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

Member Profile

Jurgis Alvikas (2015)
Member Type: Student, Junior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Surgery Program: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Advice
Plan your studying ahead of time. You should decide on your study materials early and start using them. See below for my choices.

One challenge will be to balance studying for M2 classes and Step 1. I put a lot of effort into Path and CPP but didn't study as much for micro, pharm or psych and my grades kind of reflected that. There's a lot of unnecessary detail in those classes (think Janda's micro lectures) that will not show up on Step 1. Try to get a feel for what Step 1 wants from you (by doing Uworld, NBMEs and FA) and filter out what's too much.

I'd recommend to combine all your resources into one study guide. I added all my notes from Qbanks, DIT, review books, Goljan etc. into my First Aid. Have this done by the time you start the dedicated Step 1 time. During the study month, focus on mastering your study guide in all its detailed glory cover-to-cover.

Do not neglect personal life and exercise. In April and May, I spent 2 nights a week hanging out with friends and family and exercised daily. Take a break when you know you need one.


Here are the materials I used:
- First Aid: I started using it in November while getting ready for Cardio/Heme CPP/Path exam and used it together with lecture material in spring. I had gone through it twice before the beginning of the dedicated study time in April and May. You should pay particular attention to subjects that keep giving you trouble (in my case: lysosomal storage diseases, GI hormones, apolipoproteins, psych drugs, diabetes drugs etc.) and continue to review them. I had about 30 pages of First Aid that I simply kept re-reading weekly and even daily right before the exam.

- DIT 2012: I went through the lectures and their suggested exercises. Added things I thought were relevant to First Aid.

- Uworld Qbank: I started Uworld in November, doing random questions on Timed Tutor from the start, finished it around March, finished all my marked questions again in April and May and went through the whole thing again in the last 3 weeks. As I was going through it the first time, I annotated my First Aid.

- Kaplan Qbank: I started Kaplan in October and finished it in May. Kaplan Qbank tends to have some irrelevant detail, so use your judgement. I ignored nit-picky questions.

- NBMEs: Did all of them to monitor my progress. It's the closest thing to actual USMLE Step 1.

- Goljan audio: I started listening to him in October. Listened to all of his lectures twice by the end of May.

- Dr. Zar's CPP reviews: listened to them during the year, added notes into First Aid.

- Kaplan Pharmacology: I used it when studying Pharm during the year. Added some of the Kaplan notes into my First Aid.

- Pathoma: I used it for path during the year and rewatched sections that I found difficult. When studying for Path NBME, you should rewatch at least the first 4 chapters of Pathoma.

- Red Robbins: I used it for path during the year.

- USMLE Step 1 Secrets: read through it once in April and May. By then, most things were familiar so I just paid attention to the odd details that I hadn't seen anywhere else and added them into First Aid.

- Microcards: decent resource but it did not work for me. I used them while studying micro in fall but then copied most of my notes into First Aid and just studied that.

- Pharmcards: for me, they worked even worse than microcards. Wasted too much time trying to memorize excessive amounts of detail. Use Thomas Chen reviews for the Pharm class and use First Aid/DIT/Uworld for dedicated Step studying.

I know this looks like a ton of material, but I stopped going to class in Jan (I was a sworn lecture attendee in M1 and Fall semester of M2) and that helped me manage my time better between M2 coursework and Step 1 prep. It's doable, good luck!