ” . we all have this feeling …dont worry buddy , this has nothing to do with ur results . i got very simple qs wrong …like they ask me a question like: what was atherosclerosis made of — i answered protein instead of fat ! (It was not this exact question.. i am not breaking USMLE law, just giving example of how stupid things i got wrong). If you ask 8 day old neonate with surfactant definitely he will answer it rt !

So whatever you recall… it means nothing .

General Points:

1- USMLE is all about condensed concentrated study ( i had this one from ta7 ) . so if u think the more months u study the more u score u r wrong.

2- People are different , many of the things i said here u can simply think they r stupid and dont suit u . ok . u r totally right !

3- Always choose omeprazole

4- Dont choose too many resources

5- At the beginning you will feel lost , you are not suitable for usmle . it is normal . just keep studying . at beginning you will think fa is very bad book and kaplan is much better . it is not . you will end up use fa . but dont use it too early . dont annotate in it too early . be patient .

6- Whatever plan you do you will modify it at certain point . take this in mind .

7- Omeprazole is always the rt answer , even if the patient has only fibroma on the little finger . 😀 😀

8- Luck plays a big role here . i could of had easily score in 40s or even 30s . i believe i was very lucky .

9- I know you read this now and think : ” waw this man is very confident , very smart , very sexy ” ( ok probably u dont see i am sexy , but i like to think u do ) . My point is , every one tell his / her experience will look confident and smart . but thats cuz we are done with the whole stuff . but when i was in ur stage just 3 weeks ago i was very anxious and did not have confidence and thought i am very stupid . in some point ( and i swear thats true ) i thought i will fail ! . so if u feel you are not smart enough , watch out ! dont be fooled by my false confidence , i was just like u or even worse ! . u will feel confident after the results , and you will get over 100 messages asking you to right your damn experience .

10- Many people feel bored , feel they dont want to continue any more , i am not suitable for this usmle thing ! Well you should know that this part of the journey . like everyone had , have , or will have this feeling at certain point in their preparation . so what should you do ? first thing , to know that is gonna happen any way , and happens for every one . secondly i highly recommend taking a day off in a week . and make this day constant . make it totally free from study or any effort . just for fun . i know it may not be practical solution for some ppl , but i gotta say it helped alot to evade boredom and misery . if you feel bored , stop studying and get back the next day ! as simple as that .

11- It is always omeprazole

Finally , I wanna thank god , it is all thanks to him . I wanna thank everyone who answered my questions when I had them .

Mohammed Mustafa

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November 11, 2017
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