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  #1  
Old 01-06-2015
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Thumbs Up My Step 1 experience, without First Aid!

Hello everyone, I took my step 1 in the beginning of December and I got a 253!
I don’t have a very typical preparation by not using FA, so that I think I would share my experience.

Prep materials used:
Kaplan Lecture Notes (2010, I already had them so I did not buy the latest edition)
Pathoma (with videos)
Kaplan Videos
Kaplan Qbook
USMLEWorld QBank
USMLEWorld Self-Assessment Tests
NBME Self-Assessment Forms

Prep time: about 6 months, 5-6 hours a day on average (more like 8 hours towards the exam)

First I watched Kaplan videos (all of them), I annotated everything from videos (literally word by word) to the lecture notes. I think it was not necessary but it is still good to have some extra information and explanations. The downside is that it takes a lot of time to go through all of them, I mean a LOT. I mostly watched them at 1.3-1.4x speed but still had to pause/slow down/listen again to the parts where I needed to take notes.
After doing the videos, I had a very slow review of all the books. I did the Kaplan Qbook alongside with my review. With my second pass, I started doing UWorld Qbank about two months before the exam, had a two-month subscription. I did UW subject-wise, timed tutorial. Started with 78%, ended up with 83%. I used 2 NBME forms (online) and did the UWSAs. I reviewed Kaplan LN and Pathoma three times in total. During the last 3-4 days I skimmed through all the books and reviewed easily forgettable things.

UWorld: 83 % (first pass, did it subject-wise, timed-tutorial)
UWSA 1 (2 months out): 234
NBME 15 (1 month out): 247
UWSA 2 (2 weeks out): 264
NBME 16 (5 days out): 262
Step 1: 253

My exam was tough. Lots of minute details which got me frustrated, lots of Anatomy questions, lots of questions that I did not understand what was being asked. The exam was most comparable to NBMEs. The questions on UW do NOT resemble the questions on the real exam by any means. I think UW is an exceptional tool to study and learn new things, the questions on UW are very well-thought and explained, there is an elaborate concept behind almost every question. In the real exam the questions were rather vague and did not feel as “high-quality” as UW (meaning that I would probably not have a WOW reaction if I had the chance to read the explanation of the questions, the reaction that I got many times when I read the explanations for the questions I did wrong in UWorld) And also I had many step 2-like questions (asking about what is the next best step , or clinical concepts such as differential diagnosis of urinary incontinence )
Time-wise the exam was not very relaxed either, after finishing all questions I had only 4-5 minutes to review marked ones in most of the blocks. On some questions I chose an answer without thinking about it much and marking them, hoping that I would review that question later. Apparently, it was not a good strategy. If I had left them blank I would definitely go back, think thoroughly and possibly have a chance to answer them correctly, but I had so many questions marked and so little time left that I couldn't review all of the marked questions.

Given my last two self-assessments, I was expecting to have something around 260. However the exam was tough and I am perfectly happy with my score.

Did not using First Aid cause me to have a lower score?
No, I don’t think so. I don’t believe FA is indispensible for step 1. I probably wouldn’t do more questions on the exam if I read FA, as most of the questions I had a hard time were even nonexistent on Kaplan or Pathoma. (Maybe Goljan could help me on some questions, but I could never review that huge book!) However, I don’t specifically suggest anyone to not to use FA. It is a great book that many people benefited from for many years: It has shown to be working. It is just that I don’t like the way the material is presented. And also I took many notes on my Kaplan LNs and reviewed them couple times that I wanted to go on with them. I like to learn from a detailed review book with explanations rather than reviewing from a book that you should memorize word by word.

What would I do different if I were to prepare for the exam again?
I would definitely do more NBMEs. The exam was closest to NBME forms. UW questions or UWSAs do NOT resemble the exam at all. I would be more prepared to the real questions if I did more NBMEs.
Kaplan Qbook was not helpful too (well I knew that but I already had the book so wanted to give it a try), so I would skip it and start UWorld earlier instead. And do some random questions on UWorld (towards the end of my preparation) rather than doing it all subject-wise.

I hope my experience can give you some insight and help you through your preparation. I wish you the best of luck.

Last edited by lnr4; 01-07-2015 at 10:49 PM.
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The above post was thanked by:
darbi (01-07-2015), deariederaa (01-08-2015), dr tee (01-06-2015), drmoth (01-07-2015), drzamzam (08-30-2015), dwijeshsheth (01-06-2015), kittensweet123 (01-08-2015), mihirkakara (01-06-2015), mk09 (01-07-2015), Panc4 (01-08-2015), pd10 (01-06-2015), radkur (01-08-2015), step123 (01-06-2015)



  #2  
Old 01-06-2015
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Just what I needed. Thanks a bunch !
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Old 01-06-2015
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congratulations on great score.How many anat questions u had on exam?what should i do besides kaplan,high yield neuroanat, are CT,MRI,Xrays similar to uworld,nbme on real exam?
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Old 01-07-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by step123 View Post
congratulations on great score.How many anat questions u had on exam?what should i do besides kaplan,high yield neuroanat, are CT,MRI,Xrays similar to uworld,nbme on real exam?
I didn't count them of course, but I had more than I expected, at least 2-3 questions (only gross anatomy, not counting embryo) almost in every block I suppose. There will be questions that are not in review books or in UWorld, you will be able to answer them if you remember from your anatomy classes, if not you will take a guess. I think doing Kaplan will take care of the high yield stuff, and for rest you will rely on your luck.
I did not have any difficulty with radiology images, I don't remember them at all. I believe they were similar to those on NBMEs.
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Old 01-07-2015
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Default great score,

just wanted to ask you what year did you graduate , and I wanted to know will it be a problem if I have been away from medicine for sometime almost 5 years. thanks . awesome score
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  #6  
Old 01-07-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drola View Post
just wanted to ask you what year did you graduate , and I wanted to know will it be a problem if I have been away from medicine for sometime almost 5 years. thanks . awesome score
I didn't. I am a 6th year med student. I don't think that it would be a problem, you may have a hard time in your first pass, but the rest will come easy. Unless you are taking the exam the year that you also take your basic medical science courses, you don't remember anything at all from med school that are not in review materials. (though I have to admit I did a couple questions in the exam that were not in Kaplan with my med school knowledge)
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