How I scored 249 on my Step 1 - IMG - USMLE Forums
USMLE Forums Logo
USMLE Forums         Your Reliable USMLE Online Community     Members     Posts
Home
USMLE Articles
USMLE News
USMLE Polls
USMLE Books
USMLE Apps
Go Back   USMLE Forums > USMLE Step 1 Forum

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-30-2014
USMLE Forums Newbie
 
Steps History: 1+CK+CS+3
Posts: 4
Threads: 1
Thanked 26 Times in 2 Posts
Reputation: 36
Default How I scored 249 on my Step 1 - IMG

Hey everyone,

When I was preparing to study for Step 1 I couldn't find a thorough explanation on a study plan. I've received my score of 249, so I decided to write this post and help others by sharing my experience. This will be a LONG post so forgive me but I really think it could help you on your path.

First of all, I was aiming for a score of 240 or higher since I hope to match in a very competitive specialty. I'm an IMG so I knew that it would take more work and time than US medical students due to different medical education systems. Therefore, I think your first step is to make up your mind and fix a date for your exam. Many people can take from 3 months up to a year, depending on your learning capacities and previous knowledge. I think a total of 6 months is more than enough to fully prepare for Step 1. Once you set your mind on a date, work for it no matter what. This will be a moment to sacrifice friends, family, and free time but believe me it is worth it.

My technique was dividing my study into four phases:
Phase 1 - First reading of material, without active memorization.
Phase 2 - Second reading, memorization, and Kaplan Q Bank
Phase 3 - UWorld Q Bank
Phase 4 - Final Review

The material I used was:
- Kaplan Lecture Notes and Videos: Great material, has all the information you need to know (probably except pathology)
- BRS Rapid Review Physiology: Excellent, concise and easy to learn
- Goljan's Pathology: a MUST, great pathology review
- Kaplan Q Bank: not as good as UWorld but great for learning
- First Aid USMLE Step 1: your BIBLE
- UWorld Q Bank

PHASE 1 (2-3 months)

So I started off by reading all Kaplan Lecture Notes at the SAME TIME as I was watching the Lecture Videos. Some people recommend doing one reading and THEN watching the videos but in my opinion this is a waste of your time. You can easily do both at the same time. Some people also recommend to start reading the books with your weaknesses. However, I decided to do it in a LOGICAL order, just as you study them during med school. I started with Anatomy, then biochemistry/molecular biology, then immunology and microbiology, physiology, pathology, pharmacology and finally psychiatry/ethics. I ALWAYS used a pencil (you will understand why later on) to take notes and underline any important information. I recommend you put a daily goal in pages (like 60 or 70 pages per day) instead of time. This took me about 2 months and I focused my energy on reading and understanding, NOT actively memorizing.

Next step was strengthening Kaplan's weaknesses, so I decided to read BRS Rapid Review Physiology and Goljan's Pathology. This took me about 3 weeks total.

After finishing that I read First Aid cover to cover for the first time, WITHOUT highlighting anything (1 week) and WITHOUT memorizing.

After I finished reading all the material, I did Kaplan's Diagnostic Exam to get to know question style (scored 60%).


PHASE 2 (1-2 months)

This phase was to consolidate knowledge and do a first try at memorisation. To do so, I studied according to the different topics, instead of following a book order. For example Cardiology: I read the cardiology section in kaplan's anatomy lecture notes, cardiology section in physiology, cardiology section in pathology and cardiology section in pharmacology. At this point I did a parallel reading with Kaplan Lecture Notes and First Aid, reading ONLY what I had previously underlined and written in the margins. I made notes on my First Aid (WITH PENCIL) with any information I considered important. If there was a section in Kaplan's books that was completely absent in the First Aid, I used a highlighter in the Lecture notes. After reading everything on one topic (cardiology) and taking notes in the first aid, I memorized it and did ALL questions on Kaplan Q Bank on THAT subject (only cardiology). I did this for every topic until I covered all subjects in the exam.

For the Q bank I always used timed exams so I could start getting used to the time. I reviewed ALL answers (even the wrong ones) and wrote down any missing information in my First Aid (WITH PENCIL).

Some people find it easier to learn through flashcards, such as myself. I decided to write down flashcards on those topics which are easily forgotten and that are very precise. In case this works for you, I HIGHLY recommend doing flashcards on: immune deficiencies, enzyme deficiencies, vitamins, glomerulonephritis, vasculitis, microbiology, ALL pharmacology. I did one card per topic such as one per each vasculitis, one per bug, one per drug, etc.

After this phase I had already read my lecture notes twice, read my first aid twice, had notes on my first aid that were missing, read Goljan twice, and had COMPLETED the Kaplan Q Bank (all questions).

I did Kaplan's Simulated Exam 1 (scored 65%). Since this is an 8-hour simulated exam, my main purpose for doing it was to get to know my weaknesses during the exam regarding time, concentration, hunger, sleep, etc. To do this, I recommend you sleep well the night before, and take it as if it were your real exam. Don't worry, the score is neither important nor accurate.


PHASE 3 (1 month)

Here is where the clock start ticking, where things get real interesting and for me this is the MOST IMPORTANT PHASE, since it is with U World where you are really going to learn and memorize everything. This Q Bank is very similar to the real exam and it will certainly help you prepare for it. You will come to find that once you have a question wrong you will not forget it. I even think it is harder that the real exam. Once I started this phase I decided to set up a definite date on the exam, approximately 6 weeks after starting the U World Q Bank.

I woke up every morning and I completed 2 blocks (46 MIXED questions each, TIMED) in a row without stopping to correct the first one. I did this to get used to doing two blocks at the same time (like in the real exam). After finishing both blocks I corrected them. If I had the question right I didn't stop too long and only read the correct explanation. If I doubted between two options, I read both. If I had the question wrong, I read ALL options. HERE I HIGHLIGHTED MY FIRST AID AND WROTE CORRECTIONS WITH A PEN OR A COLOR DIFFERENT TO THE PENCIL.

4 weeks before my exam I did my first U World Simulation Exam (Scored 245). Read forums where people say these overestimate your score on around 15 points so I knew I had more studying to do.

2 weeks before my exam I did my second U World Simulation Exam (Scored 258). Subtracting 15 overestimating points that would give me 243, which was above my desired score so it was time to do my exam.


PHASE 4 (1-2 week)

At this point you must be finishing your U World Q Bank. After I finished it I wrote down a 2-week study plan to correct ALL questions I had wrong in UWorld and do a final THIRD LECTURE on First Aid. Obviously, I focused my attention on highlighted information and everything written in a pen (since this was the information learned from UWorld which is high-yield). I also went back to my kaplan lecture notes to read those VERY SHORT notes I had highlighted that weren't in the First Aid. I left for last those topics with the highest memorization requirements (microbiology and biochemistry).

The day before you must do ABSOLUTELY NO STUDYING and you must NOT oversleep. Just lay back, go to the movies, go to the gym, hang out with friends, anything but study. At this point you must be confident that you did your best studying and you must ACCEPT that there is still some stuff you won't know, and this is completely natural. Please, please rest and have a good night sleep the night before the exam, this is KEY to success.

On the day of the exam, there will be questions or topics you have never seen before. Don't panic, just take your best shot and continue. My recommendation for break time is:

- Blocks 1-2
- 5 minute break (have some fruit or chocolate with you, and a bottle of water)
- Block 3
- 5 minute break
- Block 4
- 15 minute break, lunch (have a salad or something very light so you don't get sleepy afterwards)
- Block 5
- 5 minute break
- Block 6
- 10 minute break
- Block 7 (I was exhausted and wasn't even reading thoroughly).

You may have noticed I have left out 5 minutes from break time, this is because you can take more or less in your breaks, so just to be sure.

If you are used to coffee, please do NOT stop drinking before or during your exam. Just keep doing the same things you normally do. Do NOT change habits.

After finishing the exam I felt relieved but also scared, I felt like I didn't do as well as I wanted and that night I panicked thinking I could fail. THIS IS NORMAL. Just try to relax until your results and DO NOT start looking for answers on your questions, this will only worsen the feeling and your anxiety.

After 3 weeks I received good news on my 249, which exceeded my expectations! My final recommendation: KEEP STRONG AND RELY ON YOUR MOTIVATION!!! DON'T GIVE UP!!!

Hope this guide helps and if you have any questions please let me know, I would be glad to help
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
The above post was thanked by:
adrenaline106 (12-01-2014), aisha noor (11-30-2014), Baan I.K. (12-02-2014), citadel08 (11-30-2014), drshaun (04-12-2016), Drsouheyla (11-30-2014), Edgar Dorsey (12-01-2014), godessdivine (02-13-2017), hailinh308vn (03-26-2015), hani daffodil (12-01-2014), Hopetopass2 (12-04-2014), Ma_foroughi (01-07-2015), mihirkakara (12-01-2014), Namjas (12-01-2014), Natalia1 (12-01-2014), Nimatullah (11-30-2014), NOMI (12-01-2014), psoriasis (11-30-2014), roopa.loveurlife (11-30-2014), TienDat (12-13-2014), usmlerun (11-30-2014), wa87el (12-05-2014), Zainab (12-01-2014)



  #2  
Old 11-30-2014
USMLE Forums Veteran
 
Steps History: 1+CK+CS
Posts: 276
Threads: 21
Thanked 133 Times in 70 Posts
Reputation: 143
Star NBME scores

Congratulations on awesome score !

For the 6 month of Preparation this is a Brilliant Score anyone can dream about !
I haven't seen anything mentioned about NBME - have you tried one, how were your scores, you wrote - 3 weeks after exam - when was your Exam, is it straight 21 days or 3 consecutive Wednesdays ( approx. 14-16 days from the Exam date) Yeah, lesson has learnt - Sleep is the key of success .... still in Hope Please, specify your Exam dates and Results taken.

The best of luck in conquering CK and CS!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #3  
Old 11-30-2014
USMLE Forums Newbie
 
Steps History: 1+CK+CS+3
Posts: 4
Threads: 1
Thanked 26 Times in 2 Posts
Reputation: 36
Default

I actually didn't do any NBMEs because I did very well on my last UWorld simulation exam. My decision was based in the confidence I gained after doing this simulation so I took my chances, even though I knew the score was a little overestimated. I knew that if I took an NBME and got a low score I would have gotten nervous and maybe reschedule the exam.

I took Step 1 on Tuesday October 21, 2014 and I received my score 4 Wednesdays later (3 weeks later) on November 12.

If you already took your Step and are waiting for results, don't overthink it, just stay calm (easier said than done) but you're not gonna receive them any sooner if you worry. Best of luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
The above post was thanked by:
citadel08 (11-30-2014), Edgar Dorsey (12-01-2014), mihirkakara (12-01-2014)
 
  #4  
Old 11-30-2014
USMLE Forums Scout
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 18
Threads: 2
Thanked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Reputation: 16
Send a message via Skype™ to Nimatullah
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssuarez1989 View Post
Hey everyone,

When I was preparing to study for Step 1 I couldn't find a thorough explanation on a study plan. I've received my score of 249, so I decided to write this post and help others by sharing my experience. This will be a LONG post so forgive me but I really think it could help you on your path.

First of all, I was aiming for a score of 240 or higher since I hope to match in a very competitive specialty. I'm an IMG so I knew that it would take more work and time than US medical students due to different medical education systems. Therefore, I think your first step is to make up your mind and fix a date for your exam. Many people can take from 3 months up to a year, depending on your learning capacities and previous knowledge. I think a total of 6 months is more than enough to fully prepare for Step 1. Once you set your mind on a date, work for it no matter what. This will be a moment to sacrifice friends, family, and free time but believe me it is worth it.

My technique was dividing my study into four phases:
Phase 1 - First reading of material, without active memorization.
Phase 2 - Second reading, memorization, and Kaplan Q Bank
Phase 3 - UWorld Q Bank
Phase 4 - Final Review

The material I used was:
- Kaplan Lecture Notes and Videos: Great material, has all the information you need to know (probably except pathology)
- BRS Rapid Review Physiology: Excellent, concise and easy to learn
- Goljan's Pathology: a MUST, great pathology review
- Kaplan Q Bank: not as good as UWorld but great for learning
- First Aid USMLE Step 1: your BIBLE
- UWorld Q Bank

PHASE 1 (2-3 months)

So I started off by reading all Kaplan Lecture Notes at the SAME TIME as I was watching the Lecture Videos. Some people recommend doing one reading and THEN watching the videos but in my opinion this is a waste of your time. You can easily do both at the same time. Some people also recommend to start reading the books with your weaknesses. However, I decided to do it in a LOGICAL order, just as you study them during med school. I started with Anatomy, then biochemistry/molecular biology, then immunology and microbiology, physiology, pathology, pharmacology and finally psychiatry/ethics. I ALWAYS used a pencil (you will understand why later on) to take notes and underline any important information. I recommend you put a daily goal in pages (like 60 or 70 pages per day) instead of time. This took me about 2 months and I focused my energy on reading and understanding, NOT actively memorizing.

Next step was strengthening Kaplan's weaknesses, so I decided to read BRS Rapid Review Physiology and Goljan's Pathology. This took me about 3 weeks total.

After finishing that I read First Aid cover to cover for the first time, WITHOUT highlighting anything (1 week) and WITHOUT memorizing.

After I finished reading all the material, I did Kaplan's Diagnostic Exam to get to know question style (scored 60%).


PHASE 2 (1-2 months)

This phase was to consolidate knowledge and do a first try at memorisation. To do so, I studied according to the different topics, instead of following a book order. For example Cardiology: I read the cardiology section in kaplan's anatomy lecture notes, cardiology section in physiology, cardiology section in pathology and cardiology section in pharmacology. At this point I did a parallel reading with Kaplan Lecture Notes and First Aid, reading ONLY what I had previously underlined and written in the margins. I made notes on my First Aid (WITH PENCIL) with any information I considered important. If there was a section in Kaplan's books that was completely absent in the First Aid, I used a highlighter in the Lecture notes. After reading everything on one topic (cardiology) and taking notes in the first aid, I memorized it and did ALL questions on Kaplan Q Bank on THAT subject (only cardiology). I did this for every topic until I covered all subjects in the exam.

For the Q bank I always used timed exams so I could start getting used to the time. I reviewed ALL answers (even the wrong ones) and wrote down any missing information in my First Aid (WITH PENCIL).

Some people find it easier to learn through flashcards, such as myself. I decided to write down flashcards on those topics which are easily forgotten and that are very precise. In case this works for you, I HIGHLY recommend doing flashcards on: immune deficiencies, enzyme deficiencies, vitamins, glomerulonephritis, vasculitis, microbiology, ALL pharmacology. I did one card per topic such as one per each vasculitis, one per bug, one per drug, etc.

After this phase I had already read my lecture notes twice, read my first aid twice, had notes on my first aid that were missing, read Goljan twice, and had COMPLETED the Kaplan Q Bank (all questions).

I did Kaplan's Simulated Exam 1 (scored 65%). Since this is an 8-hour simulated exam, my main purpose for doing it was to get to know my weaknesses during the exam regarding time, concentration, hunger, sleep, etc. To do this, I recommend you sleep well the night before, and take it as if it were your real exam. Don't worry, the score is neither important nor accurate.


PHASE 3 (1 month)

Here is where the clock start ticking, where things get real interesting and for me this is the MOST IMPORTANT PHASE, since it is with U World where you are really going to learn and memorize everything. This Q Bank is very similar to the real exam and it will certainly help you prepare for it. You will come to find that once you have a question wrong you will not forget it. I even think it is harder that the real exam. Once I started this phase I decided to set up a definite date on the exam, approximately 6 weeks after starting the U World Q Bank.

I woke up every morning and I completed 2 blocks (46 MIXED questions each, TIMED) in a row without stopping to correct the first one. I did this to get used to doing two blocks at the same time (like in the real exam). After finishing both blocks I corrected them. If I had the question right I didn't stop too long and only read the correct explanation. If I doubted between two options, I read both. If I had the question wrong, I read ALL options. HERE I HIGHLIGHTED MY FIRST AID AND WROTE CORRECTIONS WITH A PEN OR A COLOR DIFFERENT TO THE PENCIL.

4 weeks before my exam I did my first U World Simulation Exam (Scored 245). Read forums where people say these overestimate your score on around 15 points so I knew I had more studying to do.

2 weeks before my exam I did my second U World Simulation Exam (Scored 258). Subtracting 15 overestimating points that would give me 243, which was above my desired score so it was time to do my exam.


PHASE 4 (1-2 week)

At this point you must be finishing your U World Q Bank. After I finished it I wrote down a 2-week study plan to correct ALL questions I had wrong in UWorld and do a final THIRD LECTURE on First Aid. Obviously, I focused my attention on highlighted information and everything written in a pen (since this was the information learned from UWorld which is high-yield). I also went back to my kaplan lecture notes to read those VERY SHORT notes I had highlighted that weren't in the First Aid. I left for last those topics with the highest memorization requirements (microbiology and biochemistry).

The day before you must do ABSOLUTELY NO STUDYING and you must NOT oversleep. Just lay back, go to the movies, go to the gym, hang out with friends, anything but study. At this point you must be confident that you did your best studying and you must ACCEPT that there is still some stuff you won't know, and this is completely natural. Please, please rest and have a good night sleep the night before the exam, this is KEY to success.

On the day of the exam, there will be questions or topics you have never seen before. Don't panic, just take your best shot and continue. My recommendation for break time is:

- Blocks 1-2
- 5 minute break (have some fruit or chocolate with you, and a bottle of water)
- Block 3
- 5 minute break
- Block 4
- 15 minute break, lunch (have a salad or something very light so you don't get sleepy afterwards)
- Block 5
- 5 minute break
- Block 6
- 10 minute break
- Block 7 (I was exhausted and wasn't even reading thoroughly).

You may have noticed I have left out 5 minutes from break time, this is because you can take more or less in your breaks, so just to be sure.

If you are used to coffee, please do NOT stop drinking before or during your exam. Just keep doing the same things you normally do. Do NOT change habits.

After finishing the exam I felt relieved but also scared, I felt like I didn't do as well as I wanted and that night I panicked thinking I could fail. THIS IS NORMAL. Just try to relax until your results and DO NOT start looking for answers on your questions, this will only worsen the feeling and your anxiety.

After 3 weeks I received good news on my 249, which exceeded my expectations! My final recommendation: KEEP STRONG AND RELY ON YOUR MOTIVATION!!! DON'T GIVE UP!!!

Hope this guide helps and if you have any questions please let me know, I would be glad to help
Thank you for sharing your experience. This was really useful.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #5  
Old 11-30-2014
qirkergaard's Avatar
USMLE Forums Veteran
 
Steps History: Step 1 Only
Posts: 253
Threads: 19
Thanked 129 Times in 98 Posts
Reputation: 139
Default

Congrats and thanks for sharing your experience!

I don't know how so many folks are scoring so well. Makes me feel dumb.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #6  
Old 12-01-2014
USMLE Forums Scout
 
Posts: 38
Threads: 6
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Reputation: 15
Thumbs Up Congrats

Awesome score. Congratulations .
Thanks for sharing such a detailed feedback.this truly helps a lot
Natalia
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #7  
Old 12-02-2014
USMLE Forums Veteran
 
Steps History: ---
Posts: 292
Threads: 5
Thanked 29 Times in 27 Posts
Default

Congratulations for your score! Thanks for sharing experience! Great idea that of the phases. Did you find Flashcards useful? What do you think of the Anki flashcards? (yousmle.com Step 1 Anki Deck)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message



Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the USMLE Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Medical School
Choose "---" if you don't want to tell. AMG for US & Canadian medical schools. IMG for all other medical schools.
USMLE Steps History
What steps finished! Example: 1+CK+CS+3 = Passed Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS, and Step 3.

Choose "---" if you don't want to tell.

Favorite USMLE Books
What USMLE books you really think are useful. Leave blank if you don't want to tell.
Location
Where you live. Leave blank if you don't want to tell.

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
CK 214 after step 1 249 MidoUSMLE USMLE Step 2 CK Forum 9 03-27-2014 10:56 AM
medpack87 Step 1 Experience; 249 medpack87 USMLE Step 1 Forum 18 07-21-2013 07:05 AM
My Step 1 Score 249/99 jattdoc USMLE Step 1 Forum 2 12-05-2011 08:59 AM
Has any IMG/FMG taken their Step 1 in May/June/July and scored a 90+? mikemike USMLE Step 1 Forum 4 10-25-2011 07:34 PM
Can i get anesthiology? my step 1 score is 99/249 MidoUSMLE IMG/FMG Forum 0 06-25-2011 08:14 AM

RSS Feed
Find Us on Facebook
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

USMLE® & other trade marks belong to their respective owners, read full disclaimer
USMLE Forums created under Creative Commons 3.0 License. (2009-2014)