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Old 11-19-2012
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Default step 1 - how I studied

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USMLE Step 1 experience 

First of all you need to understand that people are different and each one has his own strength and weaknesses. You know yours.
Step one exam Prep:
How long?. There is no particular time line you should adhere to.
How long will it take you depends on two things:
1- How strong your basics are. 2- What do you plan to do in your preparation (which reflects what your target score)
You may need to read form review books with some details, I personally found Kaplan to be a very good source, especially if you use it with the videos. The order in which you do the review books may be of importance, because some parts may depend on others . Personally I think one should do Physio then Pharm, and then Pathology. Biochem and micro are also preferred before pathology .
This is the order in which I did my first read (and last) and the sources:
1-Behavioral science: Kaplan LN and videos plus Conrad fischer 100 cases for ethics
2- Anatomy: Kaplan is enough. I found the vids usleless, waste of time. You may need to supplement your neuro from HY neuroanatomy, donít study the book ,but use as needed.
3-Biochem and genetics: Kaplan LN plus vids
4- Micobiology and immunology: Kapalan LN plus vids, there are some memory cards and mneumonics out there that are very helpful like Micomnemonics. Donít spend a great deal of time on memorizing each bacteria, but rather understand the character of each one and know the ď microbiology by systems ď chapter well.
5-Physiology: Kaplan LN plus vids, vids very helpful
6-Pharmacology :Kaplan LN plus vids. Mnemonics are also very helpful in pharm

7- Pathology: GOLJAN GOLJAN GOLJIAN ......Golian RR and his audio. Fantastic. You will love it. It may be tough to do 600 pages but itís all worth it.

Remember throughout this read the aim to to UNDERSTAND everything in DEPTH. Search for what you donít understand till everything is clear. Memorise some info? Yeah sure itís a must, but at this stage it is more important to digest the concepts and undertand WHY !!!

After you feel that you now know what the curriculum is about and finished laying down your foundation, you are half way through!

Now some people donít do FA and score well , But I believe it is a MUST, itís POVís.
There will be a lot of info you read in Kaplan or goljian which will not be in FA, but remember FA is to tell you what is high yield.
This is how I did FA: I read the chapter in FA then did UW offline subject wise, and added A LOT of notes to my FA, actually I think I added too much details that my FA now contains may low yield stuff.

After I finished FA with offline UW subject wise, I did DIT (doctors in training)....... That way I did my second FA read, but to be honest, I believe DIT was a total waste of time. I only used it because I was so bored that I needed someone to read FA for me. Their work book is OK. They have pages covering the parts FA is missing, so it may be a good idea to print those and add to your FA, they are not much but HY. Otherwise donít waste your time with DIT if you did Kaplan and FA and UW offline before!!!!
After that I started Kaplan Q bank, Mixed timed, offline.
After that I did UW online, mixed and timed.
Important to note that while doing Qís I always added notes to my FA. So I kept on seeing the same FA pages over and over again. Some people say you need to do FA 4-5 times, but I did it twice, plus opening the appropriate page after each Q, and I think that covered the average 4-5 times and had stuck better to my memory because I linked it to a Q in UW or Kaplan .

After the Q banks I took the following assessments in the last 2-3 weeks, while reviewing the parts I know I am weak at.

Assessments : all within 2-3 weeks before exam
I did NBME 7 and 13 . The real exam was a few points higher than the estimated score. But they are very good estimators.
UWA: tend to overestimate your real score a bit.
I did about 4 other NBMEís offline. If you are doing it to estimate your score, you have to do it online.

Final days:
2weeks before the exam make sure that you are used to waking up at least at 8 am and studying full time till 5 with no naps and little breaks. The exam is all about mental stamina if you are well trained you will be fit enough and the exam day will be an ordinary day to you.

What I found very useful is doing a mock exam at home. Save the last 14 blocks of your Q banks, and do 7 blocks in a row with a total of 1 hr break, just like the real thing. You will get tiered, but do it again and you will feel more comfortable. Donít let the exam day be the first time you sit for 7 NEW blocks!!!!
This will make you very comfortable on the exam day isA.

Exam day:
Sleep 8 hours or whatever makes you comfortable good breakfast, coffee etc.
Now you canít really sit and have a hot drink in between blocks so the alternative would be stuff like redbull, however, donít try it for the first time on the exam day. If you are used to only a cup of tea in the morning donít try coffee on the exam day. Stick to what your brain is used to. Avoid too much caffeine, itíll make you very alert and active, yet your concentration will be less.

About breaks in exams, I took breaks in between all blocks, you can take the first 2 blocks at once, but after that I recommend breaks, even just for fresh air, or a sip of water. Again it is a mental marathon and you need to stay fresh. You may feel okay to start another block back to back and 15 mins later feel exhausted, so take ďprophylacticĒ breaks. Donítí eat much. You had a good breakfast so chocolates, nuts and water or energy drinks will be enough.

Good luck future US medical residents!
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Old 11-19-2012
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Congratulationns on being done with exam.

Can u tell much u scored on self-assessments?
How much time in total did u give to ur prep?
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Old 11-19-2012
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Default Congratulations

Congratulations . . . thanx for ur experience
What is ur exam score?
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Old 11-20-2012
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It took me 15 months total. I admit I was slow.
as I said my assessments was 4 -7 points below my actual score. I got a 250+
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