This is a great experience written by a very high scorer USMLE STEP 1 EXPERIENCE – 276



This is a great experience written by a very high scorer. I recommend that you have a
look at the number of times the student prepared the same course again and again.
Also check out all the materials used. I have linked out to the textbooks listed in the
Hi everyone this is my experience from an average student to above average USMLE score I was a
weak student in my medical school and used to always concentrate on playing the video games
rather than studies and i would barely pass. After i finished medical college i started preparing for
USMLE exam… till then i didn’t even know the mechanism of action of Paracetamol. So my baseline
was below average. I start by collecting all the materials required for USMLE preparation like
books, videos, pdfs and other USMLE infos. I got my Kaplan Lecture Notes for USMLE Step 1, First
Aid for USMLE Step 1, UW printed copy (In India we have UW printed copy at stores). Then after
that i started my preparation. I studied for a total of 14 months and i divided my preparation time
into 6 parts of varied duration. In the first pass of all the materials i did the Kaplan videos with
Kaplan lecture notes for USMLE Step 1. The lecture notes were not really helpful in my test and i
will tell you why below. At this time i found that i was forgetting faster than i could remember meaning that i would read for 1 month and then at end of month i would try to recollect what i
study first day and i couldnt’ remember. This made me frustrated and i felt bad. So i started doing
First Aid for USMLE Step 1 along with Kaplan and my offline UW books. This boosted my
confidence as i could see i was improving. I would recommend everyone to start doing UW from
the day – 1 and along with FA. The reason is that if you are not doing questions then you will not
know how to actually memorize and understand. I say this because initially i think i wasted the
first 3 months because i was preparing for the USMLE like my university exams. However USMLE
is different pattern. Don’t rely on the rote memorization that you did in MBBS as that is worthless
method. I found out hard way, you dont do like me. Along the way i was also preparing my FA by
adding UW and important Kaplan lecture notes for USMLE Step 1 material into it. I say important
kaplan material as i recommend that you dont put all Kaplan materials inside as you wont be able
to see the text of FA if you have a lot of Kaplan materials. TIP: dont do Kaplan indepth except the
Biochem part as that is only useful part, rest is not that important. The first round lasted 5.5
months. Then i started the second round and it lasted 2.5 months. During this time i started doing
Fundamentals of Pathology – Hussein Sattar (Pathoma) and Goljan. Rapid Review Pathology by
Edward Goljan is very very high yield and i loved hearing the Goljan Audio, but i soon found out
that doing Rapid Review Pathology by Edward Goljan for such a long time stil i couldnt remember
much. So i left it and i did only Fundamentals of Pathology – Hussein Sattar (Pathoma). Before
pathoma all the histo slides were only random pink material which i skipped. lolz. After Pathoma i
actually understand the meaning of things and i understand that Histo is actually not so tough. So
i blame my professor poor teaching for this. They taught nothing and hence i failed in histo before
Pathoma. For me Fundamentals of Pathology – Hussein Sattar (Pathoma) is A+ resource and I
recommend you all to do it thoroughly. After the 2nd round i did the 3rd round and this time
again it was hard and i even had a break of few days in between and i was very depressed
because of it so i decided not to take a break again. I did continuous prep after this as my
momentum was lost because of the break. Now in this part i started with NBME. NBME was good…
it wasnt tough questions but it is scaled very hard so even if you get 90% correct its not like 270 or
anything. My scores of NBMEs which i gave in round 3 were 240s. Then in round 4 i started
Conrad Fischer’s book Kaplan USMLE Medical Ethics and also High Yield Behavioural Science and
High Yield Gross Anatomy. I recommend to do HY anatomy as these days there are a lot of
anatomy questions being asked and after doing this book it helped me a lot as i didnt know a lot
of stuff. Also i did Anatomy Shelf notes as it has a lot of important anatomy concepts. Now finally
in this round i was getting mid 250s. I was astonished i could get so high a score as i thought i was
a mediocre student. In round 5 & round 6 i re-did everything again but i kept a special focus on
the topics i didnt know in NBME well like Behavioural milestones and Lysosomal storage disease.
Before the exam i re-did all the tough topics i didnt know before and it helped a lot. Also i did the
heart sounds each day till my exam and believe me before this it felt like random noise in my ears
but i got both the heart sound questions in my exam correct. Overall: I will say that the exam is
tough and by no means straight forward but if you work hard you can definitely crack it. If i could
then you will be able to too…
If you liked this experience and it inspired you to work harder I recommend you have
a look at the Resources to use to score high on your exam. I have created lists of important books which may aid you in your decision making process as to what
resources to study while trying to ace a particular subject for your USMLE prep.
List of Books used:

  • Kaplan Lecture Notes for USMLE Step 1 + First Aid for USMLE Step 1 +
    Fundamentals of Pathology – Hussein Sattar (Pathoma) + Rapid Review Pathology by
    Edward Goljan + Conrad Fischer’s book Kaplan USMLE Medical Ethics + High Yield
    Behavioural Science + High Yield Gross Anatomy