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Old 05-16-2014
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Default Really old graduate, what are my chances and which books do you recommend?

Hi everyone. I so happy to have found this forum. I have browsed through it but have not found answers for my specific questions. I am 36 years old and a FMG from Uganda in East Africa. I graduated in 2003 and practiced for 5 years before getting an MPH. After my MPH, I worked mainly in research (5 years) until early this year when I came to the US after getting a green card. I have very conflicting ideas of what to do with my career and I am not sure that I can competitively pass the USMLE exam. I have been browsing through some step 1 preparatory books for example Step-up to USMLE step 1, First aid for Step 1 and first aid Q & A for step 1. I find that the first two books are so brief and summarized and therefore inadequate for my needs. Even after reading through the chapter on microbiology for instance, I can hardly answer even 1 question correctly from the first aid Q & A book. I think this is because of the reason I mentioned earlier (the books being summarised), me having just casually read the chapter, and me having been out of medical school for so long so that I feel like a beginner.

If I do decide to study for and take the exam, in your honest opinions, what are my chances for passing the exam competitively and what books should I use or what strategies should I employ?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 06-04-2014
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It's been a while since you posted but I hope that I can still be helpful.

I think that you need a comprehensive test preparation approach given you have been away from basic sciences for a long time. "High yield" books don't get into enough detail for you to master concepts. Your chance of doing well will depend on how dedicated you are with your studies as well as choosing helpful comprehensive books or courses. You should also do a lot of questions.

I'd suggest using First Aid as a base and as a place where you can take notes. It will be very messy by the end as the book doesn't leave too much room for note taking, but this approach worked for me. You really need to do very well in your Step 1, so I'd give it your best shot. It might mean actually doing some sort of comprehensive preparation course, such as Kaplan. You can do NBME practice tests throughout your preparation to see how well you are doing. There are many ways to a good score and many different approaches as well. It's definitely possible to get a good score with hard work!

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Last edited by StepsToResidency; 06-04-2014 at 06:43 AM. Reason: icon
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