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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

Step 1 Study Tips

Ashley Prosper, MS3

January 5, 2010

when do i start
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
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!
what do i use
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
first aid
  • 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)
usmle world
  • 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
goljan rapid review
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
kaplan qbank
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.
where do i start
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
in addition to reading
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
when to take the test
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.
  • 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
extra preparation
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
extra prep continued
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!
things to remember
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