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Thread: USMLE Step 1 studying routine advice

  1. #1
    the game is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    USMLE Step 1 studying routine advice

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    Hi,

    I was wondering if people could share their step 1 routines/tips. I basically just used first aid for comp and kaplan. I plan on using kaplan books and maybe the online lectures as well USMLE world questions in addition to first aid for the step. I was just wondering what would be the most appropriate method to use all these resources to fill in the gaps of first aid?

    Thank You.

  2. #2
    Tiger1 is offline Member 523 points
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    A lot of it depends on where you are at prior to really starting to study. If you do really well on the 1st comp, i.e. 80+, then you can really focus more on the areas you are weak in. I would say that involves using First Aid and Usmleworld questions and maybe using a more in depth resource such as Kaplan for the areas you need to study more in depth. If you need a more comprehensive review for step after the comp, then you probably need to focus more on using something like Kaplan or taking Falcon. What you don't want to do is to have too many resources that you are constantly shuffling multiple books for the same subject. If you are doing a more comprehensive review, I would only use First Aid supplement to see if Kaplan is missing something high yield. I will also add that if you use anything other than Rapid Review Path for the step, you are not doing yourself a favor at all. Goljan's book is the most comprehensive book out there for path and can be used even after finishing step 1 for later exams. I will also recommend not focusing too much on treatment for step 1 because it is more focused on understanding the path, phys, etc. The pharm questions are focused on mechanism for the most part. If there is a clear drug of choice for a certain bug, then I would know those, but don't try to learn everything a particular drug can be used for. First Aid is probably a pretty good source for pharm because it does focus more on high yield.
    AUC c/o 2012

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    AUCMD2013 is offline Senior Member 527 points
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    I find it funny that it is called rapid review path but it's one of the most comprehensive books out there. I have significant difficulty reading more than 2 pages at a time. I get bogged down with the details no matter how many times I try. It may be a good reference but is way too detailed for my taste. I'm planning to study from May 1st - July 14th and hopefully go through FA 2011 twice thoroughly (filling in all the gaps using kaplan lecture note books/videos), do all UW Q's, Kaplan Qbank q's once, and RR path as a reference. Hopefully that will get me the 99 that I want.
    American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine - PGY-1 Categorical Internal Medicine

    Basic Sciences [X] Step 1 [X] Step 2 CS [X] Step 2 CK [X] Cores [X] Electives [X] Match [X] M.D. Diploma [X] Step 3 [Hidden Content ] IM Residency [Hidden Content ] Attending []

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    Tiger1 is offline Member 523 points
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    I am going to make a suggestion and you can take it or leave it. I would strongly suggest not wasting your time with the Kaplan Qbank questions. You are better off using the NBME exams, Usmleworld exams, or going through usmleworld qbank multiple times than using the kaplan qbank. Out of all the questions only a small percentage of them will test you on material you might see on step 1. They are way more detailed than what step tests you on and many of the questions are poorly written. You are not really using your time very wisely by going through those questions. As I said in another thread, program directors do look at how long you took to study for step 1 and it does matter to them. I had a former PD and chairman say that someone who makes a 99, but takes 2 months to study to get that score, isn't a very impressive applicant. He used that exact timeframe. He made the point that most American students do not have much time at all (mostly 2-4 weeks, 6 at most) to study for step 1. Again, this is just my advice and you are welcome to take it or leave it.
    AUC c/o 2012

  5. #5
    DocMoz is offline Junior Member 511 points
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    Out of curiosity, how is it that PDs are able to see how long it took you to study for Step? Based on start/end dates of clinicals?

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    Tiger1 is offline Member 523 points
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    One, from what this person said, it is on our MSPE. Two, they can tell when you started clinicals and know when you started on the island, so it isn't too hard to figure out. One of the most important things about your residency application is the timeline. Any gaps have to be explained in one way or another. If you didn't start clinicals until over 2 years after starting med school, you're gonna have to explain that. Either you failed a class and had to repeat, you took a long time to study for step 1, or you took a long time off after step 1 before starting clinicals. No matter what the reason is, you are going to be asked. Don't even think about not telling the truth because that result will be much worse that saying you took 3 months to study for step 1, etc. Keep in mind that most of the PDs have been doing this for a long time, so they know everything to look for.
    AUC c/o 2012

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    AphtaLyfe is offline Senior Member 520 points
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    What I did:

    1) 50-100 UWORLD questions per day depending on how long you plan to study for. Finish all 2100 by the time you take the exam.
    2) NBME 3 4 5 6 7, take 1 every 7-10 days. Replace NBME 3 and 4 with UWORLD Assessments if you want.
    3) Read through all the Kaplan books
    4) "Really smart path guy" audio following along in really dense bulleted path book
    5) FA for the final 10 days.
    6) Relax the day before the exam and get plenty of sleep

    You should be able to finish in ~45 days.
    Last edited by AphtaLyfe; 04-22-2011 at 01:22 AM.
    PGY-1

  8. #8
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    LSmith55UF is offline Moderator 694 points
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    Do a ton of questions. All I used was FA, Kaplan qbank and UW x2. I studied for ~3 weeks after leaving the island and I'm glad thats all the time I took. I agree with Tiger1, I have had more that one PD tell me that they do look at how long you took to study for the exam, since they know that some Caribbean students take up to 3 months to study, and this falsely inflates their scores. Study while your're in 5th, do well on the comp, then get off the island and study hard and fast and take it.
    AUC Forum Moderator

    LSmith55UF, MD

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    DrFraud's Avatar
    DrFraud is offline Elite Member 6131 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by lsmith55uf View Post
    Do a ton of questions. All I used was FA, Kaplan qbank and UW x2. I studied for ~3 weeks after leaving the island and I'm glad thats all the time I took. I agree with Tiger1, I have had more that one PD tell me that they do look at how long you took to study for the exam, since they know that some Caribbean students take up to 3 months to study, and this falsely inflates their scores. Study while your're in 5th, do well on the comp, then get off the island and study hard and fast and take it.
    It is important to remember that a program might not even be able to comment on the duration of study if step 1 is not above the initial cut.

    Many programs rely upon filter software to decide who will receive an initial evaluation, so while taking step 1 within a few days or few weeks of finishing 5th is looked at compared to getting a score that supercedes a filter, getting the higher score will more likely get an applicant past the filter software, so try and be efficient, but also recognize that this needs to occur within the context of doing your best and getting a top score. Ideally both getting a high step 1 score and doing this within a few weeks of leaving St. Martin is optimal, but getting a lower score just to say you took step 1 right away might not help that much in the context of how programs use software to filter applicants. (one can always get past the filters, but it is often more difficult to do so)

    I am not sure too many PDs will judge an applicant who takes 10 weeks to prepare for step 1 all that different from someone who takes 4 weeks. Maybe 6 months vs. 1 month would harm an application in the eyes of certain programs, but I doubt a student who takes step 1 within the three month window after leaving AUC and does very well will receive too much critisim from a program provided that there are no other red flags such as decelleration, interupted study, failed step 2, etc.

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    AUCMD2013 is offline Senior Member 527 points
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    I agree. There's no way I would rush the step. It is literally the most important exam a Caribbean medical student will take in their life. I'm taking it 3 months after leaving the island. I am taking 2 weeks off and studying for about 10 weeks (2.5 months). Lots of gunners in our class are taking it after 4 weeks or so but that's their business. As mentioned above, I can't picture a PD saying that someone who studied for 1 month vs 3 months is that much more preferable. It is 2 years of material and there's only so much that 1 extra month of studying may have done. The total score attained on the step will be the major determining factor and shall be treated as such.
    American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine - PGY-1 Categorical Internal Medicine

    Basic Sciences [X] Step 1 [X] Step 2 CS [X] Step 2 CK [X] Cores [X] Electives [X] Match [X] M.D. Diploma [X] Step 3 [Hidden Content ] IM Residency [Hidden Content ] Attending []

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