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  #1  
Old 12-19-2013
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Experiences The step 1 experience of a normal old medical graduate

Hi guys,

I'm going to post my experience with step 1 too, I hope it will be helpful!

My background: I graduated in my own country in 2006, and after that I did a residency in general surgery (the last 18 months in the UK) that I finished this year in July. I think I'm a normal person, with a normal intelligence and a normal willpower. I like learning things.

Length of my preparation: I started approaching the step 1 very long time ago, actually. Something like June 2012... But don't be scared! I was working full time as a resident, so I was very discontinuous. Also I completely stopped studying in jan-feb 2013, and I started again - this time seriously - in August 2013. I would say that I studied seriously for 4 months.

My preparation material: I watched the (old) kaplan videos, studying the kaplan lectures for biochemistry (good), pharmacology (really good), micro & immuno (good), anatomy &embryo (neuroanatomy not so good, but embryology AMAZING), biostatistics (AMAZING, but I didn't watch psych) and physio (didn't like it). I didn't watch path videos.
I've read goljan once, without actually retaining anything. I always scored well in pathology, I think because of my clinical experience and more fresh memories of clinical stuff.
I was reading FA 2012: I've cut the pages and put them in a ring binder.
I started UW online, and in total I did it almost twice (second time reading everything)
I also watched some of the pathoma videos. The guy is awesome, I don't know if everything he says is really high yields.
In my last month I also did some kaplan qbank online, but only for anatomy, biostatistics and physio.

My method: I don't like memorizing, so I always tried to make a sense of what I was studying. At a certain point I understood that I had to memorize too, and I started using mnemonics (mine personal mnemonics worked better then others). I think this combination is the key: trying to understand as much and as good as you can, and memorize anything that is not understandable (like virus classification etc).
After all the videos and kaplan books, basically in august when I started studying again, I used FA as a base, and I was adding notes and explanations that I was finiding on UW, kaplan, wikipedia, forums, everywhere! I just tried to understand really everything in the book.

The exam: The exam is a marathon. I was scared to death, but when I was there, I didn't have time to think about it. I felt that my exam was very similar to NBMEs. Not too easy, not too hard. Every Q requires thinking, there are very few direct Qs, that's why you need to understand the concepts. Try to sleep enough the night before, and have a nice breakfast. Bring food that you really like (I felt very queasy - I couldn't really eat), bring coffee or red bull... Everything in the exam was at least mentioned in FA, maybe 5% of the Qs were out of the blue. I took a break after the first 2 blocks, then 10 min breaks after the 3th, 15 min after the 4th, no breaks between 5th and 6th, 10 min after 6th.

My NBME and final score: UW overestimated my performance (I scored 238 3 months before, and 254 2 months before). NBME was more predictive in my experience: I scored 217 3 months before, 228 1 month before (NBME 7), 242 the week before (NBME 15). My final score was 240.

Some tips:
1) DON'T PANIC. This exam tests also your mental ability of being a doctor. A doctor don't freak out, and needs to be confident!
2) LEARN and UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING IN FA. The book is the bible, you need to know everything there, but it doesn't explain anything. So use whatever source you want, but make sure that you understand and retain what you are studying there.
3) FIND A TRUSTWORTHY STUDY PARTNER. The preparation of this exam is really long, you need to study like if you were doing a job: from 8am to 8pm (or 10am, or 3am, whatever, as long as you are consistent).
4) DON'T TAKE THE EXAM UNTIL YOUR NBME SCORES ARE CLOSE TO YOUR GOAL
5) MAKE A LIST OF EASILY FORGETTABLE THINGS. try to review it as often as you can, especially close to the exam.
6) MAKE NOTES OF THINGS THAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY OR THAT ARE TOTALLY NEW for you. About 3-2 weeks before the exam, while you are reviewing your FA full of notes, make an additional doc (or flash cards, or sticky notes!) with these topics and try to review it every day. Go through the topics that are unclear and memorize things that your brain refuses to memorize.
7) TAKE NBMEs. Especially before the exam. It will make you more familiar with the style of Qs that you'll have in the real exam.

POINT 1 AND 2 ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT!

MY FINAL COMMENT before moving to step 2 forum :
I'm an average person. If you are an average person like me, studying hard and consistently will make you pass the exam with the score that you want. I was mislead in the beginning of my experience, I though that just passing was enough, and I almost took my exam when I would have barely passed. Thank God, a wise person told me to wait, and I also had few problems with my application that delayed my exam.... because of that, now I have a decent score (I mean, more would be even better, but I feel really happy with that!!!)


Hope this helps.
Good luck everybody!
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The above post was thanked by:
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2013
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Congratulions on that awesome score!
How long did you spend in going through u world first time?
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  #3  
Old 12-19-2013
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congrats! Yeah its a damn good score, 240 and anything after that is pretty good, what with this exam getting harder by the day lol.
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsesereso View Post
Congratulions on that awesome score!
How long did you spend in going through u world first time?
I think about 2 and a half months, but I don't know exacly.
Second time I was reading everything in there, and I took me from 2 to 3 hours for block, depending on the block!
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vero View Post
I think about 2 and a half months, but I don't know exacly.
Second time I was reading everything in there, and I took me from 2 to 3 hours for block, depending on the block!
what was your uworld cummulative after first round and did u approach it subject wise or random?
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vero View Post
Hi guys,

I'm going to post my experience with step 1 too, I hope it will be helpful!

My background: I graduated in my own country in 2006, and after that I did a residency in general surgery (the last 18 months in the UK) that I finished this year in July. I think I'm a normal person, with a normal intelligence and a normal willpower. I like learning things.

Length of my preparation: I started approaching the step 1 very long time ago, actually. Something like June 2012... But don't be scared! I was working full time as a resident, so I was very discontinuous. Also I completely stopped studying in jan-feb 2013, and I started again - this time seriously - in August 2013. I would say that I studied seriously for 4 months.

My preparation material: I watched the (old) kaplan
videos
, studying the kaplan lectures for biochemistry (good), pharmacology (really good), micro & immuno (good), anatomy &embryo (neuroanatomy not so good, but embryology AMAZING), biostatistics (AMAZING, but I didn't watch psych) and physio (didn't like it). I didn't watch path videos.
I've read goljan once, without actually retaining anything. I always scored well in pathology, I think because of my clinical experience and more fresh memories of clinical stuff.
I was reading FA 2012: I've cut the pages and put them in a ring binder.
I started UW online, and in total I did it almost twice (second time reading everything)
I also watched some of the pathoma videos. The guy is awesome, I don't know if everything he says is really high yields.
In my last month I also did some kaplan qbank online, but only for anatomy, biostatistics and physio.

My method: I don't like memorizing, so I always tried to make a sense of what I was studying. At a certain point I understood that I had to memorize too, and I started using mnemonics (mine personal mnemonics worked better then others). I think this combination is the key: trying to understand as much and as good as you can, and memorize anything that is not understandable (like virus classification etc).
After all the videos and kaplan books, basically in august when I started studying again, I used FA as a base, and I was adding notes and explanations that I was finiding on UW, kaplan, wikipedia, forums, everywhere! I just tried to understand really everything in the book.

The exam: The exam is a marathon. I was scared to death, but when I was there, I didn't have time to think about it. I felt that my exam was very similar to NBMEs. Not too easy, not too hard. Every Q requires thinking, there are very few direct Qs, that's why you need to understand the concepts. Try to sleep enough the night before, and have a nice breakfast. Bring food that you really like (I felt very queasy - I couldn't really eat), bring coffee or red bull... Everything in the exam was at least mentioned in FA, maybe 5% of the Qs were out of the blue. I took a break after the first 2 blocks, then 10 min breaks after the 3th, 15 min after the 4th, no breaks between 5th and 6th, 10 min after 6th.

My NBME and final score: UW overestimated my performance (I scored 238 3 months before, and 254 2 months before). NBME was more predictive in my experience: I scored 217 3 months before, 228 1 month before (NBME 7), 242 the week before (NBME 15). My final score was 240.

Some tips:
1) DON'T PANIC. This exam tests also your mental ability of being a doctor. A doctor don't freak out, and needs to be confident!
2) LEARN and UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING IN FA. The book is the bible, you need to know everything there, but it doesn't explain anything. So use whatever source you want, but make sure that you understand and retain what you are studying there.
3) FIND A TRUSTWORTHY STUDY PARTNER. The preparation of this exam is really long, you need to study like if you were doing a job: from 8am to 8pm (or 10am, or 3am, whatever, as long as you are consistent).
4) DON'T TAKE THE EXAM UNTIL YOUR NBME SCORES ARE CLOSE TO YOUR GOAL
5) MAKE A LIST OF EASILY FORGETTABLE THINGS. try to review it as often as you can, especially close to the exam.
6) MAKE NOTES OF THINGS THAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY OR THAT ARE TOTALLY NEW for you. About 3-2 weeks before the exam, while you are reviewing your FA full of notes, make an additional doc (or flash cards, or sticky notes!) with these topics and try to review it every day. Go through the topics that are unclear and memorize things that your brain refuses to memorize.
7) TAKE NBMEs. Especially before the exam. It will make you more familiar with the style of Qs that you'll have in the real exam.

POINT 1 AND 2 ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT!

MY FINAL COMMENT before moving to step 2 forum :
I'm an average person. If you are an average person like me, studying hard and consistently will make you pass the exam with the score that you want. I was mislead in the beginning of my experience, I though that just passing was enough, and I almost took my exam when I would have barely passed. Thank God, a wise person told me to wait, and I also had few problems with my application that delayed my exam.... because of that, now I have a decent score (I mean, more would be even better, but I feel really happy with that!!!)


Hope this helps.
Good luck everybody!
i 've done kaplan notes and all videos.....first aid three times.....offline question under time pressure ......of usmle world 2012 , kaplan q bank, nbme 2,3,5 ....got around 70 - 80 % average.......

but online nbme 13 just 187 ....thats bad...... i've my exam on 30th dec .....and i feel i've read well...but this online score has tricked me ...i'm confused what to do ....please guide
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tashish View Post
i 've done kaplan notes and all videos.....first aid three times.....offline question under time pressure ......of usmle world 2012 , kaplan q bank, nbme 2,3,5 ....got around 70 - 80 % average.......

but online nbme 13 just 187 ....thats bad...... i've my exam on 30th dec .....and i feel i've read well...but this online score has tricked me ...i'm confused what to do ....please guide
70-80% uworld. Man try another nbme
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2013
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[QUOTE=nsesereso;232077]70-80% uworld. Man try another nbme[/QUOTe


I'm planning to take usmle world self asessessment on 22nd.....
i've my main exam on 30th
i'll revise FA and my note tomorrow
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2013
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[QUOTE=tashish;232082]
Quote:
Originally Posted by nsesereso View Post
70-80% uworld. Man try another nbme[/QUOTe


I'm planning to take usmle world self asessessment on 22nd.....
i've my main exam on 30th
i'll revise FA and my note tomorrow
Excellent plan u shd be able to finish FA in 24 to 48 hours if u have read it 3 times already. Make sure u know FA inside out. Know the notes u took from uworld inside out then hit another nbme. U shd be fine. If not I advice u restrategize and postpone.
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marajani View Post
what was your uworld cummulative after first round and did u approach it subject wise or random?

I can't remember exactly, I think it was around 70% the first round.
The first time I was doing a lot of random test (tutor), which I don't recommend. I think the first round should be subject-wise, and the second random. The advantage of random is that you keep all the subjects fresh, otherwise you forget the topics that you did first! so I think it is a good option for the second round.

Good luck!
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  #11  
Old 12-22-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsesereso View Post
70-80% uworld. Man try another nbme
i checker my all answer from a key i got online with explanation and i did 144 correct out of 200 question which .....is nearly 72 %.....
And the one i did wrong i knew except 2 or 3 i knew about them ..selected wrong answer may b bcoz of anxiety / time pressure i had and confusion between 2 option......

I feel i need some more revision of FA ...and some more practice ofquestion under time pressure......
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  #12  
Old 12-22-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tashish View Post
i checker my all answer from a key i got online with explanation and i did 144 correct out of 200 question which .....is nearly 72 %.....
And the one i did wrong i knew except 2 or 3 i knew about them ..selected wrong answer may b bcoz of anxiety / time pressure i had and confusion between 2 option......

I feel i need some more revision of FA ...and some more practice ofquestion under time pressure......

When u find the fault with a machine, it's repair becomes very easy!
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  #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsesereso View Post
When u find the fault with a machine, it's repair becomes very easy!
congrats for nice score,
please tell how was bioststats questions ?was it tough?
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  #14  
Old 12-22-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.y View Post
congrats for nice score,
please tell how was bioststats questions ?was it tough?

In my exam Stat was preatty easy, with easy calculations. All you need is in FA (make sure you understand the conceps and you know how to apply them). I recommend doing extra exercises & Qs. I did also the kaplan Qs for biostats and I searched online for extra qs.
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  #15  
Old 11-02-2014
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Thanks! Great Post
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