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

Member Profile

Abdulrahman Dia (2014)
Member Type: Student, Junior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Internal Medicine Program: The University of Chicago Hospitals
Advice
First, I really hope this advice helps you, and that you do well. But please realize this is only my perspective and it worked for me, but not necessarily you.


I think foremost without a doubt, the most important thing you can do as an M1 and M2 is to always make class top priority. Despite what some may believe, even in late Spring of M2 year, classes should be top priority. While some lectures are not good, at the end of the day the concepts that you will use on Step 1 will eventually come from class, there will be always things on Step 1 that you could have never studied for, but having taken class seriously for both M1 and M2 year, you will realize it will benefit you a great deal. So, before anything else, always keep up in classes, always make it top priority. Period. Always.

Another big point I think is to realize that using too many resources is very dangerous (even if your aiming to get a 300 on Step 1). You will be so tempted to use a million books that everyone and their brother have suggested are the key to doing super well on step 1. Please realize that you are better off mastering a few books super well, rather than superficially knowing a dozen books. Some people ended up spending so much time on random review books, DIT, video series, this and that, and a week before Step 1 had never even gone through First Aid once or finishing UWorld! Keep your studying resources to a minimum. No matter what strategy you end up using whether its Kaplan, DIT, blah blah review, If you haven't mastered the core material (First Aid and Uworld, see below), then your really missing out, only after that you should dabble in other resources. Minimize the number of resources and try to master them super well.

So what are the key resources to use? I think this is very established, First AID and UWorld are the core foundation of step 1 knowledge. Step 1 tests a lot of things in wacky ways and makes you think, but the majority of information that you derive your thought process from comes from First AID and UWorld. Your minimum goal should be to 1. Study very hard for classes, 2. Know First AID and UWorld cold. Literally every word of First AID matters, but its only facts, you yourself have to bring forth the thinking. I was a believer that if you haven't memorized First AID cold (with understanding) then your missing out big time (this requires going through First Aid a ton of times). In addition, Uworld is not a testing tool, its a learning tool, you need to know all the explanations (even to questions you got right). Also you haven't done UWorld, if you haven't done it Twice. You are really hurting yourself if you don't get through it twice.

During the school year I integrated First Aid and Uworld into my studies, while reviewing for lecture I would memorize that portion of First AID and do corresponding Uworld questions and taking notes on them (btw don't do UWorld questions on topics you've never learned). So beginning M2 year I would always be keeping up with classes and on the side trying to master UWorld and First Aid, 10-15 questions a day. This really helped me do better in classes while also efficiently "studying" for Step 1. Frequently I would review those First Aid sections and Uworld notes over and over.

So by April I had gone through First AId extensively and Uworld once (with notes). At this point I did another review of FA +Uworld again to master it. After that I began to use review books dedicated to subjects to refine any random gaps in knowledge. I think the dangerous part here is to try to master these review books without having first mastered the basic high yield info (FA +Uworld) and not knowing class material.

The Review books I used after trying to Master First Aid and Uworld are below:

Physiology: BRS Physio is a great book with the perfect amount of detail. Physiology is a huge part of step 1.
Anatomy: Many books are too detailed, Rapid Review is decent but still too much detail.
Biochemistry: No real good book to use, Rapid review is decent but too much detail, but integrates material well. I heard Kaplan biochem was very good.
Behavioral Science: BRS, or high yield, either is good, this is a big topic on Step 1!!
Neuroanatomy: High Yield Neuroanatomy
Pathology: Rapid review pathology is a great book, but it requires a lot of dedicated time, it is definitely not for everyone, it requires multiple reads to really appreciate its depth. I don't recommend it for everyone, but I really loved it, along with Goljan Audio.. Pathoma is a great alternative which is focused more on understanding path.
Pharm: Pharm Cards Lange, Pharm is very straightforward on step 1, mechanism focused.
Micro: Clincally Oriented Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple, Micro Cards, FA is really good here.
CPP: Zar Reviews

A few things about Step 1 specifically: Behavioral Science and "what should you say next questions" are all over step 1, do not take this subject lightly. Also lots of experiment questions pertaining to cell biology are popping up on exams. The majority of the exam is Path/CPP/Physio.

In the 4-6 weeks of dedicated time, as Ive said before its Key to hammer First Aid and Uworld into your brain, and then delve into review books. During this time its really worth going through the Official NBMEs sold online, I did them all because they really helped me think better and improve my test taking skills, they really do map your progress well, and surprisingly do predict your score, take one every 1-3 weeks. Also the UWorld practice tests are good practice too.

In terms of how to study, everyones different. Some people study 16 hours a day some people 6. Don't feel pressured to study an X amount of time. your far better off doing 7 intense hours of studying a day, then 16 distracted weak hours. Do what you can and what works for you, but when you study take it seriously and be super efficient with your time.

When should you schedule your exam? My only advice on this topic is to not take it the last day. Give yourself at least 5-6 days off.

I hope this really helps you and that you do great. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me at adia3@uic.edu for anything advice related, Step 1/classes/M3 year etc.