How to Master the USMLE Step 1

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At Exam Master, we help professionals be prepared by organizing our extensive set of questions like the actual test plan, with in-depth coverage of all USMLE Step 1 subject areas. The Topic, Subject and Category reporting precisely pinpoints where you need to focus. Using the detailed scoring feedback you can then create practice tests, quizzes and study blocks in just those areas where you need a refresher. Stay focused and save time and effort. This allows the exam candidate to quickly find topics most relevant to them. It consists of test items divided into 7 exam blocks of 46 questions each.

Do you work with a college, university, hospital, or library? Check out our institutional solutions available at Exammaster. Unless otherwise indicated, Exam Master has no formal affiliation with any licensing or certification authorities. Check out Exam Master's Sample question and in-depth explanation, written by a medical professional.

Efficient Quickly identify your strengths and weaknesses. That combination will not limit your score. I believe time spent doing questions is the most important modifiable scoring factor. I doubt many people truly have time for that with a normal month preparation. On a related note, is an excellent score for family medicine and pediatrics and still very good for internal medicine.

Always shoot for the stars, but just to be clear that one can get fantastic training with scores significantly lower than that, especially in primary care. I will be taking my NBME in about 2 more weeks. I know that two weeks is not enough time to do both uworld and first aid all over again.

I really want to take this exam around august so I can start clinicals in septemeber. PS: so far this would be my third time reading thru first aid and my second time doing uworld. If it were me, I would do UWorld again with a focus on questions missed previously. As you go through a large number of questions quickly, you want to reinforce the correct relationships and not be distracted by the distractors. During the test, this lack of focus can cause you to second guess that very important gut feeling and over-think questions. I can see you have great emphasis on uworld.

I find it practically impossible to memorize first aid. Even after the third read, I still forget things, hopefully doing uworld again will further reinforce things.

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I will keep you updated on my NBME. With the exception of the high-yield charts scattered throughout, I personally find trying to re-read resources like that mind-numbing. A good qbank is essential. First Aid usage is universal. What books you use outside of those to supplement are a more individual choice.

USMLE Step 1 Physiology Resources (High Yield)

Kaplan, Goljan, etc are all fine. The most important thing about all of these books is that none of them is a replacement for doing questions. Greeting Ben white, I have done a diagnostic exam, and finally passed. I will be taking the exam on november 30th. How should I do uworld this time in order to get the best of it. I heard people scoring over with just mastering everything in uworld. But I want to know how they do it??

In addition to the logistic preferences I describe above, there are a few things to keep in mind other than just time and repetition :.

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Hi Ben, thanks for the info, very helpful. I need your advise though as to how to help improve my score along with what you have already said. I took my first nbme today and received a triple. Very discouraging and i need a new approach to studying since my exam is in two months. I seem to know a little of everything and not solid in any one subject. I feel if i decide to redo every subject one at a time again, i will forget what i already learned. Two months is still a long time to prepare. After all, the test is a jumbled together.

Variety can be a little bit frustrating but is very helpful to keep things fresh. An important distinction to make for yourself is why you get questions wrong. These often long questions can be distilled down to the key points. Biochemistry boils down to knowing the enzyme deficiency for each disease. Microbiology requires that you know not just the pathogen, but also its magical unique ways to cause disease and what drugs you can use to treat it, etc. So on and so forth. This is a clinical test. Everything is framed as a patient encounter, so frame your thinking accordingly when you approach each question:.

Chest pain — what big things live in the chest? Lastly, the more common or well-studied the disease, the more detail you must know. Hey Ben! Do you have any tips for how I can fast forward my prep, yet do it efficiently? If your background is poor, you may find a greater proportion of reading pathoma, FA, Goljan, or other basic science books to be helpful early on.

Highly recommended as an early lever into dedicated board review. Otherwise, the other relevant posts on the site might also be helpful to read as you get started listed here. Thanks so much for this, Ben! If you can get through it once now and then reset and redo from scratch during your month off, that would likely put you in good shape.

The are certain portions a few tables, microbio, etc , that FA does a nice job of distilling into a memorizable format. I found that when learning Pathology, the Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology question book was a rapid fire way to learn the testable points in a body-system oriented manner. I would actually use this book with Wikipedia at the beginning of a module.

I would always start each chapter totally lost, getting all of the questions wrong, and then eventually improve as I went through them. Since UW is such a big resource, you may find the Robbins question book to be a nice test-oriented introduction. I imagine it was meant for more longitudinal study but that using certain sections would definitely help fill in gaps as needed.

Thanks for your very helpful response, Ben! Would this be about correct? But these might be too competitive for me? Expect to get a lot of UW questions wrong—take your time on it. If you find it too frustrating or are totally lost, take a step back and read systematically on the topic du jour. As an IMG, as long as you have reasonable stats and are flexible, it should be very possible to come stateside.

Hi ben.. Im doing my final year mbbs.. Hey ben.. Can you please tel me when do i have to apply for usmle like which month… i am totally unaware.

Goljan USMLE STEP 1

But I simply wanted to say a deep thank you for your wonderfully helpful and considered advice! Not only for me but as is obvious to so many others. I hope you receive much well deserved thanks from everyone else as well.


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Do you mind if I ask how you approached all of the questions? Did you take notes or did you read everything and make sure to redo the ones you had trouble with? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks Jason. For me, the latter. I have never been a note-taker. When I finish, I go through the marked ones again. I have a question for you. Part of that is probably because people have a pretty structured foundation from third year due to the shelf exams. The other part I think is because UW alone works pretty well, and many people realize how important questions are for success.

I think due to the nature of most med school curriculums, students overestimate the importance of book learning. I would say there are times when you need to supplement e. I personally think the red robbins qbook is an excellent question source for high yield path and thought it was a great foundational question source particularly before UW.

I read it but it bored me to tears, and I frequently lost focus so it took me forever. I like questions, and doing questions is a task with built in sections, breaks, checks and balances, and intrinsic goals. That made all the difference for me. The time and energy spent is more important than the number of resources you use to spend it ranted about here. Hi Ben I feel so blessed when I got your site. My exam is within 5 months.

I have finished UW once. I used it as a learning tool, not to judge my knowledge. What is the Best approach for me right now you suggest? Look back at your UW percentages and see where you are weak. With 5 months, you have some time to read at least portions of some books, so shore up your foundations. You may find the robbins qbook as another nice rapid fire way to figure out where you are weak in path and in many ways, path is almost everything. FA can take a long time, particulalry if you plan on reading additional resources to flesh out its terse format.

Thx you so much for the reply Ben. Hello Ben!

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I understand that questions are the best method of approach. Also, the importance of First Aid has been stressed. Do I have enough time and should I place more emphasis on doing questions than reading review books? That would give you six weeks to shore up your foundation with books. Because pathology is a huge overaching component for the exam, I would spend more time with path than most other review sources e.

Goljan, Pathoma. Since I like questions, I found that using the Robbins question book linked to a couple of comments above was a good way to quickly orient my path studying for rapid review. If you have lots of books already, then feel free to use them when appropriate, but I very much doubt most people really use a book for every subject to a significant extent.

For example, the relevent portions of physio are extremely important but widely summarized throughout many resources and online. Some people can read books and intuitively understand how to apply their knowledge to questions. Other people are better served by seeing what knowledge is needed to answer specific questions and then memorizing that instead.

I think the second approach is very effective and orients your learning. I do find that I learn how to integrate the material with questions and remember the information better. Thanks for the reply and advice! I feel like this article makes a lot of sense. I take step I in two months and have been focusing strictly on UWorld. I have a copy of FA but I believe we both have a similar view on it. In contrast, UWorld is written in syntax with very helpful information and diagrams.

So, I took some advice from another source on the web and started keeping a UWorld journal which has all of the necessary information that I needed to know in order to correctly answer the questions I got wrong. Knowing my memory, I feel like this would leave me vulnerable to forgetting if I go weeks without seeing the concepts I missed. In many cases, I think a lot note-takers are leaving out part of the picture in the interest of brevity, so they only reinforce part of the picture.

I personally would just do the questions. In order to avoid the issue you describe, I always just did random blocks instead of system sections. By the time I took Step 3, I remembered the majority of the material from Step 2 with nominal review. The longer you reinforce things the deeper embedded they become. That being said, I have about 2. Would you suggest modifying anything at this point?

Or basically just power through? If UWorld is essentially a textbook, is it possible to use only UWorld and nothing else to study for Step 1 and do well if I keep going over UWorld multiple times for two or two and a half months until I learn it all to the best of my ability? Hoping for or higher. If your background is poor, you could consider doing your first pass by body system to get a better handle. Any advice will be very helpful!! Option 1: Just study for your classes until a few months before. I did Option 1. Depending on the makeup of your exams and your class schedule, it may be more or less feasible; doing well in your classes is important as well.

Option 3 would work for the integrated 1. Thanks for all of the great insight, I just finished the kaplan 7 week review step 1 course 9 July 3rd …and am plugging thru Kap q Bank random, do you think I should reread the Kaplan notes…or move on to Uworld.? Took STeo 1 6months ago and tanked it with a This would be your best and least painful way to practice in this country. Hi Ben, I love your website and thank you very much for sharing your experience and tips with all of us.

I mean pattern recognition in the broad sense of memorizing key facts and presentations, as certain concepts and question presentations are common. By memorizing the most testable things, you cut down on extraneous less testable material. Something like that. Even complex questions are usually secondary to a chain that is frequency repeated across multiple questions in the qbank.

By recognizing and learning the handful of ways a concept is likely to be tested, you ready yourself for a novel question on test day. I thought about your learning styles question and came up mostly blank my one idea is below. I think for better or worse, Step 1 preparation mostly hinges on doing questions, reading explanations, and trying to apply reasoning to more questions. My one thought for kinesthetic learning of this volume is that you could actually use physical places like your home or apartment to make memory places to walk through and explore for learning.


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  • This technique is commonly used by people who compete at the world memory championships, described well in the book Moonwalking with Einstein. As for broadening your learning modalities in general, you may find that occasionally reading outloud helps things stick. Or that you could type notes and then even have them read aloud back to you by your computer. You can do the assessments just for extra questions. When you take the exam, try to simulate the real thing. Sleep Hygiene during the last few weeks. After finishing your last NBME, go over the break down and pay close attention to the topics you are weak in.

    Start by reviewing the weak topics and then the rest of your material. The night before the exam make sure you get plenty of rest. I cannot stress this enough. Studies have shown that a half-hour of cardiovascular exercise daily results in increased activity in the hippocampus.



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