Wrote this thing up for people who don’t want to read the whole thing, if anyone wants personal help from me, I did my journey the hard way. If I can make it easy for you, I will love it and will be happy to help. It doesn’t matter if you are IMG/AMG. Just drop me a message on Reddit and I would be happy to help you because every single mark I got I owe to people who have helped me! ( No money thing or bullshit)
Continuing the legacy of this group, I decided to post my STEP 1 experience. Though I was disappointed by my score earlier, I got over it within a couple of days and here I am, if I can motivate anyone of you, I will be more than happy.
Honestly, it’s a long shot to study for 2 years, and being an IMG it’s already a pressure than peer pressure adding to it.
Did Kaplan videos and FA one read like the basic strategy (haven’t heard of Anki, BnB, Sketchy till now)
I started with Uworld in random timed mode from 1st day and blasted it with 20% and seeing posts on the internet with people scoring 65% disheartened me, but then also i thought its okay and started to move on with uworld, did around 40% uworld and was getting around 30-35% in starting, but still, I continued it, I was making handwritten notes of uworld at that time to strengthen my knowledge and was less reviewing FA.
In starting it took me to complete one block in 3-4 days and then seeing on the group people saying they complete 3-4 blocks in one day (in mind i was like LOL and felt dumb) but still continued.
Somehow completed one round of Uworld and felt like shit like I don’t know anything, gave my first nbme after revising first aid and blasted it with maybe 160, honestly didn’t have the courage to count my actual score but it must be around that.
Was disheartened but then started with one more round of Uworld system-wise, I was introduced to sketchy and anki at this time but wasn’t using both of them in effective manner, so was wasting time honestly but dragged second round of uworld for 5 months maybe but got 65% in total. Gave nbme after this got like 195 and felt there was no way to go from here, consulted a few of my friends and read some reviews online.
Revised my strategy and then did anki system-wise, 5 sketches a day, and bought another qbank Usmle Rx. Did that in random mode and got like 65 % and gave nbme got like 210, was happy at least I crossed the 200 bar.
But I was confused about how to go about after all this, so I decided to do one more round of uworld this time I had taken uworld screenshot for all the concepts even if I got it wrong or right by memory and saved it folder wise. And meanwhile, I was doing anki system-wise and was highlighting cards with colors of their importance (eg if i found Topic like Plaques are present in MS and found that hard would color it ctrl+1) graded every card from level of 1 to 4 ( because we have 4 colors in anki), after doing all this gave nbme score increased to 230 was such a relief cant even tell. I know from here there was no going back and continued my prep with the same method.
Somewhere in back of mind everyone wants 250+ so was I, so thought what other thing I could do to make this happen, I flagged FA pages with stickers, so rather than skimming through every topic in FA I should study those very topics.
Meanwhile reviewing NBME I got introduced to Amir mullick videos , honestly this guy is a gem. He has done it so wonderfully FA revision, used to binge on his videos with Uworld and completed his series twice. Gave NBME after this and got like 240+ and was super excited.
I wont add a single extra para for all the resources I used or I suggest as it has already been said by many people in the group.
I almost tried every fuckin resource and found myself comfortable with following ones with my accustomed settings, So below I would just suggest resources in the way I used them and felt was the best way possible for me atleast
Never concentrate on Uworld % whatever happens but keep doing until you get 85-90%.
I started with 20% → 45%–> 70%–> 85%
Did this beast-like 4.5 times, Did it random, systemwise, tutor basically every method possible.
I would suggest making 30 qns block ( because 40 q feels huge and makes me tired at least, so I was able to do 2 30 blocks which were better than 1 40 block), and if you have a study partner give him Qid And tell him to solve it as well. So you guys can actively discuss this over zoom or something. I did this way pretty at the end and loved it! And was basically the best way possible for active revision, Clearing someone else’s doubt makes your concept more concrete!
Always do uworld in timed mode.
Doesn’t matter which year FA you are using at all! I used 2017 FA bought it in college but was happy with it, don’t disturb your picture memory especially if you are 4-5 months from the exam. But if you want to get FA errata and study it, I used FA 2020 PDF and really loved the new diagrams but was not ready to disturb my pictorial memory!
After doing Uworld Qns I jumped into FA for that particular Qns eg Neurocysticercosis is caused by ingestion of tenia eggs, and If tenia goes was given as an answer in Uworld, I would circle that particular word in FA and would write Qid near it for reference!
As we know Uworld Is gold standard, so they have an idea how real exams will be. They frame their answers and questions according to them and you trust them too for that!
In the end I used sticky notes to mark the page I wanted to read before giving NBME or my real exam (eg hypothalamic nuclei) rather than reading the whole NEURO.
Did zanki, anking, and a rapid review deck.
Honestly, anking is a great deck but if you have a time crunch you can go for zanki too, or if you think you want some specific topics to be studied definitely use anking.
I used to go threw every card then if I found it difficult I would highlight the card with ctrl+1 or 2 and then afterward would go to browse and would make a deck using FLAG:1, so in the end I had separated deck of only things which I felt was difficult for me.
Use custom settings, I learned it the hard way but if you are new to anki please go to skill share/ ali abdaal he has summarised it beautifully.
Download all the must add ons by anking team, they make anki such heaven can’t even tell
Tried using HY anat but wasn’t that great, I feel do Dorian 100 concepts 2-3 times in and out with FA 2020 was more than enough
I have put an image of the basic framework of my images and hope it helps you.
Sketchy: helped like crazy in almost everything, did Pharm+ Micro.
Pharm did select things not all because some sketches are just overloaded, wasted time trying to memorize it but Didn’t help! It Was sketchy using anki, and doing it over zoom with my friend was really helpful!
NBME and UWSA
Start nbme soon, as you have got plenty of them in hand so just start them ASAP. Start with the old ones from NBME 13 and go up to 24. Can’t tell about the order but go as you want try to save UWSA for last.
After I did my nbme I used to click a screenshot of my wrongs and would categorize them according to the concept/fact-based/ silly mistake/ out of nowhere question and would try to analyze it as best as possible.
Clicked screenshot and using paint would write the correct explanation for each of them into the photo so that next time I revise them it is easy and fast
Starting with NBMEs was getting 160-200 earlier, changed my method of studying and started getting from 225-252. UWSA were 240s.
Real Deal 231( not the one I expected but had to be comfortable with it and moved on) Maybe some of you won’t read or feel 231 is an average score but honestly shredded my blood to reach here, and honestly, If I Can reach here so can you!
Gave free120 at Prometric and honestly, I advise you to give it too, it removes exam anxiety and helps you get comfortable with the environment!
Took a protein bar, sandwich, and water got a loose simple mask. Took a break after each block did some exercise to increase blood flow and would return to my desk!