2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2016
Medical Student
Greetings everyone,

I'm a guy from Sweden with the dream of becoming a doctor (I'm not sure yet of what kind of doctor I'd like to be, that all depends on my USMLE-scores doesn't it?) in the United States. I've just began what we in Sweden call University, specifically a Medical University, with 11 semesters in which each one focuses on specific parts of what a doctor should know. The 11 semesters take 5,5 years to go through, which is if I'm not mistaken 1,5 years longer than the American semesters.

Semester 1-5 in my university are pre-clinical. Semester 6-11 are clinical. During the latter semesters I'll be doing exchange studies in the US in order to get letters of recommendation which supposedly increase my chances when I apply for residency after the 11 semesters. I'm also aware of the fact that European Universities do have a better reputation than schools from Asia, which also should be beneficial once I apply.

It is possible to do the step 1 of the USMLE-test here in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm. The problem though is that I don't know when I should do it. Some say (and this is coming from one other Swedish man that managed to achieve this dream of mine) that it's best to do the test after the pre-clinical semesters. But after some research, it seems like the corresponding pre-clinical semesters in the US involve way more clinical aspects than what they do in Sweden, thus it's suggested I do the test directly after semester 6 which would be in September 2019. This would give me the whole Summer to study, starting from middle of June to the end of August. During these 3 months, I can study up to roughly 600 hours in total, all devoted to this step 1 of the test. After some Google:ing, 500-600 hours of studies devoted to this step is the recommended time for the average student, yet I hear people who suggest preparing 1 year in advance. The latter would imply me beginning studying in September 2018, but maybe that doesn't involve students who already are studying medicine full time.

If it's to any help, semesters 1-5 are about The Professional Physician and Biological function, Biological function, Health and disease 1, Health and disease 2, Health and disease 3. I know that doesn't say much...

I've also heard that buying the book First Aid and a digital-program with alot of similar questions should be enough. Problem is though that First Aid seems to come out annually, and I have to know when I do the test because if I do it directly after the pre-clinical semesters I should obviously pick up the 2018 version since semester 5 ends at January 2019. But if I should wait and do atleast semester 6, I'm probably better off getting the 2019 version and do the test in September same year.

The information I've provided probably says nothing at all. I really do hope though that someone could guide me here a litte bit. If you need any additional information, for example what exactly we're learning in the pre-clinical semesters, I can provide that piece of information.