I just took Step 1 yesterday so I thought I'd share my experience.
I've never been a very active participant in this forum but I've learned a lot from the posts here so I figured I should give something in return.
OK, no1 - test center:
not a great one I must admit. I arrived 30 minutes earlier (just like it says on the permit) but I had to wait over an hour to start my exam. They had a "slight technical problem" with my test. And then they misplaced my permit so I ended up being the last person to start the exam.
It's just an 8 hour exam so you'd expect they'd let you go in first, but... oh well. Another thing is they didn't have a place where you could have lunch, just a small table in the waiting area. Not even a coffee machine, so nothing hot to drink for the whole day. I think I'll pick a different place for my step 2 exam.
No 2 - testing room:
the monitors were a little old so I got a headache from looking at it after like 3 hours. Plus the noise, even with earplugs (which I took, thank god) I could hear the computers, wentilators etc. But the worst part was the typing from other boxes. Some exams I guess require a lot of typing so it can be pretty distracting.
My advice: take earplugs with you and find good ones.
If you're not used to them, wear them at home a few days before the exam. That should help.
Alright, onto the test itself:
I'm not going to go in details on the questions, just the basic content and format.
First of all I had tons of statistics and behavioral sciences. I had on an average 1q on statistics per block. And a lot of questions where they describe a patient-pchysician situation and ask "the pchysicians best initial responce would be...". Some legal issues concerning minors and treatment, some qs on medicare/medicaid etc.
Another thing that I had a load of was pharmacokinetics/dynamics.
Ago/antagonists interactions, a few graph with the right curve to pick etc. These were tough. And basic biochemistry principles like enzyme inhibitors, Vmax, etc.
Not a lot of anatomy or neuro, just a little psychiatry. Mostly asking about Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, epilepsy.
The rest was mostly pathology. Just a little micro and histo, some embryo.
Very few pictures or slides, maybe 10 in total?
What really killed me were the vignette-type questions which a lot of times gave me half-a-page description of a clinical situation and at the end they were asking for a simple thing like "what is the site of action of a drug that we prescribed for this patient". So watch out for those because they waste a lot of your time when you try to focus on the load of info they give you and then it ends up to be worthless.
There were a few questions where I simply had to guess. Something I just had no idea about so I picked a random answer. Not a lot though.
Very few questions were straightforward like a line or two and a few answers to choose from. It's almost all vignettes now.
When it comes to time: first couple blocks seemed easier, i had like 10 or more min. left to review my answers. But after the 3rd block I was really strapped for time. I barely managed to review the marked items at the end without running out of time.
My final comment: it was just exhausting. I had the worst headache after I got out of the center. Everything was too loud and too bright for me, and every time I tried to get up my head was pounding. Definitely the longest and toughest exam I ever took.
How do I think I did?
Honestly, I have no idea. This is that kind of an exam where I just can't tell. It's a biiiiiiig question mark.
I took Kaplan simulated exam before the real thing and I did around 70%.
On some other software prep tests I averaged between 75 and 80%.
How does that correspond with the real test? I'll let you guys know in a month.
Good luck to everyone, study hard and show them what you got!
And feel free to pm me if you have any Qs.