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I just got my mark today for USMLE Step 1. I did use this forum a lot for information and help, and I thought I should share my experience in return.

I am a practicing Canadian anesthesiologist (graduated medical school in 2005/completed residency in 2010). I recently decided to return to some extra training (a fellowship), and passing USMLEs was a condition of the position that was offered. So I buckled down and got to work. Obviously, Step 1 was the most difficult for me since I have not seen that material in many years. The only upside is that I really only needed a pass (since I already had a position) and I didn't need a really good score.

I started study on August 15 and wrote the exam on October 18. This means I studied for about two months, while working full time (including at least 1 weekend per month) and I have a busy family life with two children. I averaged 2-3 hours of studying per day, with the odd day off, and some longer days closer to the exam.

My resources:
1. First Aid: A great book. I would say that it covered all the material, it was very condensed. Because so much of the material was so foreign to me, I had to go back to basics (i.e. other resources) to really understand the concepts. First Aid was not enough for me to really grasp concepts on its own. But it was still a very useful reference.

2. Pathoma: This site saved me. The videos are great and he is an amazing teacher. I don't think I could have done this without it. Worth every penny.

3. Uworld question bank and self assessments: I thought this was an amazing resource. Very close to actual exam. I got through about 1400 questions on the question bank. My question bank average overall wasn't great (58%) but it did improve slightly as time went on (not as much as I thought it would - very discouraging!). I found it exhausting to go through the answers. A lot of the material was so foreign to me that First Aid and UWorld answers were not enough - I needed to go back to basics and learn the foundation to be able to understand the question.

4. YouTube videos: I really like the videos by Armando Hasudungan. They are free and he is a great artist. He has a ton of videos on many medical topics.

I ended up doing 3 of the NBME assessments and both Uworld self-assessments:
- NBME 12 on Oct 1 (2.5 weeks before exam): score 300=185 (a fail)
- NBME 17 on Oct 11 (1 week before exam): score 390=205
- NBME 18 on Oct 14 (4 days before exam): score 430=213.
- Uworld SA1 was 225 and Uworld SA2 was 218 about 10 and 12 days before.

Final score: 208. A comfortable pass! Also very close to NBME scores close to the exam. I was pleased. I was not very confident coming out of the exam. There was a lot of uncertainty in my answers. I had intentionally skipped some parts because I felt it would take me too long to master it all for the few questions there would be. It seemed like there was a disproportionate amount of that material on the exam!

I hope this helps if you are in a similar situation and have decided to go through the process. It is a big endeavor, no question!
 

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Step 2CK

The follow up:

I wrote Step 2 CK in November 2016. I studied a lot less for this one. My only studying was uworld 2CK question bank. I made it through about 1400 questions in about 4 weeks. My average was 68% (interestingly, it only improved by a few percentage points as the month went on - I started around 65% or so).

I did one uworld SA about a week before the exam and got a 228.

I wrote the exam (that extra hour of exam makes for a crazy long day - you really feel it). There were so many questions I didn't know. I was banking on my strengths from anesthesia training (cardiology, respirology, surgery, ICU) but it didn't seem like there was much of that on there. So much gyne, breast cancer, skin cancers, etc.... things I didn't know very well at all. Maybe it was all perspective and those were the questions I remembered (all the ones I got wrong). I had sections with 10-20 questions marked because I was really not very sure of the answer.

I got my mark today - 259! No idea how I pulled that one off. I felt terrible coming out of the exam.

Now - tomorrow: CS! Wish me luck.
 
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