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Hi everybody.

I've been asked by one of the USMLE Forums Staff to post my experience in Step 1 Preparation Schedule and Plan. He also insisted to call it the ZumZum method! So here I am writing ...

I am originally from Iran. Moved to USA in the year 2008. Then Started preparing for the USMLE in 2009. My graduation date is 2006. My Step 1 score is 99/256 First Attempt.

Before I tell you the details please remember that this USMLE Step 1 Schedule and Plan may not work for everybody. Because it needs at least 8 months of full time reading which is something not available for everyone (medical students for example).

I also want to mention that this post has also received input from StepTaker before and after it was posted.

Now let's get into it ...

Daily Schedule:
Wake up @ 6 AM. Take good breakfast. Start reading @ 6:30 AM. Take a lunch break @ 12:30. Start again @ 2:00 and work yourself until 7 PM. No reading after 7 PM (you will not retain much when you are tired).
Take one day off each week for example Saturday. Spend time with your family and friends. This is very important, otherwise, you will wear out soon.
Down times and emergencies are expected in everybody's life. If for any reason you miss one day then you have to compensate for it the next days.

General Notes:
A study partner is a good stimulus. But he/she should not interrupt you lots of times. Interaction with others such as your class mates or in this website is very useful.
If you find something that you can't understand or memorize then post about it here in this website or any other forum. Interaction with others tremendously help you retain and grasp the concept.

Materials Needed:

Now the scedule ...

Week No.1 (Promotor Gene Activated!)
Get your materials. But leave the online subscription for now.
Register with ECFMG if you have not done so.
Do not plan for anything within the next 30 weeks. Your time should be totally devoted for Step 1 prep.
During this week, talk to your family and friends and tell them that you are about to embark on the most important step in your career life. Make arrangement on the study location such as your home or a nearby library. The location must be a quiet place and Internet connection and a computer is needed.
Also talk yourself and perhaps in front of a mirror; Tell yourself that you are going to ace this exam and convince yourself you are able to do it and nothing will stop you.
Your aim should be 99 and nothing but 99. You have to believe that any score below 99 is a complete failure.

Week No. 2 and 3 (Anatomy)
Grab your Kaplan Anatomy Book and start reading. Quick reading first then watch DVD and write notes as you watch and then a third reading to fixate the information. Do the questions at the end of chapters.
The reason why I gave two weeks for Kaplan Anatomy is that in the beginning your will be pacing slow and you need sometime before you can pick up on your maximum potential and speed.
When you finish the Kaplan Book. Go and open First Aid. In the undercover against the first page there's a table that show's you where Anatomy is mentioned.
Read all the Anatomy notes in FA and add to them notes from what you have read in Kaplan. (if there's no space put your small sticky and yellow paper notes). Try to write notes in different colors and make your hand writing small to optimize space.
It's important to understand at this point is that whatever you read in Kaplan Notes you'll not go back to it. FA is your final resource and it's the FA page that should be imprinted in your visual memory before the exam. So take care of your FA book and write your notes neatly.
Once you are finished with FA-Anatomy. Grab your Kaplan Qbook. Do the two chapters dedicated to Anatomy. This will help consolidate the matter even more.

Week No. 3, 4, and 5 (Physiology)
Exactly like what we have done with Anatomy but instead of the Kaplan Notes we this time read BRS Physiology. Similarly follow that by incorporating your BRS notes into FA and then do the physiology chapters from Kaplan Qbook.
In my opinion BRS physiology is way better than Kaplan Physiology book. It presents the facts in a very readable way and it's highly exam focused.

Week No. 6, 7, and 8 (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Genetics)
Follow the same Anatomy scheme. Kaplan notes + DVDs, FA, Kaplan Qbook (biochem questions only).

Week 9 (Kaplan Qbank)
Start your Kaplan Qbank three months subscription. Do 5 blocks of (Anatomy+Physiology+Biochemistry). Each block is a combination of the three and not one block anatomy one block physio ...etc. If you notice new information in the Kaplan Qbank that you did not read before then add them in small notes to your FA book.

Week No. 10 and 12 (Microbiology & Immunology)
Follow the same Anatomy scheme. The only omission here is the DVDs, you don't need to watch Kaplan microbiology lectures. The book is more than enough and no need for the lectures.

Week No. 13, 14, and 15 (Pathology)
Follow the same scheme but instead of Kaplan's Pathology book we use Goljan Rapid Review book. Listening to Goljan audio lectures is an option but not mandatory. Remember, incorporate your notes into FA and do Kaplan Qbook's (5 pathophysiology chapters).

Week 16 (Kaplan Qbank)
Just like what we have done in week 9 but this time your blocks are (Microbiology and Pathophysiology only) Do 10 blocks in these two weeks. Whenever, you see something that you have forgotten, go back to your FA and retain the info more in your brain.

Week No. 17, and 18 (Pharmacology)
Follow the same Anatomy scheme.

Week No. 19 (Behavioral Sciences)
Again, the same thing. But also in addition to the Kaplan Behavioral sciences book read Conrad Fischer Book. It will not take more than one day to read. Don't memorize anything, just read it as a nice story. Ethics questions are the biggest reason why IMGs fall behind their fellow AMGs.

Week No. 20, 21, 22 (Kaplan Qbank)
Do 30 blocks (Random all topics and unanswered questions). Two blocks each day. Reviewing FA whenever you think it's needed. Your target is to finish Kaplan 2500 questions before the end of your three months subscriptions that you started in week 9. Do not worry if you are left with a couple of hundreds of questions that you did not answer, leave them and do not extend your subscription.
Your Kaplan Qbank score is not important do not let it bother you.
Do not do Kaplan simulation test. We don't have time for it.

Week No. 23, 24, 25, 26 (USMLEWorld)
Start your two months UW subscription. Do two 46 questions block each day. Again going back to FA whenever you feel it's needed. You score should be above 67%. Do random blocks always.

Week No. 37 and 28 (USMLEWorld)
Do the wrongly answered UW questions. Look back to FA always.

Week No. 29 (NBME)
Do NBME Form 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7. Look back into FA always. If your NBME score prediction is not telling you 99 then you have to stop and think seriously to extend your reading for another one or two months. The reason why I chose to do more than one NBME form is that the questions are very exam styled and it will get you ready. Each NBME is a four blocks exam. Do them in one sitting without interruptions. This is kins of warming up for the big day.

Week No. 30 (Final Week)
Push all the books and materials aside and grab your FA. Kiss it if you want. Keep looking at FA throughout this week. Do not go back to any other book (important). Do not go back to UW or Kaplan Qbank.

Last Day
Do not read, Do not read, Do not read.
Spend time with family and friends, Pray if this soothing for you, Go for a walk or a swim, Watch a movie, ....etc.
Get your scheduling permit and photo ID ready for tomorrow. Make sure you know your way to the exam.

Good luck for everyone :)
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