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Old 05-04-2014
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Default When to take Step 1?

Hi everyone,

I'mstill in med school in Germany and have another few years left (I'm roughly equivalent to between US med school 2nd and 3rd years).

Does anyone have any suggestions as to when would be best to take step 1? I have had very little clinical teaching and will start doing electives this summer.

Would appreciate any advice, thanks
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Old 05-05-2014
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I think timing depends on a few things. If you've been a good-scoring student, been immersed in basic science and you have been studying for the Step 1 at the same time (eg. if you have been doing question banks or using First Aid for the USMLE throughout your last few years), then I would suggest taking it sooner than later. Step 1 is basic sciences, and so the closer you are to it, the better, I think.

If you have not focused at all on Step 1 studies until now, I would look at seeing what the exam looks like, what it focuses on and how well you know the material now (you can do a sample test from the couse info downloadable on the USMLE website). There may be differences in emphasis in the curriculum between Germany and the US. Also, the exam format and the length of questions can be very long, and so I would make sure you look at that too. Again, sooner may be better than later when taking this exam during med school.

Once you're doing a lot of clinical work (in med school and beyond) you will probably start forgetting basic science stuff. So if you do Step 1 later, you will have to study harder (possibly) and do your studying at a time when you are professionally focusing on clinical skills and knowledge.

Also later on during your med school, you may want to consider doing an elective rotation at a US medical school (which in general helps greatly with your application because you can get US recommendation letters for your application. This process is much harder once you graduate). You will probably want to have your USMLE Step 1 score by the time you apply for these elective rotations (it may be a requirement).

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Old 05-05-2014
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Default Thanks

Ok, the part about applying to the electives makes a lot of sense, I've been playing with the idea of applying for a while but want to get a bit more med school under my belt first. I think we have a lot less of a clinical emphasis, but I really did immerse myself in the basic sciences until now, so I will download the practice exam and try my luck.

Thanks so much for the help, I really appreciate it!
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