Was/Is this thread helpful?

  • Yes, I plan on following this guide OR I pretty much did this when I studied

    Votes: 5 20.8%
  • Yes, I plan on using one/two tips you mentioned OR I did few when I studied

    Votes: 11 45.8%
  • No, but it makes sense and I can see how it can help some people.

    Votes: 4 16.7%
  • No (It doesn't make sense OR I fundamentally disagree on Step 1 Prep Strategy)

    Votes: 4 16.7%

  • Total voters
    24

Syncrohnize

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The purpose of this thread is to reduce repeat threads on SDN.
The target audience is starting M2s in a traditional curriculum (and now starting M1s!).
I wrote an abbreviated version of this in the Step 1 Scores thread.

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DISCLAIMER: I make a lot of major decisions based on my opinions, biases, and circumstantial evidence. I try to explain myself and some of the longer explanations are given separately after the guide.
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Guide for Starting Step 1 Prep during Thansgiving of M2 or that Holiday Break + See Post 35 for [New] 2018 update that allows you to start Step 1 Prep in Year 1!

1. Your School's Curriculum:

Don't start with UFAP. Commit to your curriculum and do your best on class exams. It will teach you to think, as opposed to memorize HY information. The only tool you should consider as equal to your curriculum is UWorld.

2. Pathoma:
When Pathology starts, start Pathoma by using it as a primer (see exp. 1) and then watch class lectures. No need to make ANKI flashcards or memorize anything from it. Just listen and understand. During dedicated, review sections you need to see again. I recommend the Intro chapters, Heme/Onc, GI, Reproductive, and Dermatology. These are the subjects where there's lots of straight pathology. He does a great job with other sections, but they're not comprehensive.

3. UWorld:

I would wait until Winter break to start and use UWorld as your primary bank (see exp.2). Go in Organ System/Tutor Mode. The order doesn't matter, but coordinating with your curriculum is ideal. Complete 40 q/day during this time period. Once school starts up, complete 20q/day if you start dedicated in May. If your school starts dedicated anywhere earlier than April, consider starting UWorld earlier. If your curriculum beats you to the next unit, use that to your advantage and create mixed blocks with all previously learnt organ systems. This encourages spatial repetition. You should be finished by UWorld by dedicated, but don't panic if you're not. During dedicated, redo UWorld in random/timed mode and calculate your pace needed, but I feel 80q/day is ideal. If you realize you won't finish, prioritize the Pathology (vs. Physiology, Pharmacology, etc.) content because these I felt were the toughest. Many say to prioritize incorrects but I felt I knew the incorrects very well, but make your own call there. Aim to finish one week prior to your exam.

Lastly and most importantly is that UWorld is a teacher, not an assessment. It will teach you everything you need to know about Step 1. Focus on doing it at your own pace and understanding from it. If someone organized it in the form of a textbook, it'd be a lot of information. Never let it scare you. Also, never think that you need more time reading review books (BRS, Clinical Micro Made..., etc.) before you hit UW.

4.) First Aid:
During your first pass, keep USMLE First AID next to you on a book stand (https://tinyurl.com/y6vbhqxk) and write a max of 1 abbreviated sentence (approx. 5-6 words) per question while still reading each answer and explanation of Uworld carefully (see explanation 3). I believe tackling First Aid should start during dedicated after you've annotated UWorld into it once (see explanation 4). During your last 4 weeks now that your brain is in cram mode, watch a lecture series. It should carry more meaning now and try to remember back to questions you did in UWorld. I personally recommend a video series to make it easier. First AID RX vs. DIT vs. Beyond the Boards (something new I don't know too much about) are your options as they follow First Aid well. Then the week before the exam, you can just straight up focus on reading FA. If you believe in ANKI, there's Brosephelon's deck and there's a new one called Zanki which I've read is more comprehensive, but has its own quirks.

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Explanations:

1. Pathoma gives a general CONCEPTUAL overview, Sattar provides great ways of thinking about things, but the source lacks comprehensiveness as a whole. Start with it to get an understanding of what's important in your head so you can focus on collecting other facts during lectures. I honestly believe that if you stream it with classes and only refer to it as needed during dedicated, it's fine. No need to go hardcore and memorize every sentence of it. It's there more to promote a conceptual framework or level of understanding all of us liked so much in undergrad classes.

2. RX is pretty much the same stuff as Uworld but made in a laughably basic way that correlates with First Aid, but requires minimal board thinking that Uworld or the real test requires. Many use it for the sake of tradition and because they think the more questions the better, but I frankly think Uworldx2 is all the questions you need. Your study time is important! Get right to the meat! There's never a point you'll feel ready, just jump right in.

3. I initially felt editing FA is a waste of time because of the constant page flipping and searching but I think if you commit to it, it'll get faster (mark chapters with stickynotes). You should also to read peripheral tid-bits here and there (for example, if you get a hypoglycemic baby with LDH, helatomegaly, you may want to read about all the Glycogen Storage diseases instead of just Von Gierke. Many opt to take First Aid to Kinkos and put it in a binder so they can stick pages between, but I think once you start doing that your creating a work of art rather than studying for Step 1. (A large theme for me about Step in general was the more unorganized I felt, the more efficient I was).

4.) Why hold READING First Aid (obviously still reference it) until dedicated? The idea is that First Aid is a memory jogger. The book basically a list of condensed notes from Uworld, shelf exams, and possibly leaked real exam questions and shelf exam questions written in the form of tables/memory devices. The point of it is to look at and be like...oh yeah, I remember that from a Uworld question or a lecture from class...oh and to be complete, what was the male analogue of this structure... *flip a page*...oh yeah, now I get it! I see it as a course pack for the summer that you memorize in the time after you spend doing Uworld. Also, for circumstantial evidence, all my friends who did better than me did Uworld during class, had 240+ on their first diagnostic NBME before dedicated without touching FA, proceeeded to drill first aid over the dedicated period, and then killed Step 1. To me, this just feels like the right way.

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Other sources:

USMLE Step 1 Secrets: A cute little book with great explanations. I see it as Uworld explanations without the MCQs. It's a great pre-read before lecture but not required.

Robbins: A great comprehensive source but I believe too much to handle on top of classes.

Goljian: A very popular Pathology source pre-Pathoma (it is more comprehensive compared to Pathoma but it's full of very low yield details). Also, it's hard to read and there's no one there to talk you through significantly lowering the chance you'll get thru it.

Lange Flash Cards for Pharm/Pathology: Don't waste your time. A lot of the stuff they bold is non-specific and applies to lots of drugs/pathologies and it gets confusing.

HY Books: Don't waste your time. If you're going thru your course packs of your curriculum, you will learn more than what's in these books.

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Common Worries/FAQs:

1.) OMG, I don't remember Anatomy/Biochem/Neuroanatomy/Embryo and haven't covered it in ages...Do I need review book?

No. Trust UWorld and your curriculum to repeat the most highly tested concepts in these areas repeatedly. There are like 8 things (exaggerating) UWorld tests in anatomy and they are basic things like the Peroneal nerve, Gluteus Medius Innervation, Abdominal Blood Supply, Cranial Blood Supply, Brachial Plexus, and Reflexes/Dermatomes/etc. You'll see them come up on Uworld over and over. As for the real exam, yes there may very well be 1-2 extremely low yield anatomy Qs on it but that's where you rely on recalling small details from your school's curriculum, not reading an entire review book passively.

2.) Everyone says the exam is a lot harder now. I need to do something extra.

No, this is a lot like the MCAT where everyone post exam was like OMG, the real exam was harder than AAMC 11 and that exam was hard as ****, remember the Ebola passage MD C/O 2018? The real exam is a mix of Uworld style questions, NBME style questions, and a bunch of stuff from left field.

3.) My class work is too overwhelming and I can't study for Step at the same time.

I already said this but this bears repeating...focus on the classwork then and try to get as many Uworld questions done on the side. If you do this schedule right, you shouldn't have trouble knocking out 20Q a day. If you can't afford to take your eyes of the school course pack you are doing something wrong there and need to take more breaks or get thru the school material faster. While spending 12-16 hours a day on just the course pack is not as bad as only using Pathoma and FA, it'll hurt you in that you won't be doing Uworld.

4. First Aid/Pathoma/Uworld is boring, nothing is sticking and nothing stands out to me anymore.

You're burnt out. Take a break and come back to it tomorrow. If you want, use a video series to help you with FA.

5. I don't feel ready for questions just yet, I want to do something that comprehensively covers the material or else I'll just be wasting questions and time.

You just have to start Uworld somewhere and my advice is to jump right in at Winter break. Uworld can either be a scary assessment and cramming tool under the constraint of 5-6 weeks or it can be a spatial learning source, textbook, and formative feedback tool that you use throughout M2. I don't know about you but I prefer the latter option. As for the notion of not being ready for questions yet, everyone thinks like this but it's a bad mentality because you aren't going to have time to read a chapter of a review book and do classwork on top of it. There's only enough time to do Uworld and it's structured. You'll know you accomplished your goal for that day if you finished 20 questions. It's ok to start with consistent low scores. I started with 40s-50s and worked my way up to 60s-70s after a few weeks and then even days before my exam I was still somewhere in the 70-80s even after seeing the questions once before.

6. Everyone on SDN is emphasizing FA, UWorld, Sketchy, Pathoma, Goljian, etc. and to skip school resources and they're posting 270s on SDN. I know plenty of these people in person and on SDN and they're all annoying and loud on this forum and are probably still regulars on the USMLE Step 1 experience thread despite taking it 2+ years ago. They probably also killed the MCAT and are naturally gifted at taking MC exams and are using that as a platform to endorse this "UFAP-is-life, 270-is-goalzzz" religion. This guide is more or less meant for typical medical student who wants to live a more or less normal medical student life and still score above average by good margin. I would say if you take this advice, you should set yourself up for at least a 240 (which sounds bad, but it will get you into almost every specialty).
 
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ananasmed

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As an M2 just beginning Christmas break and wondering where the heck I'm supposed to start with all these resources, THANK YOU!

My curriculum is not systems based, but rather old school subjects (i.e. Path, Micro, Pharm, etc. are all separate courses that sometimes overlap in terms of system being covered, and other times are completely out of sync). Do you think it would be best to just follow your advice and start UWorld with whatever I've covered already in pathology?
 
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Syncrohnize

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As an M2 just beginning Christmas break and wondering where the heck I'm supposed to start with all these resources, THANK YOU!

My curriculum is not systems based, but rather old school subjects (i.e. Path, Micro, Pharm, etc. are all separate courses that sometimes overlap in terms of system being covered, and other times are completely out of sync). Do you think it would be best to just follow your advice and start UWorld with whatever I've covered already in pathology?
My curriculum is normal (so physio, biochem, anatomy, neuronatomy, genetics, nutrition) during the first year and micro/immuno/pharm/foundation of pathology and then organ system pathophysiology during second year. At the point of Winter break last year, we had finished Cardiolovascular Pathophysiology so at that point the all of the CV system had been fully covered. I suggest you start the Uworld for whatever is analogous for you! Geez though, there's never a point where you guys go through pathology by system?
 
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ananasmed

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My curriculum is normal (so physio, biochem, anatomy, neuronatomy, genetics, nutrition) during the first year and micro/immuno/pharm/pathology and then organ system pathophysiology during second year. At the point of Winter break last year, we had finished Cardiolovascular Pathophysiology so at that point the pathology of the CV system had been fully covered. I suggest you start the Uworld for whatever is analogous for you!
Okay. My curriculum is not all that different in terms of what is covered first vs. second year, just minus the organ systems aspect. I'll try it out using path as my "landmark," I think, and will see if there's too much I haven't covered yet. Thanks again for the guide!
 
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Syncrohnize

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Okay. My curriculum is not all that different in terms of what is covered first vs. second year, just minus the organ systems aspect. I'll try it out using path as my "landmark," I think, and will see if there's too much I haven't covered yet. Thanks again for the guide!

You can try that but I'd advise going by system and what you've covered because if you haven't covered something you lose a little bit of the point of the question which is to see what your EDUCATED initial impression is compared to the correct answer so you know how you need to alter your thought process. Of course, you'll run into this going systems based because the school material won't always correlate with UWorld but if you haven't done any renal, for example, getting lots of renal questions will be a bit less than optimal in my opinion since there's so much random pathology. Also, going through things by systems makes flipping through First Aid to annotate things much easier at first . Going discipline-based will be more scattered. Also, when you go by systems, you are hammering at one subject with continual reminders of that subject as you progress kind of like a mini-course in Cardiovascular Science for example. If you try to tackle pathology at once, I think it'll be harder to master.

I'm sure at this point some organ system (likely cardiovascular or heme) have been covered fully? I would start with that. Or perhaps you could start with Micro/Pharm as there are only so many bugs/drugs? Cardiovascular would have been a perfect start for me because we'd just done it and it had 300 questions so I wouldn't finish it but I'd still be able to complete a ton of questions.
 
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ananasmed

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You can try that but I'd strongly going by system and what you've covered because if you haven't covered something you lose a little bit of the point of the question which is to see what your initial impression is compared to the correct answer. Also, this makes flipping through First Aid to annotate things much easier at first.

I'm sure at this point some organ system (likely cardiovascular or heme) has been covered fully? I would start with that. Cardiovascular would have been a perfect start for me because we'd just done it and it had 300 questions so I wouldn't finish it but I'd still be able to complete a ton of questions.
Fully covered in terms of pathophys or in terms of EVERYTHING? Cardiac might be the closest for me, since we just had a path exam on cardiac and vascular, but we haven't fully covered cardiac drugs yet in pharm for example. We've also done heme pathology, and some drugs, but not cancer drugs for instance. Perhaps this is why beginning board prep has seemed like such a big hurdle :(
 
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Syncrohnize

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Fully covered in terms of pathophys or in terms of EVERYTHING? Cardiac might be the closest for me, since we just had a path exam on cardiac and vascular, but we haven't fully covered cardiac drugs yet in pharm for example. We've also done heme pathology, and some drugs, but not cancer drugs for instance. Perhaps this is why beginning board prep has seemed like such a big hurdle :(
Oh, ok. No need to worry, that's perfect! I would say just do Cardio then and uncheck the Pharm box on disciplines. That will leave you golden until break ends because while there's lots of questions on anti-arrhythmics, there's also tons of Hypertrophic CM, Heart Failure, etc. From there, keep playing that clever box-checking game until your curriculum catches up. You can still follow this guide but you'll have to be more organized and aware of which boxes you check and uncheck before starting a test. CAREFUL, once a test is opened it can't be put back into the unused column and those question will stay in that test. Of course you can always suspend the test and come back and answer those questions later but it's kind of annoying to restart a test later you are not scheduled to do.
 

ananasmed

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Oh, ok. No need to worry, that's perfect! I would say just do Cardio then and uncheck the Pharm box on disciplines. That will leave you golden until break ends because while there's lots of questions on anti-arrhythmics, there's also tons of Hypertrophic CM, Heart Failure, etc. From there, keep playing that clever box-checking game until your curriculum catches up. You can still follow this guide but you'll have to be more organized and aware of which boxes you check and uncheck before starting a test. CAREFUL, once a test is opened it can't be put back into the unused column and those question will stay in that test. Of course you can always suspend the test and come back and answer those questions later but it's kind of annoying to restart a test later you are not scheduled to do.
Awesome, thanks for the tip about opening up the tests - I wouldn't have known!
 

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Should I save my first pass of UWorld for random mode closer to dedicated study time, and instead use Kaplan or USMLERx for system by system studying until than? I'm planning on a full pass through Goljan, Pathoma, Sketchy Micro/Pharm, and FA for topics our curriculum has covered so far over these next 2 weeks of break (and I've already used most of that for my first pass alongside class material for our exams), but haven't begun QBank yet

EDIT: Is it worth annotating USMLERx or Kaplan into FA, or only UWorld?
 
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Syncrohnize

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Should I save my first pass of UWorld for random mode closer to dedicated study time, and instead use Kaplan or USMLERx for system by system studying until than? I'm planning on a full pass through Goljan, Pathoma, Sketchy Micro/Pharm, and FA for topics our curriculum has covered so far over these next 2 weeks of break (and I've already used most of that for my first pass alongside class material for our exams), but haven't begun QBank yet

EDIT: Is it worth annotating USMLERx or Kaplan into FA, or only UWorld?
Alright so seems like we have some differences in strategy. You seem insistent on using an alternative Qbank for a first pass and see some use with Goljian.

Just to reiterate the reasons behind using UWorld, there is a good amount of information to LEARN that is just in UWorld and the real exam often has questions like UWorld with similar terms in the answer choices. For RX (can't speak to Kaplan but heard its full of minutiae) it's literally as if someone took FIRST AID and converted it into a superficial QBank so there is nothing to annotate in FA. If you insist on using it, don't take any notes and get through it. I really recommend UWorld though because it's so much of a better teacher. One reason I made the mistake of not using it was because I tried to apply my MCAT study strategy where I'd "save" the best questions for the best time but in retrospect it was the wrong approach as UWorld is much a teacher as a practice assessment. Of course, you'll find lots of opinionated people who will tell you they did UWorld once during dedicated and scored 270+ and that this plan is nuts but after going through it, I believe this is the simplest, least stressful, and most efficient method to approach studying. It frontloads the work so you're not going crazy during dedicated because there's no way I could do most of UWorld (70q/day) and have time for FA concurrently if I started it during dedicated. Most people I know who used UWorld had great success in their classes and had great scores on NBMEs before dedicated even started and these are people I see as hard-working but not exceptionally brilliant.

Lastly, your break plan seems overambitious but I have to acknowledge I know nothing about your work ethic or schedule.



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BillrothI

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Thanks for this, @Backtothebasics8 !!!

Just to be clear, your strategy was as follows:

1) Do 10-20 UWORLD questions/day (only on topics and systems already covered in class) and annotate the important information from the explanations into FA.

2) Spend the rest of your free time on Pathoma and Sketchy?

3) Ramp up UWORLD questions to 50-70 questions/day during dedicated and do a complete pass through FA.

Is that all there is to it? If so, does Firecracker and/or Bros deck fit in anywhere?

Thanks again!

-Bill
 
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Syncrohnize

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Thanks for this, @Backtothebasics8 !!!

Just to be clear, your strategy was as follows:

1) Do 10-20 UWORLD questions/day (only on topics and systems already covered in class) and annotate the important information from the explanations into FA.

2) Spend the rest of your free time on Pathoma and Sketchy?

3) Ramp up UWORLD questions to 50-70 questions/day during dedicated and do a complete pass through FA.

Is that all there is to it? If so, does Firecracker and/or Bros deck fit in anywhere?

Thanks again!

-Bill
Good questions. First glad you recognize it's my personal strategy and not the best way to do things.

For point 1, yes try to get 15-20 done per day in the next two weeks. The reason for this is two-fold. One is that it's break and if you try to set up some kind of grand plan to review everything during break, it's not going to fall through. Second is that since it's break you will be more relaxed and have energy to iron out the kinks of this strategy (where everything is in FA, how UWorld works, etc). The goal at this point is to do 15-20 questions in 4 hours and slowly over the course of these two weeks narrow that time to completion to 2 hours so when you go back to school this plan will be more feasible so you can concurrently learn new material from your curriculum.

For point two, you do Pathoma before classes (again there's a specific reason for that, read my post). For sketchy I'd agree that that can be done in your spare time.

For point 3, exactly. You can maintain this pace while spending hours with first aid each day because this will be your second pass. (20qs/day*30 days*4 months = about the number of UWorld questions)

Yup that's all there is to it. I know it's a lot but frankly I think it's comprehensive. I'm not a fan of AnkI (despite trying to using it a lot and getting very little from it) and I've never touched Firecracker. It's a niche that probably requires a learning curve which is just another time sink. If you want to do one of those, you should start earlier. I'd say if you're interested in Anki, save that for dedicated and use it along with a video series and make lots of time for it because it takes a long time. Again you'll get the occasional ANKI buff who swears by it and says it got them their 270, but the point of this plan is to simply create a framework for studying using the mainstream resources. The only non-mainstream resource I suggest is a video series to go along with First AID during dedicated. ANKI fanatics will probably tell you that if you organize it throughout the whole year you can get away with 20-30 cards per day or something but for me, I found that it was unorganized and decoupled memorization from understanding which wasn't helpful.


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@billrothl

Hey noticed your test is in May instead of late June or something. No problem, bump up your questions from 20 to 25 and don't worry about finishing your second pass. Prioritize Pathology questions and your weak areas on your second UWorld pass.


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BillrothI

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Thanks, BttB8. I have some Pathoma to catch up on, as I didn't manage to do it alongside class material in a couple of the previous blocks. I'll probably knock those out over break, and then do the other chapters with the corresponding lectures between Jan-March.

Other than that, I think I'll focus on UWorld, as per your suggestion, and do some Sketchy here and there to break up the monotony. I have been doing Firecracker since last summer and will probably keep at it, since it's not a huge time commitment (maybe an hour or so per day).

The curriculum at our school is kind of funky, so I'll have to explore the UWorld interface a bit to figure out how to make it work for me.

Appreciate all the hard work you put into sharing this strategy!

-Bill
 
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Syncrohnize

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Thanks, BttB8. I have some Pathoma to catch up on, as I didn't manage to do it alongside class material in a couple of the previous blocks. I'll probably knock those out over break, and then do the other chapters with the corresponding lectures between Jan-March.

Other than that, I think I'll focus on UWorld, as per your suggestion, and do some Sketchy here and there to break up the monotony. I have been doing Firecracker since last summer and will probably keep at it, since it's not a huge time commitment (maybe an hour or so per day).

The curriculum at our school is kind of funky, so I'll have to explore the UWorld interface a bit to figure out how to make it work for me.

Appreciate all the hard work you put into sharing this strategy!

-Bill
Glad to hear you're adopting some of my advice!!!



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Dro133

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Hi, ignorant and naive MS1 checking in. So if I understand correctly, this is a guide for MS2's currently on their winter break, correct? Do you have any advice for a current MS1 as to what resources they should start using at this point? So far I've just been using FA/Pathoma alongside my classes. Are there any other resources that you recommend getting a start with early, such as firecracker or sketchymicro/pharm?

Thanks for the write-up btw!
 
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Syncrohnize

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Hi, ignorant and naive MS1 checking in. So if I understand correctly, this is a guide for MS2's currently on their winter break, correct? Do you have any advice for a current MS1 as to what resources they should start using at this point? So far I've just been using FA/Pathoma alongside my classes. Are there any other resources that you recommend getting a start with early, such as firecracker or sketchymicro/pharm?

Thanks for the write-up btw!
So this post wasn't really targeted for M1s, mainly M2s. I would say you take the break the school gives you literally.
 
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DoctorLacrosse

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thanks for expanding on a lot of your already very helpful advice. will definitely be incorporating a lot of it.
 
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t5Nitro

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I'm half way through Rx. I wanted to get it done over break. Do you recommend that I pound out 100 qs/day and get through it prior to starting world or just get right into it? I don't think that I want to waste it having already bought it. I was, however, going to purchase another Qbank other than World, and I'm glad I read this thread. Thanks!
 

failedatlife

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I can't stress this enough but commit to your curriculum. I was often tempted to jump to Pathoma/First Aid but held myself from doing it. The real exam has lots of details that are not in any source and that's where you need to trust your curriculum which is probably packaged in order to repeat certain high yield topics over and over. Do not prioritize any Step 1 resources (with maybe the exception of Uworld at times) to your curriculum. Strive to do the best on your in-house exams. To put it briefly, your in-house exam SCORES don't correlate to your Step score, but I believe the EFFORT you put into your in-house exams does.
Can't be understated. I got burned on this badly. There was a lot on my test that was not in the resources listed. Some my school didn't teach, some they might have but I ignored in lieu of the more "high yield" stuff (and budgeting time w/ writing papers). This ended up ruining my life. Moral of story, know the big resources, but there is going to be stuff not in these sources that is on the real deal.
 
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I'm half way through Rx. I wanted to get it done over break. Do you recommend that I pound out 100 qs/day and get through it prior to starting world or just get right into it? I don't think that I want to waste it having already bought it. I was, however, going to purchase another Qbank other than World, and I'm glad I read this thread. Thanks!
As much as I don't want to heavily influence a stranger's plan in the case I screw you up, my recommendation would be to start Uworld. Also, even if you were to do Rx, 100Q/days is abusing that source too. I highly doubt you'll manage that pace and if you do a lot of it will Ben too fast. A beginner should be spending 10 minutes per question in my opinion regardless of the source because a question at its core is a differential or series or possibilities you need to learn a little about in each question.

Just my opinion.
 
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How high yield is it to purchase the pathoma book to go along with and add in notes to the lectures. Is it better to just focus on the lecture content instead?
 
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ortnakas

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How high yield is it to purchase the pathoma book to go along with and add in notes to the lectures. Is it better to just focus on the lecture content instead?
Having the book (and its pictures) to annotate and draw in will make watching the videos easier and make your life much more pleasant. Worth the cash.
 
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not sure if this question was answered but when I start doing UWorld now should I do the questions not timed? Also what's tutor mode? Basically if I use UWorld as a learning tool first pass should I not time my questions? Then when my dedicated starts and I do a second pass of UWorld is that when I should time my questions?
 
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Syncrohnize

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not sure if this question was answered but when I start doing UWorld now should I do the questions not timed? Also what's tutor mode? Basically if I use UWorld as a learning tool first pass should I not time my questions? Then when my dedicated starts and I do a second pass of UWorld is that when I should time my questions?
Tutor Mode is untimed and reveals the answer/explanation right when you submit a question. Untimed is the same, but doesn't give you answers until you complete all 40. For dedicated, use Mixed Timed Blocks and then before you review all of them, skim all 40 of them and figure out which ones you need to dissect vs. skim.
 
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AlteredScale

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@Backtothebasics8 thanks for making this.

I'm not planning to get UWorld until another few weeks (when I get my disbursement back haha). Should I still focus in on doing 25 questions tutor?

I've been working on Kaplan QBank as well, doing about 10-15 since October-ish.
 
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Syncrohnize

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@Backtothebasics8 thanks for making this.

I'm not planning to get UWorld until another few weeks (when I get my disbursement back haha). Should I still focus in on doing 25 questions tutor?

I've been working on Kaplan QBank as well, doing about 10-15 since October-ish.
Ya quit Kaplan and start UWorld. Good that you did it though, it may help with some stuff. 25 sounds about right, GL


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Ya quit Kaplan and start UWorld. Good that you did it though, it may help with some stuff. 25 sounds about right, GL


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Thanks! Did you do a lot of color coding when annotating into FA from UWorld? Also did you go through UWorld multiple times?
 
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Thanks! Did you do a lot of color coding when annotating into FA from UWorld? Also did you go through UWorld multiple times?
All my annotation in UWorld and First Aid (highlighting, using sticky tabs) was a waste and solely for the purpose of relieving pent up neuroticism. I went thru UWorld 1.6-1.7 times but as I mentioned somewhere I didn't really design this based off what I did.

If you're low on time because you're starting late you can afford an incomplete second pass. The important thing is you're getting exposed to the differentials and jogging your memory continuously before the exam.

If you can't complete the 2nd pass, prioritize Pathology and your weaknesses (but take each individual assessment with a grain of salt, one NBME told me my Cardio was weak, but it really wasn't on my real exam)

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AlteredScale

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All non-verbal annotation in UWorld was a waste and solely for the purpose of relieving pent up neuroticism. I went thru UWorld 1.6-1.7 times but as I mentioned somewhere I didn't really design this based off what I did.


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Appreciate the honesty haha. Thanks again for the advice!!!!
 

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@Backtothebasics8 My curriculum has already gone through most of the organ systems except for Reproductive/Psych and it is an integrated curriculum where we learn the specific pathology/pharm/micro/etc within each individual organ system (not traditional). I was thinking about starting Uworld now with the start of Spring semester, but I am concerned that I haven't really gone over topics such as Cardio, Neuro, Renal, etc for about a year now and most likely have forgotten a lot of the specifics (bugs, pharm, etc). Would you still suggest starting Uworld because it is such a great learning tool despite the fact that I most likely need a refresher on a number of topics?

EDIT: Also, how good of a resource are the USMLE First AID videos? I was thinking about supplementing with them as well because videos really help solidify material for me (rather than reading from a textbook).
 
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kb0275

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What score did you get? I couldn't find it
 
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[New]: 2018 Update

Make the following modifications/additions to the plan.

1.) Now there's stuff you can do in M1! Download the full USMLE Step 1 Zanki deck (find it, idk where it is). Start off by using it as a reference by searching stuff that you learn about in your curriculum and add the cards you fully understand to your rotation and start using Zanki as a long term spaced repetition tool. I checked it out and not only is it far more comprehensive than Bros, but it contains more explanations. Continue until your Step 1 exam and there should be an inverse relationship between how much you're using it as a reference vs. a spaced repetition tool over time.

2.) A lot of people that I showed the Rx videos to started using them as a tool for during the year. That's not what I initially told them to do, but if you're going to be like that, use Beyond the Boards instead in the same manner I advise to use Pathoma in the original guide (before the lecture that copies the exact topic and no need to Anki it). The reasoning is that like Sattar, he provides a big picture conceptualization. This is actually perfect because he simplifies topics so you can use the framework he builds to them compartmentalize the detail heavy lectures your school throws at you. You used to be able to do this with Pathology, but now complex physiology got added to the mix with Beyond the Boards!

3.) Avoid QBanks in Year 1. They're meant for people with a comprehensive understanding of basic science. I get people are antsy, but if you're going to do something, I believe in committing to it fully and investing in it. You're not going to be able to do that with a USMLE Step 1 QBank in M1 because the question require understanding of normal/abnormal and even if you have an integrated curriculum, often multi-organ systems are tested so you're just better off starting a bank around the time I suggest.

4.) Skechy (Micro only): This was more of a 2016 thing where I had it listed as an "other resource" when it really should have been core, but I have added it here and now officially call it a core-resource as it always should have been. Watch all the videos AFTER you cover the bugs in class. Doing it before will lull you into complacency and make you think all you have to know is the high yield facts they talk about. Instead, use it as a way to consolidate what your initially tried to retain in class and could not (basically use it after class and possibly prior to exams again...don't ANKI). There's a detailed annotated PDF of the bugs floating somewhere on Scribd so you don't have to take notes (don't message me asking where, I don't know where it is now). As for Pharm/Pathology, I won't designate these as core as they're not really as useful as Micro. Pharm videos are just too long first of all. Also, Pathology (as well as Pharmacology) is a subject you should conceptualize instead of memorizing using images. While Pathology has some things to memorize, they're organized very well in table form in First Aid for you to see and after seeing the motifs over time, you won't need to memorize many. For Micro, you can't reason why certain bugs have certain features. For Pharm, once you know an MOA, the other parts fall into place. Similar story with Path.

Everything else stays the same.

The inspiration for this edit came from the thread linked below where many other individuals (many of whom scored higher than me and are going into more competitive fields) give their takes which I agree with and may have referred to while making this edit. @Aerus , @operaman , @bonemann , @BlackLips , @Newyawk , @Elessar
Preparing for boards starting at M1
 
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fourandtwo

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2.) A lot of people that I showed the Rx videos to started using them as a tool for during the year. That's not what I initially told them to do, but if you're going to be like that, use Beyond the Boards instead in the same manner I advise to use Pathoma in the original guide (before the lecture that copies the exact topic and no need to Anki it). The reasoning is that like Sattar, he provides a big picture conceptualization. This is actually perfect because he simplifies topics so you can use the framework he builds to them compartmentalize the detail heavy lectures your school throws at you. You used to be able to do this with Pathology, but now complex physiology got added to the mix with Beyond the Boards!
Sorry, would you mind clarifying for me what you mean by this? Are you saying that we should now use Pathoma AND Beyond the Boards?
 
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Sorry, would you mind clarifying for me what you mean by this? Are you saying that we should now use Pathoma AND Beyond the Boards?
Use:
Pathoma before school lectures. It provides a framework so you understand the big picture when listening to lecture.

Sketchy after class. It doesn't provide a broad overview and if watched before, will make things sound deceptively easy. It should be watched after to consolidate HY snippets your class covered.

Beyond the Boards during the school year if you have time. It's basically just done by a good lecturer that teaches the material.

First Aid for the USMLE Express videos to march through First Aid. Not mean to be used concurrently with classes because it's just reading FA with a few memory tips. You're not learning or understanding much from it. More of a cram source.
 
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