Goal: 240

Real deal: 251

Study time: 13 months

If I have to say something to someone starting off then just do FA, UW, B&B and ANKI till you drop.

Do FA & B&B on each chapter, then review with Rx & Zanki, and then at the end of your journey do UW & lightyear & lolnotacop on all of them as many times as you think you need to.


1 – FA (obviously): essential, 2018 edition, read the extras to the 2019 edition.

2 – High Yield Neuroanatomy by James D. Fix: Great if your background is weak

3 – BRS Behavioral Science: not as good as people recommended it

4 – 100 Cases in Clinical Ethics & Law: also not useful

5 – Goljan Rapid Review of Pathology: not very high yield

6 – Uworld notes: I don’t recommend this, you’re better off learning off of uworld by getting questions wrong and reading the explanations, rather than just spoiling them all for yourself


1 – Boards & Beyond: this was the best video source imo, especially if you haven’t gone through all of Kaplan (more of my opinion on that later)

2 – Sketchy: Micro is essential, Pharma is alright if you have time, Pathology is horrible, remove it if you have it, trust me

3 – Kaplan: Only seen Turco’s Biochemistry, and White’s Neuroanatomy, the rest of them is honestly a waste of time, and I was a quarter of the way through (saw Biochemistry, Microbiology, Immunology, and some Physiology) before I decided to drop it

4 – Goljan audio: not complete, but it was a bit fun and integrates information, not very essential, your life doesn’t depend on this

5 – Pathoma: I saved this for last, it’s fairly short and has way less information than B&B, so I used it as a quick review and finished it in under a week

B&B is enough for videos, AVOID WASTING TOO MUCH TIME ON KAPLAN AND SKETCHY (other than micro)

Question banks (listed in order of importance):

1 – UW (obviously): did it 3 runs then had a 4th run for my constant errors. This is the holy grail of step 1 along with FA, Anki & B&B imo. 1st run was an offline one after I finished half the chapters, trying to read the explanations well, then I did another one on a newer edition that was also offline near the end of my study period, and finally I subscribed online. No matter how many times you do it offline, you HAVE to do at least once online. At the end I was 90th percentile.

2 – Rx: it’s fairly simple and straightforward but also fairly useful. Do it after every chapter you finish to filter the important pieces of information in each one. And take screencaps of the ones you do wrong.

3 – Amboss: this is also a very good resource. Definitely not as bad as people make it out to be, it has some great and useful questions. BUT, if you’re short on time or money, then do UW & Rx. This is just extra practice if you think you need some and need questions from a different perspective. Also a tip: there’s a separate part on amboss that’s included in your subscription called (Supplemental USMLE step 1), it has some of the most integrative and tough step 1 questions I came across.

4 – Goljan: this had like 100 questions that came on a CD with the book. You won’t miss much by skipping this.

5 – Becker: Poor wording, poor explanations, just horrible. Delete this if you have it and don’t look back.


First off, this is one of the important sources. I suck at re-reading things I already read, the information won’t go through my skull the second time, so this saved me

1 – Zanki (obviously): do this alongside your chapters. So you finish reading FA and watching B&B for a chapter, then solve Rx for it as well as do Zanki for it, and as you finish next chapters, review from Zanki so that you don’t forget it. Trust me, this is a sure fire way. But also get the separate Zanki Pharmacology deck.

2 – Lightyear: imo better than Zanki and more comprehensive, but it wasn’t separated by chapters, so you can get that at the end of your journey just as a review, and it’s great in that.

3 – lolnotacop: a sketchy based deck off micro and pharma, very useful.

My grave 3 mistakes:

1 – Spent WAY too much time on Sketchy. I screencaped it, added my own text, and that was wasted effort because it was already available and I never needed to go back to it once I got anki. So just watch Sketchy micro, then do lolnotacop and watch sketchy pharma if you want (alongside lolnotacop), but just avoid pathology at all costs. Seriously, I could have taken my test like 2 months early if I didn’t so much time here and on mistake number 2.

2 – There’s a 2017 FA print online with adds. You don’t need that. The adds aren’t that useful, the NBMEs and UW are better off learned by getting wrong rather than by getting spoiled. I wasted time writing these adds on my physical print. It was wasted effort.

3 – Not starting Anki early. In my opinion, you should start it as soon as you can, as I said in the anki section. I left that for the last 3 months of my prep and it was wrong to do that because it really pumped up my scores by a great number.

NBME: I did them all offline (except the ones I couldn’t find 18 and the 20s) and I did them in October so they’re useless. I scored so low on them so because I didn’t revise beforehand, used them for learning.

However I did the free 120 1 week out and got 83% with 100 questions right.

This is just a test, a hard one, one that came after a grueling, bone breaking experience for me, filled with months of sleepless nights, self-doubt, and deprivation of many things I wanted to do just to study. There were more nights where I wanted to watch a movie, play a game, have fun, or just go out than I could count but I sacrificed all that just to finish it, and at the end I came in with the mindset that what I will achieve is my max, there’s nothing I can do more or better, this number will never go over what it is. But at the end remember it’s just a test, it doesn’t define you, it isn’t you. It’s a part of a larger plan, and if you get caught up in it (whether you broke it or it broke you), then you already lost. Move forwards.