Duration of Preparation: Aug2017-May2019


#1

Exam Date: May 2nd, 2019
Score: 248
Duration of Preparation: Aug2017-May2019 (1 Year & 10 Months, with last 5 months Dedicated -
10-13 hours per day)
Resources:
 Kaplan 2017 (Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology, Behavioural Science &
Ethics)
 UW Online 2018-19 (Used UW Online subscription for little more than a year)
 FA 2017, 2018 & 2019 (No matter how difficult you find to make a change to new version,
do it. You won’t regret doing this. Or have a PDF of latest FA with you, while you are at your
3
rd read completing a system/day, go through the New PDF briefly and see the changes. Add
them to your previous version!)
 Pathoma
 Sketchy Micro
 100Cases+Kaplan BS
 UW Biostatistics
 Google Images and YouTube
 USMLE FORUM Pages
Struggle:
I don’t want to brag about it here, as everyone preparing for this exam is going through the toughest
time in their life. Mine was much harder than one might guess as I prepared my entire MBBS
curriculum during those 22 months. 
Scores & Thoughts:
At the end of my UW+FA+Pathoma I gave NBME 13. I was hoping to score at least 225+ as I
had given my 15+ months of preparation time for this. But, I got this at the end of exam.

 NBME 13 - 215 (End of Dec ‘18) (I felt hopeless. Asked many buddies & seniors, they all
made me realise this was a good score for first NBME) (I was reading at home for 7-9 hours
in my comfort zone till now. It was NEW YEAR EVE, made goals and commitment for bright
future. Decided to join a library. After initial tough phase of familiarising with new place
started reading 10-11 hours)
 NBME 15 - 230 (Early Jan ‘19) (Revised half of my FA with FA 2nd Read method, got 15 mark
push. Felt great. I now knew that after finishing complete FA, I will get 240+ for sure)
 NBME 16 - 225 (End of Jan ‘19) (I did not improve. I was hoping to book a date if I cross 240.
But eventually I realised that 16 was realistic exam and I wasn’t prepared for this yet) (I
started to read many experiences online, searched what really is needed to cross 240. Came
up with this common idea, that Number of questions solved is directly proportional
to your score.) (Decided to give older NBMEs a try while I revise one more time)
 NBME 12 - 238 (Early Feb ‘19) (These were offline and just multiplied the score with 1.4, so I
knew this wasn’t the real score. And also these were outdated NBMEs)
 NBME 11 - 237 (Early Feb ‘19) (Offline) (Plateaued!!)
At this stage, my block was ending (Dec-Feb) so I started asking many people online on the
forum, they made me believe that this is my peak and I should give the Step 1 soon or I
might go downhill. I was not ready to accept this low! I have prepared so hard for this, I have
gave my all in till now, and I have sacrificed many things for this. So, I deserve better than
this. I trusted on myself and extended my triad to March-May and decided to give my FA a
“Thorough Read”. This was different than just reading FA passively. (I have explained
this in How to Read FA for 3rd time section)
(Of course I didn’t know this method before. I acquired this by solving questions and reading
experiences online)
It took me 40 days to finish FA (completely annotated) once by this method.
During this time, after revising half FA, I gave NBME 17.
 NBME 17 - 248 (Feb End-Early March ‘19) (First time I crossed 240. Felt confident. Started
believing in myself & my technique of reading. Started giving NBME every 1 or 2 weeks)
 UWSA 1 - 258 (Early March 19) (I was on cloud 9!! Took a week-long unplanned break
during my Birthday week. A big-time no-no. Biggest mistake anyone can make during the
dedicated it a break of more than a couple days)
Came back from the trip and that wall of self-confidence was shattered. I felt I forgot all the
stuff I did until now. Started doubting myself and started feeling guilty of taking a break in
dedicated. Those all sacrifices till now went in vain. Thought that now getting even 230 is
hard. Gave me a full day to get together. And decided to give NBME 19, which at that time
was said to be toughest and most under predictor.
 NBME 19 - 242 (Mid of March ‘19) (Whoa, all the self-doubts were gone in the blink of an
eye. At first, I couldn’t believe that this was my score report. After a week-long break during
the dedicated, without studying any single page I gave the toughest exam and scored above
my expectations. That made me super-duper confident, now I knew I would get 240+ any
day anytime. Now I started realising that what you do in long run matters. It’s not just
cramming FA gives you good score, but it’s your hard work and your hunger of clearing
concepts matters.)
Started solving older NBMEs. (Mistake!!) (I would suggest against it, as newer ones are
available now {20 to 24} and NBME 5, 6, 7 which I did were totally outdated compared to
real deal. I had on average 20 nice questions. Almost all of which gets repeated in newer
NBMEs. So if you don’t solve 1 to 7, it’s totally fine. Try solving 11 & 12 if you have time.)
 NBME 5, 6, 7 - 240-245 (April 19)
By this time, I started doing the FA one final time with 4
th Read Method. Which again took
me 35 days to finish a read. I was constantly worried because my friends around me,
everyone I knew in USMLE Journey was finishing FA in 10 to 15 days in last phase. But again
I trusted myself. Kept on saying Quality > Quantity to myself. And it worked like magic
for me!! Gave a try to newly released and much awaited NBMEs.
 NBME 20 - 250 (6 weeks out) (Yes, I crossed “the 250s mark” in NBMEs)
 AMBOSS - 265 (5 weeks out)
Questions in this test were difficult.
They just overestimated the scores I
guess. As it was a free test, many
students in their initial phase of
preparation gave this test & got lower
scores. Thus that put us in Higher
range as scores in USMLE are just
percentile based, derived from that
cohort!
It was 87% correct in all 4 blocks
overall.
Anyways, this test boosted my selfconfidence to another level.
I started feeling that 250+ is of course
doable for me now.
 NBME 21 - 246 (4 weeks out) (I was not in “my phase”, was exhausted when I gave this.
After giving >10 NBMEs you now know if you gave your all in or not during the test! Also the
difficulty of questions were hard compared to NBME 13-17)
 NBME 22 - 257 (3 weeks out) (My Goal of getting “*” in each discipline was accomplished
now. I always wanted to make this “Before-After NBME Scorecard”. #Bragging ) (I started
feeling grateful about my journey and amount of progress I have made in last 22 months. I
was filled with gratitude for not giving up and kept on pushing myself till now)
 UWSA 2 - 258 (2 weeks out) (I was now calm, very calm. I knew I would get 250 any day
anytime!)
 NBME 18 - 248 (less than 1 week out) (I made many silly mistakes. #Rationalization :grinning:) (So
the real reason why my score dropped was I gave 3 Blocks of UW first & then NBME 18.
Basically I did not focus on giving 8 hour exams till now. “A Mistake”. In last 2 blocks I was
completely drained) (You can still trust “the18” for realistic assessment)
This last few days I did ECG, Heart Sounds, X-Ray/CT for which I made UW Flashcards and
revised Biostatistics+Ethics. [Use DirtyUSMLE Videos for this!]
Now I was left with 3-4 days. As I started my final read 35 days back now, I had self-doubts
about my memory. So cleared them by reviewing “ONLY the HY facts from FA”. (Charts &
Tables only)
2 Days before exam watch this Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJgjMZk8_To
 FREE120 - 111/120 (93%) (Gave it a day before the exam to familiarise myself with Exam
Pattern & User Interface. “Recommended”) (I solved it briefly, read few volatile topics, took
the rest day off after 3PM. “Highly Recommended”)
When you will go to their website, you will find this.
http://orientation.nbme.org/Launch/USMLE/STPF1
First start with Tutorial. Then Overview. And then go
with Step 1 All blocks. And in that start “Enable
Timer” mode. You won’t get answers after each
block, they will just show percentage correct. See
other attachment in next page.
You need to do individual blocks again, with “Show
Answer” mode to see answers after every question.
Official STEP 1 – 248 (Breaks were 5-5-7-10-10-12-rest) (Experience: Woke up at 5 in the
morning. Gratitude Routine. Light Breakfast & Mild coffee. Reached the Prometric at 7. After
usual check-in procedure, my test started at 7:15. First 2 blocks were awesome, was left
with 15 mins in each, and double-checked every answer in those. 3rd block was horrible for
me. Marked more than half questions. Was unsure about almost all questions. Rest all
blocks were similar to 3rd one but less extreme. Main reason I could think of getting 10
points lower than my expectation, was my performance in last 2-3 blocks. I was almost on
Auto-Pilot Mode, I was just reading & answering. I was not 100% focused in those. This is a
Major Factor affecting anyone’s score. I would highly recommend giving at least 3-4 full time
tests to boost up your stamina.)