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

Member Profile

Frances Lazarow (Samolowicz) (2013)
Member Type: Student, Senior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Internal Medicine Program: University of Illinois at Chicago
Advice
I'm going to tell you my study plan, but I think my biggest piece of advice is: don't let other people's study plans/advice freak you out. Once you have a plan, stop listening to other people, or you will go crazy adding in new books or new strategies at the last minute. Don't believe that there is one "right" way to study- if that were the case everyone would do it. It's the time you put in more than anything (that being said, if you read Gray's Anatomy 24 hrs/day for 8 weeks, you won't learn what you need to, so be reasonable). Focus on what has worked for you in the past, and build on that.

Also, don't neglect your coursework! Classes may seem tedious, but they are providing you the details you won't have time to learn if you just look at First Aid. Throughout my Step 1 studying, I kept up with my coursework the same way I had through M1 and M2 year.

I started around January practicum by making a plan. I set my test date (June 4), and worked backwards. Write out the subjects (don't forget biochem, immuno, etc!) and plan how many days you will need for each. I put this in my iCal so I wouldn't lose focus. Be realistic. Build in break time and catch-up days. I had a wedding to go to about 2 weeks before my test, but I planned to not study that entire day from the beginning, so I didn't feel guilty or freak out about it. Give yourself at least 1 day completely off per week. Build in a day or 2 to catch up just in case you fall behind. And each day, give yourself a break to go out to dinner, exercise, watch TV, go on Facebook, whatever.

My plan- I wanted to get through First Aid, Goljan Path, and Kaplan's MedEssentials book between January and April practicums. I divided up the pages for each week so I could accomplish this, and planned to do less the week before/of exams, etc. I also decided to do something like 100 UWorld Qbank questions/week (unsure on exact number). I built myself a binder with First Aid in an order that made more sense to me (like cardio and pulm near each other), and then put each matching chapter of Goljan inbetween. I tried to match it up with coursework as best I could. I annotated First Aid with info from lectures, Goljan, other books I used for class, Qbank factoids, etc. I actually never got to MedEssentials (I realized I didn't like the format very much). I also listened to Goljan audio whenever I could.
During practicum, I started with Biochem, immuno, epidemiology, basic pharm/path principles, and then launched into systems (cardio, pulm, GI, etc) by going through First Aid/Goljan again. I used UWorld and Kaplan's Qbank, made it through UWorld once and about half-3/4 of Kaplan. I used the Qbanks on timed test mode so I got used to the timing, but I only did 10-15 questions at a time so I didn't get too bogged down going through the answers. I also used some Kaplan lecture note books to supplement my studying, but I don't think they were THAT helpful (useful yes, but not make or break). I reserved the whole last week before my test for final review and Qbank.

I also worked in practice tests- I took the one UIC provided early on, then did both Qbank self-assessments, and my Kaplan Q-bank had 1-2 full-length tests. It's important to practice taking a full-length test at least once. It sounds silly, but you need to plan when you're going to take breaks and when you want to eat. The test is a marathon and you need to be prepared for that. I found I did better if I took a short break before the last block- so on test day, when I wanted to power through and just be done, I knew I needed that break. There's also an option to take a short practice test at the test center. I did this because I wanted to know what the set-up was like, how long it took to check in/out for breaks (longer than you think!), if it was cold/hot in the rooms, etc. The test they give you is much easier than the actual Step 1, but it was good logistical practice.
Sorry this was so long. Good luck everyone!
If you'd like to email me, feel free: frances1416@gmail.com