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

Member Profile

Sagun Desai (2005)
Member Type: Student, Junior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Internal Medicine Program: Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Advice
USMLE STEP 1 ADVICE

BOOKS I USED:
-****First Aid****
-BRS Pathology
-Lippincott’s Pharmacology
-Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple
-BRS Physiology
-High-Yield: Embryo, Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, Behavioral Science
-Lippincott’s Biochem (select sections)

To start off with, I did not take the Kaplan course at all. I did use Kaplan QBank, however. I read through all of the books above once, with the exception of BRS Pathology-which I read through twice, with my 2nd read-through being close to my exam date.
Specific things that seemed to work well for me:

I annotated like a "mad woman" in my First Aid book. It was the only thing I read the last week before my exam-and I really felt that it was a very comprehensive review of high-yield facts.

Once we were done with school/practicum, etc.-I tried to get myself on somewhat of a regular sleep schedule. Once I woke up, ate breakfast, etc.-I always started the day with QBank questions. I personally found questions much more tolerable than reading, and they were a nice "light" way to start off a long day of reading. I also usually tried to end the day with questions as well, as these were more productive for me than trying to stuff my brain with facts that I wouldn’t likely retain for longer than a minute. By the time I was ready for my exam, I had finished half of the QBank questions-about 1000 of 2000.

I had a "study buddy". Although we had very different studying strategies, we would always meet up at night for about 1-1.5 hours to go over sections of First Aid. Sometimes we would quiz each other on info we had annotated, sometimes we would just talk over mechanisms (e.g. for physiology) to review our understanding of the material at hand. At other times, we would basically just read sections to each other in an effort to stay awake. Regardless of what we did, it was a tolerable and different approach to absorbing the high-yield material.

Use online resources. For example, I had mentioned above that I had only read "select" sections of Lippincott's Biochem. The book is quite long. But for sections that I felt would be useful for the exam (e.g. carbohydrate/lipid metabolism, metabolic disorders, etc.)-I printed out images/pathways from online resources (things I found from doing a simple Google search) and marked them up using my own system. I was anal about color-coding and annotating on these images, but I pasted them into my First Aid book, and found them to be very useful during the course of my reviewing the week before the exam.