My step1 experience!!

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

  1. Mehul.

    Mehul. Guest

    hey all,
    I am not a 'forum person' as such but this forum helped me a lot at times. So just felt like sharing my experience with you guys.

    when i saw 99/242 on my score report..it was a moment of relief..for all the hard work it took...good to know it was all worth it...

    It took me 5 months...but serious studying was only for 3 months i should say...but it worked out well...

    I read kaplan material just once...Didnt feel the need of revising it...But i went through all the UWORLD Qs..i marked the difficult and incorrect ones...I went through them again and again and again...it was boring reading through the long explanations..but there i used the 'highlight' facility and read only the highlighted lined in the end...Also i made sure i make small notes of my own in my notebook...So i could revise all important basic things that i cudnt afford to forget...So there were times when i didnt want to stare at my laptop screen, still i cud just read the notes and gain a lot...

    Reading kaplan theory over and over again doesnt really give you an edge...solve more and more Qs...dats about it...Any questions you see; solve it..NBME, Uworld, i even solevd the wiki tests...

    I had many friends who revised kaplan thrice and they did well too...At times i was confused whether to do what others do and play safe. ..But i didnt have that much time...I followed my own study plan and it worked out well for me...

    So guys..make your own study plan...don't just go for what others do..know your stregths well...more importantly, know your weaknesses well...Take some online tests to judge where you stand..feel confident and just crack it...
  2. pritam.

    pritam. Guest

    I got my score on Wednesday at around 6:30am (yea it was early…….and I was hyperventilating as I opened the PDF doc)
    I got a 245/99
    I was ok with the score…………its respectable………I wished it was a bit higher………and am hoping its enough to get a categorical surgery position at a university program.


    I began studying late December and took my exam on March 22nd. My days were long (i.e. varying between 12 -18 hours a day……….everyday), and I studied in 4 hr blocks. Usually I would take out an hour in the evenings…..go for a walk……..and listen to Goljan. If I was too tired too read b4 going to read………I would also listen to goljan. This is what worked for me…….its different with everyone else.

    I studied by subject…….not by organ systems, b/c Kaplan doesn’t really divide their books that way. I pretty much counted the number of pages I needed to cover and divided by the approximate number of days I had (i.e. about 50 – 60 pages a day). Every day I did between 50 – 200 questions……depending on how much time I had. I paid close attention to the explanations……….as they filled important gaps in my notes.

    I left about 2 weeks for review. During this time I re-read my pathology notes and read thru First Aid. I also did a random block of questions every day from USMLE World up until the day of the exam
    A week b4 the actual exam I took a practice exam at the Prometric Center…………it familiarized me with the place and my anxiety level was definitely much lower…….I would highly recommend it……

    So exam day…………….was a bit scary (at first), but uneventful. Its easy to psyche yourself out…….but try to think of it as a practice exam…….and keep going.
    I did 2 blocks……took a 10 minute break……….another two blocks…..a lunch break………two blocks………bathroom break………….and finally the last block. During my breaks I ate tangerines (pre-peeled), mini snickers bars, took a swig of coffee; For lunch I had a cheese sandwich and mini- snickers bar. The sugar and caffeine refills kept me going. Try not to have anything with high protein……..or a heavy lunch for that matter……………….you wanna stay awake.

    Sources
    Overall:
    Kaplan 2008 lecture notes
    BRS – Anatomy
    First Aid
    Class lecture notes – Pharmacology, Physiology, Pathology
    Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple
    Goljan Pathology Notes,
    Goljan tapes
    Lipincott Pharmacology
    Web path – for path pics…./ also……random Google image searches for pics. Make sure you know the high yield pics…………I definitely had a significant number on my exam.

    Qbanks / Practice questions
    USMLE WORLD (OMG THIS IS SOOOOOOOOOOO IMPORTANT!!!!!)
    Kaplan Qbank
    Kaplan qbook
    Wiki questions
    Histo bank questions
    UTAH medical school website with practice questions for each subject.
    NBMEs (first 4)
    ------------------------------------------------
    Biochemistry – Read & took notes thru lipincott’s & then went thru Kaplan 2008 biochemistry lecture notes. Technically lipincott’s is enuf………I scored about 91% on usmle world questions in biochemistry after just reading lipincotts.

    Anatomy & Neuroscience: Anatomy BRS, Kaplan, Neuroanatomy atlas (the one we receive in 2nd term)

    Physiology: Kaplan, and lecture notes from class. I would normally read thru each lecture packet and then read the corresponding section in Kaplan. It allowed me to get a better understanding of each topic and read thru Kaplan pretty quickly. Keep in mind………….I had already been over these notes twice before (i.e. during 2nd term and 5th term), so this was the third time. In my opinion…….the Kaplan physiology is not enuf to cover physio………..

    Pathology: Ok………so here is where I may differ from most people in my preparation. In 4th term, I had made the decision to take notes from Robbins & Goljan and combine them into a complete set of pathology notes……….I did this as each section was being covered. Take notes from whatever path book your school uses. It takes a lot of work , but in the end it was worth it. I didn’t need any other source to cover pathology.

    Microbiology: I kinda went overboard on this topic………b/c it’s not my favorite. I used Kaplan micro lecture notes & Micro Made ridiculously Simple . Either resource can be used……..but the latter is my favorite b/c there are weird pics and pneumonics that help you remember various points. Technically……….First Aid is also enough for this topic.

    Pharmacology: Wasn’t too much a fan of Kaplan pharmacology……So I used Lipincott’s pharmacology book. First Aid is also more than enough for this topic.
    Behavioral Science & Biostatistics: Kaplan is more than enough. Ummmm first aid is a close second.

    Qbanks and Questions
    USMLE WORLD - (Avg – 84%) / 85% of Qbank completed
    Kaplan Qbank – (Avg – 80%) – 100% completed
    Kaplan qbook – (Avg – 85%) – 75% completed
    Wiki questions - (Avg - 90%) = 100% completed
    UTAH medical school website with practice questions for each subject.

    NBMEs (first 4)
    i. NBME 1 = 238 = 1 month out
    ii. NBME 2 = 244 = 3 weeks out
    iii. NBME 3 = 247 = 2 weeks out
    iv. NBME 4 = 244 = 1 week out

    The several must haves are: Goljan book and tapes, USMLE World Qbank, and NBME practice tests…… everything else can be switched around or debated.
    Good luck to anyone about to take their exams. If anyone has questions after reading this……feel free to PM me.
  3. vinoo.

    vinoo. Guest

    This is more for me to keep a log and to remind me where I've been and to look my progress in the future. If anyone feels like posting and giving their opinion I will be glad. Anyways, let me introduce my background:

    Graduated in 2008, moved to the States and have had to work ever since almost full time due to personal and family reasons but thankfully in a very good field related to medicine so I haven't been out of touch. Nonetheless I've been studying all this time and attempted to take Step 1 Oct/09 and... failed. I did Kaplan (live lectures and qbook), did uworld and FA but still managed to fail. Probably I didn't prepare well enough, probably had to much going on.

    When I received my grade I felt destroyed but managed to get back on my feet and decided that quitting was not an option, asked my boss to give me only 2 shifts per week at the lab and went back to the book. First I went book by book; Goljan first, Kaplan phys second, pharm third, MMRS fourth, second I took Kaplan QBank around Feb and March and finished that after using only 1292 q's and an overall 57% correct, Kaplan's score estimator gave me a 222 with a +- margin of 16.

    April 30th I took uworld Assessment Exam 2, scored a 500 and a projected score of 219. Yesterday, May 14th I finished uworld, meaning I did all 2078 q's and finished with an overall 63% and if I follow the formula that is running around, that would relate to a score of 235. My plan is to take NBME Form 4 this Monday May 17. My exam will be on June 2 and planning on taking NBME Form 2 on May 26 which exactly a week before I'm able to reschedule my exam without having to pay a fee.

    Definitely I feel exhausted, I just want to get over this and hopefully I will because again, I knew it wasn't easy, I knew it would have ups and downs but still I decided I will not back down. I'm aiming to get the best score I can but I know I will be happy to see a passing score. I feel joy every time a friend of mine pass any of the Steps and even a few of those who graduated with me already matched but I just want to feel this joy for me this time.
  4. ppf

    ppf Guest

    thanks for your advice
  5. chagan.

    chagan. Guest

    Hello everyone!

    I ll start with my score which I got yesterday: 199/81

    This post is to those who have failed and to those who are feeling down about this exam.

    Let me tell you about me.
    IMG (2002), married, two daughters and another one on her way. Working full time, started learning english in mid 2007.
    Took step 1 in july 2009 and failed, mostly because I did not have a good plan and of course did not study enough. I was working full time at that time wich made it even more difficult.
    I decided to start studying again in late december 2009 and decided to start working part time so I could study at least 8 hrs a day. As a family we made the appropriate financial arrangements and worked only part time since january.

    It was so hard, you know that feeling. Some days you feel like studying and some others it's so hard, I wanted to stay with my wife and daugthers but I had decided to at least try the right way this second time. I was studying from 8 am to 4 pm and working from 5 pm to 8 pm and 5 more hours on saturdays, rest of saturday and sunday I studied. I did that for 4 months and a half, no tv, no family, no going out..............nothing just studying and working. And it worked.

    So, PEOPLE! and I am not talking to the 99's in this forum, I am talking to you that have lost your confidence, to you that have failed and are discouraged.....IT IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!! just work hard.......be patient................constant.

    I know it is not a great score but I am so happy with it!! and I think that is enough for what I want to do, is it possible to get a better score? SURE!!!!
    Unfortunately I could not afford to spend more time studying due to financial problems and due to the ECFMG calendar (still need to clear CK-done with CS-)

    Good Luck to everyone
  6. paris.

    paris. Guest

    I started studying seriously last december, before I started studying my grandmother passed away and my whole family and myself were really sad and shocked on how she had died so that really struck me really hard, then around january I started the last 6 months of med school before entering internship, around that time I broke up with a girlfriend I had and also faced many problems with people from my school, and that really devastated me, nonetheless I kept up with my studying until my exam day which was on the 05/07/2010.
    The day before I went out with my friends and had a good time, even a good friend of mine gave me a necklace as a sign of support, the night before I just couldnt sleep.. was to anxious and nervous .

    The day of my exam I got a lot of calls and support from a lot of friends and even people that I didnt considered friends, that boosted my spirit and then I marched to face the mighty monster!

    My strategy was to do 2 blocks; then rest for at least 10 minutes; drink some water, eat a candy bar (each block; i had like 4 lol), talk to my mom and pray...
    First block was hard.. but doable, I skipped tutorial and only managed settings on my headphones.
    Second block was easy, at least easier than block one.
    Third and fourth block were average, i felt confident on most questions, but there were also questions that were like $TF!
    BLocks 5,6 and 7 were like a bomb for my brain, seriously my brain was swelling and I even got a headache, nonetheless i tried to remain calm and just chill and give all my best, it was a hard journey I always thought and I wouldnt go down without giving a good fight.

    Fortunately last block was like block 2, so I was again confident and i started to get anxious, sad, happy and a lot of mixed emotions.. the nightmare was finally going to end, again I gave my best.
    I left the Prometrics center and just started crying my mom was already there and hugged me really hard and apparently was sad because the received a phone call of people saying I was kidnapped (shit like that happes a lot here in Mexico) After that both my dad (whom is a neurosurgeon in here) and my mom took me to eat italian food, I went out with a girl a liked a lot (she is actually my girlfriend now) and then just enjoyed my first weekend having fun in like 6 months!

    Let me now tell you what I faced
    My exam had a lot of Pharm, micro, pathology and Behavioral sciences.. !
    My Physio questions were more about hormones than anything else (which surprised me).
    I had 4 Murmur audios which i think were easy, the question could be answered by the vignette alone
    I had like only 4 questions of biostatistics (thank god cause i sucked hardcore).
    Neuroanatomy was doable I think, I had MRI, CT scans and even one angiography.
    I had 2 chest X-rays that i think where doable; one asking about anatomy and the other one to match the xray with the clinical vignette.

    Sadly I had like 6 to 7 questions asking about peripheral musculoskeletal anatomy. (Which I didnt study even once ).

    Now its May the 25th, I did my exam on May the 7th, dont know what to expect.. I feel really anxious and just pray and try to hope for the best.

    I studied like 6-8 hours everyday during the week (because I also have clinical subjects on my school, so I had to divide time for Usmle and my school subjects) and up to 13 hours during weekends.
    What I used
    Goljan Audio and Rapid Review pathology.
    USMLE world (did like 50% of it and got an average of 69%).
    Kaplan Med essentials.
    Kaplan videos.
    BRS Pharmacology, Genetics and Biochemistry.
    First Aid and First Aid Organ Systems.
    Usmle step 1 Secrets.

    I really gave my best considering the scenario I faced during my studying and all, of course i think I could studied more, but I think everyone thinks that, Im prepared for the worst but hope for the best, I really hope all the sacrifices my family and myself gave wont be on vain!
  7. amolpande.

    amolpande. Guest

    Hi everyone,
    Instead of talking about what I used to study, which has been repeated at nauseum by other students posting (First Aid, Kalpan, Goljan and USMLEWorld). I'm going to tell you what was unique about my experience.

    1) I prayed to St. Joseph of Cupertino (whose prayer can be found online) and who is the patron saint of exams. I don't think your religion or your set of beliefs are as significant as the actual act, the process of praying helps to center and refocus the mind during difficult periods, and it helped me.

    2) I totally bombed the first block because I didn't pace myself properly. I had something crazy like 20 questions(or more) remaining in the last 10 minutes. And I'm sure the error cost me. So, even if you have a bad block don't freak out, just keep a cool head and everything will be alright. Doing a practice exam is different then the actual step, adjust your speed accordingly and really watch your time.

    Aside from that I have nothing to say, my methods of studying as I've said were based on other posts in this site. Hope what I've said can help someone, just as the posts I read helped me.
  8. oposite.

    oposite. Guest

    hey all,
    I am not a 'forum person' as such but this forum helped me a lot at times. So just felt like sharing my experience with you guys.

    when i saw 99/242 on my score report..it was a moment of relief..for all the hard work it took...good to know it was all worth it...

    It took me 5 months...but serious studying was only for 3 months i should say...but it worked out well...

    I read kaplan material just once...Didnt feel the need of revising it...But i went through all the UWORLD Qs..i marked the difficult and incorrect ones...I went through them again and again and again...it was boring reading through the long explanations..but there i used the 'highlight' facility and read only the highlighted lined in the end...Also i made sure i make small notes of my own in my notebook...So i could revise all important basic things that i cudnt afford to forget...So there were times when i didnt want to stare at my laptop screen, still i cud just read the notes and gain a lot...

    Reading kaplan theory over and over again doesnt really give you an edge...solve more and more Qs...dats about it...Any questions you see; solve it..NBME, Uworld, i even solevd the wiki tests...

    I had many friends who revised kaplan thrice and they did well too...At times i was confused whether to do what others do and play safe. ..But i didnt have that much time...I followed my own study plan and it worked out well for me...

    So guys..make your own study plan...don't just go for what others do..know your stregths well...more importantly, know your weaknesses well...Take some online tests to judge where you stand..feel confident and just crack it...
  9. dhanaska

    dhanaska Guest

    ms ortho/md radio in ukraine is it valuable in india

    hi,i decided to do my pg in ms ortho or md radio in ukraine.Now i had my m.b.bs, degree in india .is it valuble in doing pg in ukraine.is there any exams in india after finishing my pg in ukraine .is the degree acceptable in india
  10. dhanush.

    dhanush. Guest

    Hello Everyone.

    I graduated from a Medical school in Kiev, Ukraine. While going through regular medical school curriculum I also undertook Psychiatry courses. My diploma says Medicine\Medical Psychiatry. I sent in my Diploma to ECFMG and I am about to complete the application for Step 1, but they told me that there is a note on my account that my diploma is not eligible because of the Psychiatry on the diploma.

    I have yet to send in a letter from Ukrainian Board of Medicine that certifies me as Medical doctor to Practice in Ukraine and also proof that I completed a 3 year surgical fellowship while in school.
    They said that they will review again once I complete the application for the test,

    but I am worried.
  11. tbz

    tbz Guest

    hy

    hy rabia....
    I graduated ths yr from pak as well......i am not getting the proper info abt USMLE at allllll....plzz kindllyy helppp me by telling me about the whole process from step 1-3 plzz plzz plzzz i would be obliged...plz
  12. raessa.

    raessa. Guest

    I had an exam second time to day,
    MI case what's the diagnose write initial management
    Pulmonary Emblisem case whats the diagnosis, management
    Case of Pajet disease asked for DD
    Compartment Syndrome case, what's thee management
    Uterine atony post partum diagnosis whats the management.
    Case of status epilapticus diagnosis and management, make sure to write down IV Im or what ever.
    5 days infant with jaundice, diagnosis and managment.
    Case of praimay pulmonary hypertension in 35 years old lady.
    lump in breast of 32 years old lady, make sure not to use mammography.
    Sorry so tired I cant remember more.
    Very important tip: in compare of before most of the questions from afternoon part they ask to chose as much as possible so make sure don't chose a lot because you lose whole the point so chose even one or two that for sure you think they are right.
    Again thanks for all those that spend their time to post the questions after exam.
  13. arvind24

    arvind24 Guest

    Free USMLE MCQ resource

    Hi Guys,

    I've started to put together a free MCQ resource for the USMLE.

    USMLEstat dot com

    Please have a look and let me know what you think.

    Thanks,

    Arvind
  14. Deniel.

    Deniel. Guest

    Hi everyone

    After 4 weeks of waiting, finally my results are out: 99/233, still in shock now!

    Prep time: about 3.5 months, studied no more than 4 hours a day - I am working full-time and therefore cannot study for this exam full time

    Background: British graduate 2008, from quite a decent uni and therefore got a good background in basic sciences and clinical pathology, recently passed MRCP written papers with minimal studying (6 weeks part time prep), first time. Just starting my residency in radiology in London a few months ago.

    Wanted to do Step 1 for a while back (since 5th yr med school when we had a pathology exam which was similar to the path syllabus in step 1) but was too lazy to start. Tried again last year, only managed to read Kaplan Biochemistry (Metabolism only) - unfortunately my Form 186 was repeatedly turned down as the wrong person in my med school signed the form! sigh..so gave up and decided to concentrate on my career in the UK, did MRCP, and concentrated on getting a job, which I got in the end. After I got this job, I decided to not do Step 1 anymore as I was happy with my career- but my friend who is still in med school told me she was doing Step1 , and since I have paid for Step 1 exam a few years ago, she told me not to waste it and we can both do it together. I decided to give it a go, but only aimed to get a pass as I was keen to do a fellowship, not apply for a residency in the USA.

    Normal studying routine:
    Went to work at 7.30am everyday, finished at 5pm. I have difficulties studying at home, so I would normally have a 30 mins break after work to have coffee to keep myself awake, then I would be in the hospital library studying till about 9pm. Then when I get home I will just chill out and watch TV until it was bedtime.

    Unfortunately as I was new to radiology, some of my consultants got unhappy with me as I was not doing any studying for my radiology work as it is steep learning curve. It was so bad that I got bullied by a consultant and everyday I would feel so depressed coz he will say I am stupid etc etc, and said my anatomy knowledge is very poor I was so down, ate so much to comfort myself, but managed to force myself to study. I also had an internal assessment at work that I had to study for which was unrelated to Step 1 and this took a week off my Step 1 studying...so, day by day I was getting more and more nervous.

    Materials used:

    First Aid 2010
    USMLE World
    Goljan Audio and Slides (downloaded online) - I also have RR Pathology by Goljan 3rd edition, only referred to blue margins and pics a few days before exam. I listened to Goljan Audios while commuting to work only but I have listened to the audios as a med student - it's very good although outdated.
    DIT Audio (give to me by someone, only certain topics, didnt have time to go through everything, but the I learnt a lot of physiology from DIT)
    These were my main resources


    References used (only very rarely when I don't understand something):
    Kaplan Biochem
    HY Neuroanatomy (just referred to the diagrams)
    HY Molecular and Cell biology (only read the cell-signalling chapter, although I did a degree on this already, so I skimmed through it quickly and to me, it was quite easy)

    Studying methods:
    I was lazy, I didn't bother reading First Aid. Ok, I admit, I have read the pathology/systems seciton of FA before as a med student when I was doing my pathology exams, and I used some of the mnemonics from the book for MRCP prep. So some sections were easy for me eg Respiratory and Gastro - I was already having high star scores in NBME 1-3 without any studying! But in these assessments I failed all the other sections or got borderline!

    So, what I did -

    1) UW, tutor mode, 100 questions a day. I tried to annotate into FA as much as possible but on a bad day I didn't bother as I was just desperate to rush through the questions in like 2 hours coz I wanted to go home and get out of library. Consequently, I didn't read the long-winded answers in UW like some of the previous 99ers as I was so impatient. If I got something correct, I just read the summary answer, If not I will skim through the long explanation quickly. If I was in the mood, then I would read it properly and annotate. In the end, I found it more useful to acutally just find out why I chose the wrong answer and why the other answer is correct before reading the explanation. Then, if im in the mood, I will read the corresponding section in FA if I had time. At the end of it all, my average was only 55%. In retrospect, the right thing to do would be to read FA first, then do the questions in UW based on the topic you read, then go through the answers. But as I said, I was rushing for time. I only started reading FA after I finished ALL of the UW questions once and which was about 6 weeks out. All in all, I read FA about 2 times (just read!).

    At the start, I did do a couple of NBMEs. Here are my rather pathetic scores:
    NBME 1: 185 (3.5 months out) - before any studying
    NBME 2: 203 (2 months out)
    NBME 3: 203 (1 month out)

    Panicked that there was no improvement! Then I realised it was because I didn't bother memorising any formulas and therefore I did badly in Physio/Beh Sci. I decided to read FA properly and finish off UW. I also decided I'd better off save some money and do offline NBMEs AND check the answers. You can download these. I have to say checking the NBME answers offline contributed massively to my revision and I highly recommend this. Of course you can disagree but I think the more questions you do the better. I went through all the NBME 3 answers even though I have done them, then slowly worked my way through NBME 4-7. It is also helpful to work through your weak topics and if you don't understand something, you have to refer to Kaplan if necessary.

    The last week or so of your revision, I think, is the determining factor of your score. I took a week off work as annual leave, just to study. But because it is cold in December, there was a nasty flu bug going around and I was really ill, completely bed-bound. I just did question after question in bed on my laptop until my eyes were so sore, and fought through the lethargy. Fortunately I got a bit better when it was nearer to the exam. I used the Taus method (you can find this on SDN forum) but I only used his formula for the last 2 weeks to devise my study schedule. It was going well until I got sick, so I didn't cover a couple of topics. For example the last few days he advised to learn all the formulas well and go through biochem, but I didnt have time to do this. I only went through micro and pharm. I didn't have time to go though Anatomy but I had stars consistently in NBMEs for Anatomy so I didn't bother, and being a radiology trainee, I was fairly confident with CT/MR/XR images. In the last 2 weeks I did UWSA.
    My scores:

    UWSA 1 - 224 (7 days out)
    UWSA 2 - 242 (3 days out)

    I was glad there was a big improvement in my scores compared to my miserable NBMEs and crappy UW scores, all thanks to reading FA properly, re-doing a few UW questions (I didn't get to re-do all questions, just weak topics only), and of course solving all the offline NBME questions which was a massive help.

    Initially I was only aiming to pass (esp after seeing my bad NBME scores). But after I got 242 for UWSA, I was telling myself that perhaps getting 95 is possible, although I was quite convinced that maybe I just got lucky i UWSA. Of course, I secretly hoped to get 99

    The day before exam - just went through weak topics that require memorisation. I went through all of pharmacology properly in FA. I had no time to review Anatomy or Embryology properly. I slept at around 11pm, I did take 3.75mg zopiclone and found this helpful. The night before that, I took antihistamines to help myself sleep, but this is a MAJOR mistake for me, coz I felt soooo bad the following day (ie day before exam) and this really got in the way of my studying as I couldnt concentrate and had a bad headache due to drowsiness.

    Also, remember to find out exam venue before going to exam, my friend took the exam a few weeks before and she kindly showed me where it was, so this helped.
    Also remember to buy food, print off your scheduling permit, and find your passport/driving licence.


    Exam day:
    Arrived at 8am, fortunately the exam centre was only 20 mins away by tube for me.
    Started exam at around 8.15am. I should've skipped tutorial but didnt.
    I didnt schedule my breaks properly and miscalculated. I pretty much took a 5 min break after every single block (except for lunch, which I took between block 4-5 for 20 mins). This was because I took plenty of Red Bull during the breaks and had to pee! So in the last block, I lost about 5 minutes of answering time as I took too much break, luckily it was a fairly straight forward block and finished with about 7 mins to spare.

    My exam had plenty of REPRO/ENDO physio, seems like all the scenarios had a pregnant woman, and as you know Endo physio questions are rather tricky and may take a while to figure out - at least for me anyway, coz I didnt memorise things and I had to draw out diagrams out to figure out the -ve feedback etc. So in the blocks that were heavy with endo/repro, I finished just bang on time with no spare time The worst part about my exam is that it was very very heavy on Gross Anatomy - at least 5 per block. I felt quite annoyed with myself for not revising any anatomy, and, the questions weren't straight forward either! There were hardly any scans etc, mostly rather vague questions. There were some piss easy anatomy questions but for the most part, I found them every difficult.

    Other subjects in exam:
    Biochem - very easy and straight forward
    Micro - for the most part, was ok, apart from a couple of obscure stuff which was expected really..
    Pharm - quite straight forward, it would be beneficial if you bothered to memorise the drugs etc, I just relied heavily on clinical experience, MRCP knowledge and the cramming I did the day before which really paid off...
    Cell Bio/Genetics - ok, for the most part, with the odd few difficult questions

    The rest of the subjects (cant remember whcih ones now) were fairly ok. As I was weak with Physio, obviously I did struggle with some of the questions and got made with myself for not remembering some of the formulae.

    I left the exam feeling confident that I passed, and in fact, I felt that 90 could be possible. I wasn't sure if 95 was possible as I did soooo badly for Anatomy and was so mad I had loads of these questions which were supposedly low yield. To be honest even if I memorised the Kaplan Anatomy book cover to cover it wouldnt help very much but then thats how I felt.


    4 weeks later ie TODAY - was checking my emails on my iPhone and got the ECFMG email, checked the results - 233/99! Funnily enough, I had stars in my weak topics (or at least UW said I was weak in, ie Haem, Biochem etc) but Borderline score for Gross Anatomy (which I got stars in other assessments). Oh well, I am still happy as I didn't expect to get 99, considering the circumstances.

    I hope this will inspire people with low scores in NBME/UW not to give up, just work on your weak topics and I think the main key is not to use too many materials. I mainly used FA+UW+Goljan Audios+offline NBMEs ie the usual formula. But if you don't have a good foundation, I would recommend spending 6 months full time and reading Kaplan properly, especially if you want to apply for a competitive residency.

    Well - all I can say now is good luck. I won't be doing Step 2 CK until 2012.
  15. William.

    William. Guest

    About the exam:
    This exam is very fair exam and the question makers are very clever. They test concepts in way that you have to think to get the answer which is only possible if you know the concept rather than memorizing the material. Initially ever question seems weird and foreign but when you think about it they are asking a concept that you already know. I think the best preparation for this exam is to study hard the first 2 years.

    Subjects:

    Physio: about 5-7qs questions 3 of which were GI hormones. These involved easy ones and some experimental type. for example: they will say an animal was given a molecule and the serum HCO3 level from the pancreas was measured. then they ask which hormone was given: 1. Secretin 2. CCK....etc

    Path: 50-60% of the test not too bad. They ask the typical UW and FA stuff. You have to know the disease characteristics. for example they will give Marfans case and ask you some findings in this syndrome

    Pathphysio: about 10-15Qs almost all involved arrows going up/down

    Pharm: about 20-30Qs, I was so glad as this was my favorite area. 95% of the questions asked MOA. rest 5% involved classic side effects, some drug-drug interactions. I had 2 questions with graphs where you had to figure out what drug X is. FA covers the graphs well.

    Micro: 10-15Qs. the questions are easy like what organism is causing it. But the hard ones are the characteristics of the microbes like knowing virulence factors and those EF2 stuff. Viruses: based on the stem you will know the type of virus so dont worry much about the characteristics of the viruses. But if you had to know something make sure you know the DNA viruses and which ones are enveloped (i only had 1q)

    Biochem: I had less than 5Qs and they were enzyme deficiencies.

    Gross Anatomy: sh!t I had like 10-12 Qs and 90% of these involved a picture like a CT scan of the pelvis where you have to identify the structure. When you read the question you will know the diagnosis but the hard part is knowing where the structure of the abnormality is. Please review the basic CT scans so you know where structures are located.

    Embro: 2-3Qs where they give a disease like M.diverticulium and ask you the embryological defect. not too hard

    Neuro: 5-10Qs. 90% of them were easy and they involved identifying structures, like circle of willis...etc

    BS: Sh!t I had 3-5 very challenging "what the physician should say" type of cases. I had only 3 stats, 2 study questions, 1 p-value question. Psych was not that bad, they were about 5qs
    -----------------------------------------------
    Even though it was a thinking test, nevertheless it was fair and not too difficult as people like to say it. When I was doing the exam I felt like I was doing NBME 7 again because of the type of questions. I had 3 repeat qs from Nbme 7. The length of the stems were mixed and time was not an issue.
  16. mahim.

    mahim. Guest

    My Step 1 Experience: The real thing: 269/99

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Took Step 1 about a month and a half ago, got my score back about a month ago. Followed this forum sometimes so figured I would contribute. These are basically my posts from SDN, but figure I would post them on here as well for the people who dont follow the SDN forum. Feel free to message me if you have any questions.


    Overal-not bad at all. Thought it was actually WAY easier than any of the NBME exams as well as usmleworld. Maybe 2-3 questions each block I was unsure about-the rest I felt were gimme's. Had plenty of time each block-usually finished with about 5 minutes to spare. I'd say maybe 2 of the blocks I continued to check over my answers until the last second. My advice: just know first aid. There were only 1-2 questions total that were on step that could be found in goljan and not in first aid. Just know first aid and DO QUESTION BANKS. I ended up doing usmleworld, all 7 NBME's, Kaplan, usmlerx, and robbins rapid review questions. Here are my stats:

    NBME 1 7 weeks out: 260
    NBME 2 6 weeks out 260
    NBME 3 5 weeks out 260
    NBME 4 1 month out 271
    NBME 5 3 weeks out 260
    NBME 6/7 same day 2 weeks out 264/266 2 weeks out
    USMLE WORLD self assessments 2 weeks out 265

    USMLEWORLD stats 100% completed random, timed 85%
    Kaplan random timed (did this one first)-~78%
    UsmleRx and robbins rapid review were around 83%

    Total prep time: 1 month of partying and a little studying then two months of hardcore studying. So total I'd say like 2.5 months.

    My goal for what I would be okay with is 250. But my hope is to get above a 260.

    Again-focus on first aid. Goljan for me was incredibly low yield. You are better knowing every single detail in first aid instead of learning things in goljan. Do questions banks!!! And having a year of clinical rotations helps too =)



    Ok so here is my advice for step: My usmle score was 269/99. Main advice is DO MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF QUESTIONS!! Not once did I read/study goljan rapid review, goljan audio or BRS physiology. I spent the vast majority of my time doing questions. I know its hard to tell on forums which people are just geniuses but let me tell you I am NOT one of those people. In terms of intrinsic IQ/memorization skills I am very average for a medical student. I have to study much harder to get the same grades as those “genius†people in my med school class.'

    More Hx-I have had about a year of clinical experience before taking the step.Yes it helped a little bit. When I first started clinics I studied my ass off
    but still performed very average on shelf exams (70’s range). But my last clinic (medicine) I switched to a new system where I only did questions to study and I did NO reading whatsoever-only questions. My shelf score for medicine=99. So, I continued this method for step and as you can see it paid off immensely.

    No only do questions, but whenever you miss a question or learn something from a question write it down on a separate sheet of paper. This is SO important and valuable and high yield-because later on you can read over these notes (write maybe a sentence max for each question short notes-they add up quickly) and remember what you learned from a question a month or two ago.


    Now yes you should still go through first aid because this is the most high yield of any source. But go through it fast-limit yourself to ONE WEEK going through first aid. No you are not going to learn even 50% of it in that week but you will learn a little bit and reinforce and learn more by doing questions. I used goljan/brs only to look up things I was unsure about from questions I did-I repeat-use these only as a reference! Question banks (except for uworld) are notorious for having errors so if you aren’t sure about something yes look it up in goljan/first aid/brs or Wikipedia (my personal favorite).
    After the first week of going through first aid my advice is the following: do 200 questions a day. This is very doable and you will still have time to write
    short notes for the questions you do. I would do the following question banks in this order


    1st: UsmleRx-an easier question bank, has some errors but relatively fewish compared to other qbanks. In the explanation for the question it has the first aid page image to view. Good for learning more from first aid


    2nd: Kaplan. Also fewish errors compared to other banks. Questions more picky but overall a good qbank.


    3rd: robbins rapid review qbank. Would recommend purchasing online subscription so you can go back and do the questions you missed. DON’T purchase subscription to usmleconsult. This qbank is SO INCREDIBLY ERROR FILLED. I started doing this qbank and got frustrated after 1 day because of the incorrect questions and massive amounts of errors. I don’t care that goljan approved it, he has obviously never done a single question from this bank. It is a horrible question bank I repeat don’t waste your money. If anything your score will decrease by doing these questions because the answers are incorrect and the explanations are WRONG.


    4th: Uworld. Do this one last so it is fresh. MARK the questions you got right but only because you guessed or weren’t really sure about the answer. Go back and do these in addition to the ones you missed.


    While doing qbanks do ALL of the nbme’s, the free 150 as well as the two uworld assessments. In the beginning I did these tests every two weeks. Towards the end I did a couple of week including two full length test simulations


    Ok that is my advice. Not saying this will work for everyone, but for me as a student who has a hard time memorizing information this is finally the system that worked for me. As you can tell I’m not one of those superstars that has always done amazing on shelf exams etc that test knowledge. (if anyone wants to know my MCAT score was 34). After doing average on shelf exams I took a risk and changed the way I study and it has paid off. Please let me know if you have any questions about this method-but I think many people would benefit from studying this way.


    Seriously almost every question I had on my actual exam I felt like I had encountered a question testing similar concepts before. I had very few WTF questions but had I not done so many questions I would have had many many more WTF questions. A theme I saw on usmle forums is people who
    were scoring around 270ish all did at least 3 or 4 question banks-not just
    uworld.


    Good luck to everyone!
  17. jiten

    jiten Guest

    May 3rd Exam experience..........

    I read these books once to get an overview: KLN, FA, BRS physio and RR Path 3rd Goljan
    Then I focused on KME and UW and in my last week I read secrets
    Nbme 1: 450
    Nbme 2: 470
    Nbme 5: 430
    Nbme 6: 490
    Nbme 7: 460
    UWSA 1: 480
    UWSA 2: 510

    IMHO all you need is FA and UW. RR path is great book but it has excess details.

    About the exam:
    This exam is very fair exam and the question makers are very clever. They test concepts in way that you have to think to get the answer which is only possible if you know the concept rather than memorizing the material. Initially ever question seems weird and foreign but when you think about it they are asking a concept that you already know. I think the best preparation for this exam is to study hard the first 2 years.

    Subjects:

    Physio: about 5-7qs questions 3 of which were GI hormones. These involved easy ones and some experimental type. for example: they will say an animal was given a molecule and the serum HCO3 level from the pancreas was measured. then they ask which hormone was given: 1. Secretin 2. CCK....etc

    Path: 50-60% of the test not too bad. They ask the typical UW and FA stuff. You have to know the disease characteristics. for example they will give Marfans case and ask you some findings in this syndrome

    Pathphysio: about 10-15Qs almost all involved arrows going up/down

    Pharm: about 20-30Qs, I was so glad as this was my favorite area. 95% of the questions asked MOA. rest 5% involved classic side effects, some drug-drug interactions. I had 2 questions with graphs where you had to figure out what drug X is. FA covers the graphs well.

    Micro: 10-15Qs. the questions are easy like what organism is causing it. But the hard ones are the characteristics of the microbes like knowing virulence factors and those EF2 stuff. Viruses: based on the stem you will know the type of virus so dont worry much about the characteristics of the viruses. But if you had to know something make sure you know the DNA viruses and which ones are enveloped (i only had 1q)

    Biochem: I had less than 5Qs and they were enzyme deficiencies.

    Gross Anatomy: sh!t I had like 10-12 Qs and 90% of these involved a picture like a CT scan of the pelvis where you have to identify the structure. When you read the question you will know the diagnosis but the hard part is knowing where the structure of the abnormality is. Please review the basic CT scans so you know where structures are located.

    Embro: 2-3Qs where they give a disease like M.diverticulium and ask you the embryological defect. not too hard

    Neuro: 5-10Qs. 90% of them were easy and they involved identifying structures, like circle of willis...etc

    BS: Sh!t I had 3-5 very challenging "what the physician should say" type of cases. I had only 3 stats, 2 study questions, 1 p-value question. Psych was not that bad, they were about 5qs
    -----------------------------------------------
    Even though it was a thinking test, nevertheless it was fair and not too difficult as people like to say it. When I was doing the exam I felt like I was doing NBME 7 again because of the type of questions. I had 3 repeat qs from Nbme 7. The length of the stems were mixed and time was not an issue.

    If you need to ask questions feel free.
    Gl to you all.
  18. upen

    upen Guest

    Sender: bedwandoctor

    Hey friends ..took exam March 29.

    score was released May 16.

    Alhamdolellah i am done ..it is agreat releive

    I JUST WANNA THANK EVERY ONE IN THIS FORUM FOR THERE SUPPORT AND EXP...THAT KEPT MY CHINE HIGH EVEN DURING THE DARKEST TIMES OF MY JOURNEY.

    for dr HISHAM ,...i just do not know what to say my brother,teacher ,mentor and friend ,....without u i could not do it ...u are the best my dear friend ...i wish u all the best in ur life ISA.

    you were patient ,optimistic,tought me the meaning of helping people when they need u, i would not do any thing without u.

    special thanks to buddy 128,and all other friends who helped me.

    ABOUT ME :

    I am afinal year medical student at Kasr Alainy medical school,Cairo university Egypt.

    Materials i used ..
    KLN
    Kaplan videos
    goljan books and audios
    UW
    USMLERx
    NBME 7
    UWSA 1,2

    I was below a below average student to the point that i took the physiology exam in the first year 3 times just to pass and the anatomy twice ...so you can imagin what kind of students i was ..hahaha.

    any way i studied for step 1 for 8 months but really u can say it was abou 5 because of the Egyptian revolution and lots of changes in my study plans.

    i booked my exam befor i study but finally i extended my eligibility period .

    SO will write down a recommended plan as i extracted it from my exp and mistakes ....wish u all the best.

    -read the materials from kaplan then watch the videos that for all of the materials except for pathology.

    -for pathology read gljan and use his audios

    ..and yes for micro u can use MMRS but the immuno kln and videos are great.

    ....read first then go for videos.
    so u are done with the first read ....after that go for the 2nd round of reading followed by the relivant part of the FA..

    so all the process should take 3 month no more.

    then go for a 1 month subscribtion of USMLERx to master the FA.

    after that go for 2 month UW and integrate in FA......read right and wrong qs
    integrate UW in FA by taking short notes from UWin FA.

    *NBMEs and self assesment ...

    i recommend one form befor UW and another one after 1 round of FA....the third after the 2 nd round of UW.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    took UWSA 2 ..15 days out...got 226
    NBME 7 ..5 days out...560/236
    UWSA1..the night befor the exam..got 232.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    the night of the exam i just took UWSA1 and then went for shoping and dinner outside and had a good time ....bought my snakes

    1 sandwich turkey
    1 power horse
    2 choklate bars
    bananas
    mango juice

    ...reached the center about 8:30 am

    started the exam..and took 2 blocks ......back to back

    5 minutes break
    3rd block
    5 min break
    4th
    lunch and i did Alzohr prayers...took me about 30 minutes
    5th block
    5 min break
    6th ....
    then i got too tired but i was finishing the blocks 3-4 minutes early and that time added to my break time not exam time .
    so i was left with 28 min not 15 as was planned ..

    did al Asr prayers and drank some juice ...then

    went for the 7th ...skiped the survey....and i was done.

    from the start i knew i will do it ..the qs was very similar to the USMLE cd ..and easier than NBME7..so i just tried to relax.
    exam qs were so easy compred to UW and UWSA ,so i recommend them as learning tool.

    any way there was a problem in my verification request...so i waited for 7 weeks but Alhamdolellah it is finally released and i was so happy as this means alot to me and my family being the kind of student i was ,but from my inside knew i am better ....but it may be i can not accomodate with the GIVE AN ACCOUNT ..type of qs .

    now will go for CK with cleare mind ISA

    any way any one need any help i will be more than happy to assit and help him.ISA.

    all qs are welcomed.
  19. upen

    upen Guest

    Sender: SOS

    i gave step1 ,april 7.

    my exam was okay overall.... not very tough i guess,except for a few wierdos.

    i had a lot of pharmac on my test,

    many drug graphs and experimental questions

    i got too many ethics questions and it comes without saying that they were to wierd.... i had never ever seen questions like this.i got almost 2-3 ethics questons per block,a couple of block had even 4.

    statistics was okay,doable.... just know your formulas well

    physio,biochem,micro was okay for me.

    had a couple of wierd one in embryology....

    got 1-2 genetics questions per block..... and i made a fool of myself by not being able to do the math in the HW equation. so do practice a lot of them.


    i took breaks after every block... time management was not a problem.... i even saved a few minutes in 3 blocks

    i tried not to but ended up marking 15 -20 questions in each block... which is not a good thing... but i refrained from changing answers .... so kinda just gave them a second look and may be changed 1 os 2 answers if i felt that i got some better idea.

    i spent max time on genetics and pharmac questions.

    a question on physio.. autoregulation was directly form NBME with smae options... in fact there were many... maybe 7-8 questions similar to NBME but this one was ditto.

    how i felt right after the exam?

    answer is NUMB.... i just knew that it was over ... my mind was blank and i just came back home... i am not saying that my exam was bad but what i really really feel is one day and its all over.... i personally feel its unfair. when i reached home i felt like checking answers but i stopped myself,coz it would only add to my anxiety.already i remember three questions that i have got wrong.. i am trying not to think about it now.

    friends please pray for me.... i am very anxious about the result... i m more stressed now than i was before the exam,coz then i could do something to make things better,now its beyond that.
  20. upen

    upen Guest

    Sender: csuchola

    Hello all..
    Finally my day has come.. Me posting a topic about my score and experiences and making my own contribution to this site.. Delighted i am..
    This is the ninteenth day after my exam and i wasnt expecting at all my results.. And the final verdict is

    244/99

    So i am going to post my experience below.. Let me remind you, its going to be really long..

    About me:
    I'm a med student in India from a fairly well know college in the country. But my college has'nt got a tradition of its students writing USMLE while at college. So it wz fairly hard for me to push everything forward, especially the application process.

    Prep time
    My preparation wz stretched over 4+ months from Jan to mid may. But I had started reading blogs and success stories a couple of months before and wz well motivated by that time and could keep that level up the whole period (which in my opinion is the most imp factor in anyone’s prep).

    Materials used
    Nothing new
    1. Kaplan: good for building a basic knowledge
    2. Goljan: must for patho
    3. BRS: only physio. But i felt kaplan was better
    4. Kaplan 100 cases for ethics by conrad fischer
    5. UW
    6. Robbins review path. good source of patho questions
    7. And ofcourse FA: I would say, there is all you need for the exam in this book. But USMLE demands a higher level of understanding rather than byhearting the facts in the book. So, make use of other sources to make the facts in this book clear.

    Preparation
    I wz terribly weak in my first year subjects and so decided to do entire Kaplan theory 1st. I bought the set of eight books from ebay($130 aprox) and started my 1st read.. Honestly I found it very interesting and could finish the whole stuff in one month time.. I skipped Kaplan Physio and did BRS for that subject as i had read somewhere that the later is better for physio (which later proved wrong).. So by Feb beginning, i wz done with my theory (way ahead of my plan.. ).. Then i thought of having a self assessment and started doing kap qbook.. Its an excellent source of good quality qs and then i bumped on to a serious flaw in my prep.. BRS hadnt prepared me enough for the exam and i found myself not much different from my initial position.. BRS lacked many imp concepts like acid base nomogram. So i started of with good old kaplan and finished the theory part by Feb end.
    After finishing the theory, i wz eager to know whether my prep is going good.. I subscribed 2 months UW with two UWSAs.. I strongly recommend that package as UWSA usually overestimates your scores and thus will be a strong confidence boost (It wz for me atleast).. So i started doing UW on march and it went well with a cumulative of 77% till april beginning.. By the time i finished UW, I felt pretty confident as i wz well acquainted with the question pattern and the cumulative wz at my expected range.. and by mid april, i started revising UW marked and incorrect.. and finished that by in a week. Then was my the most important part of my prep, i think.. I started doing the NBMEs one by one.. i tried doing timed, but i could'nt, but i recommend doing it like that. I kept scoring 175-180/200.. NBMEs are really really high yield, do it and know the concept behind each questions as i find them most similar to the real exam. I took UWSAs also in between. Though it overestimates your performance as i said earlier, the questions are high quality and worth doing.. I kept doing questions till two days prior to my exam. Last two days, i revised FA and UW notes. That too paid me well and I would strongly recommend..

    On the Big Day
    I was a little anxious about getting any sleep the night before the exam and had planned to take a Zolfresh.. But for good or worse, i forgot to take my pills to the hotel room. But thank God, I could sleep judiciously on the last night before exam. In the morning, I wz feeling blank in my mind and dint know what exactly do.. So just to keep myself engaged, i took one block of USMLE practise test and got 45/46.. Good heavens.. Just what i needed. Then i revised Kaplan ethics, FA and went to have food. My exam wz scheduled for afternoon and so i reached center by 12:20 and my exam started on 12:30. I skipped my tutorials and started my 1st block. It wz multimedia qs laden and i panicked. I rushed through the questions in my panic and finished the block with 20 mins to spare and 15-20 marked questions. The fact that i wz not in short of time cooled me down.. I then went through the marked questions and corrected a couple of careless mistakes.. Rest of the blocks went quite well except last three in which i wz really really exhausted and just marked questions on the thought coming 1st to my mind.. Hope i wudnt hv made much careless mistakes.. There wz not much time for me to spare after i finished my exam as i took plenty of breaks between my blocks..

    Post Exam:
    I had 2 weeks complete rest after the exam.. I bunked most of my classes with out any regrets.. 4.5 months of hard work along with med school work and i thought even 2 weeks vacation was too less for me..

    HOW TO APPLY FOR STEP1
    I had a hard time with my application process too, so i thought i would reserve some space for "how to apply" part too.. And this is for applying as an IMG student..
    1. Go to ECFMG.org and make an account in it the IWA(Interactive Web Application).. Make sure you give your correct legal name in it..
    2. Start the online part of your step application and complete it (and here comes the most difficult part.. 900+$.. just to write the step 1.. Jump to section 1.1 or drop out.. )
    3. You'll get a form 183 availed (if you are still a med student.. If not, there are couple more.. I dont know the details regarding those and try googling about those as i did) Print it out.. Here starts the most difficult part.. Get it signed and dated with the dean of your med school.. Usually, ECFMG considers Vice Principals as deans and not principal.. Put it in a cover, get it sealed by the dispatching clerk of your school to make it look like being sent from the schools office directly.. Write your schools address in the from address part and send it to ECFMG office from the schools post office..
    4. Pray to God thoroughly not to get rejected as ECFMG does not need much reasons to reject your forms.. (I got it rejected once and i think im among the luckier ones)
    5. If you get your form accepted(usually the process takes 3 weeks), congrats, you'r half way through..
    6. You'll be sent a permit 3-6 days after, via email..
    7. Go to prometric.com, take a comfortable date and take your exam..

    Good luck my dear friends..
    I'll be happy to answer any doubts you have..
  21. docMD1981

    docMD1981 Guest

    Hi everyone… took USMLE Step 1 examination finally.. Here is my exam experience and study routine:

    April: from 8 a.m to 5 pm did nothing but question banks and high-yield review notes. Alternated subjects between Pathology, Physiology and Pharmacology

    May: Did same routine as February but alternated subjects between Biochemistry and Microbiology

    June: Did question banks all day and simulated exact USMLE board conditions and test settings..

    June: Did the Shine USMLE live prep program which is great high-yield review before exam.

    Still awaiting my results but I feel very confident in my performance. Exam was completely doable and not very intimidating at all.

    Remember to practice your time management skills!!
  22. anisa

    anisa Guest

    Sender: Obecalp

    Score: 269/99
    - high performance in all subjects and * in all subjects except one.

    Exam date: 4th of July 2011
    Report date: 27th of July 2011

    Materials used:

    1) Kaplan LN 2009-2010 + videos (all subjects except path)
    2) Rapid Review Pathology 3rd ed by E. Goljan + Goljan audio
    3) First Aid 2011
    4) USMLERx
    5) USMLEWorld + UW self-assesment
    6) Kaplan Q-bank
    7) All CBSSA’s

    Study time: Roughly 5 months (from late January to early July with intervening vacation and other stuff). I would study from 8AM (reality: 8.30-9AM) until 12AM, lunch until 1PM, then study 1PM-6PM, dinner break 6PM-8PM, study 8PM-12PM. Actual effective study time no more than 10H/day, I think. I would have at least one day off per week and would sometimes take the evening off also.

    And by the by, I’m a Scandinavian FMG, I start my 6th (and final) year of med school this September.

    Outline of study plan:

    1) One (ONE!) read of Kaplan LN, all subjects except pathology. For path, I used Goljan RR (one quick-read before prep started, one thorough read afterwards) and Goljan audio. I would start subject X, read approximately 50 pages/day incl. video. Once I had finished the book I would do all UW questions (my first review of UW). This took me approximately 2 months (including some days off). At the same time I reviewed rougly 15 pages/day from FA (= two reads of FA).
    2) After Kaplan LN I finished the remaining UW Q’s.
    3) Completed DIT in 14 days + started USMLERx (100Q’s a day).
    4) After finishing DIT I finished USMLERx with 240 Q’s/day.
    5) Vacation… Island hopping in Thailand ☺
    6) With about 8 weeks to go I completed DIT second time (waste of time) and repeated approximately 50% of USMLERx (waste of time).
    7) For the last 6 weeks, I went through FA three times and completed Kaplan Qbank and UW second time.

    Q-bank/self-assessment scores (in approximate order):
    Everything mixed Q’s, timed, unused (except first time through UW which I did subject wise).

    1) UW (first time: 78%, second time: 93%)
    2) USMLERx (83%, second time (half way through) 92%)
    3) Kaplan Q-bank (84%)
    4) USMLEConsult Robbins Pathology (87%).
    5) CBSSA 3 (8 weeks out): 252
    6) CBSSA 5 (7 weeks out): 247
    7) CBSSA 6 (6 weeks out): 261
    8) CBSSA 7 (5 weeks out): 275
    9) CBSSA 11 (4 weeks out): 266
    10) CBSSA 12 (3 weeks out): 257
    11) UWSA 1 (2 weeks out): >265
    12) UWSA 2 (1 week out): >265

    I recommend everything above – except USMLEConsult path (and don’t event think about taking their regular Q-bank), which is extremely error-filled. I think I submitted >30 Q’s for review because they were full of errors. Not recommended!

    My rules / things I would have liked to know before I started my prep / rant:

    #1: Use what has been proven to work – i.e. Kaplan LN. Do not experiment.

    #2: Read LN one time ONLY! Anything else is LY. I suggest you structure your review like I did. A lot of people go through LN+Goljan 3-4 times, but once you’re done with one read, think about how much info you will have forgotten in the subjects you have not reviewed recently.

    #3: Do massive amounts of questions – best practice of the material, most HY review source.

    #4: No one should fail the USMLE or get lower scores than expected.
    It really is that simple – why do people who absolutely can’t sing appear on American Idol? For the same reasons people who have not studied enough take the USMLE => LACK OF PROPER SELF-ASSESMENT. Set yourself a goal, i.e. >220, and take the exam only when you’re comfortably above your desired score (i.e. >240) in >=2 consecutive CBSSA’s.
    I think it’s mind boggling to read about people who take USMLE Step 1 two, three, four or even five times only to pass with a low score. The USMLE is a standardized exam and you should be able to calculate your score with a +/- 20 points margin.

    #5: Make FA your HY study guide. My copy of FA is literally falling apart (i.e. the pages are coming out). I’ve read it cover to cover >6 times, and I consistently referred to it when doing Q’s. MAKE ANNOTATIONS -> For every page in FA I have added 5-10 pieces of info (explanations, extra facts, tables and figures) from all Q-banks, MedEssentials, Kaplan LN, DIT, lectures, wikipedia and other stuff.
    On my exam, which was pretty darn tough, the only questions I couldn’t answer from FA were WTF questions, i.e. â€a researcher has discovered a new drug…â€.

    #6: Think about who’s giving you advice!
    A lot of time I’ve seen newcomers ask questions on various topics, and a lot of the time the people who answer act like they are veterans, when in fact they haven’t even taken the exam or have taken it and failed numerous times. Think about who is in a position to give YOU advice and who is not.

    #7: Think about the advice you’re giving: Why tell the guy with three attempts that he should try again, â€â€™coz Jebus will help those who persist?†or â€if you work hard enough, by virtue of some miracle you’ll pass and get residency somedayâ€. Why should the fourth time be the charm? – what about the next steps and state board exams? Can he afford to take those 3-4 times? Be HONEST and recognize when someone is better off NOT spending time and money on guaranteed failure. And when someone (and society) is better off not practicing medicine at all, just tell it like it is.

    I would also like to thank GOD - His Holy Noodliness, The Flying Spaghetti Monster! May you all be touched by his noodley appendage and score higher than me.
    Cheers

    Obe

    PS Feel free to ask SPECIFIC questions. I don’t answer PM’s.


    Update #1: Goljan Rapid Review vs. Kaplan LN Path

    - This is what I did: Read RR once (last Fall, quick review), then before second read (this February), decided RR was too much, so I started LN path but quit midway because it seemed too concise + the teachers in path suck, studied RR second time. Then after completing UW+DIT+USMLERx+CBSSA3 I realized that actually FA is enough for path if you just do a lot of questions, understand the explanations, make annotations in FA where it will facilitate your retention/understanding of the material.

    - So what to do? Should you skip Goljan altogether. No! The HY approach for primary review of path would be: Goljan audio + Kaplan LN path (+/- video) + FA path + Q's from q-bank to reinforce what has been learned. And from completion of first review and until the exam? FA and Q-banks is all you need, baby.
  23. anisa

    anisa Guest

    Sender: AhmedST

    My experience is 6 months old but I thought I should share it nonetheless. I owe this forums ALOT!

    Exam date: 23 Nov 2010
    Result : 15 Dec 2011
    NBME 7: 248
    NBME 6: 240

    I studied for a total of 8 months. It was my first step

    The first 3 months of studying were mainly a fast read of all the top rated review books in each subject on the back of First Aid. I couldn't stand Kaplan's review books...I found them nauseating. I also watched Kaplan's Biostatistics video, the others were too boring.

    I then had a 1.5 of USMLE World Qbank with extensive note taking.
    Then 2 months of USMLERx Qbank
    Finally, 1 month of Kaplan Qbank
    During my Qbank answering phase, I listened to Goljan Audio over and over again. You'll always figure out something new with each new listen.
    I reviewed my Qbank notes as I answered them.
    I was left with 2 spare weeks at the end, so I solved the offline NBMEs. It was a hassle finding the right answers for the tests and verifying them but I still found them helpful. They are VERY SIMILAR to the actual exam.

    Things I did that greatly helped:
    1. I started reviewing my Qbank notes from the day I started answering them...Don't leave it to the end.
    2. I continuously took an NBME exam after I finished each Qbank to assess my strengths and weaknesses.
    3. Goljan Pathology audio....PRICELESS!
    4. Watch Kaplan's Biostatistics Video ONLY!...lots of INFO and fun

    Mistakes I did that you guys should avoid:
    1. Do not Study a review book for PHARMACOLOGY...First Aid is more than enough
    2. Do NOT DO USMLERx Qbank...it is barely related to the actual exam and the questions will distort your knowledge! AVOID IT by all means
    3. Study First-Aid a Million times!!! No mater much you think you know it, keep reviewing again and again.
  24. anisa

    anisa Guest

    Sender: Srikant

    My exam experience is very similar to all the people who have taken in this forum. It took me two days to recover and still not able to stop thinking about it. Lots of EKG's, X rays and pictures.

    All CCS cases were from UW although I made some blunders ( I guess you are prone to when you are under stress). They did mix two scenarios for example an angina patient who lost her husband about a year ago, comes in with a complain of something very similar to a panic attack and not taking care of her hypertension.

    I am not sure and correct me if I am wrong that the result should come in on August 3rd. I will post my experience if I pass.

    First day: 5 blocks office visit and 2 inpatient/Er
    Second day: 2 blocks inpatient/Er and rest office visits and then 9 CCS cases. I took about 20 minutes to complete CCS cases, none of my cases ended in 10 minutes or so. I had practiced CCS UW software 3 times and practices cases about 4 times with a friend.

    Hope this helps!
  25. anisa

    anisa Guest

    Sender: Shahid

    Here is how I remember the gram negative rods:

    so there are the Enterics you know they like to steal your food, man.... the 13 homeless people... they are so unlucky.
    Yea, ma man E.Coli.. He's cool you know he keeps to himself and does his own thing.
    Now, the rest hang out in pairs of 2.
    Shigella and Salmonella, they smell like S**t, they hang out by the dumpsters.

    Yersinia and Klebsiella they are the Hoe's! they be trying to get it in and make some money!

    Proteus and Enterobacter: Now, Proteus is a Pro thief! He just steals things while Enterobacter is always after him "Enterrogating" him for his actions!

    Serratia and Vibrio: Serratia, she ma home girl.. she chill you can have a nice converSATIA(conversation) with her. Initially you get a nice Vibe from Vibrio but be careful, he is kinda shady.

    Campylobacter and Helicobacter: Camylobacter is always campin' out at different locations while, Helicobacter keeps an eye out for them.. like a helicopter.. he is paranoid!

    Pseudomonas and Bacteroides: Pseudomonas... you can't really tell... is it a HE/SHE pseudo? and Bacteroides is just a fat ass guy... always eating... gettin the "itis"

    Now for the rest there is a story:
    Haemophilus was confused about his sexuality so he went to a strip club called "ELLA"
    you know the girls dance around RODS

    now the first girl that came on stage was LEGIONELLA... she wore a silver armor and looked like she belonged in a legion out of a war!
    the 2nd girl BORDETELLA... poor thing, she looked so freaking bored!
    the 3rd FRANCISELLA... she was kinda cute, with her french maid outfit on.
    the 4th BRUCELLA.... she reminded him of Bruce Lee... you know with her Asain eyes.
    the 5th Pasteurella: she was weird... definitely old school with her milk maid outfit!
    the 6th did not belong in a strip club, but rather the Simpson's... she looked just like Bart simpson.. BARTONELLA.
    the last she had flowers in her hair and a cute flower dress... like she just came out of a garden... GARDNERELLA.

    THIS IS NOT MEANT TO OFFEND ANYONE! It just helped me remember the Gram negative Rods and I'm just throwing it out there for people if it helps!
  26. anisa

    anisa Guest

    Sender: John

    Hello fellas,

    Im an img, Today, i learned my step 1 exam result, and it made me feel little bit dissapointted. Everybody around me is tellin me they got 99 from exam. but when i checked my score again and again, it just helps me feel miserable and stupid. What do u think about this guys? Am i at the end of this tough road? Everything, all dreams, are over for me? I was dreaming about being a resident at Internal medicine, Paediatri or general surgery. I guess time to close all of it Lookin forward to your advices.

    Thanks fellas
  27. anisa

    anisa Guest

    Sender: Mr. Blake


    I wanna first mention the people who really helped me in my prep…1st : my family “ mom & dad & brother & sister “ & my wife “ thank u .. u were really supportiveâ€
    & my study partners & mentors..Allawy, esraa, dr. hisham, dr. rifai & dr.MG & mao…thanx a lot guys..I`d never done it without ur help..

    Am an IMG from Egypt…finished my internship last march…started studying during internship â€April 2010..really ON-OFF type of studying with very few hours aside from many other stuff in my lifeâ€..but the serious stuff is from “january 2011 till july 2011â€

    Materials used :

    Kaplan lecture notes , videos , MMRS, Goljan audio & book
    & OFCOURSE : FA &UW & a month of USMLErx
    First I started the typical thing “ watch vids & read kaplan “ it took me a loooooooooong time to do “ around 7 months “ with some offline qs
    & that’s what I consider the biggest 1st mistake in my prep “ I could easily consize those in 3 months & less “ but I was really stubborn & afraid of taking the next step..

    Then I started FA in late 2010 with some offline qs “ UW 2009 mainly “ spent a while on those..by that time I was planning to take my exam in late march but my app. was rejected so I had to delay the exam to may to finish the app. Process .. so I relaxed again..

    Then I moved again & the rate went up & applied for may…guess what..re rejected..

    Yeah “ JINX†..I know…so I skipped the “sad†part & registered for USMLErx for a month to heat thing up..I took it in may..finished it with cumm. Score 66 % & by that time I applied for july..

    Then I registered for UW for 6 & 7 ..& my form 186 was accepted this time…
    Finished UW in 22 days “ 2 blocks a day “..already did a lot of offline.. so wasn’t a big deal..cumm. score 71 %

    Then I did DIT course with FA in 15 days ..was a bit helpful to me as I was starting to b bored..

    Then I retook UW with FA & listened to some Goljan..

    NBME 11 ..a month from the exam : 560/235
    NBME 12 ..a week b4 the exam : 560/ 235 bardo ..
    UWSA 2 ..10 days b4 the exam : 243
    UWSA 1 ..3 days b4 the exam..248
    USMLE CD : around 89 % or so..dont really remember..
    The exam 19-7-2011
    Score : 10-8-2011 : 99/242

    Exam day : slept 4 hours…took 2 blocks >> 5 min. break..snack >> 2 blocks >> 25 min. break..lunch & Dhohr prayer >> 1 block >> 5 min >> 1 block >> 15 min..snack & Asr prayer >> last block.

    During the exam ..the time was great…I left the center with 55 min of break ..
    All my breaks were from the remaining time of the blocks….it took me ana avererage of 45-50 min to do & review each block…I was worried abt that ,..but Al7amdoleAllah…I did good..

    The most imp. Thing I wanna mention is…

    What did I do right ?

    1- a looooooooot of qs & 2 online qbanks
    2- read FA 3+ times
    3- listened to goljan again at the end
    4- doing DIT in 15 days aside from my schedule
    5- time managemnt in studying & exam day “ the last few months I used to do 10+ hours if studyingâ€

    what I did wrong ?

    1- taking alooooooooooooot of time in first reading of kaplan material†very very very wrongâ€
    2- on-off studying…really I could `ve done in half that time
    3- no organized plan except for the last few months

    that’s all I wanna mention & I wish u all the best with ur exam…
  28. durgesh2011

    durgesh2011 Guest

    Auther: Redreflex

    Hello everyone,

    I’d like to share my experience of passing Step 1 in September 2011 at my first attempt, after 54 days of revision. This may not be useful for many of you, as my sole aim was to pass the exam as I have already secured a subspecialty clinical fellowship in ophthalmology in the USA. I did not need a high score.


    ABOUT ME

    You may have already read my thread in this forum about passing Step 2 CS after 17 days of revision. For those who haven’t, I am a board certified ophthalmologist in the U.K. I went to medical school in the UK, and graduated 11 years ago. I am of Asian origin and grew up in Asia. I have not done any general medicine or surgery for 10 years - only ophthalmology. I am taking the USMLEs for the reason I have highlighted in the first paragraph.



    WHAT USMLE STEPS HAD I TAKEN BEFORE STEP 2 CS?

    I took Step 2 CS in June 2011 and passed. I am due to take Step 2 CK shortly.



    HOW DID I PREPARE?

    I was originally scheduled to take Step 1 just under six weeks following Step 2 CS. This was a very short period of time for the number of subjects that needed to be covered. I used the following RESOURCES:

    First Aid for Step 1 (2011 edition)
    USMLE World Qbank (2 months subscription)
    NBME self-assessment number 5
    As I was short for time, I was forced to limit the number of books I used to just 1. I needed to be extremely focused and targeted with my revision. I agree with other forum posts about using more books for a higher score and if you have more time.



    THIS WAS MY ACTUAL PREPARATION TIMELINE



    1. Days 1-37:

    As it’s been so many years since I did any general basic science work, I decided to revise by organ systems as this generally makes more sense to me as a practising clinician (even though I’m an ophthalmologist and not an internist or general surgeon).



    Starting with the cardiovascular system in First Aid, I’d read through a chapter once (1/2 to 1 day), and then did the USMLE World Qbank questions on that system only. It was difficult trying to understand a lot of the First Aid information, as it is heavily summarised and assumes you already have an understanding of the topic from reading of other/larger texts. I took in as much as I could, and the Qbank is extremely helpful in filling in the missing links and with providing detailed explanation (e.g. of biochem pathways, etc etc). I then moved on to the next system. I would spend 3 to 5 days on each system in total. For each system, if there was a Qbank question relating to a basic science topic not covered within the …High Yield Organ Systems" topic, I’d take that opportunity to assimilate the relevant pages within the basic science …High Yield General Principles" in First Aid (e.g. embryology, microbiology, etc).



    With regards to the Qbank, I used …tutor" mode only. In total, I did 1750 out of the available 2080-2100 USMLE World Qbank questions. I had the intention to go through all the questions twice, but I didn’t manage to even finish it once.



    On average, I spent about 9 hours studying per day (more or less on some days as I was also doing some unrelated lab research at the time)



    2. Day 38:

    This was 2 days before I was originally scheduled to take Step 1. I did not feel ready, particularly as I still hadn’t revised and done the Qbanks for neurology, reproductive medicine, haematology, psychiatry and dermatology. To be certain, I took the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Self-Assessment Form number 5. I got a score of 270, which is equivalent to a USMLE Step 1 score of 168, i.e. a fail! I decided to postpone Step 1 by 2 weeks.



    3. Days 39-47:

    I revised the rest of the topics I hadn’t covered as listed above.



    4. Days 48-53:

    I read through most of First Aid for the second time – most the Organ Systems chapters, and some of the High Yield General Principles (basic science) chapters.

    I would recommend giving yourself at least 2 days more than I had done (I ran out of time) to read through First Aid again – I had to skim through some sections quicker and less thorough than I would’ve liked (e.g microbiology), and did not read some chapters again at all (e.g. embryology, psychiatry)



    5. Day 54:

    I read through Rapid Review and High Yield Images (in First Aid). This was very useful. This was my first time reading the Rapid Review section, and I wish I had done it once previously.



    6. Breaks:

    I took 3 full days off completely in those 54 days – days 6, 12 and 32.



    EXAM DAY EXPERIENCE:



    I took Step 1 in August 2011.

    This was undoubtedly the most unprepared I had ever been for an exam. I thought the questions were as tough as, if not tougher than the USMLE World Qbank. I managed to just about finish answering all questions in each of the 7 one hour blocks. However, for 2 or 3 of the blocks, I did not have time to go over any of the questions I had ‘marked’ for my own review. Time was extremely tight, and I wish I had practised a few timed blocks in USMLE World – the only one I had done was the NBME self assessment (which I failed 2 weeks prior).

    This was an absolutely brutal exam, largely because I should’ve been better prepared. There were many questions with which I had absolutely no idea, and just had to guess. After the exam, I was certain I had failed and thus began planning towards to a re-sit.

    To my delight and surprise, I passed Step 1 last week!



    SUMMARY & CONCLUSION:

    Step 1 is an extremely tough exam for those of us who’ve been out of medical school for a few years. However, it’s not rocket science. It simply requires a dedicated amount of time to acquire and retain the knowledge. The syllabus for Step 1 is clear, and there are ample resources. You need to streamline your resources based upon the score you’re aiming for. If your aim is simply to pass, then I am certain the limited resources and plan I used described above will suffice. If however, your plan is to get a high score (as would be the case for most of you), then you need to read around the subject more, add notes to First Aid and revise through that, and do more questions.

    I hope everyone who’s about to embark upon Step 1 can glean something useful from my experience. Specifically, regardless of what score you are aiming towards, you can at least be confident of pass with less than 2 months of solid and very focused studying. You can then extrapolate how much extra time you’d need to get a high score.

    Good luck!
  29. mahak

    mahak Guest

    Author: DudeFromCA

    Let me start by saying that I've been reading this forum, the USMLE World forum, and other threads like these for a long time as I studied for this exam. Most of the people who post their scores on these forums are LYING!! If you read this forum often enough, you'll start to think that 240 is the lowest score that anyone gets on this test. Only once in a blue moon does someone get a 260 on this exam, but on this forum it seems like the "average" score. If you got a 260 on your exam, you have no use for a forum like this. You don't need anyone's help or advice. And if you're telling the truth about your score in the first place (which I doubt) then you're doing it for your own ego. It's about your own vanity. I'm here to talk to those who struggled. I'm here for the underdogs...the ones who went to medical school in weird places around the world because they had a dream and weren't going to take no for an answer.

    The first time I went though the USMLE World qbank, I averaged 27%. My first score on an NBME was 200, which is the lowest possible score you can get. If you take the test and not answer a single question right, you'll get a 200. That's what I got when I was actually TRYING.

    It took me more than a year of studying. I went through all the Kaplan books, took the live Kaplan class, watched every Kaplan video twice, went to the Pass Program, watched the Doctors In Training videos four times, went through the USMLE World question bank three times, went through the Kaplan question bank twice, did the USMLE Consult question bank, did the USMLERx question bank, cried, prayed, cried, prayed, vomited frequently, drank up to five cans of diet soda per day to stay alert, spent over a thousand hours at libraries and coffee shops, and spent thousands more sitting here at my desk in my room staring at books. I spent months waking up in the middle of the night drenched in a cold sweat. I've had far far more nightmares in the past year than I have experienced in all the rest of my life put together. I've thought about killing myself. I've wished that I had cancer or some other disease so that people would feel sorry for me so I wouldn't have to take this test anymore. I stopped talking to many of my friends and classmates because I was too embarrassed to tell them that I was stuck in this hole and I just couldn't get out. I don't even have a Facebook profile, because I couldn't stand the thought of seeing happy pictures of people I know. I couldn't stand seeing my friends and family get married, and have kids, and go on vacations, and have careers, and have lives, all while I was stuck with nothing except the burden of this test.

    I'm not going to even bother telling you how well I did on the NBMEs, and how I studied for this test. You don't want my advice. I just want the underdogs out there to know that you're not alone. I've met many of you along the way. As bad a situation as I was in, I've met people who have it worse than me. I've met people who can't speak English well enough to understand the questions being asked, let alone have a shot of actually getting the right answer. I've met people who break out in hives. I've met people who vomit at the thought of taking an NBME, let alone the real test. I've seen lots and lots of tears over this test. I've seen all of this, and much more.

    With all the courage I could muster, and all the knowledge that I could cram into my head, I took this test last month. I drove to the exam center, but with the way my heart was racing, I might as well have jogged there. Then I waited for three agonizing weeks for the results. Results always come on the third Wednesday after you take your test. Early in the morning (at least on the West Coast), you get an email stating that your "Score Report Is Now Available." I didn't sleep the night before I got my results. I sat right here, in this chair, all night long. This chair where I spent thousands of hours studying for this test. I staring at my laptop...the same laptop I used to watch all the USMLE videos I could find, and do every question bank there was. At 6:30 in the morning, I got that email. I said one final prayer, logged in, and opened up the PDF file with my results. I saw the word "PASS" and I didn't really care about anything else. I didn't celebrate. I called my parents to tell them the good news, and then I took a long shower, and cried a little.

    I put my heart, my soul, and every ounce of energy I had into this test, and judging from the score, it took every bit of everything I had to pass this test. Is it a great score? No. But it's the best I could do. I'm not going to get some really prestigious residency. I know that. All the rest of my credentials are strong, so I'm pretty sure I'll get something...maybe Family Practice or Psychiatry...but that's fine with me. It's the best I could do.

    To all those who struggle the way I struggled, I want you to keep your head up. You CAN pass this test. It's fine to come to forums like this to look for advice, but don't always take the advice too seriously. People are lying like crazy on this forum, and others like it. There's no prep book that works miracles. There's no question bank that works miracles. Put in the time, put in the energy, and put your heart and soul into this thing. For some of us, it'll take longer than others, and that's okay. Some of us have to work twice as hard to get half as far, and that's okay. But if this is what you want...get it.
  30. guest2011

    guest2011 Moderator

    Sender: Guyie Richie

    My blog: Step 1
    I learnt a lot from other people's experiences and hence it would be prudent to share mine.
    I am currently applying for match 2012 which means I have given my Step 1 Step2 CK and CS.
    I scored 84 on step 1 and had given it in March 2011
    Scored 99 on step 2 ck which I gave in July 2011.
    I am awaiting step 2 cs results as I gave it in august 2011.

    Step 1:
    I gave step 1 while I was still doing my internship in New Delhi, India and therefore it was a little difficult to have the energy to study. It was not a wise decision and I feel I should have given my preparation more focussed dedication than time per se.
    I started studying on and off since July 2010. But to honestly tell you, I sat down to study in October. This process came to a halt as I got posted in surgery for the month of November and December so I basically I studied with some dedication for 2 months thereafter.
    The purpose of me narrating the time frame is that it's not the time you put in but the single minded attention you do to step 1.
    You are going to be the best judge of the time you need for preparation but in my view - 4-6 months are more than enough provided you sit your ass down every single day for a good 6-8 hours.
    Advice is simple: study smart..not long
    I'll summarize what all I did for preparation and give you the pitfalls so you can make amends.
    1. Took too long to decide which subject to start with and how to go about it. Kept switching subjects, trying to cover it by individual organ system.
    Pitfall: Wast of time. You end up having left with a few portions in each subject because you tend to NOT come back to the portions you left in your first reading.
    Advice: On your first day, just randomly select a subject and just start with it. Let go off the inertia to start. Pick your favorite one just start reading. 3-4 days later chalk out a plan. Why 3-4 days later ?so that you are already in the flow of studying and not wasting time on thinking about planning. The plan should be a rough estimate on how you want to go about your subjects. At first set aside 10 days each. This means 70 days. You will fall behind but since you don't really know what to expect, alter it accordingly.

    2. Material I used :
    Kaplan notes: one read
    First Aid: almost 2 reads
    USMLE world : twice

    Pitfalls: by the time I reached u world, I had basically forgotten my notes.
    Advice: Read your notes nicely the first time. But you do need to repeat reading them. Preferably once after you are done with one go through of u world.
    I suggest first aid along side as a summary for your notes, helps remember things.

    3. Kaplan videos: I started it but since they are slow, I thought I was wasting my time
    Goljan audio lectures: an absolute must.. And if you can listen to them twice, I say that would be awesome. The guy is just brilliant.
    Pitfall: bad judgement on the videos
    Advice: I agree they are slow and at times boring but they are informative. I wish I had seen them. They give you the idea on what to expect and how to tackle questions.

    One month I prepared without going to work. So I was studying 10-12 hrs a day. This is not enough in my opinion. You need at least 2 such months.
    Doing u world is one thing and doing u world smartly is the other.
    Although this I learned during my step 2 preparation. I will include it here.
    I prefer doing u world in tutor un-timed mode in a particular subject in a particular topic. Leave at least 10 questions un attempted so that you can test yourself on those 10.
    U world is a great learning tool and hence I suggest you use it as that instead of testing yourself every day. Tutor mode explains the answer right during the question as soon as you submit your answer for that question. It has 2 advantages: you don't have to re read the question when you review it, which saves your time. Secondly, it gives you an explanation when your brain is already in sync with the question and thinking in the same direction.
    The way I thought was more fruitful was to read the last line of the question to find out what it's trying to ask, read the options and then read the question. I did the old school way of reading a question from top to bottom and I realized ( only during step 2) that it made me think for far too many things and wasted my brain fuel!!
    Eventually the choice is as per your comfort level.

    Take a date for the exam when you are at least halfway through your course and begin your countdown to the date which is the last one to change your actual date (31 days earlier than the actual date). So that's it's free!!

    By this date you should have finished reading your notes once. Read first aid at least once. Done uworld once and once the incorrect questions and made notes on all of them.

    Now is the time to re read those notes of yours. The kaplan notes. Then read your u world and then I suggest attempt an NBME self test. If you don't wanna do that like me..just test yourself in a timed exam mode on uworld, preferably on incorrect questions and actually sit for 8 hrs like in the actual exam. Do this at least thrice. This would give you a very very good feel of the actual exam.

    Above all..sleep well each day!! And yes each day!! USMLE requires more than adrenaline to get you through. Even the studying requires you to focus while you are solving those uworld riddles. So sleep 6-7 hrs everyday. No néed to put in all nighters. This exam is about your endurance and your understanding.
    I will continue my blog about step 2, in the other section.
    I don't know if I have made any sense. But if you feel the need to ask me something please feel free to email.
    Why I felt the need to put this up is because I scored average on step 1. We need people from the average class to put up their experience so that others can benefit.
  31. guest2011

    guest2011 Moderator

    Sender: Sanjeev

    ----- What I did !! -----

    Starting in June --> Kaplan Video's and Lecture Notes, was a little slow while going through them, took me approximately all summer, i went really slow because I was also playing sports and enjoying my first real time off since high school, all through my undergrad and med school never had a summer off)..

    I skipped the Kaplan microbiology videos and pathology videos..

    For pathology I read the transcript of Dr. Goljan (which i thought was a little faster then listening, however his audio is really good) and also read his Rapid Review book cover to cover and made notes in it.

    For Microbiology I recommend First aid, memorize that sucker !! and uworld, and questions, micro is straight forward on the exam and straight from First Aid

    For Pharmacology I also recommend First Aid, memorize those drugs everyday, Pharm was my weakest subject coming in, and I would say strongest coming out, First aid was amazing for pharm...

    In September I began Kaplan Qbank, and really started studying first aid, took all the notes i thought were important from kaplan and wrote them into my first aid book, and did kaplan Qbank, Subject by subject, first I would read the chapter in first aid, then I would do questions, I was receiving around ~ 65% average, there are lots of questions in there that are not in the book and made notes..

    My initial thought was to write in December, and my ECFMG application was not finished till December so i chose my 3 month date, FEB - APR, just to be on the safe side...

    I must have read first aid several times and took my first NBME and scored 440 ~ 207.. which really disappointed me..

    that's when I got serious !! started studying 12 - 13 hours a day.. doing nothing but studying, booked my exam for Feb 28th....

    first thing I did was memorize first aid pages, that need memorization....
    began UWorld... (which I must say is by far THE BEST QBANK) i would recommend to everyone to start from this, i made a mistake and left it for later.. it simply the best.... i learned more from Uworld then I did through reading goljan and first aid.. its just simply amazing..

    I finished the bank twice, first time i was around 75% second time around 90%..

    I took 2 more NBME's while completing the bank first time,

    Jan 24 - 420 - 203
    Feb 4 - 490 - 219

    In Febuary the only thing i did was do questions, from dawn till dusk, questions and only questions, while reading explanations also..

    Exam Experience:

    I was so nervous i didn't sleep properly the night before...

    I went in for the exam and the adrenaline kicked in and I wrote the first 2 blocks back to back

    I had around 5 - 7 mins left at the end of each block after reviewing it.. so those were my breaks.. I didnt use any of my official break time, and finished the exam in 7 hours..

    I was marking around 12 questions a block but felt really confident when I came out.

    Exam Results-

    233/84 .. March, 21, 2012
  32. guest2011

    guest2011 Moderator

    Sender: Anand Vashishth

    Background- graduated 4 years ago, currently a full time radiology resident.
    Step 2 CK in 2008 - 255/99.
    Attempted step 1 as i plan to apply for a radiology fellowship in the near future.

    Preparation time - 6 weeks
    Prep material - UWorld Q bank & First Aid (nothing else)

    Exam date 26/04/12
    Results on 16/05/12 - 247 smiling face

    Should be a 99 as per the previous system. I don't quite understand the new 2 digit score, which happened to be 86.


    Never easy preparing for the exam with a full time job.
    I work full time 5 days a week, with occasional weekend duties.

    My aim was to get a decent pass score.

    I knew i had limited time and had to study smart. Couldnt study much on weekdays after the work at hospital. Studies hard during the weekends (about 10-12hrs/day).
    Took 5 days off work before the exam and this was crucial in revising what i studied as well as do the self-assessments.

    My 2 sources of preparation-->

    1) UWorld Q bank - did straight away without any background study as i didnt have much time; completely in tutor mode, scored 63%.
    I told myself it doesnt matter even if i score zero in a block as long as i learn from the questions and explanations and get it right in the actual exam.
    I made good notes while i did the Q bank, which was the mainstay of my prep and was invaluable towards the end.
    Spent 4 weeks finishing U world once and did a quick revision in the last 2 weeks.

    2) First Aid- absolutely a wonderful book, managed to study only about 3/4ths of it.
    Started it after nearly finishing the Uworld bank. Summarises what we need to know very well, although to make the most of it, it needs some background knowledge.
    Regretted not being able to finish it.

    Had no time for Kaplans or Goljans.

    I preferred to spend the few days before the test on Self assessments.

    NBME self assessments- 3 days before the test
    Form 7 - 540 (231)
    Form 12 - 560 (235)

    U world self assessment 1 (2 days before) - 580 (236)
    U world self assessment 2 (the day before the test) - 600 (240)

    Actual exam result, i am glad, was a lil higher - 247


    Few exam tips -
    1) Studying smart is as important as studying hard. No point spending too much time delving into the greater depths of basic sciences as the actual exam questions are fairly reasonable and more concept-based than memory-based.
    2) Self-assessments are accurate and they tell you where you stand.
    3) Old grads - dont need to worry too much. Yes, it is never going to be easy reading those long forgotten physio concepts or biochem cycles which make you regret for not giving the test earlier. But i can tell you, having taken the exam, clinical experience and working in the hospital gives you some edge over the medical students in grasping the clinical scenarios.
    If i can do it in 6 weeks with a full time job, im sure most of you guys can do it.

    All the best guys !
  33. guest2011

    guest2011 Moderator

    Sender: VP Dubey

    Just got back from the test centre. Dont know what did I do, it was a disaster one block after another. Too long q's stem, never got enough time to review the q's I marked. I dont want to scare anyone but seriously its not just a knowledge based exam its a test of our endurance how much pressure we can stand & still able to answer most of the q's. My sincere advice to everyone do as many q's as u can in timed mixed mode. Doesn't matter which q bank you do. In the last 2-3 weeks do at least 4 blocks in a stretch. I did q's but never more than a block or maximum 2 in a row. I finished the blocks right on time but wish I had few extra mins to review the ones I marked.
    Exam tests everything very thoroughly so dont underestimate any system or subject. Please do q's in mixed timed mode & for long hours. Exam needs stamina. Yes they are quite right its not a sprint its marathon. I'm so exhausted, feeling drained but the time pressure seriously killed me I'm really devastated, dont feel good about anything right now.
  34. mahak

    mahak Guest

    Sender: Vikramadu

    hello everybody


    Just got step 2 ck score report 223/80. kind of disappointed again.

    I am IMG, graduation year 2005, step 1 score 216/89, step 2 score 223/80,

    one incomplete ck attempt ( could not get any sleep before the exam).

    is there any real chance to be accepted in pathology or IM residency?

    I need your advice!!!

    should I quit USMLE or continue my "incredible" adventure in the education land?


    good luck everybody
  35. guest2011

    guest2011 Moderator

    Sender: Davidson

    I took Step 1 in December and received results on the 2nd of this month. I passed 258 corresponds to 99 on the new scale. These support forums on the web aided me a lot in this victory. Hooray!
    When I first started looking for information on Step1 and how to prepare, I felt lost because there is so much information out there and too scattered. I will outline important stuff about Step 1 and preparation along with my experience for benefit of future step1’ers.

    The original USMLE Step 1orientation material and content you can find at First look at these before you start anything. Read the outline of the content and check the orientation material.

    Then register for Step 1. Schedule a date , allow yourself three to four months preparation time.

    I prepared for 2 months. I did not really care about getting high scores on USMLE Step 1. I just wanted to pass because I am an MD PhD in molecular biology. I am lucky to have had a written agreement with the program in the same facility for first year residency to begin in July 2014. So, a big score means nothing to me but the program wanted me to pass Step 1 as soon as possible because I am a Canadian Citizen. I purchased USMLE world question bank first, and found it to be enough. I also purchased lectures from Archer review and it took me about 1 month to complete them. They were very helpful in answering challenging questions. I did UW questions for 2 months, and then took the exam. If you want a high score, you must do more than this. It is not an easy exam.


    Please keep in mind that I did not care about score on this exam. If you are the type that just must have a 99 (as I got lukcy!), ask someone more thorough.

    BUT-If you had past fail;s then you may note that there is an ivy league pgm that I did research on (referred nby a PGY-2 resident in Chicago) and found was for fourteen K but was fully guaranteed and offered (BBB-certified) personalized help in a comprehensive package (online in nature and you can reach them direct; no NOT m * school t* t r s ! this is much better! call six four one seven one five three nine zero zero at the extensn eight three three seven six eight for their info line!)...
  36. bhagat

    bhagat Guest

    sender: macmohan

    Hi all
    I took my exam in 20 sep, but when i check Oasis it says that the exam not taken yet !!!!! Is it usual?? And in IWA there is an option fir eligibility extention. Dose anyone has same experience?
    Please help, Im so worried
  37. conard

    conard Guest

    Hi all

    I'm Ibraheem 2nd year M.D
    I just wanna know what is the best time for USMLE step1 examination

    someone told us its better after 4th year because we take a psychatric course in 4th year

    and the last thing i want to know is should i take kaplan course before the exam? and what about the sources?

    the same guy who told us about the proper time he said Kaplan books is more than enough BUT in pathology isn't unless u r an expert by that time yes read kaplan

    he said goljan is very helpful to understand pathology besides they concentrate on pathophysiology in the exam so u should understand the concepts before you study what's under microscope

    and is there website for kaplan course locations?

    and thank you
  38. Neha Gupta

    Neha Gupta Active Member

    hi..my name is Jeansen..i am new here ..i really don't know where i can find the right place to post this topic..so ,i am sorry if i misplaced this topic..well, i got the ECFMG identification number and i have paid (the $50 ) to register on the online application.. i am now trying to apply for the USMLE exam..but i am quiet confuse,

    1. the item 2 asks me the eligibility period..do i have to decide it that early? i am not sure when i can take the exam right now..can i fulfill the required documents without choosing my eligibility period first? but, how can i get the "186 or 183 form" if i don't choose the eligibility period?

    2. how can i know if my medical school has already registered at the EMSWP?because i don't know which form to choose (form 186 or 183)?

    3. letter size is not commonly used in my country (though i can find some)..is it ok if i use mixed size paper (A4 and letter size paper)? i use the letter size for the diploma though

    4. i don't really understand the use of form 187 , they said that we included it if we have any additional document to complete my document? what kind of additional document do they mean?
    and also, should i not send this form if i send the form 186 or form 183 only?

    please help..thank you in advance
  39. Neha Gupta

    Neha Gupta Active Member

    Sender: Medalic

    USMLE Step 1 experience:

    First of all you need to understand that people are different and each one has his own strength and weaknesses. You know yours.
    Step one exam Prep:
    How long?. There is no particular time line you should adhere to.
    How long will it take you depends on two things:
    1- How strong your basics are. 2- What do you plan to do in your preparation (which reflects what your target score)
    You may need to read form review books with some details, I personally found Kaplan to be a very good source, especially if you use it with the videos. The order in which you do the review books may be of importance, because some parts may depend on others . Personally I think one should do Physio then Pharm, and then Pathology. Biochem and micro are also preferred before pathology .
    This is the order in which I did my first read (and last) and the sources:
    1-Behavioral science: Kaplan LN and videos plus Conrad fischer 100 cases for ethics
    2- Anatomy: Kaplan is enough. I found the vids usleless, waste of time. You may need to supplement your neuro from HY neuroanatomy, don’t study the book ,but use as needed.
    3-Biochem and genetics: Kaplan LN plus vids
    4- Micobiology and immunology: Kapalan LN plus vids, there are some memory cards and mneumonics out there that are very helpful like Micomnemonics. Don’t spend a great deal of time on memorizing each bacteria, but rather understand the character of each one and know the “ microbiology by systems “ chapter well.
    5-Physiology: Kaplan LN plus vids, vids very helpful
    6-Pharmacology :Kaplan LN plus vids. Mnemonics are also very helpful in pharm

    7- Pathology: GOLJAN GOLJAN GOLJIAN ......Golian RR and his audio. Fantastic. You will love it. It may be tough to do 600 pages but it’s all worth it.

    Remember throughout this read the aim to to UNDERSTAND everything in DEPTH. Search for what you don’t understand till everything is clear. Memorise some info? Yeah sure it’s a must, but at this stage it is more important to digest the concepts and undertand WHY !!!

    After you feel that you now know what the curriculum is about and finished laying down your foundation, you are half way through!

    FIRST AID:
    Now some people don’t do FA and score well , But I believe it is a MUST, it’s POV’s.
    There will be a lot of info you read in Kaplan or goljian which will not be in FA, but remember FA is to tell you what is high yield.
    This is how I did FA: I read the chapter in FA then did UW offline subject wise, and added A LOT of notes to my FA, actually I think I added too much details that my FA now contains may low yield stuff.

    After I finished FA with offline UW subject wise, I did DIT (doctors in training)....... That way I did my second FA read, but to be honest, I believe DIT was a total waste of time. I only used it because I was so bored that I needed someone to read FA for me. Their work book is OK. They have pages covering the parts FA is missing, so it may be a good idea to print those and add to your FA, they are not much but HY. Otherwise don’t waste your time with DIT if you did Kaplan and FA and UW offline before!!!!
    After that I started Kaplan Q bank, Mixed timed, offline.
    After that I did UW online, mixed and timed.
    Important to note that while doing Q’s I always added notes to my FA. So I kept on seeing the same FA pages over and over again. Some people say you need to do FA 4-5 times, but I did it twice, plus opening the appropriate page after each Q, and I think that covered the average 4-5 times and had stuck better to my memory because I linked it to a Q in UW or Kaplan .

    After the Q banks I took the following assessments in the last 2-3 weeks, while reviewing the parts I know I am weak at.

    Assessments : all within 2-3 weeks before exam
    I did NBME 7 and 13 . The real exam was a few points higher than the estimated score. But they are very good estimators.
    UWA: tend to overestimate your real score a bit.
    I did about 4 other NBME’s offline. If you are doing it to estimate your score, you have to do it online.

    Final days:
    2weeks before the exam make sure that you are used to waking up at least at 8 am and studying full time till 5 with no naps and little breaks. The exam is all about mental stamina if you are well trained you will be fit enough and the exam day will be an ordinary day to you.

    What I found very useful is doing a mock exam at home. Save the last 14 blocks of your Q banks, and do 7 blocks in a row with a total of 1 hr break, just like the real thing. You will get tiered, but do it again and you will feel more comfortable. Don’t let the exam day be the first time you sit for 7 NEW blocks!!!!
    This will make you very comfortable on the exam day isA.

    Exam day:
    Sleep 8 hours or whatever makes you comfortable good breakfast, coffee etc.
    Now you can’t really sit and have a hot drink in between blocks so the alternative would be stuff like redbull, however, don’t try it for the first time on the exam day. If you are used to only a cup of tea in the morning don’t try coffee on the exam day. Stick to what your brain is used to. Avoid too much caffeine, it’ll make you very alert and active, yet your concentration will be less.

    About breaks in exams, I took breaks in between all blocks, you can take the first 2 blocks at once, but after that I recommend breaks, even just for fresh air, or a sip of water. Again it is a mental marathon and you need to stay fresh. You may feel okay to start another block back to back and 15 mins later feel exhausted, so take “prophylactic†breaks. Don’t’ eat much. You had a good breakfast so chocolates, nuts and water or energy drinks will be enough.

    Good luck future US medical residents!
  40. Neha Gupta

    Neha Gupta Active Member

    My blog: Step 1
    I learnt a lot from other people's experiences and hence it would be prudent to share mine.
    I am currently applying for match 2012 which means I have given my Step 1 Step2 CK and CS.
    I scored 84 on step 1 and had given it in March 2011
    Scored 99 on step 2 ck which I gave in July 2011.
    I am awaiting step 2 cs results as I gave it in august 2011.

    Step 1:
    I gave step 1 while I was still doing my internship in New Delhi, India and therefore it was a little difficult to have the energy to study. It was not a wise decision and I feel I should have given my preparation more focussed dedication than time per se.
    I started studying on and off since July 2010. But to honestly tell you, I sat down to study in October. This process came to a halt as I got posted in surgery for the month of November and December so I basically I studied with some dedication for 2 months thereafter.
    The purpose of me narrating the time frame is that it's not the time you put in but the single minded attention you do to step 1.
    You are going to be the best judge of the time you need for preparation but in my view - 4-6 months are more than enough provided you sit your ass down every single day for a good 6-8 hours.
    Advice is simple: study smart..not long
    I'll summarize what all I did for preparation and give you the pitfalls so you can make amends.
    1. Took too long to decide which subject to start with and how to go about it. Kept switching subjects, trying to cover it by individual organ system.
    Pitfall: Wast of time. You end up having left with a few portions in each subject because you tend to NOT come back to the portions you left in your first reading.
    Advice: On your first day, just randomly select a subject and just start with it. Let go off the inertia to start. Pick your favorite one just start reading. 3-4 days later chalk out a plan. Why 3-4 days later ?so that you are already in the flow of studying and not wasting time on thinking about planning. The plan should be a rough estimate on how you want to go about your subjects. At first set aside 10 days each. This means 70 days. You will fall behind but since you don't really know what to expect, alter it accordingly.

    2. Material I used :
    Kaplan notes: one read
    First Aid: almost 2 reads
    USMLE world : twice

    Pitfalls: by the time I reached u world, I had basically forgotten my notes.
    Advice: Read your notes nicely the first time. But you do need to repeat reading them. Preferably once after you are done with one go through of u world.
    I suggest first aid along side as a summary for your notes, helps remember things.

    3. Kaplan videos: I started it but since they are slow, I thought I was wasting my time
    Goljan audio lectures: an absolute must.. And if you can listen to them twice, I say that would be awesome. The guy is just brilliant.
    Pitfall: bad judgement on the videos
    Advice: I agree they are slow and at times boring but they are informative. I wish I had seen them. They give you the idea on what to expect and how to tackle questions.

    One month I prepared without going to work. So I was studying 10-12 hrs a day. This is not enough in my opinion. You need at least 2 such months.
    Doing u world is one thing and doing u world smartly is the other.
    Although this I learned during my step 2 preparation. I will include it here.
    I prefer doing u world in tutor un-timed mode in a particular subject in a particular topic. Leave at least 10 questions un attempted so that you can test yourself on those 10.
    U world is a great learning tool and hence I suggest you use it as that instead of testing yourself every day. Tutor mode explains the answer right during the question as soon as you submit your answer for that question. It has 2 advantages: you don't have to re read the question when you review it, which saves your time. Secondly, it gives you an explanation when your brain is already in sync with the question and thinking in the same direction.
    The way I thought was more fruitful was to read the last line of the question to find out what it's trying to ask, read the options and then read the question. I did the old school way of reading a question from top to bottom and I realized ( only during step 2) that it made me think for far too many things and wasted my brain fuel!!
    Eventually the choice is as per your comfort level.

    Take a date for the exam when you are at least halfway through your course and begin your countdown to the date which is the last one to change your actual date (31 days earlier than the actual date). So that's it's free!!

    By this date you should have finished reading your notes once. Read first aid at least once. Done uworld once and once the incorrect questions and made notes on all of them.

    Now is the time to re read those notes of yours. The kaplan notes. Then read your u world and then I suggest attempt an NBME self test. If you don't wanna do that like me..just test yourself in a timed exam mode on uworld, preferably on incorrect questions and actually sit for 8 hrs like in the actual exam. Do this at least thrice. This would give you a very very good feel of the actual exam.

    Above all..sleep well each day!! And yes each day!! USMLE requires more than adrenaline to get you through. Even the studying requires you to focus while you are solving those uworld riddles. So sleep 6-7 hrs everyday. No néed to put in all nighters. This exam is about your endurance and your understanding.
    I will continue my blog about step 2, in the other section.
    I don't know if I have made any sense. But if you feel the need to ask me something please feel free to email.
    Why I felt the need to put this up is because I scored average on step 1. We need people from the average class to put up their experience so that others can benefit.
  41. Sender: allawi1085

    Hi every one,
    I used to read experiences and score threads and wish that one day I would complete this exam and post my experience, and the day come...

    Materials used:

    Kaplan LNs (twice) & videos
    FA 2011 (3 times and 1 with DIT)
    Goljian audios and notes ( twice )
    Sometimes I was doin pretest but I found them useless
    Neurology lectures of Dr.Njeeb (greatly useful but I've no time for the rest)

    Questions:

    UW
    Qbook
    some pretest
    Some of kaplan Q bank (one friend gave it to me)
    NBME (7 online, 11 & 13 offline)

    The Detailes:

    First Round:

    I started with Kaplan LN along with the Videos, I was just having a look while I listen to the videos, it was on & off, and it took about 2 months. After each book finished, I took the kaplan Q book first test.
    After doing pathology from Kaplan I listened to Dr.Goljan audios, it was great, he gives you confidence and teaches you more than pathology.

    I did a Kaplan diagnostic test and got 74%

    Then I started DIT with first look on FA , it was helpful , this took about 1 month

    Second round:

    Then I started my second reading of Kaplan LN alone without DVD, now more focused, again it took 2 months. Also after each subject finished I did the related test from Kaplan Q book, there was improvement from first test.

    USMLEWORLD:

    Then I started with the best tool in the preparation UW, I was doing 2 blocks (RANDOM, MIXED, TIMED) in the morning and not reviewing them, then I do FA, and at night I review the 2 blocks, each block take about 2-3 Hr, I was Writing the wrong answers as well as the guessed ones in a separate papers ( NOT on FA), When I reached 70% I took UWSA 1 and got 260, this gave me a great dose of confidence, then finished UW, it was 80%.

    I completed first Aid for one time, then I did NBME 7 on-line and got 252 (Amazingly correlated to My Actual score, actually the same as real score) this was about 1.5 months from the test.

    I did FA again and reviewed UW the false and marked ones and some of the correct, now ended up with 90%, and reviewed the study guide of DIT (filled with HY stuff) then I did NBME 11 OFF line ( I felt good with nearly 185-190 Q correct out of 200).

    10 days prior to the big day:

    I took my UWSA2 and got 265, ( Now I said to myself I will do it and get better than this score) Very important to keep the positive thinking, it will push you up incredibly.

    I reviewed FA (forth times) and took the free 150 Q and got 94% 4 days before the test, it helped me to skip the tutorial part on the test and to see the screen of the test (100 % the same).

    The 2 days before the test I didn’t study and went out walking and refreshing, went to the exam center to check the road and assess the time needed, and I was thinking that I’ve finished the work and now it’s time to harvest so I should be happy and relaxed. But I couldn’t fight the subconscious mind which prevent me from sleeping the night before the test, I woke up every hour at that night.

    The Day of the Test:

    I woke up at 6:30, took my breakfast and went out at 7:30, reached the center at 8.

    The time in the test was good, I was left with 5-10 min after each block to review the marked Qs, only one block I couldn’t review all the marked as I had only 2 min.

    I felt I did well on the test (to be honest I was thinking I will get 260+).

    Assessment scores:

    UW (Random, timed, mixed, unused) 80%
    (second round incorrect and marked reached 90%)
    NBME 7 ……..(1.5 month before) …. 252
    UWSA 1 ……..(2 months before) ……260
    UWSA 2 ……..(10 days before) ………265
    Free 150 Q ….(4 days before) ……….94%

    The real Step1 252/87 (As NBME 7)

    Over all:

    -keep the study fun, every thing new you know will help you in the future to help people.
    -Keep the +ve thinking (this is greatly important, I can’t tell how important is this), this will help you cope with the tuff material.
    -Be sure that you Can Do It, as many have did it, and many will do it.
    -Do Qs as much as you can, this will make you pay attention to things you ignored.
    -FA is great and try doing it 3 times at least (the more the better).
    -Goljan audios are useful as I said above, he make things looks very easy and understandable.

    I wish you all the best, any question is welcomed and I hope I can help.
  42. Neha Gupta

    Neha Gupta Active Member

    Sender: HItesh

    Thought I would contribute since I have used this forum to guide me for Step 1.

    US-IMG (Goal: IM - 2014 Match). Took the exam in March 2013.

    Cumulative UW: Mid-50s%
    NBMEs: Started around 160, steady increase to 220. Took the exam as soon as I got to 220.
    Step 1: Pass, 217 (1st Attempt)
    (There was no 2 digit score reported on my score report as of the April 2013 change in score reporting.)

    Resources: FA is by far the best study resource & UW is the best question bank.

    Exam: Very micro, immuno, & biostats heavy. A good mix of neuro as well. Path, pharm, and biochem were very straightforward - easier than expected. The best advice I can give you is be sure to get a LOT of sleep the night before. Don't let exhaustion be the reason for getting a lower score. 50% of the exam is very easy auto-click answers - mostly found in FA. The rest of the questions take some logical reasoning and multi-level answering. The key is to answer all the easier questions which will save you time and get you in the 200-210 range. Beyond that will be based on your Qbank and outside knowledge as well as your test-taking ability.

    I didn't get a very high score, but I'll be willing to help anyone out who needs advice. Good luck!


    For Reference:
    AMG Average Step 1 Score: 224
    IMG Average Step 1 Score: 212 (This was from 2011, but takes into account that 30% of IMGs fail the first time. And since ~45-50% of all IMGs match. It means as long as you are near or above the average, you have a HIGH likelihood of matching.)
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
  43. Neha Gupta

    Neha Gupta Active Member

    To those (IMGs) starting out or still struggling: Don't bog yourself down with too many resources.

    While books like Goljan, Pathoma, and BRS Physio are great - and may enhance your score they are not required for the 210-230 levels.

    First Aid + UW are enough to get you an average score. If you're trying to beat the mean or aim for a 240-250, then you'll need to supplement with other materials, but until you've really nailed First Aid and UWorld - there is really no reason to go after other books/resources. Those TWO resources alone are the FASTEST and most straightforward way to get your score to around the 220 level.

    Retention when using Kaplan LN will be extremely low except for those students who did very well in their pre-clinical years. For most of us, that is not the case. Just because some IMGs used it and scored in the 240-260s doesn't mean its for everyone. For most these LN will do nothing but take up months/years of your life - and you won't understand what went wrong.

    I firmly believe that my wasted time with Kaplan LN was the reason my score was only in the 210s, instead of the 230-240 level that I could have achieved by focusing on FA from the beginning.

    In order to crack this exam, you need to think like the exam writers. When you start going through FA - you'll see that almost everything in there can be knowledge useful in a clinical setting someday. These are what are tested on the Step 1 exam - because the exam writers know that knowing how to solve these translates to helping patients in real life. Kaplan LN has loads of information, in fact, too much. While at times you might be watching the Pharma videos or Physio videos and thinking to yourself that you're learning so much - it doesn't mean you are locking up more points for Step 1. Most of the information in the LN & videos are not useful in the clinical setting and would really just not be tested on the exam.

    Gear your prep FOR the exam to make your life easier. You have your whole life to "learn medicine" but you don't have your whole life to study for Step 1. (Although, a few in this forum seem to think so.) The resources are known - don't deviate.
  44. Neha Gupta

    Neha Gupta Active Member

    Sender: Sourabh

    My exam was in London two days ago, and I thought that I would take the opportunity to share my reflections on preparation and the exam itself whilst both were fresh in my mind.

    Background:

    I am 4th year medical student (out of 5) studying in Scotland. Last summer my wife and I got married. Since she hails from Boston, she suggested that I take the US exams to keep our future options open. I agreed, but if I had of known what a monster of an exam Step I was, I think I would have been more reluctant.

    Timeline:

    I started preparing for the exam in September 2012. This would calculate as 7 months preparation in total. Earnest study (>6 hours each day) began at Christmas time.

    Materials used:

    - First Aid 2012
    - Kaplan materials
    - HY neuroanatomy
    - Goljan audio
    - DIT course
    - USMLE Rx question bank
    - USMLEworld question bank

    Preparation:

    Forgive me if this doesn't sound as neat as it could be. I am certain that the best way to approach this exam is in a formulaic, structured pattern . Throughout my preparation I was still attending hospital placements, and the amount of time I could devote to USMLE varied according the demands of the block.

    I began by reviewing Kaplan biochemistry, pharmacology and microbiology materials. Having passed once through each of these subjects, I would read the respective chapter of FA and do all of the USMLERx questions for the subject.

    At the outset, I thought that I would use the same method to review all of the different disciplines. But after watching some of the Kaplan anatomy/physiology lectures I felt that I was familiar with much of this material, and that my time could be better spent on question banks. Hence for certain subjects I simply reviewed the FA chapter and went through USMLERx subject wise.

    In the middle of January I took the DIT course. People seem to either love or hate this material, and I am afraid to say I am amongst the latter. Brian Jenkins has written this as a 14 day course, with the expectation that you will also be able to complete 50 questions a day. This may be possible if you already know FA. Backwards. At my stage of preparation (after 1x through First Aid) going through this course was like having a tooth pulled out daily for a month. I was trying to do a few questions each day (<50 from USMLERx/USMLEworld), and I struggled to get through HALF of the daily lectures expected of me. I don't think any of the lecturers were particularly good, and don't remember any additional points that Dr Jenkins mentioned that were useful on exam day. Having said all this, I was pulled kicking and screaming through a second review of FA, which is without doubt of great benefit.

    From the end of DIT (2nd half of Feb) I was determined to only do questions. I focused on USMLEworld (mixed, 48q blocks) at this stage. And what a delight that was. I can only add to the praises of this incredible resource. Each explanation is written with such clarity and such relevance, it is an astonishingly powerful learning tool. Most of the questions I would do on the train to hospital on the iPhone app (1 hour each way) and then I would try and review the questions during time off in the day, and into the evening.

    And so from mid-Feb to the end of April I just did USMLEworld. I had hoped that I would be able to get through the whole of the question bank, and then also complete Kaplan, but I discovered my progress was much slower than I expected it to be. For each question that I was not certain of, I would look up the respective part of first aid, and learn it. I was getting through 1-2 blocks per day maximum.

    I was so impressed with the caliber of the explanations on USMLEworld that I decided that rather than subscribe to Kaplan I would repeat USMLEworld, so I managed to go through the Qbank a second time before my exam (only just). Right at the end of my study I was doing 4 blocks a day.

    I like to run. Throughout this studying period I was listening to Goljan audio on my daily 1 hour run. I must have got through it 4x. At the beginning I didn't understand most of what was said - by the end of my study I understood it and could repeat most of it verbatim. It even permeated my dreams at night. Entertaining, light-hearted and a good thing to listen to during spare moments. During the last two weeks of study I was so familiar with EG's jokes that I had to listen to some Bob Marley instead for light relief.

    In my last week I reviewed First Aid. I also went through WebPath neuroanatomy with reference to images from HY Neuroanatomy, which I felt was extremely useful.

    Some scores:

    1.) 15th January. NBME form 1. 200. Pretty disheartening
    2.) 27th February. Completed USMLERx. Subject-wise. (75%)
    3.) 19th March. Completed 1st pass USMLEworld. Subject-wise and mixed (69%)
    4.) 31st March. UWSA1 = 224
    5.) 13th April. UWSA1 = 244
    6.) 23rd April. Completed 2nd pass USMLEworld. Mixed (75%)

    The exam itself:

    - Try to get to the exam center 1 hour before your appointment. People are brought into the Prometric exam room one-by-one, and I would say it's advantageous to get sitting down as soon as possible. Why? Once you sit down, before you start the exam, you can take a few minutes to sketch things down on the 2 laminated A4 sheets you are provided with. I wrote pharm equations and signalling pathways. It was quite calming, and I did refer to them in the afternoon blocks when my head was fried. Note: as soon as you make one click with your mouse, your time starts.

    - Timing. I didn't run out of time on any block, but there was only one block during the day when I had > 5 mins to spare for a review of my answers. The vignettes are longer than in USMLEworld. My advice is not new - it's worth reading the final line of the question first to understand what is expected of you.

    - Difficulty of questions. I was astounded by how easy some of the questions were. Doing USMLEworld, I had got into the habit of trying to think of the answer before looking at any of the answer choices. In the exam, they might describe a typical presentation of osteogenesis imperfecta, and ask what the defect was. You might be thinking formation of triple helix but the answer would be collagen synthesis. Likewise, a description of porphyria cutanea tarda - what is the defect? Uroporphyrinogen III decarboxylase? No. Haem synthesis. Having said that, many other questions were way out of left field, concepts that I had never encountered, and which I ultimately had to make a sensible guess.

    - I would bring your own lunch. 1 hour, when broken up throughout the day, really does not amount to much. I was planning on getting lunch at a cafe outside, but in the end opted to have a sandwich I brought with me.

    - Breaks. I did the first two blocks back to back. After 2nd block, took a break. After third block, took a break. After fourth - lunch. I did leave the test centre at this stage for an americano topped up with cold water so I could drink it fast. 5th and 6th blocks back-to-back. Final break and final block. I felt pretty good (mentally active, not too exhausted) in all blocks except the 6th. For the final one the adrenaline is going and it sails by.

    Some general reflections:

    - First aid and USMLEworld are all you need to get a fantastic score in this exam. When setting off on this adventure, I felt that I would need to go through every primary resource in order to understand what was in FA. What I didn't understand at that stage is that the explanations in USMLEworld are from first principles. Moreover, they are the best explanations I could find in any book/resource.

    - Don't worry if you feel behind in your prep. Many concepts only really settled in my head in the final few weeks.

    - Not all information in FA is equally high-yield. At one stage in my prep, my attitude was that I would simply learn all of FA. I spent several days learning all the details of Echinococcus granulososus, Diphyllobothrium latum, Paragonimus westermani etc etc. In the exam I had one question on the treatment of Enterobius vermicularis - that was it. The only way in which you get a sense of how the questions in the exam are weighted (and what parts of FA are most important) is to do buckets and buckets of questions.

    - Use flashcards. I used Quizlet. At the end of my prep I had 200 sets of cards in Quizlet, some of them up to 80 cards long. Whenever I discovered a concept had slipped from my mind, I would review the bank of cards relative to that topic. You can get the app on your iPhone, and review the cards on the train, whilst waiting for a sandwich, whilst falling to sleep.

    What I would have done differently?

    - Started questions earlier (I felt I wasted quite a bit of time on Kaplan material I was familiar with). I would have liked to have done the Kaplan questions

    - Done more NMBE assessments. At the end of my second review of USMLEworld I was consistently getting >75%. I would have been very curious to know what NMBE predicted score was. Yet, at this stage, I didn't want to do questions that I didn't have complete faith in the explanations for (i.e. googling the question stem)

    Please feel free to ask any questions. At the beginning of the darker days of prep (>14 hour days on the weekends) I would look through these forums over a bowl of cereal to get some inspiration for the day ahead. I hope somebody else's breakfast experience might be enriched by the words above.

    Thanks to all those who have posted before me. Looking through the stories on this site fills me with optimism about humanity. This is an ugly beast of an exam, and it can feel pretty overwhelming at times. In the face of it, the contributors to this site offer an enormous amount of positivity and support, and I would feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with such people in the future.

    I will let you know what my score ultimately turns out to be.
  45. Neha Gupta

    Neha Gupta Active Member

    Sender: parbhat singh

    i recently gave my step1 in march and reading from the forums and following exam score threads with uworld scores i was pretty confident that i was going to score really high

    i did one month of uworld, timed, mixed
    after one month my cummulative came out to be 83%
    and self assessment tests two weeks before the paper were 265 above

    my real score is 250 and even though my friends call me ungrateful i'm just confused that according to so many threads it should have been higher....my question is, was this my luck or was it because i used to do two blocks per day and never simulated the whole 8 hour long paper so may be it was lack of practice for sitting this long???

    any answer will be appreciated as i plan to give my ck in 2 to three months and i would like to know if there is anything i can do differently!
  46. Neha Gupta

    Neha Gupta Active Member

    Sender: Scottish

    My exam was in London two days ago, and I thought that I would take the opportunity to share my reflections on preparation and the exam itself whilst both were fresh in my mind.

    Background:

    I am 4th year medical student (out of 5) studying in Scotland. Last summer my wife and I got married. Since she hails from Boston, she suggested that I take the US exams to keep our future options open. I agreed, but if I had of known what a monster of an exam Step I was, I think I would have been more reluctant.

    Timeline:

    I started preparing for the exam in September 2012. This would calculate as 7 months preparation in total. Earnest study (>6 hours each day) began at Christmas time.

    Materials used:

    - First Aid 2012
    - Kaplan materials
    - HY neuroanatomy
    - Goljan audio
    - DIT course
    - USMLE Rx question bank
    - USMLEworld question bank

    Preparation:

    Forgive me if this doesn't sound as neat as it could be. I am certain that the best way to approach this exam is in a formulaic, structured pattern. Throughout my preparation I was still attending hospital placements, and the amount of time I could devote to USMLE varied according the demands of the block.

    I began by reviewing Kaplan biochemistry, pharmacology and microbiology materials. Having passed once through each of these subjects, I would read the respective chapter of FA and do all of the USMLERx questions for the subject.

    At the outset, I thought that I would use the same method to review all of the different disciplines. But after watching some of the Kaplan anatomy/physiology lectures I felt that I was familiar with much of this material, and that my time could be better spent on question banks. Hence for certain subjects I simply reviewed the FA chapter and went through USMLERx subject wise.

    In the middle of January I took the DIT course. People seem to either love or hate this material, and I am afraid to say I am amongst the latter. Brian Jenkins has written this as a 14 day course, with the expectation that you will also be able to complete 50 questions a day. This may be possible if you already know FA. Backwards. At my stage of preparation (after 1x through First Aid) going through this course was like having a tooth pulled out daily for a month. I was trying to do a few questions each day (<50 from USMLERx/USMLEworld), and I struggled to get through HALF of the daily lectures expected of me. I don't think any of the lecturers were particularly good, and don't remember any additional points that Dr Jenkins mentioned that were useful on exam day. Having said all this, I was pulled kicking and screaming through a second review of FA, which is without doubt of great benefit.

    From the end of DIT (2nd half of Feb) I was determined to only do questions. I focused on USMLEworld (mixed, 48q blocks) at this stage. And what a delight that was. I can only add to the praises of this incredible resource. Each explanation is written with such clarity and such relevance, it is an astonishingly powerful learning tool. Most of the questions I would do on the train to hospital on the iPhone app (1 hour each way) and then I would try and review the questions during time off in the day, and into the evening.

    And so from mid-Feb to the end of April I just did USMLEworld. I had hoped that I would be able to get through the whole of the question bank, and then also complete Kaplan, but I discovered my progress was much slower than I expected it to be. For each question that I was not certain of, I would look up the respective part of first aid, and learn it. I was getting through 1-2 blocks per day maximum.

    I was so impressed with the caliber of the explanations on USMLEworld that I decided that rather than subscribe to Kaplan I would repeat USMLEworld, so I managed to go through the Qbank a second time before my exam (only just). Right at the end of my study I was doing 4 blocks a day.

    I like to run. Throughout this studying period I was listening to Goljan audio on my daily 1 hour run. I must have got through it 4x. At the beginning I didn't understand most of what was said - by the end of my study I understood it and could repeat most of it verbatim. It even permeated my dreams at night. Entertaining, light-hearted and a good thing to listen to during spare moments. During the last two weeks of study I was so familiar with EG's jokes that I had to listen to some Bob Marley instead for light relief.

    In my last week I reviewed First Aid. I also went through WebPath neuroanatomy with reference to images from HY Neuroanatomy, which I felt was extremely useful.

    Some scores:

    1.) 15th January. NBME form 1. 200. Pretty disheartening
    2.) 27th February. Completed USMLERx. Subject-wise. (75%)
    3.) 19th March. Completed 1st pass USMLEworld. Subject-wise and mixed (69%)
    4.) 31st March. UWSA1 = 224
    5.) 13th April. UWSA2 = 244
    6.) 23rd April. Completed 2nd pass USMLEworld. Mixed (75%)

    The exam itself:

    - Try to get to the exam center 1 hour before your appointment. People are brought into the Prometric exam room one-by-one, and I would say it's advantageous to get sitting down as soon as possible. Why? Once you sit down, before you start the exam, you can take a few minutes to sketch things down on the 2 laminated A4 sheets you are provided with. I wrote pharm equations and signalling pathways. It was quite calming, and I did refer to them in the afternoon blocks when my head was fried. Note: as soon as you make one click with your mouse, your time starts.

    - Timing. I didn't run out of time on any block, but there was only one block during the day when I had > 5 mins to spare for a review of my answers. The vignettes are longer than in USMLEworld. My advice is not new - it's worth reading the final line of the question first to understand what is expected of you.

    - Difficulty of questions. I was astounded by how easy some of the questions were. Doing USMLEworld, I had got into the habit of trying to think of the answer before looking at any of the answer choices. In the exam, they might describe a typical presentation of osteogenesis imperfecta, and ask what the defect was. You might be thinking formation of triple helix but the answer would be collagen synthesis. Likewise, a description of porphyria cutanea tarda - what is the defect? Uroporphyrinogen III decarboxylase? No. Haem synthesis. Having said that, many other questions were way out of left field, concepts that I had never encountered, and which I ultimately had to make a sensible guess.

    - I would bring your own lunch. 1 hour, when broken up throughout the day, really does not amount to much. I was planning on getting lunch at a cafe outside, but in the end opted to have a sandwich I brought with me.

    - Breaks. I did the first two blocks back to back. After 2nd block, took a break. After third block, took a break. After fourth - lunch. I did leave the test centre at this stage for an americano topped up with cold water so I could drink it fast. 5th and 6th blocks back-to-back. Final break and final block. I felt pretty good (mentally active, not too exhausted) in all blocks except the 6th. For the final one the adrenaline is going and it sails by.

    Some general reflections:

    - First aid and USMLEworld are all you need to get a fantastic score in this exam. When setting off on this adventure, I felt that I would need to go through every primary resource in order to understand what was in FA. What I didn't understand at that stage is that the explanations in USMLEworld are from first principles. Moreover, they are the best explanations I could find in any book/resource.

    - Don't worry if you feel behind in your prep. Many concepts only really settled in my head in the final few weeks.

    - Not all information in FA is equally high-yield. At one stage in my prep, my attitude was that I would simply learn all of FA. I spent several days learning all the details of Echinococcus granulososus, Diphyllobothrium latum, Paragonimus westermani etc etc. In the exam I had one question on the treatment of Enterobius vermicularis - that was it. The only way in which you get a sense of how the questions in the exam are weighted (and what parts of FA are most important) is to do buckets and buckets of questions.

    - Use flashcards. I used Quizlet. At the end of my prep I had 200 sets of cards in Quizlet, some of them up to 80 cards long. Whenever I discovered a concept had slipped from my mind, I would review the bank of cards relative to that topic. You can get the app on your iPhone, and review the cards on the train, whilst waiting for a sandwich, whilst falling to sleep.

    What I would have done differently?

    - Started questions earlier (I felt I wasted quite a bit of time on Kaplan material I was familiar with). I would have liked to have done the Kaplan questions

    - Done more NMBE assessments. At the end of my second review of USMLEworld I was consistently getting >75%. I would have been very curious to know what NMBE predicted score was. Yet, at this stage, I didn't want to do questions that I didn't have complete faith in the explanations for (i.e. googling the question stem)

    Please feel free to ask any questions. At the beginning of the darker days of prep (>14 hour days on the weekends) I would look through these forums over a bowl of cereal to get some inspiration for the day ahead. I hope somebody else's breakfast experience might be enriched by the words above.

    Thanks to all those who have posted before me. Looking through the stories on this site fills me with optimism about humanity. This is an ugly beast of an exam, and it can feel pretty overwhelming at times. In the face of it, the contributors to this site offer an enormous amount of positivity and support, and I would feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with such people in the future.

    I will let you know what my score ultimately turns out to be.
  47. Sender: reva.singh

    CIN IIIAcute bacterial prostatitis
    CHF post-op
    Iron deficiency anemia in 20 month old
    Acute viral pericarditis
    Acute renal failure -2/2 to dehydration , hypernatremia,- elderly pt.
    osteoarthritis of knee
    ALL in a 5 yr. old


    I was silent viewer of this forum and would like to Thank you all from this forum. I got my results and with the grace of God, passed with 86%( 2nd attempt).failed with 74 on 1 st attempt.

    Usmle world was most useful to me. I did few questions from Kaplan q book-2004 copyright. I studied crush step3 and pocket medicine (massachusetts gen. hosp.),thoroughly(line by line). Reviewed step-2 first aid few topics. kaplan -ethics 100 q's.

    Please read the explanation part of UW very thorughly and try to learn subject from it. Few question I had in real exam were copy from UW /Kaplan. Q's were Long and lot of guess work involved. I had lot of question with images (atleast-10-15 -( peds -derm, lot of ekgs, few x rays)) for each block. 5 Qestions-audio . Ethics question were very confusing to me. My aggregate score on UW was -77%. practiced UW ccs' and cases from this forum. few statistic q's.

    I was stressed out after exam,terrified with those Picture questions and was recalling the questions and mistakes I have made. But some how I was able to pass .Thanks to almighty!!!

    My advice- donot just do question with out knowing the subject. You need to master the subject thoroughly.That was the mistake I did in my 1st attempt. as I was 3 rd year resident, I thought I can pass exam by practicing the questions. That did not worked for me.

    Once again thanks for all you and best of luck for the exam!!
  48. Santosh Jadhav

    Santosh Jadhav Active Member

    Sender: Honey Singh

    Hello,

    I have finally completed my USMLE registration process and will be taking the exam in December. The next step for me will be applying for ECFMG Identification Card ( as I don't have an English photo ID). I understand that to get the ECFMG ID card i need to use the form 180 to apply for one.

    If somebody has relevant experience, help will be greatly appreciated. Form 180 is not available on the website so apparently I need to contact the ECFMG to request the form.

    *What would be the best way of doing that? Should I fax them or mail them ?
    *What should I write in the request? Is there a specific form or do I just state that I am in need of form 180?
    *If you have done this before could you please tell me how long it will be between sending the request and receiving the form?
    *Will I receive the form in the mail or by fax?
    * How long between sending me sending the form filled out and receiving the ID card?
  49. Santosh Jadhav

    Santosh Jadhav Active Member

    Sender: Saba karim

    I prepped for the Step 2 CK and MCCEE at the same time. I studied full-time for 5 weeks. I spent 10-14 hours each day studying. I took the Step 1 a year before that (for Step 1, I prepared for 6 weeks).

    Week 1-2
    Step Up to Medicine – 10 days going through it in depth – about 80 pages a day. I also did questions in both UWorld and Canada Q Bank that were relevant to the sections I was studying. For example, I would study Cardiology and then do Cardiology questions.

    Week 2
    Master the Boards – 5 days going through it in depth (and doing relevant questions)

    Week 3-4
    I then went through each topic using multiple resources. For example, I read the section on Cardiology from Step up to Medicine. Then I read the Cardiology section in MTB. Then I read the Cardiology section in Secrets. And then I perused it in Toronto Notes. After that, I finished the Cardiology questions in UWorld.
    I then move on to the next topic, i.e. Pulmonary, etc. I worked through all the main topics, using Step Up as my topic guide. This was a slow process, but for me reading a particular topic from a number of different sources really helped solidify my knowledge of that topic.
    At the end of week 4 I took a practice EE test to gauge my progress and so that I could review my weaker topics in the last week.

    Week 5
    I took the MCCEE 1 week before I took CK. For the week prior to the EE, I focused my studies on reviewing Toronto Notes for high yield topics: Ob/Gyn, Peds, Psych, Family. I also read the sections relating to laws, biostats, public health, etc. I made sure I had finished all the Canada QBank questions for the topics listed above. I did not do all of the Canada QBank Questions. But I did do all of the UWorld Step 2 questions. I did not read all of Toronto notes (just read the high yield topics). I found Toronto Notes to be too much information and I did not like how it was presented. However, it is important to review Toronto Notes for things like vaccine schedules, cervical screening protocols, etc. Those types of topics differ from country to country and I knew Step Up would not have the Canadian information.

    I used Step up to Medicine as my main study guide. The topics covered in that book were the ones I studied for my exams. I found that MTB was insufficient in detail on its own. MTB also seemed to be missing a lot of information on a few topics such as Psych and Peds. But between the different sources I used, I feel I got enough information on all the pertinent topics.
  50. Santosh Jadhav

    Santosh Jadhav Active Member

    Senderstepprep13

    Hi everyone,

    People often say that a smart person learns from his/her own mistakes, whereas a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. Today I am writing this post hoping to appeal to those 'wise' people out there.

    Background: IMG, approaching nearly 5 years post graduation.

    I had taken Step 1 once before and failed it.

    Reason: lack of preparation and overconfidence in my ability to remember my preclinical subjects considering my above average performance in preclinicals

    Lesson learnt: no matter what happens, ONLY take this exam once YOU are ready! Even if you lose the exam registration fee of $800 it doesn't matter. Don't play with your future!

    How I passed Step 1 on my 2nd attempt:

    Total study duration: 8-10 months; I had to take a month's break in between d/t personal issues. Initially I would study only 4 or 5 days/week, around 6-7 hours/day. Towards the last 2-3 months, I was studying around 12-16 hours/day, every day.

    Study materials:
    Kaplan Lecture Notes - read most of them twice
    USMLE WORLD - did random, timed blocks of 46 q/ block. Did the qbank twice.
    FIRST AID (best review book ever)

    Study method:
    Following my perusal of the Kaplan LNs, I started UW.
    I concentrated on the 'why' the right answer was right, and the wrong answer wrong.

    Half way through my first go at UW, I started to go through FA simultaneously, i.e. after reading the explanation of each UW question, I would take the corresponding section in FA, read it, and add in additional points mentioned in UW into my FA. I always did so in a different colored pen so that I would know the source of the extra information.

    If any point was still confusing, I would then refer additional sources. Sources which I found helpful were:
    (1) Rapid Review Pathology by Dr. Goljan - excellent book, very detailed, however if you have time I would strongly suggest you go through this book.
    (2) Lippincott's Biochemistry
    (3) Lippincott's Illustrated Review of Pharmacology (very very detailed, but if you have time its nice)
    (4) High yield Embryology - I felt this was very necessary since Kaplan is lacking in this subject.
    (5) High yield Neuroanatomy - nice pictures of spinal cord sections etc

    ** Any additional points I gained from these books I would note it into FA, so that at the end of my prep my final "go-to" source of info was FA.

    After finishing UW once, I started doing NBMEs. I would use the NBME performance profile to target my weak areas by going through FA (and UW if necessary).

    I know that many people often ask which NBME was most like the actual exam. I am of the opinion that NBME 13 was most like it for me, and it also closely approximated my score as well.

    In the end, my actual score: 229

    Good luck to all of you out there!

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