Study Plan for USMLE Step 1, 2017

Hi everyone, im Angela Banks, graduated 2016 from UNIBE SOM (Caribbean Medical School in DR), took my exam December 7th and score is in! a beautiful 238 thanks God!
Im going to give you my overall thoughts on how to approach the exam according to my experience:

1. Dont Panic, its doable. I prepared for 8 months but you can certainly do it in less time. ALL YOU NEED IS DISCIPLINE AND DEDICATION.
2. Divide your prep in 2 phases. 1st phase set a foundation and read the books, I didnt do Kaplan except for Biochemistry. Find what WORKS FOR YOU. 2nd pahse should be dedicated study period in which you will do 3-4 blocks per day and just expose yourself to as many question as you can. If you have time,go through uworld twice doing marks and wrongs the second time.
3. Understanding of major concepts its key. I did these foundation primarily with BRS physio and Goljan,Kaplan Biochem, Beckers>Pharm,Immuno, Micro, Behavioral. During my dedicated study time I used pathoma.
4.I think that what helped me the most was that I encountered at least 4,000 questions between (Becker, Uworld, NBMEs)…my exam had only 268 questions so the majority were questions that I had seen before (the concept, not the identical stem). Do as many questions as you can!.
5. First aid is an excellent resource to put in everything together. I never read it from cover to back, just dedicated plenty time to my weaknesses and review every uworld question with it.
—-I also did DIT prime videos for the subjects that were giving me problems and guess what! they ended up being in the high performance with * section of the score report! so dont be stubborn, work on your weaknesses, it pays off!
6. The exam was not heavy on biochem or biotstatistics and these questions were really manageable. Im not a math god so trust me, you can do this calculations.
6. ETHICSSS prepare as hard as you can, very hard questions and not as simple as uworld where you can easily distinguish between correct and incorrect. Very hard cases and a lot of them 3-4 per block!
7. Prepare murmurs well, I recommend the webpage blaufuss, the interface was very similar to what I encountered.
8. The question stems were very similar to UW, but significantly LONGER! im talking about really really long ones, so prepare time well.
9. I took Kaplan Simulation test which is a 7hour mock exam and it really is not for you to assess your weaknesses but to prepare mentally and physically for Step 1. I honestly can tell you it crushed me, but when I took the real test the day passed by quickly and I had a peacefull and relaxed mood throught the day because I knew I could do it.

10. My biggest struggle was to fight NBMEs prediction, I scored 229 on NBME 17, 247 UWSA1, 239 UWSA2 all these 2 weeks before my test and a scary 219 on NBME 18 five days before my step 1 (but I had a family crisis during that day and my concentracion blew out of the roof). So please please, do yourself two favors
1. Make sure you score >480 at least 2 times in NBMEs before sitting for step 1 if you want to beat the mean. I said to myself, score 500 3 times and then take step 1, results? 9 point above the mean. But that being said, dont think of NBME score as something strict!
2. The NBME says it by the end of their report, they are not intended to give you an 100% approximation of what you will score, rather they are meant to show you your weaknesses and strengths, focus on those before sitting for the test. TRUST YOURSELF and your work, Nbme 17 was 10 point below my real score and NBME 18 was 20 point below! so trust yourself!!!! you can!

By: Angela Banks Paulino

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