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  #1  
Old 10-31-2010
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Info My USMLE Step 1 Experience

Hi.. I was asked to share my step 1 exam experience so here it is (i hope some of this information will help the next exam takers in their/your preparation):

I don't think I've ever studied as much as I did for the step 1 exam (ever for any other exams I've taken). Last minute studying will NOT help in preparing for the step 1 exam. I started out with plans made or said out by many forum members. So I followed the subjects (from Kaplan) in the order suggested. It took me a cumulative of 7 months of study (the first month was real slow with 1 subject in 1 month). Then I dedicated 7 weeks to just doing questions (1 mth UW & USMLE consult, n 3 weeks of Kaplan Qbank).

With studying hours I started off with just 6 – 8 hrs a day. Then I read ZumZum’s plan (sometime in my 3rd month of studying) and I went on to 8 – 11 hrs a day (5 days a week for 11 hrs and 2 days/week for 8 hrs when I had too long classes). With questions I manged 13 hrs a day for UW (started off with 40%, UWSA 1 was only 49%, then the last 10 tests were 60% n UWSA 2 was 60%). I think 13 hrs is too tiring because when I did the questions at night, I will have low scores (50-55) n when I did them in the mornings ill manage a 65. But because I pushed myself too hard, I still did questions even when I was dead tired n sleepy (don't do that, it only upsets u when ur score is low).

When my classes started again (I had a good 2 n months holiday to spend more than 11 hrs a day studying), I could only spend 5 hrs a day studying Goljan path secret n 3 hrs doing questions (Kaplan q bank). I started off Kaplan qbank with 65-67% for the 1st week then as time went on, there were times when I did questions at midnight n would score a 50%!!... well it brought down my average to a 59%. And the average of the last ten tests was 60%.

I did NBME 1, 6 n 7. NBME 1 I did 7 weeks before the exam (at the start of UW just to see where I stand) n I got 75. At this point my actual exam was in 3 weeks so I postponed it 4 weeks which meant I have now 7 weeks to improve myself. The NBME 6 I did 4 weeks before the exam was only 78. This frustrated me because the kaplan qbank was 65-67%!! But I kept on reading Goljan n FA (practically memorized FA) n did another NBME 7 5 days before the exam with 83. At this point it was too late to postpone my exam (u need 5 business days prior to ur exam), n I only hoped that the real exam would be easier.

I also did LANGE Qbook, Kaplan Qbook n FA Qbook (all showing 60 n above, FA was showing average 72% but 2 of the tests showed 78 & 82%). At this point I knew FA I mastered so I hoped the exam will be more of FA.

The day before the exam, was really scared I made a mistake by not postponing my exam sooner. Cried like a baby, then thought, if my results are real bad, I'll just repeat it. My family called n said that their prayers are with me. I also prayed hard in order to keep my calm.

On the exam day, arrived at 7.30 but wasn't allowed in till 9am! I asked if this is too late, they said no, I can start anytime after 9am. Needless to say, I didn't have time to write down the stuff I remembered on my board before the exam. During the exam, the invigilators n other exam takers (GRE exam) were so noisy at times, I had to literally turn around n shush them! Very very unprofessional!! But I wasn't about to ruin my momentum by getting upset. So I plugged my ears tight with my fingers n kept on reading. My breaks were as the following:
1st test – 5 mins
2nd test – 5 mins
3rd test – no break
4th test – 20 mins (lunch)
5th test – 6 mins
6 th test – 6 mins
7th test – done (sat staring at the blank screen for a while, then took a deep breath n slowly composed myself n walked out, hands trembling, wishing I had more time).

I hope this experience helps u set ur goals better. I'm sure u’re thinking I should’ve postponed my exam, but the truth is, I took a long time before doing my NBME 7 because I was afraid of the score I'll get n I was pretty set on my UWSA 2 n kaplan scores to ensure a 90, that was until I finally got around to doing the NBME 7 of course.

There were some step 2ck questions-like in the exam (because they weren't in step 1 FA but were in step 2ck FA) n I made wild guesses to which some were correct thank God. But I do remember that there were many patho-physio n endocrine questions that I found killer-like. My 3rd block was toughest of all. The 2nd, 6th n 7th were easiest of all. The rest were just difficult but not killer-like the 3rd.

Overall I had at least 3 to 5 mins before the end of each block n I'll use it to look at my marked questions. If I had no clue to the answer I won't waste my time at it but instead look at the questions where over time I'd figure out the answer through reasoning (ruling out the wrong answers). I had surprisingly 9 mins extra to my last block so I used it to go through all my marked questions thoroughly. I had only 45secs of spare break time. The bathroom was quite a voyage from the exam room it took me 5 mins to go n return. Then at least another min to sit down n key in my CIN.

Today, I felt restless after almost a week of doing NO STUDYING, im starting on my step2ck reading. My results will be out in another 1 to 7 weeks...
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2010
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hi seetal,
thank u for sharing ur step1 experience.
im gonna be taking my exam in sept2011, and ill be in my last year of medical school.. it is heartening to know that u managed to do it even while working. i have no clue as to how i am gonna put that much time everyday pouring over my books as i have to work during the mornings.
anyways, all the best for ur results. waiting to hear the good news from u
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Old 10-31-2010
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Originally Posted by appu View Post
hi seetal,
thank u for sharing ur step1 experience.
im gonna be taking my exam in sept2011, and ill be in my last year of medical school.. it is heartening to know that u managed to do it even while working. i have no clue as to how i am gonna put that much time everyday pouring over my books as i have to work during the mornings.
anyways, all the best for ur results. waiting to hear the good news from u
dr. appu. i wasnt working. still a student (5th yr now) n i had 2 1/2 months break from july till august n 2 weeks in sept. i had a friend who took his usmle in his last yr too. he had to go classes as well n managed to study well. u will too. n my friend took the step2ck while working but did some studying right after his step 1. he got a 99 for both. good luck in ur preparation. next yr sept seems lots of time to prepare.
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Old 10-31-2010
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dear seetal,
by working, i didnt mean it as a job..i meant as a student. i am in my fourth year medicine now.. have my exams coming up in december. so i can start preparation only by jan end.. and plan to give my step1 during my fifth year. anyways thank u for the encouragement. keeping my fingers crossed.. i need to clear my fourth year first!! thanks again.. take care.
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  #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seetal View Post
Hi.. I was asked to share my step 1 exam experience ........My results will be out in another 1 to 7 weeks...
Thank you Seetal for sharing with us your Step 1 experience in details.
You have been here in the forums for a while and your questions and answers have enriched us throughout the days.
We'll pray for you and wish you the greatest results.
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  #6  
Old 10-31-2010
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Default Congrats! You're done!!

Thanks again Seetal... You've been a great inspiration so far. Thanks so much for sharing this and everything else.

I know it is a traumatic experience for everyone, but can I ask you go over what you felt the exam concentrated on. I know this is a futile exercise because asking three people will ensure that every subject and every possible question is covered, but I am still curious about your actual exam. Was there a lot of neuro? biochem? CT scans? Anything unusual you remember? Anything at all in terms of emphasis you can remember will help....

Thanks again!
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2010
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Help some more help

congrats seetal.finally u r done.i have read u r posts since time i joined the forum and always thought u must be some super brainy geek always top in the class.it was nice to know that u were also freaked out by step 1 like us mere mortals!!phew..congrats again.
pls while waiting for ur result be elaborate a bit more to tell us specifically sbject wise which are the most highest yield topics which u did came across in the exam.and did reviewing fa really help u?
i had rescheduled my exam and now that my slot is coming to an end i have to give it by first week of dec.how many nbme should i do??
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  #8  
Old 10-31-2010
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Default Do not begin reading for CK! Lol!

Give yourself a well deserved break! the dolce far niente you really really deserve after so much hard work! I totally get the honest labor you've put into your step 1, just enjoy the time till your result... You'll have a better energy with which you'll begin your CK prep. I did the same, tried to read immediately after step 1, but it isn't effective, so gave up in 2 days only. Took my break till the result and started fresh right after! It helped so much! It's like a big burden's off the head, and you will remember stuff in 4 weeks, the prep you did was awesome so you wont forget anything! I assure you!

Best of luck for the Result!
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  #9  
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Default good luck

hello seetal,
Good luck for your result and thanks for sharing your experience and i pray that you get good result of your hardwok.
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  #10  
Old 11-01-2010
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thx for kind words. ill share as much as i can remember on the exam with u (which is allowed by the boards anyways)

topics:

biochem not as much (no lysozyme def diseases at all). molecular about 3, genetics yes a few (one pedigree i was staring blank at!). i had 3 vitamin questions which i got right!! i had one 2 metabolic questions (one im not sure if i got rite because the symptoms showed what i tot it was but the options werent available)

anatomy had to do with CT scan picture but im pretty sure i got the answer wrong (only one question). there were other anat questions without pictures, those were easy. i only had a couple of pictures (1 CT, 1 histo)

a couple listening questions (CVS) which were easy (i kinda like cardio).
microbiology was easy overall (except i got one question wrong) memorize ur viruses properly n if u have time before the exam write down ur abbreviations.

pharmaco questions were easy too (i got one wrong-i think- im still not sure what the question was asking)--> (i love pharmaco too)

MSC was a little tough for me because they used vague symtoms not the common clue ones. but i managed to figure out some (not sure about the others). some i managed to LUCKILY pick right answers when i checked back at home. oh n goljan was right when he said they ALWAYS ask a multiple myeloma question every exam. pls listen to goljan videos. he's so good at preparing us. but he also said there might be lots of leukemia questions, NO, i only got 2.

endocrinology was a real headache for me. this goes up, that comes down, arrows everywhere!! sigh!!

patho-physio was confusing too (which for me were like a HELL-lot of questions; perhaps even the bigger ball park % of my entire exam)

reproductive questions were tough for me. there werent many but they were all difficult. (read that more u guys esp if u dislike reading the cancers, etc.. or definitely read up goljan path secret).

neurology was kinda ok. cant remember much but then i looked into step 2ck FA n there asked me a couple of questions that was in there. im not sure what answer i picked for one of it but im so ticked that it was a step 2 question. although i picked the other one thank God correct again. i just hope i have more than this few luckily picked correct. man that would be awesome innit?

at first i couldnt remember if the exam was easier than NBME 7 but when i did a kaplan test after my step 1, i realised than kaplan was tough n nbme 7 may have been too (or was it similar)... but UW is kinda at the same level of difficulty as the real exam. because i feel the same as i did after UW.

how many NBMEs to do? i did only 3. all spaced out 2 weeks in between. but ZumZum says do all for practice. so u should i guess. honestly i never liked doing NBME because it has 50 questions each block n the questions are so far from what u've learnt in FA. but the real exam is a little easier in terms of it gives u chance to figure out the answer. i had this question wehre after reading i tot oh damn, it could be between 2 parasites, then i looked at the options, all were viruses but this one parasite. .. u will have easy picks like that. if its a super long question, dont worry, chances are its a super easy question (mine was)

if u have till dec to study then i suggest to go over goljan path secret + videos if u havent already. i had a couple of questions straight from memory of what he had said. thank u Dr. edward!

u have ample time to increase ur score. YES FA really helps. i memorized it from cover to cover n it helped me so much. even if i kinda forgot the answer but because it seemed familiar i would pick it. FA helps tremendously. also goljan path secret. these 2 u cant do without. as of micro, FA is helpful but if u have read kaplan well, u're ok. but in FA, MEMORIZE all the bacteria, parasites, n viruses n DRUGS. it sounds like a lot. i read thru FA twice then 2 weeks before the exam i sat down n memorized FA like my exam was tomo. it was helpful really. so pls... memorize it.
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  #11  
Old 11-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faith View Post
congrats seetal.finally u r done.i have read u r posts since time i joined the forum and always thought u must be some super brainy geek always top in the class.it was nice to know that u were also freaked out by step 1 like us mere mortals!!phew..congrats again.
pls while waiting for ur result be elaborate a bit more to tell us specifically sbject wise which are the most highest yield topics which u did came across in the exam.and did reviewing fa really help u?
i had rescheduled my exam and now that my slot is coming to an end i have to give it by first week of dec.how many nbme should i do??
i used to be a major geek. a close geek friend of mine got a 99 for both his steps n so i wanted it too because in high school we were at the same level (except i didnt have extra lessons after class n he did). but something happened along the way, he continued to be a geek n i 'cooled' up. sigh... i wish i was still a geek. so if any of u are, dont worry, u can 'cool' it when u are residents at brilliant programs! right now, just study like geeks n it'll pay off someday.
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  #12  
Old 11-01-2010
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Default Geeks!

lol Long live the Geeks !!
I've really found ur story interesting and I hope that u inform us about ur score also.. Good Luck (we all need it though)
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seetal View Post
i used to be a major geek. a close geek friend of mine got a 99 for both his steps n so i wanted it too because in high school we were at the same level (except i didnt have extra lessons after class n he did). but something happened along the way, he continued to be a geek n i 'cooled' up. sigh... i wish i was still a geek. so if any of u are, dont worry, u can 'cool' it when u are residents at brilliant programs! right now, just study like geeks n it'll pay off someday.
thank u seetal for such a nice detailed review of exam.Bless u.hope u get high 99 dear..
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  #14  
Old 11-02-2010
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that is perfect Seetal... Thanks for the summary. I'm praying for you! I know you'll do well. Please share the good news as soon as you know
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  #15  
Old 11-02-2010
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Default :) We are all praying for your result!

Meanwhile, you head out to Goa, or the Bahamas, or Thailand and have fun!
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  #16  
Old 08-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seetal View Post
if u have till dec to study then i suggest to go over goljan path secret + videos if u havent already. i had a couple of questions straight from memory of what he had said. thank u Dr. edward!
hi!
First of all, thank you so much for this post! Helps a lot!
What do you mean by Goljan videos? I only know the audios. Do you mean those or are there videos as well?
Also, Is goljan path secret the pdf where someone wrote down Goljan's lectures?
And last, for everyone in here: do I need a book for pathology and one for pathophysiology or are they both covered in Goljan's Rapid Review? Please help!
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Old 08-11-2011
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Question

I don't think I've ever studied as much as I did for the step 1 exam (ever for any other exams I've taken). Last minute studying will NOT help in preparing for the step 1 exam. I started out with plans made or said out by many forum members. So I followed the subjects (from Kaplan) in the order suggested. It took me a cumulative of 7 months of study (the first month was real slow with 1 subject in 1 month). Then I dedicated 7 weeks to just doing questions (1 mth UW & USMLE consult, n 3 weeks of Kaplan Qbank).


could u please tell me which is the order suggested for Kaplan???
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  #18  
Old 08-11-2011
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You will get a good score!

Best wishes for your CK
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