How to prepare for USMLE Step 1

journey of an average medical student

‘ALL PRAISE BELONGS TO ALLAH’
step 1 score:255(exam was on 28th dec 2016,and got my result today)

a small background of mine to inspire those who are in the same boat as i am:i have been an average medical student,used to just pass the professional exams somehow,i did 2ck and got 227 in that and lose all hopes, my parents were very supportive and they inspired me to continue this journey by doing all the things that would ease me and help heto move forward,so its them and their prayers which got me to this level today.

i will try to keep it as brief and useful as i could

duration of my study: 11th dec 2015-27th dec 2016,active learning 7 months
no work,just study was my job in this period.

STUDY MATERIALS:
#pathology: pathoma+fa+uw (didnt touch goljan)
#physiology: kaplan(fluid distribution,excitable tissue,skeletal muscle,cvs,peripheral circulation,resp,renal)(these chapters are must to do)+ fa+uw
#biochemistry: fa+uw (enough)
#genetics:kaplan(must)+fa+uw
#microbiology: fa+uw
#immunology: kaplan(must)+fa+uw
#anatomy : fa+uw+shelf notes(v v imp,got ques in exam from here) +kaplan neuroanatomy section ( a must especially brainstem section chapter)
#pharmacology : kaplan(pharmacokinetics,pharmacodynamics
,autonomic nervous system must) +fa +uw
#behavioral science: fa+uw+conrad fiscer cases+ brs (physician pt relationship,legal and ethical issues)
#biostats: fa+uw+ uw review(must,contains 72 ques,got ques right from here)

STUDY PHASES:
1.did kaplan videos and notes at first (though i remembered nothing later,so i kept revising the chapters i have mentioned above along with fa till the last day of my prep)
2.then i started fa and did uw along with fa once i was done with one chapter,I annotated uw in fa and where i found uw had too many informations i used to save that ques and ans in a separate folder naming usmle review,and used to review that folder when i was revising later.
3.kept revising uw and fa again and again.not any other q banks,i did fa 4 times and uw 3 times,and kaplan chapters those i mentioned above along with fa and uw repeatedly.
5.pathoma videos i did three times.

LAST MONTH PREP:
fa and annotations from uw in it,also listened to pathoma videos (1.5-2x speed) once i was done with that chapter from fa.it took me a month to revise fa for the last time along with pathoma videos.

LAS 5 days PREP:
I finished my fa revision 5 days prior to my real exam.in these 5 days,i did uwsa and nbme 18,revised micro,immuno,biostats review(must must must),all formulas,ct/mri(from kaplan and uw),anatomy shelf notes and anatomy section(better to keep anatomy for last week reviison,because it evaporates so soon,so try to keep these things ein your mind so that u can answer quickly in exam)

NBMES AND UWSA:
all nbmes i gave offline only uwsa online
NBME 12: 240( 5 months before exam)
NBME 11: 247 ( 4 months before exam)
NBME 13:247(3 months before exam)
NBME 15:234(1.5 months before exam)
NBME 16:232(35 days before exam,i found it the toughest)
NBME 17: 256( 20 days before exam)
NBME 18:246( 2 days before exam)
UWSA 1: 264 (1 week b4 exam)
UWSA 2: 264(5 days b4 exam)

SOME IMPORATNT TIPS:
1.must do all old nbmes,i got few copy paste ques from nbmes,try to understand concept(i did old nbmes twice.apart from above mentioned nbmes there r 5 nbmes left ,so 5×4=20 blocks,if u do 2 blocks a day then 10 days will be required to finish them,so plan accordingly)
2.in every forum there is a search box on the upper right hand,while finding nbmes explanation,for example if u write nbme 12 in that search box,u will get all previous posts and explanations,that will save u from reposting previously asked questions.
3.in google search box,if u write 1st 6-7 words along with nbme no,u will get many links where those ques were previously discussed and answered and u will get ur explanation.for example: if u write in google search box that,a 75 years old man coming to physician with chest pain nbme 13 explanation ,u wll get many links discussing taht ques and will find ur explanation
4.u can make groups and discuss ur queries,ask ques and discuss answers,u can learn many things from this passive learning process and it works like magic.
5.during ur exam: try to finish each block 10 minutes before and then review the marked ques and if u get time,dont sit idle,try to check other questions as well,because silly mistakes can drag u down,and correcting those mistakes will enrich ur score report,trust me.
6.frustration is part of this journey,u will get frustrated every now and then,believe in Almighty and keep moving,i used to cry sometimes but couldnt let my parents see that and always asked them to pray for me…stay close to ur Almighty and ask Him to help u and give u strength,prayers to Almighty will bring u inner piece and spend time with ur families,u cant imagine how much strength love and support can give u.

By: Aliza Khan







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