First I received my score today in mail (I live in Phila, a few blocks away from ECFMG): 99/245. I was somehow a silent reader of the posting here because I considered I don't have too much to say. I took my exam in Sept 11 in Phila. After the exam I refused to think about the exam, knowing from my experience in Step 1 that every Q I remembered I checked it and I realized I gave the wrong answer. So the 3 weeks while I got my result was a terrible pain but in the end was not that bad (90). So I a not very helpful with telling you "BIG TOPICS", because of this self-imposed mental blockage, but I can tell you what I studied and what my strategy was:
No CMDT, no NMS medicine (knowing that I didn't even look in these books scared me to death because my wife read them for her exam, she got 99/97 and she was accepted in Brigham, Boston last year) - all that I read for Medicine was BP in July and ******** in Jan-March. Pediatrics - BP, OB/GYN - BP, Surgery - BRS Behavioral Science - Fadem in May (never opened since then, my lowest performance in test was psych).
So you will ask: how I managed to get such a score?
First: even with my not so good result in Step 1 I learned very well pathology (STRONGLY recommend BRS Pathology for Step1) so I found it a little easy to remember the disease when I studied them for Step2.
Second: do as many Qs as possible: I did Harrison in Feb, App & Lan (1000 Qs in Ped), Pretest only Medicine, Qbank which together with Crush the Boards I consider it the best of anything you can do for this exam. I don't remember exactly the scores for all but I didn't do well at all: 50-65% in Pretest, ~60% in A & L, 68% in Qbank. When I read last weeks that people with 68-70% in Qbank failed I was almost sure I failed as well, so my conclusion from here is STOP CORELATING THE SCORES YOU HAD IN TEST WITH THE REAL EXAM. Use these tests to prepare not to evaluate. A day before the exam I tried first test from USMLE CD: 40. I didn't have the courage to try the other 2 to not lower my morale. I did Qbank a week before the exam, 200 Qs/day with reviewing them in the same day. I read the Crush the Boards chaotic and I was luckily because I remembered pictures from Crush The Boards at exam, but it was the only book I read twice. And finally, this I think was the big key of my success: a VERY GOOD sleep the night before (thanks to 2 Benadryl which I took the evening before the exam) so I didn't feel tired at all.
Regarding the Qs you are posting here guys: I am not saying you are not doing a good job or you're not helpful, but very rarely I knew the answer :-) so I discontinue to follow them to not come to the conclusion I should postpone the exam (I was doing that anyway from my work, I have a full time job). I am a 1999 graduate, so my memories from medical school are not so strong.
So, guys, my conclusions are: take Step 1 before Step 2, this will help you a lot. Study very well for pathophysiology in Step 1. Know everything is in BP, because it's what they will ask you, best treatment, diagnosis, plus patho from Step1. Do as many Qs as possible and don't be disappointed if you don't have good scores, read after that ALL explanations in the end, these will help you a lot. And more that everything sleep well before the exam because I am sure that many people in this forum studied 10x more than me and knew medicine 10x more than I know, but because they were tired on the exam they couldn't make the right judgment or recall the right information.
Good luck to everybody!