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

Member Profile

Sarah Joseph (2013)
Member Type: Student, Senior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Emergency Medicine Program: Rhode Island Hospital / Brown University
Advice
Step 1 advice varies from person to person. The most important thing to do is trust how you study. You got this far using the study style that works best for you. Don't try changing it now. It is very easy to feel like everyone else knows more than you do and is doing more than you when you are studying for step 1. Not getting overwhelmed by that is key!

Key points to studying:
-Make a study plan. Try not to be over-ambitious and always leave days/times off. You may think that the fear of Step 1 will be enough motivation to study for a month straight but lots of times it really is not. You need breaks and you need catch up days because you will fall behind.
-I have a very difficult time with routine and sticking to a schedule of any sort. For me, having a study partner was essential. We didn't really talk when we studied or even study the same things but we kept the same daily routine together and that really helped me stay on track. It also helps make studying a little less depressing!
-Do not get bogged down by using too many resources. I found that there was more than enough to do well in First Aid and Uworld - supplemented by looking up specific resources from M1/M2 year for topics that I was having difficulty with.
Resources used: First Aid, Uworld Q bank, NBME's -with answer keys, goljan audio with transcripts
-Do pay the $50 to do the practice test at the site you are going to. It makes the actual day a lot easier when you know where the bathrooms are, how long it takes you to check in and out each time, how exactly to get there. Just significantly reduces your stress levels.
-Do the NBME's with answers. I had multiple questions on my actual exam that I had seen verbatim on my NBME's. Do not underestimate the power of doing these!

My disclaimers on studying:
-I did well on my M1/M2 classes and tutored neuro and physio during my M2 year, so I had a more limited review of many M1 classes than I would have needed otherwise I think. Overall, studying for Step 1 came from studying for my classes (concentrate on knowing your stuff in CPP/Path).
-I am a very fast reader and learn best by reading information and not by audior or writing. This significantly reduces the amount of time I spent studying. Please take into account your own study style and what works best for you.


Study Specifics:
1st NBME paid for by school mid march - No real study prior to this. I wanted to establish a baseline and see which subjects were going to be most problematic for me. (biochem, pharm, and micro)
For the remaining part of the school year:
-I read First Aid through 1x after the 1st NBME just to know what kind of content it was generally focused on.
- I listened to Goljan while reading the transcripts (not an auditory learner at all)on every topic we were covering in CPP/Path. I also spent 1 day every weekend reviewing a prior topic from CPP/Path on Goljan (like cardio).
- I also started doing Uworld questions as co-related to our classes. I did all questions on untimed/tutor mode by specific subject (cardio path, then cardio cpp, then cardio pharm, etc). I found the repetition in that manner really helped me understand what the questions focused on and also helped me study for class exams.


Study Plan 4 Weeks after school finished:
Weekdays: 9 am -5pm (1 hour break for lunch)
Went through First aid topic by topic. I did not have a set method of studying for this. It depended on how comfortable I was overall with the topic. Generally, I would read through a first aid chapter fairly fast 1x. Then I would start doing Uworld questions related to that chapter on untimed tutor mode by topic and subsection. I would spend a lot of time making sure I understood exactly how each question was structured and even if I got it right exactly how all the other answer choices were wrong. Depending on the section it could take me up to 3 hours to do a block of 41 questions this way. After I finished doing this, I would reread first aid for that topic while memorizing it and solidifying everything I learnt from Uworld.
For the last 1 week before the exam. I shifted to getting up at 6:00 am and starting to study at 8 am, so that I could be more intune with the actual exam schedule.
8pm-10 pm: reviewed flashcards for micro and pharm, along with any other topic that I had struggled with during the day.

Saturday Morning each week, I took an NBME to monitor my progress (only took the ones which told you specifically which questions you got wrong so that I could check my answers). The 2 weeks before the exam I took an NBME/Uworld assessment back to back so that I could judge how long the actual exam was. I have a hard time sitting and concentrating for long periods of time, so getting used to this was really essential for me.

Sunday: Went over my NBME from the previous day. Made sure I understood all answers with my study partner. We generally tended to miss different questions just because we had very different skill sets so usually between the 2 of use we figured out the whole test. Usually, I did no other studying on Sunday.

Day before the exam: Much as I wish I could say I spent the day not doing anything. i was way to neurotic for this. So, I spent the last day memorizing all the quick facts in the last 10 pages of First Aid.

Really, just trust that your own study style will continue to work for you and ignore all the above advice!