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

Member Profile

Steven Pearson (2015)
Member Type: Student, Junior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Internal Medicine Program: The University of Chicago Hospitals
Advice
GENERAL STRATEGY:

My general approach to studying for step 1 was to really look at M2 classes and exams as preparation for the exam starting from day 1. Take your FA to print shop at the beginning of M2 year and have them cut the binding, 3 hole punch it, and stick it in a massive 3 ring binder. If you're OCD like me, use a labelled divider tab for each chapter for quick reference (it will save you time in the long run, trust me). Another general strategy that worked for me was to constantly be consolidating my study resources throughout the year so that by the time I got down to dedicated step 1 study time, I had just about everything I wanted to know in a coupe of places instead of scattered throughout dozens of books, qbanks, pdfs, audio tacks, etc. For me those resources were FA Step 1, Pathoma, BRS Physio, and Anki (flash card program) for pharm, micro, and biochem. I thought one of the hardest parts about studying was choosing which resources were worth my time. You don't have time to read and retain everything thats out there. Sample different books from friends, but pick a few resources you want to master and stick with them, as opposed to frantically skimming massive amounts of resources.

SUBJECT STRATEGIES AND RESOURCES

PATHOLOGY/PATHOPHYSIOLOGY (think of them as the same class):
- Pathoma
- Goljan audio
- Robbins Review Q Book
- WebPath

By far the most important subject for Step 1. The first couple of general sections before getting into organ based pathology are very important, they really lay the foundation for the rest of the course. Learn them well, Dr. Sattar does an excellent job covering them in Pathoma. Once we got to the organ based path, i started each section by reviewing the relevant physiology in BRS Phys. I found this strategy to be immensely helpful: you really need to know the physiology to be able to understand the pathology. Not only did this help learn path, but it was also a convenient study plan for physiology, one of the most important M1 classes for step 1. After finishing the BRS phys chapter, I would watch the Pathoma chapter taking notes in the book. After that I would do practice questions. I referenced Robbin via the library website to clarify topics and as a reference. Sometime later, usually after the exam, I would go through the FA chapter and transfer important stuff from BRS phys and Pathoma into FA (either by writing on the pages or inserting my own 3 hole punched note pages). This is when I would pretty much do a complete organ systems based review. I listened to Goljan audio later towards the end when studying for the NBME, these were good for integrating different subjects and would't be very helpful towards the beginning when just starting out with path. I personally didn't find Rapid Review Path to be very rapid or helpful at all.


PHARMOCOLGY:
- Kaplan Pharm
- Anki

Watched the Kaplan video and make anki notes for each drug. Make sure to include all the drugs on the drug list for class. Flash cards were the only thing that worked for me. You can't really cram for pharm so make sure to keep up with learning drugs and reviewing the ones you should already know. When it came down to dedicated step 1 time, anki was a gray way to quickly review pharm


MICROBIOLOGY:
- Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple
- Anki

The FA micro section is very good for reviewing and has most of what you need to know in it, but hard its to learn from. CMMRS was a refreshing read and a good way to learn the material initially. During crunch time, FA was my go to with my added notes.


BIOCHEMISTRY:
- Rapid Review Biochem
- Anki

Biochem was the M1 class that I needed to spend the most time reviewing. I hit it hard over winter break, getting through RR, the FA chapter, and most of the UWorld section. I made anki flashcards of all the biochem disorders and other high yield topics and review them throughout. FA and UWorld is definitely sufficient for biochem for step 1 if your really go through them each a couple of times. RR was a good reference, but definitely does not need to be mastered (written by Goljan and includes access to a good biochem qbank online).


PSYCHIATRY:
- BRS behavioral Science


FA chapter and UWorld questions are plenty sufficient. BRS can be reviewed closer to test time if you feel the need, but probably wasn't necessary.


ANATOMY/NEUROANATOMY:
- High Yield Neuroanatomy

I tutored anatomy, so that helped. FA and UWorld are honestly pretty sufficient for anatomy; Greys or even BRS anatomy would be a little overkill, good for reference though. High Yield Neuro is good if you feel you want a thorough review, but the FA chapter is pretty good for neuroanatomy if you reference and clarify topics you feel aren't fleshed out enough. You will see some brainstem slides on the exam, so be comfortable with those.


PHYSIOLOGY:
- BRS Physiology

Studied relevant chapters before beginning the organ system for path. This worked very well for me.


HISTOLOGY:

Anything important for histo to will either be covered in path or will be in FA.


IMMUNOLOGY:

FA and UWorld. The FA chapter is very good.

PRACTICE TESTS:

Do the practice NBME test that OSA gives to you when you get it, whether you feel ready or not. If you do it early, it will tell you if your on the right track with your study plan. If your take it early enough, you will have time to make adjustments before its too late. Take a couple every 2 weeks or so a couple months out to gauge your progress and build your test taking stamina. Step 1 is a LONG test, don't underestimate the fatigue factor. I also took a couple UWorld practice test, mostly because its another few hundred questions with answers. I found the score predictors from both to be pretty accurate (~10 points), but the test difficulties were very different. I think the actual step 1 was sort of a hybrid of the 2.

FINAL WORDS:

If you stick to a good study regimen throughout the year, by the time classes are over and you don't have to worry about class exams, you should be able to study 8 hours a day or so and take 1-2 days off per week. Don't kill yourself during this time or you'll burn out too soon. Eat healthy, get some exercise, and have some fun on occasion. Set a time each day that you will be done studying by and don't study after that time! I know it sounds cliche, but you'll hear it from everyone for a reason, it really makes a difference.