Thank you so much for taking the time to write your experience!So before I start off, i would just like to say that this is what I did. It may not work for you, everyone has a different way of studying and not everyone has the same study environment.
For me, i knew from the day i started my medical studies that i had to take the USMLE. With that mindset, I already started my first read of kaplan alongside my normal school studies. Whatever was taught in school, I'd watch the kaplan lecture and study the notes side by side at home. I also used to do pretest mcqs or kaplan qbank mcqs (hard copy) just to familiarise myself with the step 1 style questions. Following this routine, I was done with my kaplan first read by the start of 4th year MBBS (Jan, 2016). It was then that i started feeling that i might be able to take the step 1. So that was when I really got studying for it.
So I bought the First Aid to step 1 2016 in mid february 2016 along with a six month subscription of the usmle-rx qbank. Since i had morning rounds, i could only study around 5 hours from mon- sat. And 8 hours on sunday. What i did was i gave all kaplan subjects a second read. How i went about it was that after giving a chapter a read from kaplan, i then used to find that particular topic in First Aid and study it from there. Then specifically topic wise do questions about it from Usmle-rx qbank and write down anything i deemed important from kaplan and the qbank explanations on to first aid. Lol basically i just wanted to transform my FA into a super FA so i had all the info in one place. I did kaplan for all subjects except microbiology which i did from mrs and pathology which i did from pathoma. Lol i won't lie, i tried doing goljan. But it was just too big. And i just didn't see the point.
Anyways this second read of kaplan with FA and 68% of the qbank took me 2 months. I had a 15 day spring break in b/w in which i really studied hard and i was done by the end of april.
I then took 12 days to revise my "Super FA". since FA has around 600 pages. I divided it to 50 pages a day and i was done in 12 days. Then i bought a 2 month uworld subscription (around 2nd may). For the next 26 days, i did nothing but uworld. Unlike the usmle-rx qbank, this time i did random blocks made up of questions from all subjects. I used to do 2 blocks a day and read all the explanations and write them down on an A-4 size blank paper. Then cut the explanations and just tug them into FA at the relevant pages. They were like personally written flash cards.
I was done with uworld in 26 days. My commulative score was 87%. my FA now had kaplan, usmle rx and uworld notes. I again gave 12 days to revise my Super FA after which i bought three nbme papers back to back. One paper a day. This was in the last week of may.
My scores were:
NBME 15: 260
NBME 13: 264
NBME 12: 256.
Since i was honestly aiming for a 250, these scores were quite encouraging.
Starting June, my summer break started so i had alot more study hours. i took 7 days and solved allll the offline nbmes i could find. Nbme 2,3,4,5, 7,8, 11. Really any i could find. I used to look up explanation for their answers and the ones i got wrong, i would write their explanation onto FA aswell.
Next, 2nd week of June, i took 4 days, and did the entire uworld again. It wasn't that helpful tbh. I remember 90% of the questions and i was done with a block in 20 mins or less. After that i again did my super FA again in 12 days, which now had kaplan, usmle-rx, uworld and nbme notes.
After that, 1st week of July, i bought the two UWSA. My scores were
UWSA 1: 271
UWSA 2: 275
Since my seniors had already told me uswa overpredicts your score by 10 points, i took my score as 265 which still i was very happy with.
I took 3 days to read and copy the explanations of the USWA and then bought the remaining three online NBMEs.
My scores were:
NBME 17: 273
NBME 16: 249 (I was really depressed by this score. All of a sudden from the 260s i dropped to 249. Lol i couldn't study for a day and i delayed my nbme 18 by two days because of this score)
NBME 18: 260
Average: 260 (again)
After the nbme 18, which my seniors said was as close to the real thing as it gets, which is why i saved it for last, i relaxed for 2 days. I days isn't study anything the day before my test. I met up with friends for dinner, got rid of my anxiety, and went to bed around 10 pm.
Next day, lol my first block on the test was so hard, i felt like i would fail. I immediately took a break after the first block, had some chocolate and coffee that i brought along, and calmed my nerves. I went back inside and the rest of the blocks were better. Still i felt like i had made too many mistakes and i would be lucky to cross 250. When the result came out, i got 260 and i think i will always remember that day as one of the best days of my life!
I hope this helps. Just keep strong and do your thing. You know your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. Everyone has their own goals and their own way to achieve them. Best of luck to anyone who is reading this and I hope you get the score you want!