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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 12-25-2014
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Default Step 1 experience (255)

Hi guys!
I just wanted to share my thoughts about the exam. Now, there are some ppl out there with scores much higher than mine who would probably disagree on what on what I'm about to say, but I can absolutely assure you that you don't need to spend a lot of time in preparation for this exam. In fact, I would argue that spending more than 6 months would be a complete waste of time or even deleterious (since you could go and accomplish other things during that time).
Try to think of it this way - your mind is like a cup with a small hole at the bottom. The size of the cup represents your mental capacity and the opening at the bottom how fast you forget things. As you are studying new material you are pouring some liquid in the cup and small part of it is constantly leaking out. At some point, it you put a lot of effort into it, your cup is going to be full. If you continue to pour, it will spill over; if you take too long and are too slow, too much will be leaking through the hole and you are not going to reach your potential...you get the point.
I'm sorry to have to go through such a lengthy allegory, but I'm absolutely sure you should not spend too much time in preparation for the exam. 4 or 5 months full-time are all what is needed to get a good score.

My stats are:
Preparation time: around 4.5 months
Materials used:
1)Kaplan lecture notes (2013) and videos
Anatomy - this book does a pretty good job of covering the most relevant topics, although there are always going to be a couple of absolutely mind-blowing questions out there (like for example where EXACTLY lies the AV conduction bundle - answers: posterior superior to fossa ovalis, posterior inferior to fossa ovalis, anterior inferior to fossa ovalis, anterior to septum marginale and couple of other crazy answers).
Anatomy videos - more or less useless, don't add anything to the text
Biochem book - insanely good book, learn it in detail and you will get 100% of the answers correct
Biochem videos - fantastic
Physiology book - not bad, although the kidney chapter (counter-current mechanism and urea role) comes a bit too short; some missing topics in the lung chapter
Physiology videos - yes, I know a lot of ppl like Konrad Fischer, but I was bit irritated by his way of constantly repeating things, imo you can completely skip those videos
Pharma - both book and videos absolutely great
Behavioral - both book and videos were fine, although I found some topics to be completely missing (like what the difference between precontemplation and contemplation is and other bs like that). Maybe add another source here? (this was my weakest subject)
Pathology - forget both the book (too short) and the videos (just bad). I went with Goljian - this book is insanely good. It has TONS of details, which are asked on the exam.
Microbiology - both the book and the videos were great.

2) UWorld - don't need to say much about it - it's just great

3)NBMEs - I did just one of those, don't remember which one it was. Imo, it is a GREAT diagnostic tool, my score was exactly the same as at the real exam - 255. I wasn't able to learn much from it though, since I didn't get a sheet with the wrong questions or explanations. (maybe the more expensive version of the test gives you that additional information?)

4)FA - bought it but never bothered to open it . I just didn't feel that adding yet another learning source would benefit me much. (There's the answer to those of you who were wondering if FA is really so essential)

All in all, I went through all of the materials twice and very thoroughly. Kaplan books and videos (Goljan instead of kaplan patho) -> Uworld -> kaplan books and goljan again (no videos this time) -> Uworld review (I was mostly reviewing the explanations without answering the questions for a second time)

At the beginning I was reading for 6-7h a day, the last month before the exam 15h a day.

There you go. Hope this gives you a bit of a different perspective. I wish all of you guys who are about to embark on this endeavor all the best and a lot of luck!

Last edited by LoaLoa; 12-25-2014 at 01:46 PM.
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The above post was thanked by:
adrenaline106 (01-03-2015), anoushay khan (12-25-2014), dr.1990 (12-26-2014), drmoth (01-05-2015), MananaMD (01-03-2015), Marķa Zavala (02-02-2015), mihirkakara (01-03-2015), UCNE2015 (12-26-2014)



  #2  
Old 12-25-2014
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Very brave of you to not use FA. Congrats on the great score.
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Old 12-25-2014
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Hi, congrats for the great score. You used Goljian's Rapid Review and it was enough? you didn't listen to the audios? And what about Pathoma? you didn't use it at all?
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Old 12-25-2014
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Hi loaloa, first congrats for you excellent score.
although i agree with you about preparation time: more it is long more you start to forget things. but what about lots of us who can have work or studies and cannot study full-time. will studying more months part time affect your score compared to studying less but full time ?
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Old 01-03-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeleton View Post
Hi, congrats for the great score. You used Goljian's Rapid Review and it was enough? you didn't listen to the audios? And what about Pathoma? you didn't use it at all?
Goljan was more than enough for me. This book is actually pretty big - 600 densely filled pages and I think if you study it in detail you are going to be able to get 95% of the patho questions right. I don't think that going for something even more comprehensive than Goljan is going to be time-effective for your preparation. The audios were actually very entertaining - I was listening to them mainly when I was driving or jogging. They are definitely good if you have time to go through them, but they are not a must. I can't say anything about Pathoma - I've never used it.
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Old 01-03-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeswecan View Post
Hi loaloa, first congrats for you excellent score.
although i agree with you about preparation time: more it is long more you start to forget things. but what about lots of us who can have work or studies and cannot study full-time. will studying more months part time affect your score compared to studying less but full time ?
I would still try and put a definitive deadline for studying, in fact at the moment I'm working and studying for 2-4h a day for Step 2 and I really don't want to commit to it any longer than 6-7 months. I would also advise you to get at least 1 month off work before the exam to be able to really concentrate and review the stuff. I'm pretty sure that studying part-time is not going to affect your score adversely if you are disciplined enough.
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Old 01-03-2015
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First of all- Awesome allegory, I have to admit it !
and of course -- Awesome score
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If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you...
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