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

Member Profile

Thomas Caradonna (2013)
Member Type: Student, Senior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Internal Medicine Program: University of California (UCLA)
Advice
Step 1 (Some brief notes for what worked for me):

Resource list:
USMLE World qbank (1 year subscription)
Kaplan qbank (1 month subscription)
Rapid Review Pathology (Goljan)
Goljan Audio & Slides
Microcards
Pharmcards
FirstAid (Not a huge fan of the book, but I did review it twice)
Rapid Review Biochemistry
BRS Physiology
BRS Anatomy
BRS Neuroanatomy
(HINT: buy older versions will save alot of money, for the purpose of these exams, hardly anything changes in 2 or 3 years)

NBME Exams 7 & 11 (Wow, these scores were nearly dead-on to my actual)
I also took one additional NBME exam at the Prometric site, to get familiar with the actual test environment. It's about $50 but very worthwhile. I think you can get the same test online at home for free, but there is no substitute for doing it at the site. (Plan your route, know the breakrooms, bathrooms, and checkin procedures, etc.)

I did NOT do any review course or watch canned videos(like Kaplan). (You shouldn't need them.)

The preparation for Step 1 really begins long in advance of the actual test. While taking the discrete science classes, you will want to review golan & first aid, as well as simultaneously doing USMLE qbank questions. That will help make the most of lectures and double dip for USMLE Step 1. By the time classes are over, you should have seen all the UWorld qbank questions at least once. Be sure to read the entire explanation for each question. Try to understand why the correct answers are correct, and what the question would need to be to make the others correct. You should be able to answer those questions as well to make the most of the question. In doing so, you will in effect get 5 questions out of 1.

I want to emphasize that I found Kaplan's qbank entirely under-rated. Explanations have references to First Aid (they tell you the page it's on for multiple editions) as well as have video lectures in the explanation. They are working hard to overcome the monopoly and reputation that USMLE World seems to have. So I would recommend doing both. The 1 month for kaplan is around $120, and there is a big AMSA discount, so not a bad deal.

Everyone has there own way of studying, I personally found it difficult to sit down for long periods of time and keep my concentration. So I set goals for myself to force myself on track. I knew I wanted to review every qbank questions at least twice, so I just did the math as to how many questions I would need to cover to meet that by one week of test day. I marked my progress on a physical calendar each day. That really kept me on track. As long as I was keeping the pace, I allowed myself to do whatever else I wanted, which was great stress relief. I always did my questions under timed mode, often in 2 block chunks, usually in the morning, which is a nice pace to get used to. You want to come up with a strategy for how you want to time your breaks (food and bathroom) for the real exam.

I would listen to goljan on my ipod which I loaded as an audiobook, allowing playback at faster speed. I would listen on my way to and from school, working out, etc. It actually got very enjoyable to listen to. I also started writing my own notes in a word doc, which I found extremely useful for Step 2 studying! (A lot of people write directly into First Aid to have a one-stop shop book).