Advice for you, took Step 1 Aug 2014, used DIT - 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 03-30-2015
USMLE Forums Newbie
 
Steps History: Step 1 Only
Posts: 5
Threads: 1
Thanked 8 Times in 2 Posts
Reputation: 18
Default Advice for you, took Step 1 Aug 2014, used DIT

This is a thread for me to PROVIDE YOU with advice.

So I took the Step 1 in August 2014. It is now March 2015. I know this post is a bit late, but I didn't have time to write everything I wanted to write until now. When I was studying I felt that these forums were helpful and very instrumental in helping me form my study plan. I've been meaning to do this for some time, since I wanted to share my step experience with fellow med students.

I want to start off by saying that I’m an American citizen born and raised, native English speaker, and am an average/above average student from a foreign medical school. When I took this exam I was between my 2nd and 3rd years of medical school.

For normal tests my study habit is usually to read things 1-2 times and then take exams – I don’t like doing questions. I am very anal retentive and it takes me an inordinate amount of time to do a decent number of questions.

How my step studying went down:

I took my 1st NBME during the school year, before finals, and before dedicated studying: 340 --> 192

My thoughts: This is great! I’m already at a passing score, even without studying! If I just study hard, sky is the limit!

My plan was to take the test after 6 weeks of studying about 10 hours per day, no days off.
I still had the rest of the semester and finals to take, so about 1.5 months after my first NBME I started my dedicated study period.

Weeks 1 and 2 of dedicated study time: I read about 100 pages of First Aid – I hadn’t done biochem in over a year so I was slow.
Took 2nd NBME (Form 13): 430 --> 213
My thoughts: Yay! Reading is working, and fast! Let me keep this up!

Week 3 and 4: Read more First Aid (finished about half of First Aid)
Took 3rd NBME (Form 16): 450 --> 217

My thoughts: Well that's weird.. How did that happen? How did I just read for 2 weeks and only increased my score 4 points?! Why am I so slow at reading all of a sudden? Why do I have to be so detail-oriented that I fixate on details and need to memorize EVERYTHING?! I need to change gears, everyone says questions are awesome and I “HAVE” to do them, maybe they’re right.

Weeks 5 and 6: So I ditched First Aid, and instead did UWorld Questions all day every day! (About 700 in 2 weeks). I was still studying about 10 hours per day.

At this point I have 1 week until my scheduled exam. I am very disappointed by the fact that after 6 weeks of studying I only finished half of First Aid, and 1/3 of the UWorld Qbank. I feel like I am screwed, and I am destined to cap out around 220 – not what I want since I really have studied so hard and I want my score to reflect that.

My test was in one week I prayed to God for a sign. This is my prayer: “Please God, I need a sign. I need you to make it painfully clear whether or not I should take this test next week. If I can do better by pushing back my exam a month, please make my score lower than my last test. I need a really clear sign. Please God, help me.”

4th NBME (Form 7): 440 --> 215.

My thoughts: Well.. that’s 2 points lower than my last NBME! Guess I’m pushing back my test a month!


At this point, since I was pretty dissatisfied with my self-guided study plan, I had done a bunch of internet research, and decided that DIT was the right study program for me. Most people self-reported that they had a 20 point increase in their NBME score through the program, and then actually maintained that increase, so I figured that since reading by myself and doing questions did not help me even the size of a mouse turd, it was time for something new.

Going into the DIT program I was extremely disheartened and worried by my first 6 weeks of studying, since despite my very focused attempts, my studying yielded very little success, and so I was terrified that maybe DIT wouldn’t help me either. But I had made a promise to myself that if I pushed my test back I was going to do DIT in its entirety and make it happen. So I did DIT exactly the way they tell you to do it, put all my faith in the program and in God, and went forward.

I put the previous 6 weeks of failed studying behind me, and approached DIT as though it had never happened.

I planned to do DIT in 3 weeks, and after I finished DIT I wanted to read First Aid in a week and a half before my exam. I didn’t want to do any more NBME’s because I had already spent a lot of money on them, money was tight, and I really didn’t have the choice of pushing my test back any more since my eligibility period was going to expire and I needed to start clinical rotations soon after, or risk graduating a year late. So regardless of my NBME score, I was going to take the exam, I had no other choice.

Week 7-11 of studying: DIT baby!

Notes about the program: While I was doing the program, I noticed that they’d make comments like “this is a 4 star topic” – I figured that these were good topics to flag in First Aid with a tab. I’d write whether it was a 3, 4, or 5 star topic. I would also write summaries of the end of lecture quizzes and I put them on sticky notes. I put the sticky notes in the back flap of my First Aid knowing I wouldn’t have time to reread all of First Aid before the step once I finished the program, but I knew I’d want to see those topics and high-yield points again. I’d also put tabs for charts/topics I felt would be important, but I would make sure not to use the same marking system, that way if I was really down to the wire, DIT notes would take precedence. The program says you can finish DIT in like 12 days at the fastest… I don’t know how anyone could actually do the program WELL, and do it that quickly. But if there really is someone out there who learned it well and did it that quickly, I’m going to guess they probably didn’t need DIT to begin with. I planned to finish DIT in 3 weeks… It took me 5 weeks of non-stop 8 to 10-hour days of hard-core focus. Break time not included in this hourly study time. I slavveeeeddddd over the program. I followed along with First Aid. I took the quizzes they provided very VERY seriously – why? I figured if they were quizzing me, it was important to know that information.

At the end of week 11 (end of week 5 of DIT) I decided to do a UWorld Self Assessment. It was included in my UWorld subscription aka FREE. Why? Because I was very tired, stressed out, concerned that I wasn’t retaining DIT, and worried that I wasn’t improving. So I bit the time-bullet, and took a UWSA.

UWSA one week out from test: 252

My thoughts: YES PRAISE YOU OH SWEET LORD BABY JESUS YOU 8LB 6OZ LITTLE MIRACLE WORKER YOU, YAYYYYY!!! ***run around the house jubilant and relieved*** I was so happy because in my mind, worst case, even if it over predicted my score by 20 points (which is what I had read online) I was still in the 230s range, which was where I wanted to be at minimum. After this UWSA I was very happy, energized, and optimistic about my upcoming Step 1!

1 week to exam: I finished what was left of DIT, minus about 20 lectures or so. It was taking me about 10 hours to get through 7 videos a day, so instead of burning 3 precious study days on relatively low yield material, I opted instead to read through the sections that those lectures covered as fast as I could in one day. The next day I reread the biochem and biostats sections in First Aid. Then I spent 2 days reading my 3, 4, and 5 star tabs and sticky notes from DIT.

Day before exam: I took the day before the exam off. I am not usually the person who takes it easy before an exam, but I had read online about other people’s step experiences and most people recommended it. I figured that I needed a rested mind to tackle an 8 hour test day, and that nothing I was going to read the day before was more important than having a clear head.

The day before the exam, I slept in, spent 20 minutes half-butt skimming my notes that I hadn’t finished skimming the night before (because I’m OCD like that), and then took my first whole day off in almost 3 months. I cooked, I watched a movie at home, I did NOT eat out, for fear of food poisoning ruining all my painstaking work. I sat in the hottub and tried to relax.

Day of the test: I woke up, wore comfortable clothes, ate a great breakfast, and went to the exam early. I was there about 45 minutes early. Why get there late and risk delaying your exam? You prepped SO MUCH. Just get there early. Expect the unexpected. Expect a flat tire. Expect road closures. Get there early!

Bring snacks that are easy to eat and well balanced – I chose Balance bars and Gatorade. I didn’t want to pee a thousand times during the test so these were good food/beverage choices for me. I also brought what I like to call “rescue coffee” – back-up coffee for when you start to crash in the middle of the test. Put it in a travel mug, it’ll stay warm enough, then slam it and you’re good to go.

Testing tips:

I took 2 sections at a time, break, 2 sections, break, 2 sections, break, last section.

This break up worked for me, I felt like I had adequate time to stretch my legs, clear my head, snack, and go to the bathroom. I did not bring any review materials with me, because I feel that break time is meant to give your mind a REST. Your study time is behind you. You need to be focused. You’re in the event. You aren’t at swim practice anymore doing training drills. You’re at the swim meet. This is the real deal and you need to stay focused and put your past events (old sections) behind you because a whole new set of 46 questions is about to jump on you and you need to be fresh. Trust in your studying and your training, and try to stay positive, no matter how you think you’re doing. Negativity will lead to failure. You will benefit from positivity, tell yourself you got 100% of the questions right. Heck, for all you know, you did! Until you get that score back, you’re the man/woman and you are a boss at taking the step and you are getting a 270 as far as you’re concerned.


My thoughts during the test:

Blocks 1 and 2: Wow! This isn’t bad at all! Thank God I did DIT though!

10 minute break: I got this.

Blocks 3 and 4: Um. This is harder… This must be an adaptive test. I must have done well on the first two blocks!

10 minute break: Clear your mind young Jedi, you are doing fine!

Block 5: This is better! If it’s adaptive, I must have done worse on the last block LOL keep going you got this!

Block 6: Why is this hard again?!

25 minute break: Man I’m feeling tired. This test is long. Nom nom nom food and drinks. Bathroom twice. Jump around and stretch a little. You got this. Own this last section.

Block 7: Why does this test have to be so long? I'm glad I took such a long break before this section. The questions are hard, my vision is getting blurry. I’m so tired I hardly know the alphabet anymore.

General feeling after leaving the exam: I finished every block with anywhere from 5 seconds to 1 minute to spare. I felt good leaving though. I was pretty confident I passed which actually worried me .01%, since my impression from online forums was that most people who think they failed, pass, and vice versa. Usually I leave tests and don't feel very confident. My med school fails people out faster than you can blink, so I usually feel like a part of my soul was just crushed (and then still end up doing fine). I honestly felt pretty great and optimistic leaving the step! I was relieved and pretty confident!

I think part of it was that I felt like so much DIT had come up on the test pretty directly. Even though I had abandoned questions 5 weeks earlier, I was so solid in my knowledge foundation that I was able to answer questions efficiently and accurately.

After exactly 3 weeks of waiting for the score, I got THE email… I said a prayer with – literally got on my knees and prayed for me and my study partner, and what to my wondering eyes did appear?
235 – PASS!!!!

My thoughts: OMGGGGG!!! Tears are streaming down my face, tears are streaming down my father’s face. My family and I are rejoicing, I’m jumping up and down – I’M GOING TO BE A DOCTOR! I DID IT! THANK YOU GOD!! Is this real life?! This is the best moment of my medical career thus far! Praise you sweet baby 8lb 6oz baby Jesus!

General tips for exam prep:

I woke up and went to bed at the same time every day. I made my sleep schedule match what I would be doing the night before and the day of my test. Have good sleep hygiene! I’d sleep about 8 hours per night every night. You will learn better if you are rested. Sure. People say they study 14-16 hours a day, but 6 of those hours are probably low-focus highly-distracted very fatigued hours. 2 of those 6 hours are probably on Facebook or some other form of social media. Make your study time COUNT. If you are not able to focus, take a REAL break. Unplug from the computer. Go outside. Watch a funny show. Sleep. Go to the gym. Do something for YOU.

Another thing – eliminate distractions. I deactivated my FB account for the duration of my step studying. This was IMMENSELY helpful to me. It got rid of nonsense Buzzfeed quizzes, photos of vacations that I couldn’t go on, and drama from people posting about their political and religious beliefs online. The Step is a time in your life where you are ALLOWED TO BE SELFISH. If people don’t understand that you need to unplug from social media, then they probably don’t understand what it takes to become a doctor, and they probably aren’t becoming doctors. Give people your real phone number, and they can text you if they’re dying. Otherwise, people can take a 2-month or longer hiatus from you – they’ll survive, and so will you. I straight up told people, I won’t be texting or calling, don’t take it personally, I just have the biggest exam of my life coming up and I need to focus. Every single person I told that to was extremely supportive. Every single one of those people supported me in my decision and were there when I finished my exam and reintegrated to society. The step is not a time to build your social network and maintain friendships, you have the rest of your life for that.

Food: Eat well-balanced meals when studying. You want long-lasting energy, not sugar highs and sugar lows. I’d eat eggs and oatmeal for breakfast and lunch most days. Dinner was usually chicken with salad. Eat good carbs! Don’t eat crap! Your mind will work better when you give it good fuel. Put your medical education to work and apply your knowledge - make yourself be healthy – you don’t have to become a slob during the step.

Study setting: I didn't study at home. I went to my best friend's house and stayed with his family for about 3 months. He was my study partner throughout medical school and we decided it would be best if we continued studying together for the step exam. I was very lucky because his family was extremely accommodating and were such truly nice people. It was a calm relaxing environment and great for studying. My study partner actually did not share my same study plan. He did not do DIT. By study partner, I mainly mean support system and reality checker. We kept each other sane for the 3 months and helped each other cope with the endless studying. He and I both delayed our exam 1 month.

Summary: I read ˝ First Aid with no score improvement. I did 1/3 of the UWorld Qbank and lost 2 points on my score. Questions were literally useless for me! I did DIT and improved 37 points on UWSA. I took the test and got a 235 on the real deal.

Anyway, I know that was a long post, but I just wanted to give a detailed break down of how I studied for the step, and give you some perspective from someone who didn’t do even 1/3 of UWorld. I got a 235 basically without doing questions, which goes to show that you don’t NEED to do a million questions. You DO NEED to actually know the material. You are taking a test on details. Learn details! If you aren’t good at English, you may benefit from questions. If you aren’t good at reading quickly, questions may benefit you. For me, I benefited most from learning the raw material with a program.

One last thing, you need to make a study schedule that works for you and works toward your strengths. For me, DIT was the perfect program for me. It combined my reading style with reinforcing questions that made the material relevant and stick. I think it’s important that you don’t get too caught up in super gung-ho rules like “I have to do UWorld once” or twice, or read First Aid twice, or do all the Kaplan notes, etc. You need to just be efficient and find what works for you early on. If I was able to do it all over again, I would just do DIT from the beginning and finish my studying in 5 weeks and take the test. Please let me know if you have any questions for me, or need any motivation, I’d be happy to help you!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
The above post was thanked by:
Archusmle (10-12-2016), chi-nwa4 (04-28-2015), CleverFOX (04-20-2015), mk09 (04-21-2015)



  #2  
Old 04-20-2015
USMLE Forums Scout
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 24
Threads: 2
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Reputation: 11
Default

Please I want to ask you what is DIT??
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #3  
Old 04-20-2015
USMLE Forums Scout
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 51
Threads: 12
Thanked 21 Times in 14 Posts
Reputation: 31
Default DIT Year?

Did you use DIT 2014? Also would you recommend DIT if you're not so strong in the basics? I don't feel I would score a 192 if I took an NBME from the start like you did. Thank you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
  #4  
Old 04-20-2015
USMLE Forums Scout
 
Steps History: Not yet
Posts: 51
Threads: 12
Thanked 21 Times in 14 Posts
Reputation: 31
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodoaa View Post
Please I want to ask you what is DIT??
It's a program called Doctors in Training. It's a step 1 review program consisting of high yield videos that help you understand what will be tested for Step 1.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #5  
Old 04-21-2015
USMLE Forums Newbie
 
Steps History: Step 1 Only
Posts: 5
Threads: 1
Thanked 8 Times in 2 Posts
Reputation: 18
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sss2g2 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodoaa View Post
Please I want to ask you what is DIT??
It's a program called Doctors in Training. It's a step 1 review program consisting of high yield videos that help you understand what will be tested for Step 1.
Yes absolutely accurate! Just to elaborate - it's an online program that is about $800, with about 160 videos, that takes you through First Aid and quizzes you along the way. It comes with a workbook which has an outline you fill in and quizzes as well. It's excellent for Step 1.

Last edited by help4mehelp4you; 04-21-2015 at 07:53 AM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #6  
Old 04-21-2015
USMLE Forums Newbie
 
Steps History: Step 1 Only
Posts: 5
Threads: 1
Thanked 8 Times in 2 Posts
Reputation: 18
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sss2g2 View Post
Did you use DIT 2014? Also would you recommend DIT if you're not so strong in the basics? I don't feel I would score a 192 if I took an NBME from the start like you did. Thank you.
Hi! Yes I think it would be very beneficial even for someone not strong in basic sciences, and here's why. It is designed to take you through first aid, which is pretty much everything you need to know for the exam. I only used DIT and First Aid as my resources. If you feel you don't understand something, you can always pause the video and look it up online. I did that sometimes, it depends! I don't think doing a program that is a year old would be an issue, not much changes from year to year. Also, are you currently in med school or have you already graduated? I was at the end of my second year so I was doing pathophysiology and pharmacology, so I was passively seeing things related to step 1. That could be part of why I scored a 192. But on the same token, I was using first aid as my sole study material for exams, so from the beginning first aid was my guide. DIT was a wonderful program. And you don't need to read FA first by any means. If you're anything like me, FA is too slow and you likely won't retain very much unless it's being reinforced like it is in questions from DIT.
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
Is dit 2013 and dit 2014 videos same? 5hstar2 USMLE Step 1 Forum 2 04-02-2017 07:40 PM
DR RAYMONs INTEGRATED CASES STEP 1 July Aug Sept Oct 2014 Ethen USMLE Step 1 Forum 1 10-23-2014 09:56 PM
24th Aug, 2014; Step 1 exam result thread phyo123 USMLE Step 1 Forum 19 10-23-2014 04:32 AM
Need a study partner for Step 1 in Aug-Sep 2014. shadowfax1988 USMLE Step 1 Study Partners 0 01-19-2014 03:46 PM

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)