Amazing experience from Dr. Susan - It is a few months old but a 274 experience


#1

Amazing experience from Dr. Susan - It is a few months old but a 274 experience

Susan’s USMLE Step 1 Experience – 274
I am a MS2 from a mid tier school. Scored above average in class but prepared for USMLE from
the get go. I did however, try to understand everything taught in class and it was very helpful for
my exam. The exam can’t be aced exclusively using test prep resources and class notes are also
very helpful in getting questions right on the exam.
I prepared quite a bit before my dedicated USMLE study period of 6 weeks. That obviously helped
my score immensely as even before my dedicated study period I was already scoring 240s on my
NBME
Pre-dedicated study:
I used First Aid USMLE Step 1 with class notes throughout medical school. It was immensely
helpful as I had a grip over most of the USMLE topics even before my dedicated period of 6 weeks
started.
I also used the following resources:
BRS Gross Anatomy
BRS Embryology
BRS Behavioural Scieence
BRS Physiology
Pathoma
Doctors in Training USMLE Step 1
USMLE Rx Qbank
Memorang (I didn’t use Anki as i felt that creating cards myself was a tedious and time
consuming task… So i opted for using a pre-made flash card source and i found Memorang
decent for getting the hard to nail facts of FA)
The only important resource i did not use was UWorld as I wanted to keep it for dedicated study
period.
I also did all the retired NBME forms. The NBME forms were an amazing practice and i had a lot of
repetitions on my real exam from them. I recommend everyone to get these done well as it is very
very useful for the test. The questions in my opinion are an accurate representation of what
would be asked on the real exam. The topics in the real test are in the same line as those asked in
the NBME. The only difference I found between NBME and the real USMLE were:
The curve of the real USMLE is much more lenient as compared to the NBME forms. What
does this mean ? It means that getting 7 questions wrong on the NBME could make a
difference between mid 260s and below 250. Meaning that just 7-8 wrong questions and you
will be in below 240 zone instead of over 260 zone. A huge difference IMO. That is not the
case on the real deal and the scoring curve is much more lenient.
Another difference between the NBME and the real USMLE is the fact that the USMLE
questions were much more lengthier. There was often a lot of redundant information
thrown in the midst. What this means is that even though a bunch of plasma values were
worthless in the actual answering of the question…they would still be put in there… Why
these were in there is anyone’s guess but my hunch says that they were there perhaps to
waste our time and perhaps to confuse us.
In any case, the NBME questions are a better representation of the real deal than UWorld
primarily because UWorld often made me overthink stuff…Like I would find a weird logic to justify
a wrong answer on the real deal had i answered in the same format as i answered UWorld. The
reason being that it felt almost as though every other Uworld question was a trick or a trap made
to trip us…and we had to overthink a lot on the UWorld Qbank. This was not the case in the real
deal and many a times (pretty much always)… the obvious answer was the right answer. This might
seem like a small thing but i urge you to think well as to how you approach questions… The right
approach to answering questions is just as important…if not more important than the actual info
needed to get it right. Many a times in my practicr tests i got questions wrong because i picked the
over-thought answer. Go for the obvious one. It works. For this reason DOING ALL THE NBMEs
WITH THE EXPLANATION FOR THE RIGHT AND THE WRONG ANSWER IS A MUST.
I found patho-histology tough and for that i think Fundamentals of Pathology (by Hussain Sattar)
is a great book and a must read. The videos are also amazing as he explains the histological
findings along with the reasoning behind why the histological appearance is the way it is.Dedicated Study Period:
As i mentioned I had already done all of the important resources except UWorld in my prededicated study period. So i went into my dedicated period with a 2 month subscription of
Uworld. It was very helpful to do UWorld in timed and random mode as it emulated the real deal.
However, I would advise you to use this approach only if you have done questions previously. I
had done USMLE Rx in my pre-dedicated period and I had also done the retired NBMEs in my prededicated period. This helped me a lot and hence i was able to do Uworld timed and random in
just 4 weeks. I got 84% in Uworld timed, random mode.
For the rest of the dedicated period I did topics that were weak in the above mentioned books. I
also did my incorrect questions from UWorld again. And i also finished my NBMEs (I had the
online ones left…).



USMLE Step 1 Review
Free Literature Books
USMLE Practice Questions
– Exam day:
I did my first 2 blocks back to back… Then 10 mins break before third block… Then light lunch and
snacks between 3rd and 4th block. For the remainder blocks i just did like couple mins break
between blocks.
– Waiting for results:
This felt like an eternity. The 3 weeks to get the results were the most terrifying ones in my life. I
felt like I was having PTSD. Many nights i would wake up in the middle of the night feeling that i
left 20 questions on my test in the last block because i did not have enough time. I had never had
such an issue in my life… But i don’t know what happened… I found myself crying in a corner
somedays… Wondering what i did in my test. The exam was the toughest in my exam and the
protracted wait didn’t make things better.
Subject-wise guidance and tips to score high:Anatomy: Focus on Images. Everything is about Images when it comes to Anatomy. MRIs, CT
Scans, Angiographies, Venographies. Obscure radiology is also used…Like a weird angle of a
radiograph of a not-so commonly scanned part of the body. Its all about IMAGES.
Physiology: It’s all about Up/Down arrow type questions. BRS Physiology does a good job at
making sure we have these nailed down.
Biochemistry: Not very heavily tested at least for me. Do the diseases better. It’s more likely you
would be tested on an abnormality of a pathway than the pathway itself.
Microbiology: This subject is all about memorization. I tried Sketchy and it was good. I advise you
to memorize it well.
Pharmacology: Covered well in FA + UW. Memorize it well as i had trouble with having these nail
these down.
Pathology: Pathoma + UW + FA was great… I didn’t bother with Goljan. Though my Pathology was
solid from med school…so if your’s isn’t then maybe you should use it.
Behavioural Science: Forgot to mention that in addition to the books i mentioned I also did
Conrad Fischer’s Kaplan Medical Ethics 100 questions. Its very useful.