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Step 1 Study Tips. Ashley Prosper, MS3 January 5, 2010. When do I start?. Things to consider System exams are tough Learning the material for your system exams helps you do well on your boards You will have 7 weeks of ICS to review. My decision. I started studying the first day of ICS

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Step 1 Study Tips

Ashley Prosper, MS3

January 5, 2010

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When do I start?

  • Things to consider

    • System exams are tough

    • Learning the material for your system exams helps you do well on your boards

    • You will have 7 weeks of ICS to review

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My decision

  • I started studying the first day of ICS

  • Took my exam on June 22nd

  • Had a total of 12 weeks of studying time

  • In hindsight this was probably too much time, I may have benefited from taking the test 1 week earlier. Burnout eventually kicks in!

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What do I use?

Please do not fall into a buying frenzy. You don’t need much!

  • The necessities:

    • FIRST AID for the USMLE STEP 1!

    • USMLE World

  • Extras:

    • Goljan Rapid Review

    • Kaplan QBank

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  • The most comprehensive review book you can find

  • (nearly) everything you need to know is in this book

  • Required ICS textbook

  • The best $ you will spend (on step1 books)

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  • Online Qbank self-tests

  • Software looks exactly like the real USMLE

  • Questions are similar in difficulty if not slightly harder than those on the real exam

  • Roughly 2000 questions

  • $185 for 3 months

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Goljan Rapid Review

  • I preferred reading Goljan’s book to listening to his audio tapes

  • Much if not all of the information is already in your First Aid

  • This is most helpful if you can’t stand looking at First Aid anymore

  • Consider using it alongside your class notes for system exam studying

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Kaplan Qbank

  • Separate user interface

  • Questions test details

  • 2400 Questions

  • 3 months for $189

  • Note: I started with Kaplan and used U-World once I’d finished Kaplan Qbank.

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Where do I start?

I used Vinny Dhillon, MS4’s schedule:

  • Week 1: Biochemistry/Genetics, Path

  • Week 2: Endocrine + Repro

  • Week 3: Heme/Immunology + Embryo/GA

  • Week 4/7: Neuro + Psych/Behavioral

  • Week 5: Cardio + Renal

  • Week 6: GI + Respiratory

  • *Study consistently throughout each system (as applicable): Pharmacology, Micro, some Pathology and GA

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In addition to reading

  • QBank every night

  • 40-50 questions/night on average

  • Review the answers to each question and add material to your FirstAid if necessary

  • Remember that in the beginning, you’re using QBank as a learning tool, not a test of your knowledge

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When to take the test

  • Most students aim for the week of June 14th +/- 1 week

  • Consider your learning style, how ready you feel toward the middle of ICS and how much time you want off before 3rd year

  • Aim to take your test on time. Pushing it back becomes a vicious cycle.

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  • Register this month, spots fill up quickly

  • Apply for a testing permit through the NBME website

  • Testing permits are in 3 month blocks, i.e. May-July or June-August

  • Once you’ve received your permit, pick a test date at a Prometrics center

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Extra preparation

  • Practice “Free 150” exam at a Prometrics center

    • Practice sessions are held at Prometrics centers so you can get used to the environment

    • $52 fee

    • Separate registration permit from the actual exam

    • The exam materials are available for free even if you don’t register for a practice session

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Extra prep. continued

  • Figure out what you want to eat on test day

  • Try out these foods ahead of time and make sure they agree with you

  • Bring snacks with you to the test center, buying lunch is risky

  • Start waking up at the time you’ll need to wake up on test day at least 1 week in advance

  • Bring a jacket, the test centers are cold

  • Plan something fun after the exam, no matter what you deserve to celebrate!

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Things to remember

  • Studying for the USMLE is a long, time-intensive process

  • You’ve been preparing for this test since August of 2008, even if you didn’t know it!

  • Everyone doubts themselves and feels overwhelmed at some point while preparing

  • Our school does very well historically, you too stand to do well