My step1 experience!!

Discussion in 'USMLE STEP 1' started by Rabia, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Rabia

    Rabia Guest

    This is Rabia from pakistan. I m not a member of this forum but i have been benefitting from this forum as a guest so i wanted to share my experience for the benefit of others, if its really worth it.
    Its has been two weeks since I took my step1 exam. I m expecting my results in a week or two. I had always been thinking that I shall b writing only after getting my results but I was just thinking today that I owe a lot to this forum and to all the bros and sisters who have been helping me so that I should b contributing my experience.
    I am thankful to all the people in this forum whose experiences I have been avidly resorting to and that has really been rewarding. In addition, perhaps an inspiration behind writing this is the vision that we must b helping each other. Any way, here is my experience.
    I shall not be describing my experience in a narrative way, rather I would just illustrate any thing that can b of help to those aspiring for step 1 in the coming days. I m writing as I m recollecting so if u are not able to find a nice sequential arrangement in my writing
    , I m sorry about that.
    First of all let me a little bit philosophical,For success in this exam or even any other exam in your life, firstly, u must have a large capacity to dream and secondly u must have a conviction in your dreams.†So think high†I personally believe u cannot go beyond what u have dreamed. Done these two things, u shall be able to put in effort effortlessly.

    1) I would not b recommending any books at this stage as I have yet to receive my results. It is only then that I might b suggesting or b in a position to recommend. However I would simply state at this stage that plz, try to keep your horizon as narrow as possible. Following just a single publishers anthology, to my view, can b the best option rather than resorting to too many books and at the end of day just feeling that u r not able to organize what ever u have read. I followed kaplan and I think this exam was not beyond the scope of its material. Follow whatever u want but the most important thing is †it is not what u study its how u study. “ and one more thing†the most important thing is what not to study rather than what to studyâ€
    A blend of good cramming with a background of pure concepts is what is required for this exam.

    2) I think it is not an exam of just your factual knowledge. plz make your concepts clear. They are asking no different things. The same old cock and bull story but in the garb of new clinical vignettes. If u just brush off the clinical aspect the left over is the same old factoid. Nevertheless, it is important to familiarize yourself with clinical vignettes so that u dont panic and stay cool.

    3) Every block is a blend of very easy and very difficult questions. plz remember that if a question is taking more than 1.5 mins , the probability is that u actually don’t know the answer. So try to narrow down your choices to two (which u r usually able to do) and then simply go by your instinct and just click any one of the two and move ahead. (50% probability of being correct any way)
    4) If u keep one thing in mind then u shall not panic "usually one block is always very tough.†so don’t panic. Just assume that it is testing your nerves.

    5) Its advisable to take five mins break after every block (25mins for five blocks+ 5 mins for all the blocks to log in). It leaves u wid 30 mins for a long break or two long breaks that’s up to u.

    4) Take every new question as a different battle fought on a different soil. Just try to forget whatever u have done in previous questions. If u can manage to do that then believe me, u shall never get tense. Have a faith that u have put in your best effort and u cannot go beyond your capacity so if u know u r definitely going to do it, else u cannot simply help it.

    5) Its my personal experience (others might differ though) that u should not b wasting much time on path slides. However just doing the very basic of radiology slides (some basic CT's, some basic angiograms) can be helpful. Path slides, which were given were just a few and far between. In most cases, even reading the stem of question was sufficient to answer correctly.

    6) I think the questions, which were the longest were the easiest to answer, provided u stay cool and do not panic just seeing the length of the questions.

    7) Likewise, the questions which had a large no of options (may b even 9) were the easiest to answer. In some I had to just think and guess the answer without reading all the options and then I just looked for the pre-conceived answer and it was there somewhere among the choices. Moreover, it did work for me in almost all of such questions.

    8) Its important that u have taken a good 8 hours sleep the night before your exam. So even if u have to resort to sleep inducers that night just take a pill or two. It shall b a good option if u don’t study one day before your Exam. Just relax and have fun. Try to rest your nerves in prep for the strenuous effort u r goanna put the coming day
    I think I should b writing the rest pending upon my results. I just wish that u pray for me. Good luck to u all. God bless u all
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    thanks for writing your experience Rabia :)
    do you remember any questions by chance?

    Good Luck on your score, I am sure you'll ace it :)

  3. julie

    julie Guest

    thanks for advices

    :p it is really good to know that people around are trying to help others .How much time did you take to prepare for step 1 & particularly how many days you practice solving questions.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Well that was it. It's been 2 days since after my exam & I feel sooo crappy, physically & mentally. I'm just thankful that I'm just getting sick now , actually I felt it coming after the 3rd block of my test.
    I am just an average Joe who tried to squeeze the best in me til the test.
    Night before my test, I was still sudying til 10:30PM. I was frantic
    on some of the physio stuff from nbme & UW that I never get to understand. I was oozy so I decided to stop & went to bed at 10:45-11:00pm. I woke up at 1:30 am & luckily went back to sleep after turning & tossing for 1o mins. maybe.
    Woke up at 5:30 am, my hubs cook something for me & made coffee( BTW I always do this in the am but for some reason he did
    it that day) I preapared my lunch & my kids lunch & snack, prepared clothes for school, made sure everyone's alright before hitting the door.
    All the way from home to the test site I was praying & talking to myself & God that hopefully i will get easy blocks or doable blocks not out of this world pool of q's.
    I was early at the center so I studied some more in my car, scanned the topics I'm confused w/ like Micro(dsDNA,ssDNA, Rna viruses) & even looked at brachial plexus in my poor FA.
    Block 1, 2, 3= doable, I had lunch after block 3
    Block 4- hard & the left side of my throat starting to hurt, I can't keep still in my chair anymore. I took a break & drank my energy drink & had half of my snickers chocolate.
    Block 567- it's okay. If I said okay it means 50/50.
    My exam consisted mostly of Patho, Physio & Pharma, maybe about 60-65%. The rest were equal distribution of Biochem, Behavioral Science ( I think I got lots of these!), Micro. Not much of Anatomy& Genetics. I can remember more than few Immuno & Embryo.I think these are the doable q's that killed me. I know the answer but I can't remember. So I was dwenked on that.

    In Patho, in FA there were 6 q's from the vignette that were very high yield, hypothyroidism, hyperchol, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, DMD, fat emboli & Pneumonia.No tumor markers, no brain tumors
    but lots of blood dyscrasias q's.Endo & Hema were HY!!
    In Physio, lots of increase , decrease stuff that I was dwenked on.
    I can't believe EKG tracing,lots of renal , esp. the hormones & GI secretory products. KNOW these very well.
    Micro, I said I studied the viruses DNA & RNA in my car bec. I am always confused with these I remember there was only 1 q about it so I don't know if that was good or bad. I may said it's good.
    In Pharma, MOA of drugs as always, hard drug interactions bec. the q's were in forms of graphs ( DWENKED!)!! I am soo mad. Now it's getting me. A lot of anesthesia drugs also. My hubs an Anesth.& we were always joking about Succinylcholine & there's a q about it.I don't remember any q about lung volumes.
    In Neuroana, study visual field defects,spinal cord lesions in FA!!!
    Again dwenked..I did not see circle of willis. Gross Ana, I studied brachial plexus but it did not come out. Embryo there were q's on female & male genitalia.
    In Biostat I had 2 calculations, MMM & Stroke vol. I did not have time to calculate SV.
    I know guys out there who would get a perfect score w/ my exam q's but I felt I am not sure about it. I was blinked & dwenked. I mean there were few q's that I can't believe were very easy but there were lots & lots of q's that I was dwenked on. I shared my experience NOW because I don't think i still have the nerve later on if I don't make it but believe me if the result would be positive I would be WOOO HHOOOIING all over this forum but my chance is not 100% sure or even 80% or even 70% sure. I don't know.
    I regret of doing nbme sooo late during my prep. UW helped me a lot but the q's were very difficult. I don't even remember if Kap Q Bank helped me bec. I finished that 1 mo. before my test. Honestly... read your notes or FA during your last week bec. that would help a lot.
    This has been a long post, pardon me but as always, telling you all how I went through made me feel better. I wish you all the success in your review & I hope that one day I don't have to take this exam again. i would even settle for 75. I think w/ this test I gave my best & it's all up to HIM up there now who will decide if my best that Im always talking about is good enough.
    As you read this.. pls. pray for me...
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:52 am Post subject: had exam daybefore yestrday


    had exam daybefore yestrday

    guys am happy one ERA is over.
    although there is uncertaintity in future,but what will life be if we knew the future.
    i am an average student,although i've done well throughout my life(as almost all of the other docs.)i've always been of a crammer.and that i realized when i was studying for USMLE coz it really deals with the basics,although there r things which r to be crammed.why i said this is coz i know most of the IMGs 've this type of study in their country.
    guys i was lucky to 've a good sleep the night befre ,slept at 10.0pm and woke up at 4.30 and laid i bed till 6.00am(coz i promised my self a good sleep)
    u dont beleive things unless it happens to u:the center is just 20 mts ride from my home.we took a shortcut.the same my hubby was taking EACH DAY FOR THE LAST 1 MONTH AND IT WAS THE SAME TIME HE DROVE FOR OFFICE.there was some thing that held the traffic so bad that the distance which was to be covered in less than 20mts was covered in 1.5 hrs!my luck-i thought nature is doing everything possible to hold me from what i want.
    so i reached there at 8.45am,started my exam at 9.30 am.
    6th easiest.
    break was adequate,had 20 mts left,alas extra exam time gets added in break but not vice versa,coz i was short of time in the 7th block
    i had taken tonnes of medicines,things to eat,my hubby was bringing me hot tea and coffee,coz my place didnt have a caffeteria or a microvave.
    guys u wont beleive when i say more than 50% were alcohol related,or had the word 'occassional alcohol' in their stem.
    2-3 qts were repeated.same-ditto!
    1 was NBME qt only that the OPTIONS were not the same!
    1 was UW qt,i was shocked!
    as for experimental qts,i wish all RFLP qts were.couldnt get a clue about them.
    overall60% pathophysio
    10% BH
    30% mizture of rest.
    i got just 2 qts on calculations.
    A great advantage was UW which i did after doing was a saviour.previously NBME were a foregin language for me.UW made it so much easier.Q-bank is equally imp.coz it builds the base for UW.exam was easier than UW i admit.
    am praying for everyone to be happy with their result.
    as for me ,i want to pass.
    the thing is although some qts were extremely easy and some on the other side of pole.weitage for all r even if i do 10 easy qts rt and one high weitage qt wrong am at zero(or so i think)-i might be wrong.
    i havent received my result.and i've always been a passimist so dont know what to expect from my result.
    all the best to all the aspirants out there,


    Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:16 am Post subject:


    hey i wanna ask somehting related to pics of patho , ppl say u should study from web path but they say that there is not many pics in the test ! so the efort u do in this field wouldnt get this marks ! i m really confused and need an advice in this field
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest


    Posted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:14 am Post subject: my exam experience


    my exam experience

    dear friends i finally did it and I realy feel relieved. now about the exam, it was tough, more difficult than i expected, not only the medical questions but the stress of the event and the meaning of this exam for me... the first block -horrible, 2- difficult, 3-ok, 4, ok, 5-difficult, 6-ok, 7-ok. i had many anatomy questions, i mean like 50 of them, my worst nightmare, all kind of drawings, all nerve lesions, angiograms, ct-scans, visual lesions. brain stem ,also many behavioral question, ethics, doc-patient, weineberg, cohort studies, case control, PPD, not so many pharm and doable question here, a few biochem , PKU, glicolysis, FA oxidation, Mc Ardle, porphyrias, enzyme kinetics, many mollecular biology, really wierd question,some never heard of...mutations, histone, tipes of Rna, polymerases, modes of inheritance..path, i expected more here, I hope i did good at this subject, micro-the usual stuff, physio-almost all with graphics and up and down arrows...

    my problem was the time which was not enough for me, i finished all blocks in a hurry, and i probably made stupid mistakes due to this. I want to give you some advices...everything you read you must understand, I found that this exam tested more the concepts than memorised stuff. second do as many question as you can because you must to be used to see the usmle question style and read quickly, and third be calm and rest a lot in the final week. all in all I left the exam, totally dumb, I cried then an hour cause I felt that i knew nothing, I don't know what i did, but now i feel better and started to remember the questions that i answered correctly. i hope i'll do good i have faith. guys this exam was so important to me, I did everything to do good but let me tell you life is more important and this is only an exam, so treat it like this, don't turn your life upside down for this, just study with all your heart. another advice would be to give the exam as quickly as you can, don't study more than 8 months cause you'll forget everything in the end, just do it when you feel ready

    thank you for being supportive and true friends, thanks with all my heart. Now I'll wait and pray

    Back to top


    Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:32 am Post subject:


    Kudos u finished it buddy,

    nw it is time to relax, whatever u could do u had done, nw let God do the rest. I can sense ur feelings, the stress u r going thru bs there were lots of times i felt we r in same boat. well all i can do for u is pray and i will do that.

    really what u said is true,for people with avg memory, i think this exam must be taken in nothing more than 10 months, thats exactly what i too feel nw. if u can take it in 7-8 months well u retain most of the stuff. Oh God nw i feel so stressed. well Goodluck for a great score

    Back to top


    Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:00 pm Post subject:


    gr8 pal,
    u'll have a gr8 score,we all r wishing it.
    how do u rate UW on the pattern of qts villa.for me its the backbone right now.
    am going for exam on thursday.

    Back to top


    Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:49 pm Post subject:


    HI!which among the simulated tests do you recommend? was wondering if i should subscribe to nbme/ kaplan qbank/ usmle rx qmax...thanks!!
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:25 am Post subject: How to get a good score in exam-


    hey Docs ,
    all the best to you for your step 1

    you know what if you want a 99 it is possible, just follow these simple intructions,

    first of all decide that you want a 99, i mean if you decide that you want a 95 you will get a 90 so aim for 99 and nothing less.

    You are only limited by what you think. If i told you that you could never fail what would you do? Do not get frustrated easily, life has just started for you, take one step at a time and enjoy it. You have great intelligence and education and a great life in US, how many of your countrymen can get such an opportunity.

    here is what i would do......... i would sit down first for 2 hours shut down my cell phone and take a notepad and a pen and start answering the following questions with full honesty and sincerity..........

    what do i want (if you are honest here you would say i want a 99 because anything less than that would be a lie),

    how would i feel when i have achieved my aim ? (think of you holding you usmle step 2 score sheet with a 99 and you giving your friends a great party and celebrating)

    what is preventing you from getting to your goal? how long would it take for you to reach your goal?

    What are the resourses that you have that will help you reach your goal?

    Do you have any role models who have got similar results?

    Describe your ideal day What is your timetable and plan for achieving your aim?

    answer these questions, not orally, but write them down on paper. You can do this even in chinese, but your pen should not stop for half and hour, just keep on writing. then read it loud. go to the beach and stand in front of the sea and say it out loud. read it everyday after you wake up and before you go to bed. It should permeate into your system.

    now you will start feeling more confident you should now start studying hard. first start by reading the first 50 pages of kaplan q book where they have shown you how to prepare for the test and how to answer the questions..................

    there is a key to studying medicine..before opening any book answer this question....Why am i reading this stuff? For whom am I reading this text book? What is your answer? It is for my patients? Any single line of the book can save the patients life. So then you will get highly motivated to learn each and every line of text book.

    what has to be done

    kaplan text books...for Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Immunology, Behavioral Science

    Compass Anatomy/High Yield Anatomy/High Yield Neuronanatomy/High Yield Embryo/High Yield Histology

    BRS Behavioral Science

    BRS Physiology - Just the Neurophysiology.

    Goljan Patho - Very good, if you cant read it just solve questions from it.

    kaplan q book and bank
    usmle sample cd
    hematology slides from Harrison's Textbook of Internal Medicine
    Color Plates from first aid
    questions from goljan patho full test
    questions from goljan 5 star pathology

    last 3 weeks just dont solve questions but read all the material again.
    Take B complex pills everyday......or else you will get wenickes enceph
    days before exam.................
    solve the kaplan simulated and the usmle sample cd about 3 weeks before the exam.

    then 2-3 days for each subject
    just read kaplan and nothing else, be confident, if you have read it before
    you are going to know the answer.

    take notes of all those things of kaplan that you think that you cannot
    remember e.g. drug interactions with cyt p 450 in pharmac, side effects of
    and write them in the diary...........................
    last 3 days, read no new material, just read those notes that you took and
    diary,...........also you might read certain topics that have to be
    memorized e.g. patho hemat, cns, kidney
    pharmac antiarryhythmics, anticancer, rhuematoid arthritis, behavioral sleep
    and stats,
    micro virus, a rapid revision of those things

    2 day before exam do usmle sample cd again, see photos of harrison and first
    aid, read diary.
    day before exam just have fun and relax,

    go for a haircut, go for a massage on the head,..........its so relaxing,
    dont sleep in the afternoon or else you will not be able to sleep at
    do some physical activity like going for a walk,........
    and relax with friends, a

    and in the morning of the day before the exam read kaplan q book 1st 50
    pages where they have described the ways to answer question in the
    usmle.....................dont read anything on last day before exam. just
    check your orange card and passport
    Night before the exam, when you go to bed, visualise yourself at prometric
    and giving the exam, you are doing so great and fantastic and you know all
    the answers all the that is the greatest exam of my
    read something that inspires you before you go to bed, that you go to
    sleep with positive thoughts in your mind.............
    the next morning awake refreshed and happy and ready to give the
    take 3-4 bottles of tang or vital z with you for energy. take some jelly
    sandwich so that you get lot of sugars, remember your brain needs
    glucose as sole source of energy.
    have a breakfast and take 2 tablets of vitamin B complex because you need
    them more today and take apples in apple can
    stimulate you more that one cup of tea or coffee can. those of you who have
    a habit of drinking tea or coffee can take them to prometric as
    again check the orange card and passport..................................
    now take the blessings of your god and conquer the exam

    in the center just take deep breaths
    go to toilet before the test begins............
    wash your face with water and wash your eyes and feel fresh
    once you go inside the test terminal dont immediately start.............
    take some deep breathes.
    take the earplug and put them in your ear.
    take the marker pad and then write on the pad............I am going to do
    the very best. Come on You can and You will do it
    surely................Nothing in this whole world can now stop
    me..........Unleash my powers and awaken the giant within
    now you are confident........................
    then start the tutorial....................
    you cant skip it but just keep on pressing the next button until it gets
    over and then you will be asked your CIN no. Just type it and the exam
    Read carefully and start exam. Dont worry..............
    Just take the exam like you are playing a video game or computer
    game, big deal just routine game.......................
    most important ENJOY the exam,
    after the block gets over just write on the pad. Great Job Doctor, keep up
    the tempo, keep up the good work , 1 block over successfully..........
    DO the 1st two blocks simultaneiously without breaks.
    after two blocks take a break, wash your face and eyes to prevent eye strain
    and fatigue, drink some tang. and start the third block.....
    after your 4th or 5th block take a meal.................dont eat too
    and you are like 70% done.
    just give the blocks and after each block write something good about
    i used the marker pad just for that............This willl be the best exam that you have ever given in your

    Ok Folks Enjoy your life,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    You already have the VISA POWER now you only need extra mileage on your
    if you need any help i would be glad to be of assistance
    best of luck to all
    i m sure everyone will do great......anyone and everyone can get a 99 because we are doctors...
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  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:51 am Post subject: Finally I got my workable score ,THANX. GOD .


    When I got out of the prometric center I thought I'm finished, I will definitely fail. My exam was so difficult with strange Qs. So I postponed posting my exam experience and prep until I get to know whether I've passed or failed.

    But today I got my score and finally 233/94.

    Not a great score but I'm happy with it.
    yes it is a great score for me but for amongst those who take 99 it is not a great score that is why I mentioned like that.

    Ok this is about me and my prep.

    My study material,

    Kaplan lecture notes 2003 edition (except for Path)

    Kaplan DVD lectures

    Goljan audio lectures + lecture notes

    First Aid 2006

    kaplan online Q bank 3 months

    UW q bank

    I'm a 2005 MBBS graduate, happened to come to the USA although I didn't like ( to live in the USA as well as doing USMLE ) because my husband is doing his post Grad studies here. I couldn't even complete internship in my country. Came to the USA at the end of 2005, started searching about USMLE and finally bought books and started prep in January 2006. But I was so depressed without any friend or relation, bad weather, and I was all alone at home most of the time ( I used to be a busy person earlier) So I didn't study well. Although i spent whole day at home I only studied about 5- 10 pages a day.

    Then in february I got to know an American Doc. and he helped me to get an externship. This actually changed my life. Although I didn't study much during that period I got a lot of experience and the most important thing is I got my spirits back. So after completing the externship I started my prep again with high spirits. But it didn't last long I had many personal matters including an unexpected pregnancy. My exam application was rejected three times, first without having the degree certificate ( at that time our med school had not released our degree certificate), second due to spelling changes of my name in degree certificate and marriage certificate, third they didn't accept the affidavit for the name changes and wanted a letter from the Med school. So make sure when you are applying that everything is correct and complete to avoid this stress.

    So by the end of JULY I could register for the exam, but at that time I only had read Anat, physio, biochem, and path once, half of micro and pharm and not at all behavioral. About 30 % of the Q book was done.( actually what I did was read the book passively and then watched the DVD with the open books and then did some Qs from the Q book) But my hubby forcebly bought the Q bank. So I started doing Qs simultaneously completing the first read of the rest of the material. I got a very low score for the Q bank.Did all the Qs timed, and mixed. Revised all the explanations and made small notes in cards in point form which I reviewed when I'm resting or travelling.

    When doing q bank I understood that Kaplan Path is not enough and start reading Goljan lecture notes too. After finishing the Q bank did incorrect Qs again. By the time I finished the Q bank I had only two weeks for the exam. Then read the first aid in four days and started UW q bank, but could finish only 70 %.Did Qs in timed and mixed and read only the explanations for incorrect Qs. Last two days again reviewd First aid, and just turned pages of all the kaplan books.
    ( scanned books). Even on the last day reviewed books.

    Mistakes of my prep:

    My reading was not organized. Although I spent months I only read once and then reviewed with lectures. This was also not continous

    Did only 30% of the Q book ( could have finished it before starting the Q bank)

    Didn't complete the first reading of three important subjects ( micro and immuno, pharm, behavioral ) before strating the Q bank

    Read Goljan very lately ( could have strated patho with Goljan instead of Kaplan patho.)

    Didn't do NBME ( don't know whether it is a mistake )

    Exam experience:

    By the time of my exam I'm a pregnant woman with 33 weeks of POA. My center was one and half hours (highway) away from home. One week before the exam my hubby and I went there in a mid night when there is no traffic to locate the place.

    On exam day we left home at 5 am to avoid traffic and reached there 45 minutes earlier and had a short nap inside the vehicle. Exam center was fine and staff was good and friendly, but the rest rooms were located in a distance.

    I took breaks of 5 - 8 minutes after each blocks and everytime used rest rooms, had chocolate, and juice. I had a backache during my prep, so I took acetoaminophen prophylactically. Had gastritis so took Tums. These are all due to pregnancy and apart from that my pregnancy didn't bother me during my exam. Had Sandwiches for lunch ( for 10-15 minutes) after the 3rd block
    So time for breaks is more than enough.

    But I bearly managed my time for blocks. While doing Q bank I finished one block in 45 - 50 minutes, but in real exam I didn't have time to revise the marked Qs. It may be due to the fact that I was so careful and read the Qs very slowly. At the same time I found that taking breaks after each block is also distracting. you will get some time to settle each time, so it is better to continue atleast two three block so that you are more settled. But in my case I couldn't resist.

    Exam was more similar to UW rather than Kaplan. But I must say kaplan q bank is a must too. I learnt many form Kaplan Q bank as well as learnt the important areas to be revised.

    When talking about the Qs I got, II was so frustrated. Actually I got basics and I had a lot of Physio, pathophysio,molecular bio,metabolism, immuno, behavioral and pharm. Physio all the areas, specially renal (tubular calls ) acid base, CVS, GIT various Qs in various format with graphs. Pharm full of anti cancer drugs mechanism, anti virals, anti biotics and small calculations, matabolism was also highly tested. behavioral a lot of Doc. Pt relationship as well as end of life decision.

    How ever I only found one block was easy and all the other were difficult and really felt that I would fail. Was so frustrated and didn't even think of posting my experience. But how ever I got 94

    My scores,

    Kaplan q book (30% completed) 60-70%

    Kaplan Q bank( 100% completed ) average 62% ( last ten blocks average 68%)

    UW ( 70% completed) 68 %

    Didn't do NBME

    Steo one 233 / 94

    Exam date Nov.13

    score reported Dec. 06

    OASIS updated Dec. 07 (Thursday) midnight

    Score received Dec.12

    Now I have to prepare to welcome my baby as well as for the step 2

    Good luck to you all

    Sorry if this is too long

    Anat , embryo, histo, neuro and micro were manageble. cheers.
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    Dr. Smal

    Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:52 am Post subject: had exam daybefore yestrday


    had exam daybefore yestrday

    guys am happy one ERA is over.
    although there is uncertaintity in future,but what will life be if we knew the future.
    i am an average student,although i've done well throughout my life(as almost all of the other docs.)i've always been of a crammer.and that i realized when i was studying for USMLE coz it really deals with the basics,although there r things which r to be crammed.why i said this is coz i know most of the IMGs 've this type of study in their country.
    guys i was lucky to 've a good sleep the night befre ,slept at 10.0pm and woke up at 4.30 and laid i bed till 6.00am(coz i promised my self a good sleep)
    u dont beleive things unless it happens to u:the center is just 20 mts ride from my home.we took a shortcut.the same my hubby was taking EACH DAY FOR THE LAST 1 MONTH AND IT WAS THE SAME TIME HE DROVE FOR OFFICE.there was some thing that held the traffic so bad that the distance which was to be covered in less than 20mts was covered in 1.5 hrs!my luck-i thought nature is doing everything possible to hold me from what i want.
    so i reached there at 8.45am,started my exam at 9.30 am.
    6th easiest.
    break was adequate,had 20 mts left,alas extra exam time gets added in break but not vice versa,coz i was short of time in the 7th block
    i had taken tonnes of medicines,things to eat,my hubby was bringing me hot tea and coffee,coz my place didnt have a caffeteria or a microvave.
    guys u wont beleive when i say more than 50% were alcohol related,or had the word 'occassional alcohol' in their stem.
    2-3 qts were repeated.same-ditto!
    1 was NBME qt only that the OPTIONS were not the same!
    1 was UW qt,i was shocked!
    as for experimental qts,i wish all RFLP qts were.couldnt get a clue about them.
    overall60% pathophysio
    10% BH
    30% mizture of rest.
    i got just 2 qts on calculations.
    A great advantage was UW which i did after doing was a saviour.previously NBME were a foregin language for me.UW made it so much easier.Q-bank is equally imp.coz it builds the base for UW.exam was easier than UW i admit.
    am praying for everyone to be happy with their result.
    as for me ,i want to pass.
    the thing is although some qts were extremely easy and some on the other side of pole.weitage for all r even if i do 10 easy qts rt and one high weitage qt wrong am at zero(or so i think)-i might be wrong.
    i havent received my result.and i've always been a passimist so dont know what to expect from my result.
    all the best to all the aspirants out there,

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    Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:16 am Post subject:


    hey i wanna ask somehting related to pics of patho , ppl say u should study from web path but they say that there is not many pics in the test ! so the efort u do in this field wouldnt get this marks ! i m really confused and need an advice in this field
  11. Guest

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    Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:37 pm Post subject: My USMLE 1 Exam Experience


    Dear All,
    This forum has been extremely helpful - thought i would do my small bit and contribute my exam experience and preparation.

    About myself : first year resident in singapore,( the tiny island that may not be visible to the human eye on the world map ). Graduated in 2005; hoping to train in pediatrics. Didn't seriously hit the books until June 2006 ( was doing a lighter community pediatrics rotation then ). Took the exam October 30, 2006. Scored arrived ( in a badly sealed evelope ) on December 1st exactly : 249/99

    My Preparation - the long and hopefully short of it :

    It took me a lot of courage to write to the step 1. Went through a period of depression in the first 2 years of med school with less than desirable grades - so it remains a huge blur in my memory !!! So studying for the step 1 was like reading everything for the very first time ! Just thought I'd say this at the outset - to encourage people who did not do as well in their basic sciences courses in med school. I am one of them and I think God gives us all second chances - and that's encouraging !

    My resources : I was really fortunate to have kind friends ,who lent me the books they used in their preparation. These I found very useful :

    Main texts :
    1. First Aid - Enough said i think about FA. Actually used the 2004 edition cause i had it somewhere in my bookshelf. Annotated it during my prep throughout and used it and Med Essentials solely in the last 2 weeks before the exam

    2. Kaplan's Medessentials - Also another book that i just happened to have cause a friend lent me the book. Found the systems based review very comprehensive! Also i was using FA 2004 which does not have a systems based review so this book complemented FA very well !

    Subject resources :

    1. Anatomy , Embryology, Neuroanatomy.
    Neuroanatomy - Used high yield neuroanatomy which was fantastic. I think it is helpful to look at CTs and gross specimens. Would be useful to have an atlas and study neuroanat side by side - having said that i did not really do that and probably paid the price cause my exam had quite a significant proportion of CT brains and gross specimens.

    Anatomy - was and still is my worst subject - just used high yoeld anatomy , read through snell ( just the important snippets ) for upper limb and lower limb. Thankfully my exam did not have too much and too detailed anatomy.

    Histology - I had high yield histology but i think its too much information - the first few chapters are particularly useful.

    Embryology - Used High yield. Some people say there is too much information in it - which i agree : Not all of it is necessary for the exams, first aid should be more than enough. But i was going to start on a neonatology rotation right after my exams, so found the book very enjoyable to read

    2. Physiology - Used BRS physio - to clarify concepts. It will be great to do it together with pharm and patho to get an understanding of pathophysiology. The questions on Q bank were also useful in clarifying concepts.

    3. Microbiology and Immunology - Used microbiology made ridiculously simple ( I am a huge fan of extremely simple books ) and just read the short section of immunology in BRS Micro and Immuno and Medessentials. My exam was tons of immunology - all in the form of strange experiments. I really found the immunology questions extremely difficult !

    4. Biochemistry : Initially used High Yield but i think its only useful if you already have a good background in biochem. Miraculously someone lent me Kaplan's biochemistry which i found extremely useful ! infact I began to enjoy reading biochem finally after 5 years of med school !

    6. Pathology : Used BRS pathology alone, went to web path to look at the slides as well as do the questions. I think the one thing that aided me in the path and pharm questions in the exam was clinical experience. Most of the questions were in the form of clinical scenarios ( with many distractors !! ) but somewhere along the line you remember a patient you have seen with a similar condition and its strange the tricks your brain does to retrieve some hidden info somewhere !

    7. Behavioural Science - used BRS behavioural Science. I found the behavioural science questions in my exam very strange and tricky - not like the ones i was used to doing. I think this is a subject that is difficult to prepare for, you just have to choose the best answer and hope its right !

    8. Pharmacology - till the very end never really found 1 good source. Used both high yield pharm and kaplan's pharmacology. I found Kaplan more useful. Having said that, I think FA's systemic pharmacology is more than enough for the exams.

    9. Genetics/ Cell and Molecular Biology: Used kaplan's biochem which has a genetics section and high yied cell and molecular biology. I found the section on cell surface receptors in high yield particularly useful and summarised.

    10. Biostatistics - i think just a couple of basic concepts : Sensitivity, Specificity, PPV, NPV, various types of studies should be good enough. i had high yield biostats but again too much info. BRS patho has a section on statistics - so that together with FA should suffice !

    I think a few reads of each subject is useful. After the first read i could not remember a thing but it got better and faster with the subsequent reads. In the 4-5 months, read everything about 4-5 times ( roughly a month for each read )

    Question resources :
    1. Q bank - I used the 3month Q bank cause i used it along side with my revision to fine tune concepts and zero in on areas to focus on.
    Cumulative score - 78 %, last 10 blocks : 80 - 90 %

    2. Q book - Again lent by another friend, arranged subject wise so i did it after reading each subject.

    3. NBME forms. Was not sure initially whether i even wanted to do them but i a glad i did in the end cause while the questions in the real exam are harder, they resemble NBME questions the most.
    Started only 1 month before the exam, so did only 3 forms, I would advise doing all 4 forms for practice ( though it is expensive no doubt ! )

    NBME Form 1 - 620
    NMBE form 2 - 630
    NMBE form 3 - 630

    4. NMS - Xeerorex lent me the NMS book he used - the questions are tough, so i just did about 10 tests ( was also running out of time ). Overall score - 75 %

    5. Also found Tommy K's posts on ValueMD very useful - there are more than 1000 questions there, i think i only read ike a 100. Discovered it too late , about 2 weeks before the exam

    6. Also used Goljan 100 page notes - just read it once a couple of days before the exam but the lack of organisation make it difficult to assimilate.

    7. And this forum ofcourse ! To see what was commonly tested.

    The exam :
    Everything that could go wrong did. The biggest lesson i learnt was never to try anything new the night before the exam ! Went for a nice indonesian traditional massage the night before thinking it would help me relax and sleep. It did the opposite !!! I think circulation to my brain was so enhanced after the massage that i was completely refreshed and could not sleep the whole night !!! Woke up slightly later than usual after a whole night of trying to sleep and was caught in a huge Monday morning jam. Arrived at the test center barely 5 minutes before the exam. They nearly did not let me take the exam !

    Started the first block in an extremely tense state but it got better after a while. My exam is really a blur too, was in this strange awake yet asleep state. Was feeling tired after the second block and only redbull and more redbull kept me fresh through the exam.

    I went in preparing myself for extremely challenging questions. Yes there were challenging questions but many questions i had were simply what i would classify as "wierd", till today i don't know the answers.

    Overall i found the exam very difficult, with maybe 2 relatively easier blocks, 2-3 moderately difficult blocks. But generally all subjects are well represented. Some questions are lengthy, while others are short 2-3 liners. I had many questions in the form of experiments , so it took me a while to even figure out what the question was all about. Some blocks i was really rushing for time, but i think it is good advice to not get stuck too long on 1 question. Also I think i changed too many answers which in retrospect was not the cleverest thing to do.

    Felt totally drained and sad after the exam. Came home and cried, felt all the effort i had put in was totally wasted but did not really regret the studying cause finally i had a chance to understand the basic sciences more and it would be useful in my clinical practice in the long run !Though i must admit I wished really hard my scores would get lost in the mail and i would never get to open it !
    Then i told myself that i would only open it after step 2 in case i did so badly that i would be totally discouraged from even attempting the step 2.

    After tons of nightmares and an emotional rollercoaster, the scores came on December 1 - earler than i expected ! The envelope came open so i had no choice to open it. And i still remain speechess. I can only thank God for his infinite grace .

    Its been a lengthy post, so thank you for your patience in reading it. Just hope it can encourage anybody out there who may be feeling low during prep / after the exam !
  12. Guest

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  13. Guest

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  14. Guest

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    Author Message

    Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:15 am Post subject: I am 36 years old, am I too old to take USMLE step 1?


    I am thinking of taking USMLE, is there anyone who can tel me if I am too old for taking USMLE step 1??

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    Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:53 pm Post subject:


    No ,you are not to old.
    there is no age limitation.

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    Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 6:09 pm Post subject:


    I am 45 and I just took the Step 1

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    Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:07 pm Post subject:


    No Sir ,
    Dont be discouraged by the age factor
    we are all struggling just to get some decent degrees after the Big medical graduation.

    I am about 43 and just applying for the 2nd time for USMLE 1 my previous ECFMG expired without getting a match or a job .
    But I did not give up. I will try the whole process again.

    Thank u sir.

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    Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 1:58 am Post subject:


    Hey Guys!How sweety...Good work.This is soo inspiring!!
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest


    Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:59 am Post subject: age difference of imgs and us citizens in residency


    age difference of imgs and us citizens in residency

    hi all members,

    i just want to know are the imgs who enter the residency programme in usa are much older than the us citizen who enter the residency programme. and by how much, i m currently 28, passed my step 1 and preparing for step 2 and still not given cs.

    i will most probably apply for 2008 match. by then i will be 30. am i will be too old for the residency, because till then i will have lot of other familial responsibilities that as a lady that u people understand.
  16. Guest

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    Author Message

    Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:37 pm Post subject: My exam experience


    My exam experience

    Hi all,
    It feels great to come back to this forum. Its really strange that no one has added their exam experiences till date Inspite of getting good scores….And I also apologise for the delay in writing my exam experience too. J
    I will keep it very short- If there are specific queries I’ll be happy to answer them.( I’m afraid I’ll write a long epic due to my habit of writing too much )

    I’ve written all my prep in Preparation log/diary thread. Prepation time was almost 1.5 months on and off and intensive for 1 month.
    In my last month of prep (after I stopped writing on prep log thread) I did my usmlerx qbank and score 72% mean score with range of 52% initially to 80% in last days. I also went through few blocks of Kaplan qbank but did not like that much. I concentrated more on my first aid with lot of additions in it.

    Exam –

    Reached prometric a bit late but that made no difference as the staff and procedure was smooth and ppl were co operative. I was very anxious till the day of exam (sometimes felt very inadequate in prep) but as soon as I saw the first Q, I got relaxed (although I did not know the answer ) I skipped the tutorial as it’s the same as in the cd by ecfmg. It fetched me extra 15 min break time. All the blocks were of moderate difficulty and most were step 2 –3 answers (ex. Described achondroplasia in stem and asked for reason for this disorder- FGF3 was answer given). Surprisingly I did not get many long Qs. Most of them were 4-5 lines long. Lots of pictures and slides and CT/MRI but nothing to worry as I could identify most of the disorders from the stem itself. Neuroanatomy was tested heavily in context with patho/physio or lesions and I would recommend chapter 1,2 and 3 from HY neuroanatomy for these questions.
    There were repetition of concepts in the Qs and in many Qs they asked the same q but asked the different ask of the topic. Renal and Endocrines were hot favourite for my exam as I had expected from the experiences of students on other forums. Overall Patho, physio and Pharmacology constituted bulk of my exam. Almost all of the Behavioural science Qs were based on ethics chapter and physician pt relationship chapter of Kaplan (FA is inadequate for these). HY Cell molecular bio would be a good investment of time to understand the concepts rapidly in a day or so as it was tested too (mostly lab techniques, and
    For rest all I found FA adequate to answer most of the Qs. There were Qs which I thought were from other universe but they were hardly 5-6 in each block and I marked anything I wanted considering them to be the dummy Qs but there is no way to find if they were real Qs.

    About breaks-
    I had to take a break after every block and I was patting my back for skipping the tutorial and adding 15 minutes for some large break for meals. Unfortunately, every break consumed 8-9 min (yes no matter even if you don’t do anything special during that time). It really takes time to check out, sign the paper, visit washroom, drink water, eat a chocolate very fast, come back, sign paper again, go to the seat, ENTER THE LOOONG PASSWORD ON THE ORANGE CARD.
    In 6 breaks all my break time was utilized and I never got time to have a lavish 15 min break. So know this very well while planning your breaks.

    Suggestions I would firmly make-(although I haven’t got my score)

    Guys you need only 3 books to do really well on this exam
    1.First aid (recent 2006 edition)- bible for step1 prep
    2.BRS Pathology
    3.BRS Physiology

    Also skim through first 3 chapters of HY neuroanatomy, tables of ethics and physician pt relationships from Kaplan, HY cell mol bio.
    I could answer most of the qs from first aid and almost ALL GRAPHS were from FA.
    Rest do questions, questions and questions…..Although I did not practice qs much I’d have done it if given some more time. I dint find usmlerx/Kaplan similar to the real exam but they were good to get some orientation. Specially Kaplan is hopeless in qs but good in few explainations (I dint do much of it though). I did not do NBME forms but heard that these are very close to the real exam. I have no experience with UW for step1.

    During exam-
    Take break after every block. If you take break during block its irregular behavior (even if you only visit washroom). Take some quick food with you, preferably energy drink and chocolates for high carb diet. Be calm and don’t mark too many qs as you hardly get time to review them. If you don’t know the answer to few qs, its fine, mark something and go ahead.

    This is it for now….it is not that hard but not very easy too. It all depends on your performance on the bigday and presence of mind. They never test very eccentric fundas so always try to focus on answers that are commonly tested.

    I hope this will help atleast few of you for planning your study and exam.
    I will post again if I remember anything significant which I did not mention in this post.
  17. Guest

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    Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:50 pm Post subject: My exam experience and advices


    I’ve been waiting for a long time to write in this section of the forum, a forum that helped me a lot and I’d like to participate at it’s continuity. I’ll start with my presentation:

    I’m Manu, a 4th year medical student from Romania (Cluj). For this 1st Step prepared 4 and a half months. I started reading during my 3rd year of Medical School from the books for step (which seemed to be a good idea), but seriously I started reading in July ’06. I took my exam on the 16th of November.

    The prep:
    Regarding the books, I used the
    - the most important of all, Goljan’s Pathology, the one in 2 volumes, with spiral, scanned. Great book!!!
    - HighYield Series for Anatomy, Neuroanatomy and Embryology and I recommend them, for they are the best.
    - Kaplan Series for Microbiology & Immunology, Behavioral Science, Cell Biology, Histology, Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology (just a few chapters in this one)
    - LANGE for Microbiology and Immunology (great book, but I abandoned it because it’s way too big; I still recommend if you have time to read the Immuno section) and Pharmacology (probably the best book for Pharma, but I abandoned it too after reading most of it, because was way too big and difficult to review in a short time.; from my exam experience I’d say FA is enough for Pharma)
    - Board Review Series for Behavioral Science.. was my first behavioural book and I recommend it to be done together with the Kaplan book because it’s a difficult exam object especially for international students and IMGs.
    - First Aid 2006, the greatest book of all! I recommend it after 1 or 2 readings and especially the week before the test. I think if you know it and understand it, it answers to almost 80% of the questions.

    Also, Goljan’s and Kaplan audio lectures (especially the Behavioral Science ones)

    Regarding Questions:
    - Qbank 2006
    - Qbook 2006
    - Robbins’ Review of Pathology (Klatt and Kumar), referred by p53 and I’d like to thank him for that, because a lot of pathology I got from those questions which I did twice.
    - I tried SS, but abandoned it after I did the General Principles because was way too difficult and it just lowered my morale.

    I attached my day-to-day schedule and my question banks scores here (july, august, september, october, november)
    Advices for the prep:
    - I recommend making a tight learning schedule, not to get interrupted by different events and not to get your prep too long (too many months). The amount of material is enormous and you forget different things very easy, so the delaying of the exam in trying to get more info is a wrong decision, in my opinion.
    - there is no such thing as high yield and low yield, because everything can be tested, so you gotta read all those stuff.
    - I recommend a “learning hygieneâ€, a good plan which must be respected, a plan adapted to your ways of study and which should include questions as soon as possible, best concomitant with your second reading.
    - the questions should be used as learning tools, I mean they shouldn’t be used “to see where I standâ€, ‘cause in this way you’ll become in a short while depressed (I guarantee you won’t excel) and you’ll end up with a state of mind which will bring you more bad things than good. You gotta hold on to your answer sheets from the Qs you made, to review the Qs where you answered wrong before the exam. Also, keep some notes where to write all those things that you’ll get wrong in Qs and all those things you’ll easily forget (like different genes, translocations etc)
    - maybe the most important thing is to keep a high level of your morale during the prep and in the exam.

    the Exam
    -surely the most important, most difficult and the best in evaluating knowledge among all I’ve passed until now.
    -overall was decent. Maybe I got lucky, noy getting one of those impossible exams that I read on other people’s experiences. I don’t really know where I stand with my exam and I hope I won’t speak stupid things but in my oppinion the guys that got 99s aren’t necessarily geniuses, but they worked very hard. If you got less than that, it’s not because you’re stupid, you didn’t got cursed… it means you didn’t study as hard or as efficient and if you’d have done that you’d have equalled their score.
    -don’t get any idea that it’s something unreal; it’s exactly like the CD sent to you only that there are 7 blocks in stead of 3 and you gotta pace yourself here.
    -it’s an tiring exam.
    -I got an average 3-4 liner Qs.
    -the time is enough (I finished my first 3 blocks 13-15 minutes before and used the time for review of break and the rest I finished just in time). Also the 1 hour break is enough (I didn’t use about 15-20 mins out of it)
    -everything got tested. I got about 10 anatomy Qs, some other neuroanatomy Qs, some easy behavioural Qs (not many), not many pharma and microbiology (thanks to the Lord). Most of them were Path..
    -3 pictures were IDENTICAL to the ones in some NBME forms that I’ve done on this forum. Also it helped me a lot the Qbank and Robbins’ Review Qs

    Advices for the exam:
    -take enough food, water, juice
    -if you drink coffee take some to the exam, not to experience the withdrawal headache
    -take some NSAIDs with you (I used 2 diclofenacs)
    -if you usually have problems with your bowel transit when you are nervous, take a prophylactic loperamid in the morning
    -get your seat in the back of the room not to get disturbed by the people taking braks
    -take the seat near the window (I got the seat where I was facing away from it and the light reflected in my monitor and annoyed me)
    -use the ear-plugs or head phones provided.
    -get a good night sleep before

    That’s it! Thank you for your support guys and I wish you only the best in your prep. I am here to respond to your Qs if you have any and if I can. Remember this is my experience… yours may and will be a lot different.



  19. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hi !
    I am visiting this site for the first time.i am planning to take usmle part one this year(2007).i got great information from this forum.i did not undrestand what are these abbreviated for


    also what is the source of getting GOLJAN PATHOLOGY

    rest of all mean brs ,kaplan and first aid i am familiar to them.

    any body wil help me? for above questions.
    in advanc

  20. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I am planning to take usmle part one this year.i am collecting information about this.

    but i couldnot understand one abbrevation

    UW q BANK????
  21. R.Joseph

    R.Joseph Guest


    well just back from exam and thought id share some..well first of all..i can tell you that the exam started off really really well..first block went amazing!..then 2nd block and after..oh man..there were some super obscure questions..i think if i would have to compare them to any of the NBME's, the only one that comes CLOSE is nbme 4..and the exam was tougher than that..usmle world i had a cum. average of 66 percent..but i honestly thought the exam was tougher..i could always come up with a diagnosis, but they would ask the WEIRDEST most obsure things about that diagnosis..oh man..and was 70 percent wasnt too bad..the thing i had a LOT of which i did not expect was biostats..sooo many tough equations..patho was my strong point so im hoping that went ok..LOST of graphs for physiology..know even the ones you dont expect them to test you on..behavioral was easy for the most part..all doctor patient stuff..LOTS AND LOTS of repro and breast stuff were tested in weird ways..and there were at least 8-10 questions where you HAD to be able to identify the slide in order to diagnose..when i practiced i was 90 percent of the time able to diagnose based on the presentation so i wasnt as familiar with the slides which i regret..had a few angiograms..a few weird EKG questions which im hoping are experimental..molecular was really tough..anat. and neuro were pretty straight forward..histo and cell bio were TOUGH!!..they were SOOOO sooo hoping a lot of that was experimental because there are things that ive never seen..and ive completed usmlerx, qbank, usmleworld, robbins, name it..i think ive done it in my not being able to even recognize thigns was scary..the worst feelign is when yo uare reading the whole question and you are sooo happy that you know the diagnosis..and then they ask you soem WEIRD obscure thing at the end..and the answer choices look like they are from feel like the fact that you KNOW what the diagnosis is, doesnt put you at an advantage over those who DONT..and it SHOULD..honestly..i dont know how i would change my studying if i could do it over..all i can that micro was very very straight forward..pharm was too for the most part..patho was very very aggressive..but if youve taken step 2 you are at a GREAT advantage..molecular and cell were off the planet..neuro was was was quite tough..if you guys have a chance to get through that physio it..thats one thing i regret not getting a chance to do.and i KNOW it will be my downfall..questions you think that are really tough on physio qbank and you think they would never ask.COME UP!!..i think the most accurate source was usmleworld..but like i said..i dont know..i still felt the exam was a little tougher..i had some really obscure questions..but we shall see..let me know if you have any questions..
  22. grk

    grk Guest

    hey everyone,
    I have been a silent observer for a while and just thought I would finally post my experience. I took the exam on June 8th. I would say my exam was harder than usmleworld, even though I felt that was a good prep. My first two blocks were really difficult with tons of neuro..pathways, mri, strokes, etc. I would say high yield neuroanatomy is sufficient for all of that. Kaplan wasn't as detailed as they wanted. The behavioral science was tricky but doable, the biostats sucked. Genetics and biochem were staight forward, as was micro and immuno. Physio and pharm were mostly in graph form. Only had a couple embryo and histo questions. Path-all I can say is thank you Goljan..very crucial. My Qbank was a 68%, UW was between 58-62%, and nbme 2 was a 460.
    i think overall it was harder than usmleworld in path, physio, and neuro. the other subjects were pretty comparable to uw. i was a neuro major in school, i scored really high in neuro on the nbme, uw, etc and didn't feel confident about it on the real exam.

    molecular bio...yes, there were the usual jak/stat signalling pathways, but i only had about 5 questions on that. mostly exons and splicing, some pharm mixed in with rat experiments.

    i read first aid probably about 3x before i took the exam. i thought it was great for the pharm and micro parts. i felt confident in those. i also used goljan's notes, audio, slides which were very helpful and that is why i believe my path was my strength. anatomy was also straight forward from kaplan. hopefully i passed, my nbme says enough i guess? idk, i guess it's just "post-exam blues."

    the nbme 2 i feel was really easy and short in comparison to my test. i had long text and only a few one-liners. first aid helps for those k, good luck guys!
  23. Nector

    Nector Guest

    A Four-Step Approach to Tackling USMLE Items

    A Four-Step Approach to Tackling USMLE Items

    Step 1: Read the Question

     Read the question and pick out key words. Key words are diagnostic information, abnormal lab values, indications of gender or race and any qualifying terms.

     Read carefully enough so that you only have to read the question once. Rereading takes time. Read for comprehension the first time.

    Step 2: The Prediction Pass
     After reading the question, stop. Before looking at the options, try to generate an answer, this is called the PREDICTION PASS. USMLE questions are written so that any expert in the field can obtain the correct answer without having any options present. While you may not be an expert in every field, you should try to predict the answer before venturing into "answer choice land."

     With the correct answer in mind, you are less likely to be seduced by distracters. Remember, they are supposed to distract you and convince you to pick the wrong answer. Distractors aren't just randomly generated; they are answers that sound like they could be right.

    Step 3: The Selection Pass

     If you see the answer you predicted, scan the other answers to be sure that it is the best. Then, pick it and move on to the next question. This is the SELECTION PASS. If the answer seems obvious and direct, good. Do not convince yourself into thinking the question must be tricky or more difficult. Most answers will be clearly correct. If you find yourself making up a long story why one option is better than another, stop yourself. You are probably wrong. The correct answer should be clearly correct. If two answers seem to be almost the same, then neither one is probably correct.

    Step 4: The Final Pass
     If, after reading through the options, you are still not sure of the answer, you have one final try, the FINAL PASS. At this stage, rather than trying for a correct answer, you are eliminating those you know to be incorrect. Using this strategy, you can usually eliminate all but two of the options. When you have narrowed your choices to only two options, you have now arrived at the most crucial moment. The correct action at this point is to pick one and move on to the next question. If you are really unsure of the correc answer, which one you pick does not matter. With two options to choose from, you have a 50% chance of getting the question correct rather than the 20% chance you started with.

     Make a choice. Many people waste time at this point by not choosing. Some people, when they have eliminated all but two answers go back and reread the question in hopes of finding some information that will help them choose. Time spent talking with students and watching their thought processes during the exam suggests that this is the wrong strategy. When students reread a question at this point, they tend to add to it or pick out single features that help them feel better about choosing one of the answers. However, it does not help them pick the right answer. By adding assumptions to the question, students may feel more confident, but they are really mentally rewriting the question to be one that they feel more comfortable answering. The answer they pick is then the right answer to the question that they envision, but not for the actual question presented.

     If after these three passes: Prediction Pass, Selection Pass, and the Final Pass, you still are not sure of the answer, your best option is to guess. At this point, click any letter and move on to the next question. Remember, the key to doing well on this exam is to train yourself to make choices. If you do not know an answer, admit it, make your best guess and move on to the next question.
  24. dr.paddy77

    dr.paddy77 Guest


    Hi I am Pradeep. I am in 2nd phase now. I like to prepare for the exam from now onwards. So can you tell me is it better if start preparin now only. Can you give me some suggestions.
    GOOD LUCK. :)
  25. Jambal

    Jambal Guest


    great rabia but how much did you score?
  26. himabindu

    himabindu Guest


    wat a nice spirit u ve got to share ur experience so beutifully .... thanks man... it s such a help for others...

    for how many days did u prepare for step 1.

    all the for the other steps . ll be prayin for u.. tak care...
  27. drmohamed81

    drmohamed81 Guest

    Had exam last wek ,about exam in pathology the CVS was the master i found a lot of qs about rheumatic fever 2 qs were repeated in different blocks about the pathogenesis of rheumatic fever , my exam was the exam of valvular lesions and cardiac auscultation a lot of qs came from this area , GIT appear alot , little qs from HEAMAOLOGY and CNS.

    gross and microscopic pictures were easy and clear except a single slide about the brain

    i can say that about 80% of pathology qs were dirct and clear

    microbiology: direct qs , single question about mech. of resistence of zidovudin , no question about bacterial genetics , (bact.,virus,fungi all were tested)

    behavioral: physician patient relationship , physician patient relationship , physician patient relationship

    ethics , 4 to 5 qs about sleep , 3 about child development , 1 drug abuse and easy questions from other topics (behavioral is well covered in the exam)

    pharmacology: direct qs except 2 or 3 or 4 grafs about km and Vmax that i used to answer it wrong so i can't say anything about them

    physiology: not tough

    now the worst part was ( molecular and immunology ) really there were a lot of qs that i didn't understand and i guess a lot to get the answer which i am sure that it was wrong

    by the way biochemistry was mainly about enzyme and it didn't exceed 15 to 20 qs

    anatomy---->upper limb nerves and muscles mainly

    neuroanatomy---->wasn't as much as i expect

    emberiology---->direct qs

    CT,X-RAY,BRAIN SECTION,SPINAL CORD SECTION: not much and were easy except one that asked about demonestration of abd. hmg.

    these things as i can remeber , i hope it will be helpfull and i will write again if i remeber new qs and when i recieve my score

    pray and ask ALLAH for my score
  28. Guest

    Guest Guest

    thanks for sharing your experience...
  29. trippin_dr

    trippin_dr Guest


    Hey Rabia, thanks for the great insight...

    Most of what you said, I already new, or had been previously told.

    I will keep you in my duaa's, wish you all the best.

    S. Mirza, M.D.
  30. Troy.

    Troy. Guest

    I have had much help from people here so I will share my tips and experience .

    Ok, 1st read , 2nd read , 3rd read ...You DON"T have to follow this ! I studied for four and a half months . Took NBME half way through and scored a 225 . Took another NBME ( NBME @ ) four weeks before the test and scored a 240 .

    Real Usmle grade 245 !

    From my experience - THREE resources is all you need !!!

    1st Goljan audio
    2nd First Aid
    3rd Usmleworld

    You can't possibly know everything . But if you know these three resources very well you will do great ! One final word is that I got discouraged along the way and was gonna give up but soldiered on and just took the stupid test .

    For referece I used Kaplan lecture notes . My advice is to study no more than five months . The material will become mundane and you will be bored and forget a lot of stuff . Yes the test is doable . It is easier than Usmleworld .

    I should also add that my faith in the Lord Jesus was the main reason that I got through this test . Praise the Lord !

    P>S About the actual exam - Pathology was the main topic and Goljan Audio helped to tie in all the different areas . First Aid was great for pharm , micro and biochem . Use kaplan notes for reference when you need more explanation than is in first aid .
  31. Qureshi.

    Qureshi. Guest

    I should start with praise of Allah who made me reach this point. ALHUMDULILLAH. I started off for a journey of 4.5 months of prep. What I did was as under:

    I did all kaplan books twice except behavior that I did once.I dint do kaplan pathology and anatomy
    I did Goljan audios plus rapid review once
    I did HY neuroanatomy but left it in the middle and did neuroanatomy from anatomy of kaplan once .. kaplan's is better than HY
    I did HY HISTOLOGY twice and HY EMBRYOLOGY once
    I did CT scans and MRIs from webpath
    I did gross anatomy neuro from webpath as well
    I saw pictures of robbins

    I gues thats it

    here are my scores

    usmleworld: cumulative 88%
    new Kaplan kaptest 86%
    NBME 1 800
    NBME 2 800
    NBME 3 750
    NBME 4 720

    I dunno what else to write. in case anybody needs any help. Do let me know

    I will be more than happy to help
    All I remember is that when I was opening my result, I was prayin from my God. to grant me something good and that HE DID...believe me HE IS THERE and HE helps u .. only you have to turn to HIM
  32. Max.

    Max. Guest

    Hi! to all

    At last but not da least i am here to post up my experiences...
    This forum is just a real beauty, i must say.. that helped me quiet well..
    It took more than 8 months to appear in the Step1 examination.
    Started slowly, studying 3-4 hrs/day.
    Slowly it gained speed...
    In the end, it was in the hurry ven i could extend ma date but i didnt do it.. rather i burnt my boats and took my 1st NBME examination jst 5 Days before my exam.

    My results are as follows:

    NBME Forum#2 online: 420 equivalent to 199/81 (5 Days before exam)
    got worried alot because i had no time left to extend my final date

    NBME Forum#1 downloaded portion: (420 equivalent to 199/81) 3 Days before exam.

    CD exams 1,2 & 3: 32, 40 & 32 (45 days before exam)

    Q-Bank: Did all questions once and revised 40% of them scoring between 60 and 80 percent (in blocks of 50)

    USMLE World: Did all questions twice scoring between 60 and 80 percent (in blocks of 50) mostly falling around 70.

    FINaL RESuLT: 205/84

    I am so so happy that i did alot better than in NBME (that was given jst 5 days bfore exam)

    I still believe that i could get my score above 90 by jst extending my final date by one month but still i am happy with my score
    I also believe that one can get above 90 percentile if one corrects every 37 of every 50 Questions.
    Wish u best of luck from the core of my Heart.

    Now its time to prepare for Step2...
  33. Sabelmal.

    Sabelmal. Guest

    Hi all,

    I started studying about 11 months ago. But I did not have much time/energy to make a lot of progress in the first few months. I am doing a PhD, and so tried to use the evenings and weekends for reading. I was not very effective at first. Sometimes several days, even weeks would pass without reading. And as time went by, I realized that I had to make a decision, or otherwise I would never take the exam. So I set an eligibility period from January-March. That decision helped me to be determined to make a progress in my study. Through the following months, I went through times of stress, uncertainty, extreme fatigue and fear. But the fact that I had set my date helped me to go on (I am thankful to God).

    - The morale: set a date for your exam early, to help you get in track.

    I started out my study by listening to the Kaplan video lectures I found them very helpful, but was unable to retain much of what I watched. It was particularly helpful to listen to lectures instead of doing the reading myself as I would be tired from the daytimes work most of the days. Later, I started following the lectures with the Kaplan notes, highlighting important points as I went along. That took a long time of my whole study period and I didn't finish my first round of reading until 3 and ½ months for the exam. At first I was concerned, because I had heard that people read the Kaplan 4-5 times before the exam. And I was planning to read it twice if I was lucky! I guess my style of study is to digest the material slowly, and then re-read it once. I believe that there is no need to change a study style one is so used to and is comfortable with, just because others don't use it.

    -The morale: listen to people's advice on how to study, but adapt your own style that you are comfortable with and suits your unique situations.

    For those of you starting to study for the usmle, my advice is, talk to someone who has taken the exam if you can, read exam experiences on this usmle forum and try to get yourself acquainted with what you are going to face. That helps you prepare mentally for what maybe a prolonged siege. When I first started reading people's experience, it was actually relieving to know that it was not just me who is stressed about this whole thing, it was not just me who was unsure of what to read, how much to read and if he/she would be at all successful. It was also inspiring to see the scores of some guys who aced the exam - it must be somehow possible, so I thought reading their posts.

    But one other thing bothering me was deciding on which materials I should cover. As I went through the experiences of people who aced the exam something became apparent people used various approaches, various combinations of books, CDs, questions, reading techniques, etc. So I began to suspect that there is no one single magic potion to remedy this, I had to make my own elixir by mixing all those ones. Whatever, my results will be, I still feel I made the right choice cause I am unique (like each other person), with unique situations, I can't just make somebody else's ways work for me.

    The Morale: find your own combination of materials and methods the will suit you best but take into account others advice.

    With the Kaplan notes, I also started doing some questions from an old Appleton usmle review that I found in the library and my scores were awful!! I remember wondering how on earth I would pass the exam with such a performance! But the questions were good, they helped me to know where I stood, and slowly helped me to get closer to their standards. I started doing better, months later.

    The Morale for the novice: start doing questions early, and do as many as you can.

    7 weeks before the exam I started doing the usmleworld (based on advice from test takers posts on this forum). And I found it tough, but real. At first I was simply completing tests, but later I decided to take notes. So I would do random timed blocks marking the questions I thought were useful and later on I would go over the marked questions and those I were wrong taking notes. Man, it was painful! But I found it very useful. One thing I regret is that I only used the usmleworld for the last 7 weeks. I would advice people to start the usmleworld about midway their study.

    The Morale: use usmleworld and start using it early. Also use other question sources (Qbank, Qbook), if you can afford.

    My aim for the last weeks was to revise the Kaplan for a 2nd time and read First Aid to consolidate my memory. But my energy began faltering. I was bored to death. And that scared. I was going into a tough exam and I was having a feeling that couldn't read well, although I took a 4 week leave from my study. To cut a long story short, I did not have time to read through First Aid (maybe read half of it), I did not have time or energy to listen to Goljan (the most acclaimed study material). I don't encourage others to do the same. I think reading FA towards the end and listening to Goljan from the start is useful.
    And somehow you must try not to loose your energy in the final 2-3 weeks. For you will need your shorter term memory believe me! Some of the questions I missed on the exam are ones that I got right and knew very well 3 weeks before. It is not surprising, because there is a vast material to cover, one displaces the other.

    1 day before the exam, I was really tense, I even had headache and had to take Ibuprofen. I wasn't able to read, except for 2-3 hours of scanning of my crucial - notes on volatile things like cytokines, tumor markers and genetic diseases, etc. That night, I really had difficulty to fall asleep and woke up several times through the night it was bad! However, morning came and went for the exam. Arrived 30 minutes earlier, but they let me start early. The first question was not good, I was not sure of the answer. So was the second. It did not look a good start. But felt better as I went further. Still, I thought the exam was tough. I did not feel that much, when I took the NMBE preparatory questions. I also found that I was not remembering things that I knew quite well 2-3 weeks earlier I was cursing my low energy in the last 3 weeks that left me with no time to revise those things. The other thing was that I tended to stay longer on difficult questions, even questions that looked Greek instead of making a quick educated - guess and passing on. I was punished for that, I only had 1 minute or so when I reached the 46th question, and those questions were easy ones. Well, I learned from that and did faster on the second block. Then I took a break for 10 minutes. Came back and did another two blocks but it felt really long and tiresome. Sometimes, I would find myself thinking about completely unrelated things. I took a lunch break for 30 minutes. Went back and did another two blocks and then 10 minutes break and the final block, hurrah!! But you would be surprised, having passed through those times of emotional rollercoaster the past months, I felt depressed when I finished. I did not think I did ok. I felt it was too much a price to pay. I talked over my feeling with friends that night. And back to normal life the next day, trying to forget that the results are still ahead. One thing I would say about the exam though is that the Kaplan notes and video lectures were good. When those lecturers said, “this is important - the boards love it's, blah, blah, I did not really believe them from my heart. I somehow thought those questions would not appear on my exam. I don't know if it is a coincidence, but they did! When they tell you it will appear on the exam, trust them and make some effort to remember that piece you won't regret it on the exam.

    The morale: It is a long and protracted study, but have some energy for a final sprint in the last 3 weeks before your exam. It is a finishing touch that can make a difference. Use Kaplan video lecture, and when they tell you something is high yield, trust them!!

    So in a nut shell here is my advice for the novice:
    1. Use this forum to get acquainted with the exam and to decide the materials you need
    2. Listen to other people's advice, and select your own strategy I believe there is no one best strategy, and there is no foolproof strategy for that matter. Pray that yours will work.
    3. Based on your resources decide when you can take the exam and set the exam date early that will help you to keep focused
    4. use the usmleworld early
    5. use Kaplan lectures and notes
    6. I think FA is good too, and Goljan must be great, though I haven't heard him.
  34. setar.

    setar. Guest

    I just took the step 1 today, many behavioral science, neuro and experimental questions. exam was not comparable to nbme or uw, very little clinic alot theory.
    if you take the test in frankfurt don t forget to take earplugs with you.
  35. Wasim.

    Wasim. Guest

    dear all,

    i m one of those silent viewers who looks at this site and gets all the inpiration from all these high scorers. today i get the chance to finally describe my experiences.

    it took me 9 months exactly. wich is a lot of time to give to step1 i realize in retrospect.but i had family issues which may have prolonged the time frame.

    each subject took me 15 days in the first read with dvds of physio and biochem and bs.after i finished my first read, i got scared from the enormity of the course at hand and even thought of quitting studying but then gathered some courage and started the second read, 10days each and at the end of it qbook subjectwise after each subject.

    did my third read in one month and then bought online qbank and did it in 16 days exact.did it mixed timed,(most stressful days of my prep but also the most fruitful learning wise)

    took a 4 days break and then bought online uw. did it all mixed timed in 14 days and then i had 18days to revise everything and go for the test.

    test itself was tough. if uw is 6/10, test was 7/10. i had a headache in the first two blocks, may be thats why i thought it was tough.

    my break timing was two blocks, breakk, two blocks break, then a break after every block.

    i used kaplan and goljan.

    any querries, im here to help.

    best regards,
  36. Sakul.

    Sakul. Guest

    i m glad that i got a chance to post here. i will not take long, just short and sweet exam experience...

    total preparation time- 9 months

    exam tools-

    kaplan notes(except patho),
    goljan notes(500,100 pages),
    highyield(for anatomy, histology,embryology,neuroanatomy)

    kaplan q book

    first aid

    preparation details- i have devided my prep in 4 phases.

    3.5 month- 1st read
    2.5 month- 2nd read
    2 month- 3rd read
    1 month- last read

    3.5 months- 1st read-

    i have used kaplan notes+goljan.
    during 1st read i had just took simple overview and sorted out my weak areas in every subjects.

    2.5 months- 2nd read-

    i have used kaplan notes+goljan+highyields+ q book after each subject
    i used highyields bcoz i was weak in anatomy, neuro, and embryo.
    i have made a my notes from q book from the qs that i answered wrong.

    2 months- 3rd read-

    i have used kaplan notes+goljan+ uw(taken online)+first aid
    i did uw as untimed mode. read the each explanation. and made a notes from uw. mean while i listed a topics in my note books that i have to revised in last 3 days b4 exam.

    1 month- last read-

    guys.... that period was crazy for me...
    initially i had not idea what to do in last i have read, whatever came in mind...just gone crazy.. afterall i m a human being...

    so during last month, i have read my weak topics from kaplan, goljan that i have made a list abt those..revised uw second time..

    during last week-- i did my notes(that i had made from q book, uw) goljan 100, first aid. above all my notes helped me a lot in real exam..thanx...

    real exam experience-took on december-2007

    i was much tensed that day... but exam was really good.. no problem with time management... did first 3 block back to back...then took 15 min break...then 2 block back to back-->15 min break--> one block-->15 min break-->last block...

    i got so many qs those r totally new for me.... but those r so simple that even u dont know anything u can give true answer by simple logic.
    got so many graphs, tables, ct, mri, patho slide specially be careful abt that...


    kaplan q book- 72% average
    uw- 76%
    nbme- did not do.. even i didnt know anything abt it.

    real step 1 score-- reported on february-2008

    that was............ 252-99 ................
    i have no word to explain my happyness..such feeling euphoria since one week....
  37. Viren.

    Viren. Guest

    Thanks God at 1st and at last for my score.
    *pathology goljan audio,BRS
    *physiology BRS
    *behavier BRS + kaplan DVDs
    *anatomy Hight yeild
    *pharma Hight yeild but discover that 1st aid is bitter.
    *neuro 1st aid+brain stem lesion,cainial nerve tables,aphasia,brain areas....hight yeild
    *biochemstery 1st aid+(kaplan books and DVDs for DNA & genetics only)
    *microbiology 1st aid is verry enough
    *immunology 1st aid +kaplan DVDs(verry good)
    *Embryology 1st aid verry enough
    *Q book kaplan
    *Qbank kaplan score around 70%
    *usmle rx not compleated(easier than the exame)
    *study hard is more important
    ** try to learn some slids the part in the 1st aid is verry enough
    Do your best for highter score
  38. nishiken.

    nishiken. Guest


    Now when I am done with Step 1 I am ready to post my experience in hope that somebody may find it useful.

    About myself. I am IMG with MD diploma from Medical school in St.Petersburg, Russia, and with PhD degree from University in Russia. Graduated from med school in 1996 and worked as a researcher since then. Research was successful with dozens of publications most in medium/upper tier journals (J. Neurosci, J. Neurochem etc.). About half a year ago I had become increasingly bored by the very basic research I was doing and decided to pursue the career of Physician/Researcher with an emphasis on the translational research.

    Preparation: Trust me; I was scared in the beginning! 10 years passed since I graduated from med school and I forgot everything except very basics. I was studying for about 6 month part time (continued working as a postdoc to support my family) but used all free time available (that life was no fan at all).

    (1). Kaplan video lectures and lecture notes. These are excellent except the pathology ones. Gone through lectures once and through lecture notes twice. Threw away the pathology ones and instead listened to (2) Goljan pathology lectures (highly recommended stuff! It is also so much fun to listen Goljan). (3) Microbiology book from BRS (mediocre) and (4) BRS Pathology (this one is good!). (5) High Yield Embryology (I liked it), (6) BRS Physiology (good one but if you can understand Physiology lecture notes from Kaplan – skip this book, they basically cover the same topics). I did not read anything specific for biochemistry, my PhD in Biochemistry really helped. Kaplan’s Biochemistry lectures/notes were sufficient to cover medical aspects of biochemistry and hard core molecular biology I likely know better than those who make questions for the exam. (7) FirstAid – good book to review your knowledge of facts before the exam. Use it as a reference while studying also. But do not start your preparation by reading FirstAid. Even if you will manage to remember the facts you will never understand the way of thinking the USMLE requires of you. The questions simply testing your knowledge of facts are nonexistent on the exam.
    Lesson I learned: do not try to read many books; choose a few but know them really well.

    Questions fro practicing:
    Qbook (I did not do Qbank) – good source of questions, questions are somewhat easier than on the real exam.
    UsmleWorld – best source of questions to my opinion! Challenging, pushing your thinking to the very end, format very similar to USMLE, excellent explanations. I did 100% of the questions in the tutor mode, almost fried my brain and scored 78% during the first pass.
    UsmleRx – not recommended, inexpensive but questions are sub par. 1-2% of questions have mistakes. Same topics tested multiple time which is simply a waste of your time. For example I had at least 10 questions from this UsmleRx asking different ways what protein is mutated in Kartagener syndrome. I KNOW IT IS DYENIN STOP ASKING ME. AAAA!!!! I scored 82% + few percent of questions with mistakes.

    Exam experience.
    The computer system in Prometric center crashed that morning! The staff offered everybody to go home and reschedule for free. No way! I was preparing for this day for 180 days and I was not ready to go home virgin. Plus it was the last day of my eligibility period. Most other docs felt the same way, only one lady quit. Exam started around 10 am. Time was not an issue for most of the blocks. I had to rush little bit during the last 2 blocks. I suspect that the difficulty of questions is adjusted based on your performance during previous blocks. I had very difficult questions during my last two blocks (or I was just plain tired?). My biggest problem was doctor/patient relationship questions. Answers were not obvious and there are not clear rules to answer this type of questions. I scored worst in behavioral because of these questions. To my frustration biostatistics and epidemiology were not heavily tested. Lots of Pathology (as expected) with many MRIs CTs and Xrays. In contrast to what other people say it was important to understand what is going on on these pictures. Text was not enough. Lots of microbiology questions with pictures of bugs with insufficient magnification. Many pharmacology questions tested my knowledge of side effects but these were easy –well known side effects such as dry cough with ACEIs. There were weird questions asking for something that is not in the books. But I have found that it was usually possible to think through these questions using common sense. For example I had a question with patch clamp recordings from cardiac muscle. Have any idea how patch clamp works? I did not. But when I spent some time thinking, I realized that the principle of patch clamp was irrelevant, even the knowledge of ion currents in cardiac muscle was irrelevant. The only thing that was important is to notice a specific pattern of changes in the curves on the figure and match it with the answers. So that question did not test my knowledge of the patch clamp, it did not test my knowledge of cardiac muscle physiology either. It tested my IQ. My advice – do not be desperate even with the questions that look impossibly difficult. Try to think some logic!

    My score is 262/99.

    I am in Atlanta, GA area and if somebody is in trouble and want to talk in person, I might be able to help.
  39. Denial.

    Denial. Guest

    This is for those who are still struggling....

    I was one of you. I started with 40% of diagnosis test, Qbank 50 something, UW 50 something...then NBME 180, then 207,.i though I am dumb, idiot, ..and few months of study, uw ..and more study...I got 229/95, ..not 99 but satisfied.

    No need to say more about materials, time, how-to. The only solution is to be honest to yourself, open you books again, digest them well, get the the point that you read the q in 30 second and spinal reflex to the answers...or link to the other answer....then you are ready.

    I am not proud as those people with 99, but believe everthing is posisble.

    Not be scared by people' saying ,this, that... Focus on what you need to know.

    I don't think the test is try to fail you, instead I feel they are very 'friendly' lead you the 'right' answer...they are not as tricky as UW.

    Their purpose is to pass those who know the stuff, fail those who only know the "kind of" " sort of" " I guess...". ambiguous-answer type of students.

    I did take on advice from the forum, GO TO THE PRACTICE SESSION, sitting there for 3 hourse reallly help me relax for the real exam. The half of the exam is similar to the practice one, and the other half is little bit longer and harder, but you know they cook the same materials...over and over again.

    very few q that I never heard about it, the rest is either I don't remember or I don't know well enough.

    My own exam (not represent all) : Don' think the high yelids help, Kaplan is good but not total, Anatomy is totally out of blue. A lot of Micro, pay attention to the mechanism...
    Some q are from the memory of school years. Like real bio rhyman without light is 25 hours a day, histo of pituitaty cells. I appreciate good training from my school at that point.

    Don't be scared don't be frustrated, it's all possible, as long as you are honest to yourself, sincerely think what you read.
  40. Seldom.

    Seldom. Guest

    hey friends...i got my score 78/192 passed....this might not sound as good as 99 ,but it means heaven for me... after my exam ,i had put my post saying i was scared that i would loose...i made lot of silly mistakes.....i got to thank god,my family and all my wonderful friends in this forum who gave me courage and helped me.........THANK UUUUUUUUUUUUU.

    i dont have an idea,how to tell my eperience...or is it good enough...anyways here it is.i am a IMG,STUDYING TIME-4Months.
    MATERIALS USED....kaplan books,uw,FA,brs physiology,few high yield books for anatomy,lange Q/A,kaplan Q book.

    truly speaking all my score wr low...still i took a chance.the best resource was FA & UW.
    uw-initially was 50-55%,end of 1month-in 60's.mistake i did was...i only took it for 1month...i realised it it for maximum time u can....its the best.
    kaplan q book-high 70's to low 80's.
    nbme-1,2,3-360...i never paseed those.
    i am sure my experience is gonna help those who feel same as what i felt.
    dont worry study maximum you calm for exam,sleep good....and leave it to god....miracles happen.
  41. Rockson.

    Rockson. Guest

    I took the exam last december.

    I had prepared for 7 months.

    I felt that in each block approximately 45 questions were easy to moderate difficulty and had no problem in answering them. The other 5 questions were hard and had a clue but not really sure if I got them right.

    After the test I was not feelling as everybody told me I should feel (confused). Instead I felt I gave a really good exam.

    There were a lot of questions of molecular biology, so if I have to study again I would cover this better.

    I had a lot of diagrams and figures.

    I found that all the blocks had the same difficulty, and this is also different from other people experience...

    Well I hope that this can help.
  42. lymph.

    lymph. Guest

    I did the step one on wednesday, this is what surprised me:
    1.The questions were all cases and pathophysiology.
    2. There were no embryology questions
    3.very few questions on immunology and behavioral
    4. alot of neuroanatomy

    My advice, solve alot of questions and Kaplan notes are very sufficient. In the end it was common sense and clinical practice. Good luck to all
  43. Maddy.

    Maddy. Guest

    m an average img
    my score 99/240
    time 7 -8 months
    study materials goljan for path 1 reading and kaplan notes all 2 readings only as i m a slow reader
    did only USMLE WORLD questions tutor mode score70% [77 percentile]
    not did kaplan q bank
    did only half q book
    read first aid in last month for revision with my personal notes
    last day saw ct and mri from hy neuro

    exam experience
    difficulty level similar to uw
    took no break between first 2 blocks then 5, 10, 10, 20, 10min break
  44. som.

    som. Guest

    . i started my prep in feb ,but seriously in march.took me three months to complete my first revision,with older version of dvds..strated a 2nd review before doing kaplan q bank .my piece of advice-
    1. do the q banks as there are certain topics which covered only in UW and some only in kaplan Q bank.

    2write nbme 10-15 days before exam and again 3 days befre the exam .everyone may not agree with this but in my case ,it helped me ease my tension and it helped to stop worrying about my score.nbme3-580(236) and nbme 4-570(234)-10 days before exam .did them continuously for eight hours just like the real exam.3 days before nbme1-630(245).very similar to the exam.some questions even repeated from nbme.

    3*write the exam only when u r confident .dont take any chance.

    4*all subjects kaplan except goljan for patho.make sure u prepare notes from both q bank and UW,along with those topics u forget so that u can revise only the notes just before the exam

    5*dont spend too much time on discussion forums from 1 month before exam.u see time flying by withou u noticing it.

    this is my opinion u may agree or not its upto u.
  45. Digon.

    Digon. Guest

    Hi All!

    took the test on december.i am img ,graduated 1999 tbilisi med scool in georgia (former soviet republic).i am not perfect in english wrighting,since i did lern the languadge by miself 6-7 years back,so please ignore my mistakes here.

    prep.time---7-8 months full time

    materials i used;;Biochem--lippincott


    Phisio-- costanso text book

    pathol--Goljan RR,audio lectures (must,must,must!)

    anat,neiro-HY,Kaplan home study


    for all subjects FA,UW 52-56%,Kaplan on line-62-65

    did not do any forms of NMBE.

    exam day-coud not sleep for 2 nights,so it became difficult on 5-6-7 blocks.Time menagment was no problem,i did two blocks in 1 shot-10min brake- lock3-4-30 min brake-block5-6-then 5min brake onlyand last7 block.

    Over all i think u can do it,little difficult,but.....questions-majority from path,phisio.micro,pharm,rest little bit of each,some verry weard Q are there too to make u HAPPY,so thats about it.Now time to pray,nothing else i can do,my results be probably january,i just hope i will pass.
  46. angel.

    angel. Guest

    hello all....
    time has come to write my experience now...
    i had a very very bad experience for the first block ....
    cud answer only 20 ques...very very bad....cud not even make a diagnosis of ques...and dint know how to proceed.....
    was in total shock wat was happening n i lost all my confidence....cud not even manage time in tht block....questions were so vague ....dint know which way they go...i mean i cudnt even exclude out of choices
    then took a 10 min break...prayed...relaxed...
    then went for was ok...not too tough not too easy...choices were very close...
    used to take a break of 5 min after each block....
    third fourth were ok...
    fifth sixth were a litle tough but not like the first one...
    seventh was ok...not too tough but btw 3/4 and 5/6
    time management was not a problem later
    questions were not direct....
    were complex u had to make a diagnosis earlier then they asked something or the other about tht
    3,4 ques in each block were in which i cudnt even exclude just made guesses
    rest all questions were not like kaplan qbank were more inclined towards UW...
    i mean u need not cram all the things...
    was more of understanding...
    questions were u had to scratch ur brain .....
    many questions were done just by exclusion....
    anyways it has all ended just pray for scores
    u never know how u did until u get scores coz ques were mostly done by exclusion method
    thanks to all of u for helping me so much....
    thanks AD,step99....SOS,cutekity,milee,genbot ,goodgirl n yes new_ur_lost too
    thanks a lott for helping me in pharma..
    i m sorry if i forgot anyone....
    i cross checked my questions now but were coming wrong so stopped dng that....was making me tense...
    now wud relax for 2-3 weeks
    praying for scores now...
  47. Nelson.

    Nelson. Guest

    hey guys,i hav been surfing n following da discussions on this MLE forum for a while now,n used to read many

    students' experiences bout da exam n their prep,n used to think,when will i get my turn?n finally im happy to write

    in this block...i finally cleared my step 1,wit not dat gr8 result to mention....i got 85/206....i know its not very gud

    score in current situation,but atleast i hav a chance to go fwd wit it n attempt S2 to get a gud score,bcoz after

    failing once in S1,i thought im totally waste,n couldnt make it,....i was totally lost,...but thnx to all da wonderful

    seniors v hav who timely guide n support us to our goal...i wanna THANK them frm da bottom of my heart,to all those

    who replied to my silliest of da querries n ya now i can help others wit any querries in their exam prep in S1....heres is mine exp(which is not much

    diff than others,so i wont stretch it much)....
    I gav my S1 in OCT,i read Kaplans for all subjects in my first attempt,n did Kap Q bank(half),UW,n

    failed.....but then i decided to hav another go at it;i gav my exam on 12th FEB-n-this time i revised da same stuff again thoroughly...meaning KAPLANs for all except for Patho,for which i

    used Goljan,then i read FA,solved UW properly,bcoz previously i had 2 rush thru it,so i made notes of it n read it thoroughly, it helped me a da main Q which all mle aspirants in preparing S1 is,bout PAtho-which bk to

    follow,KAP/Goljan?most of us r confused n waste time in finding for 2 cents of advise wud b,u can go for

    either,but do it THOROUGHLY,....but if u compare both,GOLJAN is anytime better n advised by every1,i also share

    da same opinion,after reading both now...but u hav to be really patient in listening to da audio n then bk,Goljan

    Patho review(STARS-which is same as da audio),bcoz its a bit time consuming,so begin wit it asap,but if u dont hav

    time,n if u hav read KAP previously,then just revise it...dont worry,it doesn't mak much diff.....JUST REVISE as

    many times as possible anything u do,to get da confidence on dat sub...this holds true for all sub
    Other bks like GANONG,BRS for BS,like stuff,if u can get,can b used as reference....but da

    absolute GOLDMINE is FA,it is the ONLY perfect guide to revise da stuff,especially in last few days....but dont use

    it as main TB,read it only after reading da revise da stuff....
    MCQs-solve as many as possible,once u start solving Q bank---I solved UW n some part of

    Kaplans Q BANK,but do UW thoroughly,i got a lot of Q's from it,many concepts were used from UW in both my

    exams,so understand the concepts properly n write it down,but some Q in UW r too lenghty,u wont get such lenghty

    Q in final exam...try to solve KAPLAN's STEP1 PRACTICE,n da USMLE CD Qs....its also helpful...
    After solving UW n revising my notes,i took NBME 3,2 wks b4 da real exam,n got around da

    same score i got now....but i was not able to give other NBME exams,instead i revised HIGH yield topics

    Kap,Goljan,da last time to regain my confidence,n last 2-3 days just read FA my notes properly to boost it...But try

    to give NBME,all da forms, helps u judge ur prep...n after revising all,once u feel confident,then only go for ur

    Donot keep much stuff to read on da last all seniors say,wind up ur revision by

    evening,tak a proper dinner,as u always hav,n dont get tensed,just relax...i know im da nth person saying this,but

    every1 has tension,b4 da big day to face,but just try to avoid thinking of it,n sleep as early as possible,bcoz even

    after goin to bed early,u tend to actually get sleep after 2-3 hrs in exam tension,n also due to attending calls of

    ALL da BEST from ur loved ones adds up to it....but u shud get atleast 6-7hrs of sleep b4 da exam,.....or else its

    difficult to concentrate during exam...Take all da stuff properly to exam centre n reach well b4 time....MONITOR

    ur own break time properly...Also during da exam,just b confident in whatever answer ur marking,dont think over it

    again n again,i know in exam tension,u tend to do so,but if u understand the Q n get da catch in da Q, u will mark

    correctly most of da dont worry...n if u dont know da answer,or hearing for da first time kinda Q,then also

    dont mark blindly,the options r such that u can cross out da wrong answer n short list da options to 1/2,n mark by

    instinct....u will b rite most of da time,...if u get confused in exam tension,mark da Q,dont waste too much

    time,answer it wat u think,n come back to it again later...
    Finally ALL DA BEST to all da new aspirants prep 4 USMLE not a gud writer,but i

    hope,my exp wont bore u helps u boost up ur sincere advice wud b "JUST BELIEVE IN URSELF,n

    ALWAYS SAY -'U WILL MAKE IT' 4 any kind of querries to me,i will definitely help....
  48. Millenium.

    Millenium. Guest

    i m an average img
    my score 99/240
    time 7 -8 months
    study materials goljan for path 1 reading and kaplan notes all 2 readings only as i m a slow reader
    did only USMLE WORLD questions tutor mode score70% [77 percentile]
    not did kaplan q bank
    did only half q book
    read first aid in last month for revision with my personal notes
    last day saw ct and mri from hy neuro

    exam experience
    difficulty level similar to uw
    took no break between first 2 blocks then 5, 10, 10, 20, 10min break
  49. Nervana.

    Nervana. Guest

    Hi, I posted my exam experience before (,and got my score yesterday. It was low, but enough (205,83) to pass!!
    For all people who believe that age and years after graduation are a big limitation, that's not true. Determination and discipline are the keys to get over these things, as most in life. I graduated 25 years ago, I've studied ligth for 3 months and hard (but not full time because I work 8 hours a day) for other 3 months. My score was a little lower than the average gotten with 3 NBME, but I think it was because I got exausted after the 5th block and i started answering fast without thinking enough (I just wanted to finish).
    Any way, I'm happy, and ready to start my preparation for the next one.
  50. Stewen.

    Stewen. Guest

    hi there,

    I have been studying for step 1 for quite some time now. i wrote it recently in november, after studying for it for about 4 months. unfortunately i failed. i will be honest though, i never put in my hard effort, nor my 100%. more like my 70%. i think i can learn a concept very fast, but it takes me a while to imprint it in my memory. i think i was too rushed, so i was very bad at memorizing. my usmle world scores were about a 85, but my nmbe and my step 1 score was horrible .

    i know that since i failed, some people will look at this post and ignore it. because "she failed-what does she know about prepping for this well" . trust me i have said that about alot of posters myself. but i realize now that their posts are the most important. because they have tried various things, failed and can tell you what not to do, or what was definite in helping.

    i read step 1 the wrong way from the start. i chose to do kaplan audios and videos. but they were too lengthly, that near the beginning i was just listening and reading ot hurry up and complete them and move on to the next kaplan subject. i was not retaining anything. kaplan audios were about 40 hours per subject, whereas pass program is 40 hours total . i wish i had done pass program from the start. to me, its better to read something small and reread and reread and know that well. then read something big, and have no time to reread and learn it.

    i used first aid too late.

    this is what i would do if i could redo it.

    this is a one year schedule. you can trim it to however you wish.

    but i stress doing it by organ. i stress using first aid early on, and ading your notes in it so you can pick it up at one point and just read that and only that. and feel comfortable that its quoting from your other sources as well.

    i would read it all by organ, it helps paint a picture. personally reading a chapter on pharm terrifies me, but if i read one page for the heart when im doing cvs its less intimidating. thats why i suggest doing it by organ.

    anywho.. this is ROUGH OUTLINE. that i highly suggest.

    this is all i suggest you use as material: pass program, goljan audio/notes/pictures and first aid. as well as qbank or usmle world.

    1st month: Pass program videos and notes. they are about 50 hours total in length but they summarize everything really well and give you a good handle on the information. teach you key ways to look at the questions. the notes are also very good. i feel they filter out a lot of junk that kaplan tells us to learn, but sometimes too much info is just overwhelming and we don't retain anything. i feel pass program teaches us slightly differently , im not sure how high yield it is. but it definitley helped me in my weak areas like git, renal, cns. it sorta dumbed it down for me.

    2nd month: goljan audios wit its notes. its about 40 hours of audio. his lecture class divides it in 5 days, 8 hours daily. do it however you wish to. use his slides as well to help u get the information better.

    for both first and second month, i STRESS that you know those notes well. not just glance at them. you are given 30 days to do 40 hours of audio and notes. do not let yourself down and take advantage of such a time flex. know those notes well. i learnt if you work hard the first time, you dont need a second time to reread that information. I also, suggest refering back to first aid as you complete something in goljan or first aid. to ensure that "yes first aid does have it" or "no first aid doesnt, let me add it in".
    this way at the end your one source will be first aid. and you will have those extra notes to help you fil in the gaps first aid was missing.
    also everyone hypes up first aid so much. for me, i get insecure when i switch texts, and keep on looking at my old text to make sure my new text is right. so what i do now is, at the end of the day when i am watching tv, needing a break, i just flip through my notes, read them. and find them in first aid and read. this way when u eventually need only first aid, you will find it easy to use as you used it once already casually.

    trust me-one thing i am proud of is my first aid book. it is amazing. it has every single note that it missed from kaplan or pass program or goljan. its a huge book-lol. but it has everything. now in my retake attempt, i could if i wanted to jtu read my first aid and be more than ready along with questions. i would be covering kaplan, pp, and goljan in one READing material. but i will still use the study plan i made, as i learn from listening. don't think its too late to make a first aid book like i made.
    honestly speaking first aid has everything. but no one gives it that credit. when you start reading a text, and searching for that information in first aid you will be shocked at how many times first aid had it. about 15% of your reads , first aid wont have. that's all. it wont take that much time out of your day to add in a line or two, every video into your first aid.

    3d month-8th month: total of 5 months.

    these are the things you need to cover.
    biochem, physio, micro,immuno,cns,cvs,resp,endo,git,hem,musc,onco,repro,renal,derma, pharm

    i suggest for each and every single thing. you give yourself say two weeks -MAXIMUM.

    example: cvs: know the pass program , goljan, FIRST AID . keep in mind you used these three sources during your first two months, so it should be comfortable. and it should be a review if anything.

    example:eek:n all of cvs. perhaps do 3 days of each , then the last few days is reread, and questions. what i do is, the first day is the physio/anatomy of it. the second say is reread that. the third/fourth day is path. the fifth-sixth day is pharm of it. the seventh day is just questions. then the second week is redoing that all.

    for some things like dermatology and musculo there is way too litle information, so ofcourse that can be covered in a day or two.

    for some subjects there is no goljan, example biochem. so just do what you have for it, first aid, pass program.

    from month nine-month 12 : it should be spent doing questions. and reading first aid
    the way i do it is, i will spend 3 days to run through one of the organs , ie reread the two weeks i spent on cvs but read it in 2 days. then do questions. and see if i know my stuff.


    this study plan is very flexible , i did it on purpose so you can add in what you think is best.

    i knwo everyone raves about kaplan, but i personally thought it was too much information and i did not like the style. it didnt retain for me at all. pass program and goljan does retain because they talk to you casually, not so business like as in kaplan.

    also there are two ways to do audio and readings.
    if you have a month to do it, you can do it slow and steady and spend a month doing it once.
    OR you can do it in two weeks, and hten redo it in two weeks. this way after the second time you will realize "wow i forgot this" or "wow i must have learnt this well" it will identify for you what areas you did not retain and what your studying style is, if it is working for you or not. i think the second way is th best way. my first study time was spent, me taking the maximum time i could per subject to read. at the end of it, i would be in such a rush to start the next subject. but later i realized how much i had forgotten in my first subject.

    divide up your work now. read it once, then again , then again. you will be realizing what you forget, and being able to correct your mistake then and there.

    i really hope i helped. i can not stress how imp it is for you to look at your sources now, and figure out how to use them .

    everyone takes a year or six months to do it. but i think the time flys by. figure it out now where you can put in maximize practice reread time. use this wonderful website, get your sources ready. do not get confused with what to use for micro, when you are doing micro. ask ahead now!!

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