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

Member Profile

Kelly Liesse (2017)
Member Type: Student, Junior Member Campus: Chicago
Specialty: Pediatrics Program: Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center
Advice
General advice:
-Particularly during M2 year, I focused my studying on learning material for Step 1 and clinical rotations rather than focusing on narrow topics of individual lectures.

-I generally based my studying around outside sources during M2 year but focused on lecture handouts in the week before the test to understand nuanced facts and information from particular lectures. I didn’t use any of the recommended textbooks

-However if I heard good reviews about a lecture, I would watch it at 1.5-2x speed.
-I watched all the clinical correlation lectures for each class.
-Towards the end of M2 year, it’s important to balance class work with specific STEP 1 studying. Too much on either end with hurt your overall success
-Understand how you best study: in a group, alone, in a quiet place, in a coffee shop. Learn this before dedicated study time.
-Most days during my dedicated study time were consumed with UWORLD blocks w/ answers and reading through associated First Aid sections. I self-designed a study plan to ensure I looked through all the sections of First Aid (minus ethics and stats) by test day.
-I know that I burn out if studying in a single location for extended periods of time. During dedicated STEP studying, I spent 2 weeks in my apartment near campus alternating from the Harold Washington Library, to coffee shops, to the glass rooms in CMW. I spent another week and a half at my parents’ house (bonus: free food, support and laundry services).
-Find things to look forward to during dedicated study time—both short and long term. I.e. choose a place to eat lunch or go for a walk between morning and afternoon studying, plan an evening to see friends, book a post-STEP trip.
-I never studied more than 10-12 hours a day during dedicated time. Many days I onoly studied 5-6. Know your limits and when staring at pages or videos no longer adds to your learning.
-Do lots of questions (UWORLD, UWORLD, UWORLD: I completed it twice through) and practice exams. I did about 4-5 NBME exams as well as the two UWORLD simulated exams.
-When completing UWORLD questions, I read the answers in (nearly) their entirety and I would mark important points in the margins of my copy of FIRST AID. This was particularly helpful in my final pass-through of material because all my sources were consolidated.
-It’s important to build up stamina as you approach STEP 1. Two weeks before my test date, I started doing 3-5 blocks of UWORLD a day. I did these all in Timed Mode. The Saturday before my Thursday test date, I did back-to-back NBMEs. This prepared me for the rigors of an 8 hour test day and helped me understand when to plan my breaks for test day.
-2-4 days before STEP start to relax your schedule. This is the time to review last minute details, not to learn new material. Plan to do zero studying the day before your exam (note: this will be difficult if you’re anxious so plan something that requires you to be out of the house and away from your books).
-The night before: Know how to get to your test site and how long it will take, prepare a lunch and multiple snacks. Go to bed early (especially since it may take you awhile to fall asleep).
-Be flexible. It’s a long process and it’ll be filled with good and bad days. Be consistent in studying and you’ll do great!
Materials and subjects:
M2 year:
-Micro: during the year I relied completely on lecture material; for STEP, I refreshed using Sketchy Micro videos and first aid.
-Pharm: Kaplan videos and notes with supplements from the clinical colloquium lectures during the year; for STEP, I mostly used first aid and UWORLD questions
-Pathology: My first and most reliable resource was Pathoma- well worth the investment. I ended up watching about 75% of the path lectures to get better understandings of slide images. I did a second pass through Pathoma before the Path NBME in april and incorporated some of my notes from the margins into my copy of First Aid. I didn’t watch any Pathoma videos during dedicated study time.
-CPP: The only thing I did for this class was watch/re-read the Zar reviews. 100% enough to succeed in the course, on the CPP STEP questions and in life.
M1 year:
-Physio: I attended nearly all these lectures early in the year. Later I just read through the lecture powerpoints and supplemented information from BRS.
-Anatomy: I went to all the Saturday Reviews (RIP) and used this information along with online tutorials from youtube as my main study tool.
-Neuro: I was a neuro concentration in undergrad so I had a fairly strong basis for this subject coming in. I used the lecture powerpoints and used the atlas to pinpoint structures. Focus on neural pathways as this is how neuro was tested both in class and on STEP 1.
-Biochem: I used Lippincott’s illustrated review for biochem along with the Kaplan videos
-Immuno: Lecture material and Ray’s Notes (find them in your class drive!)
-Histo: This was the first class we had in med school and I regret how much time I spent studying for it. In retrospect, I would probably just review lecture material before the tests.
-Psych/behavioral science: I solely relied on First Aid
***ultimately, everyone has different learning styles and what works for one person may not work for another. Find what works for you and try not to compare your work, habits and progress to your friends and classmates.
Kelly Liesse
UIC College of MedicineM.D. Candidate
Class of 2017