10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2005
Hey everyone

So I just started hardcore studying for Step 1 and been doing some Kaplan Questions, which have been kicking my *** (average score around 60%, sometime even less). I took an NBME today to see where I'm at and got a 230...completely blew me away 'cause I don't think that I know anything and was expecting only around 200. Is this a complete fluke? I feel that the NBME questions are a lot easier and straight forward than the Q bank questions...but are they actually representative of the Step 1 Questions? If so, then why does everyone suggest doing hard Q banks like USMLE World when the real questions aren't that tough? Can someone enlighten me?


Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Nov 20, 2004
Attending Physician
I'd say there's general agreement that the NBMEs represent the most accurate assessment of where you are at - exactly how accurate is somewhat variable. Check out the experiences thread - people usually post their NBME score so you can see how they correlate with the real thing. There's one every year - search for last years if you want more data.

I've heard it explained that there are a certain % of relatively straight forward questions, and some % of long stem questions that really require integration and problem solving. UWorld is preparing you more for the tougher questions, which is where you want to focus your energy, so that come test day, you're not caught off guard by a different way of asking a question, or a graph which tests physiology, etc. Most people seem to feel the real test is more of a mix of difficulty than UWorld.


The Dude Abides
10+ Year Member
Aug 8, 2005
Hollywood Star Lanes
Attending Physician
Would you recommend doing usmleworld over qbank, then? Or would it be better to do both?