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

Member Profile

Lisa Zhang (2014)
Member Type: Student, Senior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Dermatology Program: St. Luke's Medical Center
Advice
The first piece of advice I have is keep your head up. Studying for Step 1 day in and day out will be extremely draining at times, but you will get through it...many people have :) There is life after this test! I also think having a positive attitude about the process, taking breaks, exercising, eating healthy and getting enough sleep are extremely important.

Here are the major resources I used:

-USMLE World Qbank (2x, did all the questions, redid the ones I got wrong; reset and repeated that same thing. on the second time around tried to be very strict with timing and almost always did random questions in timed mode.)

-NBMEs (I think I did all of the ones that were offered that had the extended feedback where they tell you specifically which areas you were weakest. Towards the end, did approx one a week. In total, probably did 5 of their 4 hour exams. Uworld also has 2 practice tests that you can buy. I heard it is better to save the Uworld ones for later because they're easier and kind of boost your morale towards the end. The makers of the Step exam also have a free one online that is easier, but this can also be a morale booster towards the end.

-Something you might want to do is sign up for an onsite practice test. This is where you actually go to the testing site and take a 4 hour practice test on their computers so you know what the layout of the site is, where the bathroom is, temperature etc on test day and nothing will surprise you. I highly recommend this. You can sign up for this on the same website you originally registered for the Step for an additional $50 or so. If you decide to do this, don't do their free exam online beforehand, because it's the same exam. On the practice test day, they will also give you an estimated score.

-Doctors in Training. I thought this was a pretty good resource because I like watching videos and having people talk to me. It's pretty much going to walk you through first aid (they read the entire book) as well as add on some information on the side with supplemental quizzes and some random cartoonish videos to keep things interesting. I did it twice. It's ok if the first time you only retain like 30% of the material, just try to get through it so the second time not everything is new. It takes about 2.5 weeks to do if you are really focused and do at least 6 hours a day...so beware it's kind of a lot to take on, but very worth it in my opinion.

-Goljan audiolectures. These are great, esp if you have the transcript of the audio. The book that he wrote is less useful and did not correlate exactly with the audio and it is too dense. Much better use of your time to just skim the blue short notes on the sides of the book. They have the most high yield info anyways.

-Pathoma. Also a very good resource for path, about 37 hours of video. In hindsigh, it probably would be helpful to do this along with the path course at UIC.

-For a few of the areas that I was not too strong in, ie Embryo, Neuroanatomy, I used Kaplan's books with their Video lectures. This also took significant time, I think the Neuro lectures alone were another 10-18 hours? So just plan accordingly...maybe take a practice exam earlier on to see if you have any significant weaknesses that you want to address.

-In general, I thought repetition was really important, so it's probably better to choose a few select books to look over multiple times rather than lots of books that you can only look over once. Try to make your own plan and stick to it. Don't get too caught up in what other people are doing and what books they are using because that'll just make you more anxious. Be confident in the plan you made and the amount of studying you put in. In the last week, just focus on getting enough rest and reviewing the most high yield info.

-For test day, make sure you bring enough layers of clothes in case it's too hot or too cold, earplugs and enough snacks.

Good luck!