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

Member Profile

Karl Becker (2016)
Member Type: Student, Senior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Ophthalmology Program: Cook County Hospital
Advice
Rule number 1: Have fun when you study!! Otherwise it will be miserable, and that's no good.

Everyone studies different, and I had a way that worked for me, I'll tell you a bit about it. Heads up, I don't like to read, I studied out loud with a classmate (Thanks Shmug!), and I went to every single class M1 and M2 years.

Studying for class is the best thing to do to study for step 1 (and to do well in class, too). Many people don't believe that our lectures are very good or cover what you need to know, but I studied almost exclusively from class lectures and handouts for the first two years, and it worked pretty well for me. The other thing people say is that the lectures aren't tailored towards step 1, and, I'll just say I don't care if they are or aren't. Step 1 is just a test, and we need to be doctors for the rest of our lives. The reason we are students and not teachers is because we don't know what it is that we need to know, and that's why we go to a school. So learn what they teach you, it's the way the world works, and trusting our instructors is part of the deal of being a student. All that being said, study the lectures, go over every detail, look up everything you don't understand from the lecture, and make sure you understand it. My method was, if I cant explain it to someone else, I don't really get it, and need to look into it more. So learn everything from classes, and it'll get you far.

I also used and loved Picmonic. It's the best, it's basically first aid in picture form. Speaking of first aid, I didn't use the book at all. So don't let anyone ever tell you it's necessary, because it just plain isn't. I know it works for 98% of people, but I was one of the 2% who hated it for 10 minutes, and then said I wasn't looking at it again. Back to picmonic... I started with it the first year it launched, so there weren't these newfangled methods of going through it. It was just the picture and the explanations of the facts. Read through it all, and practice reciting everything on the card out loud with your eyes closed. If you cant run through it right after looking at it while studying it, then you won't know if on the test. It definitely helped me get tons of questions throughout the first 2 years, and I go back to it regularly on the wards to remember the strange details no one else does. Works pretty well if you ask me.

I also used pathoma, listened to Goljan everywhere I drove, figuring I would learn more that way than listening to music.

I had a study schedule starting with school in January, where I would study at school everyday 8am-10pm, Monday through Saturday, Sunday 12pm-10pm so that I could go to church in the morning. I took off maybe 2-3 days and another 4-5 evenings off between January and taking step 1 May 28. I took it early for my class, and had 2 weeks off. It was a good schedule I thought. I knew I'd be there everyday, and I figured out what I was going to study when I showed up. I did whatever I could tolerate, and would bounce around from topics when I got sick of it and didn't want to keep working. Picmonic was a good go to when I was really sick of everything else.

I made it through UWorld once, the whole time on tutor mode, untimed. I made a block of 10 questions at a time, and then Shmug, my study partner, and I would go through the questions 1 at a time discussing them. We would make sure we understood it, and then moved on. It took 1 hour to do 10 questions, and as much as we tried to go faster, we didn't. So accept your pace, and go with it.

I took all the practice NBMEs. I took the first in early January, to kick my butt into gear and remind myself why I needed to study, and then once a month to remind myself to keep studying. I leveled off with predicted scores in March, but I took the tests oldest to newest, and they say the old tests may overpredict your step 1 score, so maybe I was getting slightly better.

So you might not learn like I do, but if you have questions for me, feel free to ask!
K.a.r.l.Norbert.Becker@gmail.com