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  #1  
Old 09-17-2015
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Malaysia Bryan's Step 1 experience - 243

My name is Bryan Tan and I am from Malaysia. I’m a medical student studying in Moscow, Russia currently. I sat for Step 1 on 20th August 2015 during my summer holidays and I got a score of 243 (about 75th percentile).

Half way through my preparation for step 1, I discovered this wonderful forum. From time to time I would take a short break from my studies and I’d look into the threads. I got a lot of useful tips from the experiences shared by many people in this forum. Now, I’d like to share my Step 1 experience and I hope it will be helpful for those who have yet to sit for step 1.


Duration of dedicated step 1 preparation:
-7.5 months (from early january till mid august of 2015)


Resources I used:
1) Pathology: Pathoma twice + Goljan audio 1.5 times
2) Pharmacology: Kaplan pharmacology
3) Microbiology: CMMRS
4) Immunology: Immunology section of Lange Review of Microbiology and Immunology
5) Physiology: BRS physiology + Kaplan physiology
6) Biochemistry: Kaplan biochemistry
7)Gross Anatomy and Histology: Kaplan + FA + Uworld
8)Neutoanatomy: Clinical neuroanatomy made ridiculously simple + FA
9) Behavioural science and biostatistics: Kaplan LN
10) First Aid for USMLE Step 1 2014
11) Kaplan Qbank: 85 percent completed
12) Uworld Qbank: did the whole thing once, and then repeated the wrong ones


My Opinion on the Resources:

I bought the whole set of Kaplan Lecture notes but after a while I realised that not all subjects from Kaplan are good. Pharmacology and Behavioural science are really good while Pathology lacks a lot of information.

My recommendation on the Kaplan videos:
Must watch - Pharmacology and Behavioural science
Decent - Physiology and Biochemistry
Average - Anatomy
Skip them! - Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology

To be honest, I finished all the Kaplan videos except for Pathology and Microbiology. I watched about 1/3 of Pathology videos and I gave up, the Pathoma videos are way better. As for Microbiology I didn’t even bother watching them because Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple is simply the gold standard.

I’d also recommend listening to Goljan audios and yes, some of you might think that it’s outdated because the audios were recorded back in the early 2000s. I’m not saying if you listen to the audios you are going to get all the questions on pathology right. The reason I recommend them is because Dr. Goljan integrates multiple subjects and because of that I was able to get a clearer and bigger picture of everything. I could literally listen to them all day because Dr. Goljan is a brilliant and funny teacher. If he was my lecturer I’d probably never miss a single class, no kidding.



Pathology:
-Pathoma and Goljan audios all the way. I believe Rapid review pathology is a good resource but it’s excruciatingly long, it’s almost like a textbook, I only looked through the images from the book.

-Go through the gross and microscopic images on Webpath (http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/webpath.html) before the exam if you have time.

Pharmacology:
-Well, Kaplan videos and the lecture notes are the best. Memorize the drug names, mechanism, adverse effects and clinical uses inside out and you will be able to answer most of the questions on the real deal.

Microbiology:
-I have to admit, microbes was probably one of my most feared and hated subjects because I was really bad at it. However, after I finished CMMRS and FA, I began to like microbes and it actually became one of my favourite subjects. I did pretty well on microbes in step 1.

Immunology:
-Didn’t learn much about immunology in med school, so I read the immuno section of Lange Review of Microbiology and Immunology and it was really good.

Physiology:
-One of my weaker subjects initially, but after reading BRS physiology, watching the Kaplan physiology videos and doing lots of practice in Uworld, physiology became one of my best subjects on the real deal.

Biochemistry:
-Understanding the processes and memorizing all the key enzymes! Kaplan videos are helpful but if you have a good foundation, just read FA and start doing questions on Uworld.

Gross anatomy and Histology:
-Too much information, I watched the Kaplan videos and also read the book but the information are too much. I’d recommend using FA and practice questions on qbank. There is no perfect way to prepare for anatomy as they can ask you anything (literally anything) on the real deal.

Neuroanatomy:
-Clinical Neuroanatomy made ridiculously simple is a fun read but it is insufficient, you can fill in the gaps by doing questions and reading FA. You can also read from High Yield Neuroanatomy, heard it’s a good resource but I did not finish the whole book.

Behavioural science and biostatistics:
-Never learnt it from my med school, so I had to learn this subject from scratch. Kaplan videos are highly recommended.




Results of question bank and self assessment (according to chronological order)

Kaplan qbank
-score: 68% (untimed in the beginning of my prep and timed mode when I’m half way thru my prep)
-completed 85 percent

Kaplan diagnostic exam
-score: 70%

USMLE world qbank
-score: 77% (random and timed mode)
-did once and got 77%, later on i did all the questions I answered wrongly

NBME13 (40 days before step 1)
-score: 226

NBME15 (20 days before step 1)
-score: 232

UWorld Self assessment 1 (10 days before step 1)
-score: 255

Uworld Self assessment 2 (3 days before step 1)
-score: 259


So, as you can see, self assessments aren’t entirely accurate and reliable, for some people it might overestimate their scores and for others it might underestimate their scores. In my opinion, your Step 1 result depends on how you perform on the test day.


Day of testing

My appointment was at 10am but I reached the prometric center earlier and I started my exam about 30 minutes earlier.

The duration was 8 hours including the breaks. I came out after every block to use the washroom and to get a quick bite. I brought bananas, granola bars and rice with chicken. I had a pleasant experience taking my exam until I was half way through the 4th block. There were people sitting for other exams (I was the only one sitting for USMLE on that day) and some of them typed really loud and I couldn’t focus. I tried putting on the noise-cancelling headphones during the 5th block and it got a little better.

The exam was really tiring and I was relieved after I’m done with the final block. I came out from the prometric center and I thought to myself, ‘I’m finally done with Step 1 !.’ I felt really happy.



My 2cents of USMLE step 1

Understanding is key. Memorizing without understanding the underlying mechanisms will not get you far. Dr. Edward Goljan always says, “In USMLE, It’s always about why, not what.” USMLE test your ability to think critically, they want to make sure you truly understand the concepts and not just merely memorising them. I remember memorising all those protooncogenes, tumor suppressor genes and translocations like 9;22 translocation, 11;14, 15;17, 14;18 and so on. None of them came out in my exam. I can say that less than 20 percent of questions in the real exam required pure memorisation.

USMLE step 1 is probably the most challenging exam in my life as a student so far. It is difficult but doable. For those of you who are still preparing for Step 1, just on hold on to it a little longer, your hardwork will pay off eventually. As for those of you who are interested but still in doubt, thinking if you should take step 1, just remember, if not you, who? If not now, when? You have to believe in yourself!

I hope someone will find this thread helpful. Best of luck everyone!



The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment – to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become! Eric Thomas.
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Last edited by MedicalStudent93; 09-21-2015 at 11:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2015
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got my step 1 result yesterday on 17th of september
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Old 09-17-2015
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Default welldone!!

wow! you give me hope
thanks for sharing
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Old 09-17-2015
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Hey congrats!!! Great score. How do you know its a 75th percentile? I gave mine today i found it so hard.. Nothing was unfamiliar i just didn't remmeber basic things.. Maybe if i studied more
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Old 09-17-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mk09 View Post
Hey congrats!!! Great score. How do you know its a 75th percentile? I gave mine today i found it so hard.. Nothing was unfamiliar i just didn't remmeber basic things.. Maybe if i studied more
there's this correlation table from usmle.org.

When I did my exam I found it hard too. Just hope for the best, good luck!
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Old 09-18-2015
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How much did Webpath help?
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Old 09-18-2015
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If you are looking for a free online resource for gross and microscopic images, I believe it's the best one out there.
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Old 09-18-2015
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Default Pricing

Hi, can I know aproximately how much have you spent on buying all those books and qbank ? Do you recommend using pirated version (although outdated) ? And how much is kaplan video (or is there free channel on Youtube ?) ?
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Old 09-18-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayzshadower View Post
Hi, can I know aproximately how much have you spent on buying all those books and qbank ? Do you recommend using pirated version (although outdated) ? And how much is kaplan video (or is there free channel on Youtube ?) ?
Kaplan qbank is $199 for 1 year, $99 for 1 month

Uworld qbank is $399 for 1 year, $299 for 6 months, $169 for 2 months and $129 for 1 month

NBME self assessment cost around $50-60 each

UWorld self assessment cost around $40 (cheaper if you buy both UWSA)

I think it's fine if you want to use the offline version to save cost, but of course the qbank online is way better as it gives you the real experience of sitting for USMLE and new questions appear every now and then. At least try to purchase 1 or 2 months of Uworld qbank so you can get used to the interface.
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Old 09-18-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedicalStudent93 View Post
Kaplan qbank is $199 for 1 year, $99 for 1 month

Uworld qbank is $399 for 1 year, $299 for 6 months, $169 for 2 months and $129 for 1 month

NBME self assessment cost around $50-60 each

UWorld self assessment cost around $40 (cheaper if you buy both UWSA)

I think it's fine if you want to use the offline version to save cost, but of course the qbank online is way better as it gives you the real experience of sitting for USMLE and new questions appear every now and then. At least try to purchase 1 or 2 months of Uworld qbank so you can get used to the interface.
How about Kaplan video ? How to get them ? And the kaplan lecture note you bought from amazon ?
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Old 09-18-2015
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Hey Bryan, Congrats that's an awesome score! And thanks for sharing your experience

@mk09
Please share your experience when your result comes out. I really appreciate that you've been actively answering questions on this forum and I hope you will continue helping us with your experience too. Good luck for the result!
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Old 09-18-2015
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Congrats..
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Old 09-19-2015
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Congratulations for your brilliant performance!
I'd like to know whether you integrated uworld from the beginning after each subject or after the first read? Also how many hours a day for the initial phase?
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Old 09-20-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akashleena.M View Post
Congratulations for your brilliant performance!
I'd like to know whether you integrated uworld from the beginning after each subject or after the first read? Also how many hours a day for the initial phase?
In the beginning, after the first read of each subject I did Uworld offline, I did about 400-500 questions and I realized I didn't like the offline version. So I started using Kaplan qbank online after finish reviewing each subject, I did around 80 - 85% of the Kaplan qbank.

2 months before Step 1, I subscribed to Uworld online and I did them everyday (random and timed mode). I would spend 2-3 hours doing them (on some days I did 2 blocks, on other days I did 3 blocks), and then I would spend another 4-7 hours reading the explanation. I finished Uworld once in less than a month (just Uworld everyday without reading other material). Finally, I did the questions I answered wrongly and I spent about 5 days doing that.

Hope it helps.
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Old 09-23-2015
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Thank you so much!
Wish you success for the steps ahead.
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Old 09-28-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akashleena.M View Post
Thank you so much!
Wish you success for the steps ahead.
Thank you, good luck to you too!
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