Αξιον Ωφελειν τους Αλγουντας.” --Be Worthy to Serve the Suffering.

Member Profile

Rafael Chavez (2013)
Member Type: Student, Junior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Emergency Medicine Program: University of Southern California
Advice
Hello everyone! Preparing for Step 1 will be the most grueling thing you will undertake as a medical student, but with the right preparation you can come out on top. Also, one of the most important things during this entire process is to keep your mental health. No matter what take some time out everyday to workout, eat right, sleep and decompress. Studying for hours on end everyday will take its toll on you.

STEP 1 ADVICE

General Study Strategy:
-First and foremost think if you will benefit from a regimented Step 1 course (like DIT)…Can you pace yourself and stay on schedule or do you need to follow a premade schedule? If you are the type that gets distracted easily and can't stay focused you might want to consider a prep course if you have time for it.

-I did not take any prep courses and instead studied on my own. I used a system that is frequently talked about on Studentdoctor.net called the “Taus Method” (just google it). It basically involves using a few extra books to supplement the “weaknesss” of First Aid until you essentially have a very well annotated First Aid. Then you just end up doing UWorld questions and reading through First Aid, Goljan Rapid Review and BRS physiology as many times as possible until test day. You progressively ramp up the number of questions per day while decreasing the amount of reading.

-You should start listening to the Goljan Audio (bootleg) right NOW over and over again (assuming its second semester M2 year). You should actually start using during the start of M2 year as soon as you enter the system based stuff. Listen to it anytime you’re not studying (ie on the train, walking to school, working out, etc.) There are things that he says that come right out of the exam. You’ll be answering a question on Uworld or on Step 1 and hear Goljan in your head whispering you the answer…

-When I started my studying I began with my weakest subjects so I could dedicate a little more time

-In the last 2 days before the test I went over all the parts of First Aid that required rote memorization just to refresh my memory: Pharm, Biochem genetic diseases, formulas for behavior science

-Do the offical practice exams and pay the extra $10 to get the analysis and see what questions you got wrong. That way you can go through your wrongs and try to figure them out. Space out your practice exams and try to get through at least 3-4 during your study time to see how your are progressing. If you are not close to passing near you exam date...please postpone your exam. It is ten times better than gambling and failing.

UWorld
-I HIGHLY recommend doing UWorld questions only on “timed” and “random”. This will help get you into the mindset of answering questions like it will be on test day (ie practice the way you want to play). Don’t only do the questions in the subject block you’ve been studying…whats the point? You’re going to get a falsely elevated score since you just read about all these things. The point is to be able to recall information you studied a long time ago. Essentially, as you study more and more and progress through different systems your overall score should slowly go up as more topics are covered.

-I started doing UWorld questions about late Jan/Feb…just like 10-15 every weekday with more on the weekend when I wasn’t too busy listening to lectures. You can really start ramping it up April

Books I Used (Copied out of the Taus Method file):
1) First Aid = make this your bible, annotate it while you go through
U-World and through the Taus method so at the very end all you need to do is read through it

2) Rapid Review Biochem = by far the best book second to First
Aid. It does a great job at not only explaining the pathology but
integrating a lot of physiology, disease presentation, treatment and
workup of various diseases. There are many things high yield things in
this book that you will not find in First Aid (Especially the general
path sections in first few chapters before it gets system based)
Kaplan series....if you can get it cheaply….do it

3) Goljan audio and slides (available in bootleg only)

4) High Yield Behavioral Science or BRS Behavioral

5) High Yield Neuro (some sections are too detailed, but basics and pics are good)

6) High Yield Cell and Molecular (1999 edition- new one has way too much detail)

7) Lange Review of Medical Micro and Immuno by Levinson
-only for Immuno section, which is ~90 pages

8) Micro Made Ridiculously Simple (edition 3 is fine). You can use First Aid if you have a strong background in Micro

9) BRS Physiology : Newest edition

STEP 2CK

General Strategy:
-Best way to do well on CK is to study hard during your rotations…everything will come back to you come your dedicated Step 2 study time

-Use UWorld while studying for the shelf during M3 year and then just reset the Qbank at the start of your Step 2 studying

-People take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to study for CK. I took 2.5 weeks. Step 2 studying is way less intense than Step 1, bust still take it seriously. If you did poorly on Step 1, a great Step 2CK score can open doors come residency apps.

Resources Used:
1) UWorld - try to get through everything if you can but its really hard in ~2 weeks of studying

2) USMLE Step 2 Secrets – Read through the entire thing front to back. It’s a relatively quick read and has lots of high yield things

3) Master the Boards for Step 2 – also a great book, another relatively fast read with lots of high yield information, does a great job at giving you the “whats the next management”, It had some topics that weren’t in USMLE Secrets

Step 2CS

General Strategy:

-Congratulations! You basically passed CS because you speak English!
-No, but in all seriousness UIC does a good job at preparing you for CS with the standardized patients during medical school. Take a 2-7 days before the exam and read through First Aid for CS and you should do more than fine.

Good Luck!