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USMLE Step 1 Forum USMLE Step 1 Discussion Forum: Let's talk about anything related to USMLE Step 1 exam


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  #1  
Old 08-31-2014
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Default Passed Step 1. Here is what I've learned

I benefitted a lot from this forum and figured I'd share my advice with the rest of the students. I passed my Step 1 exam on the first attempt, however my score is pretty low. Do I feel that I deserved a better score? Absolutely! My knowledge base is certainly higher than the step 1 score that I received. However there was nothing I could do at that point to improve because I had reached a burnout point. At the same time, I am happy that I passed and that I am finally moving on to Step 2 CK prep. Hopefully, I can get a way higher score on the Step 2 ck, and match into my dream field of Internal Medicine.

Advice for those currently in or starting medical school:
Work really hard during Medical school. Focus on each class and don't rely on just review books. Do not be fooled into thinking that a live or online Kaplan course is a substitute for the hard work one does in medical school. It does not! Kaplan is good but it'll only benefit you after you've done well in the first 2 or 4 years of medical school. You will not understand Kaplan unless you work hard in medical school and have a basic foundation. Yes Kaplan goes into details but as I said before, you will not understand the concepts properly if you don't have a good background from medical school. So work hard in each class, use the appropriate books for each class such as good student oriented textbooks, brs, clinically oriented anatomy, pathoma, goljan, cmmrs, etc. Also, start a question bank in medical school, ideally usmle world. Don't listen to what anyone says because that is what US medstudents do. After finishing, you can do a quick kaplan review course, DIT, and then go sit for your exam.

Advice for those who finished medical school but feel that their background is weak:
If you've already completed the first 2 or 4 years of medical school, and didn't work hard or if you don't feel like you studied properly, no problem at all. Keep in mind that it could possibly take you around 7 months to 1 year to study for Step 1 if you fall into this situation. But the goal is to take it within this time period and not extend it past this period or else you will reach a point after which you will have diminishing returns, or a burnout and you will end up jeopardizing your entire score. Here is the advise for those students. Research the Taus method. It uses different review books used in medical school(way better than doing kaplan). Or do something similar to Taus method. If you want to stick to kaplan+ pathoma, thats fine but make sure you are focused on learning and understanding what they are saying in the videos. You have to do questions along with your studying every day, even from Day 1 of your prep. Don't get caught up in annotating everything in first aid or in the kaplan books. Try to absorb as much as possible and only write down a few details if necessary. A student can score really well by paying attention and focusing on the reading, the questions, and the lecturer, and a student can do poorly if they write down every little detail into their first aid and kaplan books but not understand anything. Time is limited so study smart! It's okay if you don't annotate. Make questions a part of your study method from day 1. Think of question banks as a textbook, a learning tool. It doesn't even matter if you're getting a 10 percent, just learn from the explanations. Do this for the entire Kaplan series and then repeat again one more time. If you do kaplan and pathoma properly, you will honestly not even need to look at first aid. But still you can glance through first aid and it will certainly become easier after understanding concepts that you learned from kaplan or taus method. However, best is to do first aid alongside DIT(doctors in training course). At the end of your prep, do DIT (doctors in training). It will get you over the hump and is such a good review. Do not care what people say about it being too boring or the fact that they simply "read from first aid". It is way more than them reading from first aid. The high yield quizzes, the pearls that they add, the skits, the whole package is just too good. I loved it so much. It will be a very good prep in your last month. Also, don't worry about the part 1 or the primer series of DIT. You can do it if you want to but I would just focus on the videos where they go over first aid. Take NBMES after you finish your reviews, or when you're at the end of your prep. Get extended feedback and search the explanations that other students post online. NBMES are an assessment tool but they can also be a VERY VERY VERY GREAT LEARNING TOOL! Same goes for UWSA exams.

random advice
-You don't have to annotate everything! The goal is not to make your book look pretty with your notes. The goal is to put it all inside your head
-Try to go to the library if possible. It's so much easier to study at the library than at home
-Exercise every day, even for 30 minutes. It's very important.
-Work hard during the day time so on Friday evenings or Saturday evenings, you can relax and take a break from studying. This is very very important
-Don't be discouraged by posts on forums where people are getting 240's etc and are still dissatisfied. First of all this is a very small percentage of medical students. Everyone has a different story. Someone's medical school curriculum might be different, someone might have an undergrad degree with all the basic science classes, someone might have been a nurse before, someone might be at the end of their prep etc. The point is to focus on yourself and get to your goal of doing really well on the Step 1
-Help out your colleagues. If they don't understand anything and you do, explain it to them. That goes for the forums too. If you don't understand something, ask on the forum. But do not waste time on the forums!
-Don't let a bad score on Usmle world or question banks on NBMES discourage you. Your goal is to learn and absorb. I don't care if you get a 5% on Uworld or fail an NBME. Thats perfectly healthy. Keep moving forward, and keep learning. Also after taking NBMES extended feedback, search the forums for the explanations people post online. Those explanations are very good and you'll learn the "tricks" of the NBME questions. What you'll realize is that the NBME questions aren't hard but are just sometimes asked in a funny twisted way but once you pick up on this, you'll get the hang of this style(Don't worry its not impossible!). You'll see what I'm talking about when you do NBMES and go over the discussions people post online. Its just that its the only way that NBMES and USMLE can test you on concepts, as opposed to just memorization
-Focus on concepts along with memorization
-Be flexible with your schedule. Its okay if you don't finish something on time, or if you have a bad study day. Chances are, you'll be changing your plan slowly as you progress anyways, and that is fine. The goal is to be consistent with studying. Do not take a month or two months off! Also stay flexible with your study schedule!
-Try your best to pay for any service you use and not use it illegally. Everyone works hard in developing a product. We want to honor that.

Thanks and feel free to ask any questions. I'll be hanging around in the Step 2 ck forum now

Last edited by ballers; 08-31-2014 at 10:36 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2014
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Thanks for this . I hate videos, but I'm doing DIT now because reading FA from page 1 to the end wasn't working for me . I really read 50 or 60% of FA alongside with kaplan, but going through those dry facts is not for me . The FA is only a review book and in my opinion, it should be opened only with other resources guiding you or with qbanks when revising topics is needed.

DIT is forcing me to revise more some topics (Neuro, pharm, micro ) and avoid this nasty thought: "I will skip this, I don't need to revise it again ".

Annotating things from kaplan to FA was a waste of time. I annotated a lot of crap in FA and when I was reviewing for example Biochem, I had to open the Kaplan LN for some topics again .

How many weeks did you spend with DIT? Did you read FA first and then the videos?.
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Old 08-31-2014
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DIT does take a while, especially if you're filling out the question book. I think it took me almost 2 months! However I did it properly. I would watch the video and pay attention and when they finish one entry of first aid, I would pause and quickly read that same entry on my own, and then continue on with the video.

Also forgot to mention, Pathoma is a life saver! I had direct questions from the lecture series and pathoma is a very good foundation upon one can build their step 1 knowledge, and ultimately medical knowledge. If one wants to start from scratch, you can start off with pathoma, and then build upon that. You just can't do that with a skeleton like first aid.

Last edited by ballers; 08-31-2014 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 09-02-2014
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good explained..one of the best views ever read about step 1!!
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Old 09-02-2014
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Hey, I opted for the 19 day plan but in reality, it took me around 23-25 days (coz I wasted a couple of days in between) and I agree with you - DIT helped me immensely. Contrary to what I've read in many posts, I found it quite useful and entertaining! I find the Kaplan videos for some subjects are so drab that I could literally take an amphetamine to get through that lecture/subject.

Thanks for posting your experience, I have my exam in less than 2 months.
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Old 09-02-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qirkergaard View Post
Hey, I opted for the 19 day plan but in reality, it took me around 23-25 days (coz I wasted a couple of days in between) and I agree with you - DIT helped me immensely. Contrary to what I've read in many posts, I found it quite useful and entertaining! I find the Kaplan videos for some subjects are so drab that I could literally take an amphetamine to get through that lecture/subject.

Thanks for posting your experience, I have my exam in less than 2 months.

Ditto feeling
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  #7  
Old 09-02-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qirkergaard View Post
Hey, I opted for the 19 day plan but in reality, it took me around 23-25 days (coz I wasted a couple of days in between) and I agree with you - DIT helped me immensely. Contrary to what I've read in many posts, I found it quite useful and entertaining! I find the Kaplan videos for some subjects are so drab that I could literally take an amphetamine to get through that lecture/subject.

Thanks for posting your experience, I have my exam in less than 2 months.
Good luck on your exam!
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Old 09-02-2014
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Thanks a lot for your post.. I've not done DIT yet but after reading your post I'll Start it
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Old 10-23-2014
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You will really enjoy DIT
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Old 10-23-2014
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Idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ballers View Post
You will really enjoy DIT
Is there a benefit un doing DIT 2x? or 1 time is enough?
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Old 10-23-2014
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Oh yeah, I was wondering the same, is there any benefit of doing DIT the 2nd time? Or would it better to review the workbook again? I don't think I can watch the videos another time.
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Old 10-27-2014
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If you've done DIT properly, then you can go over the handbook. If you did DIT a long time ago, or speed it out over a long period of time like 2 months, then yeah do it again.
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Old 10-27-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ballers View Post
If you've done DIT properly, then you can go over the handbook. If you did DIT a long time ago, or speed it out over a long period of time like 2 months, then yeah do it again.
Thanks. But how exactly did U use it. Did you watch the videos and then read the corresponding page in FA. Or how. Please share a guideline on how you used it please
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Old 10-27-2014
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Guys can you please share ur knowledge and experience how UWSA 1 and UWSA2 correlate with real exam scores?


thanks solo much!!!!
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Old 10-27-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ballers View Post
If you've done DIT properly, then you can go over the handbook. If you did DIT a long time ago, or speed it out over a long period of time like 2 months, then yeah do it again.
I guess I shall do it again then, coz I did it a while ago (along with the workbook) but in all honesty, I don't have that kind of time.
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