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First Aid for USMLE 1 ENOUGH to pass boards?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by [email protected], Apr 1, 2000.

  1. I have been told by various upperclassmates that memorizing First Aid for the USMLE 1 is all one needs to *pass* the step 1 boards. In fact, one of the most common things upperclassmates tell me is that they wish they had spent more time memorizing First Aid than doing anything else in preparation. As passing is my primary goal, my plan is to memorize this book and supplement areas I feel weakest on with other reveiw books. What are your opinions...?
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  3. Joe

    Joe Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2000
    If you memorize the First Aid cold, then you'll probably make about 80 percentile on USMLE.
  4. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 1999
    I heard that rumor too, but I am having a hard time believing it! I have been practicing for the COMLEX and USMLE by using the 5 volume Board Simulator Series which, for those unfamiliar with it, are a series of books with about 700 something questions each. I just cannot see how I could answer most of the questions just having memorized "First Aid".

    As a matter of fact, I find a great percentage of the questions to be particularly hard, focusing on small details. So, I have been growing increasingly tense about the upcoming boards, figuring I am NEVER going to be able to remember all this stuff in the infinitesimal detail that seems to be required.

    Any insight/advice from those who have been there?
  5. CACanton

    CACanton New Member

    Apr 3, 2000
    Sebastopol, CA, USA
    First Aid is great. The authors of First Aid have started their own web site called You can try their own quiz generator there along with a lot of other cool stuff. It's a definite must see!!
  6. reddy

    reddy Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2000
    CA Canton,

    I loved that website! Great for MD and DO info.


    [This message has been edited by reddy (edited 04-05-2000).]
  7. joanna

    joanna New Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    Brookline, MA 02446
    UHS2002-----I heard from many 3rd year students (I am a second year Med student myself) that the questions in the Board Simulator Series are harder than the actual board questions. So use it to challenge yourself, but don't get discouraged!
  8. Marc

    Marc New Member

    Apr 14, 2000
    I think the First Aid for the Boards is the single most important books for step 1. However, the exam is designed well enough such that you need to know more than the isolated facts. Often the questions are such that they answer all the questions that you anticipate (based on your readings in First Aid). Then the actual question requires that you have a deeper understanding of the problem. Therefore, it is good to know the content of First Aid, but you also need to know more to score well.

    ------------------ - Website for Medical Students and Pros
  9. chiari

    chiari Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 1999
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Absolutely, memorize First Aid and you should pass. You will be surprised though how much you will remember from your med school lectures.

    Board scores are important, especially Step I because they are the only objective criterion that residency programs can use to compare you with other applications. The scores are the only national standard, as GPAs are highly variable among schools, so you should not just try to slide by.
  10. msdoc72

    msdoc72 New Member

    Apr 15, 2000
    No way!! all these people that tell you all you need is first aid are probably excellent students who use it as a review. There is no way first aid covers all the info. you need to know. i bought it and hardly used it. i took the compass course and found that very helpfull. all i used was the compass books. i also have two friends who both broke 240 and they swear by doing thousands of questions. bottom line dont just use first aid and expect to ace the exam
  11. Carbon Klein

    Carbon Klein Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    I hate First Aid. I never touched it. Consider taking a review course. I studied from Feb to May while taking Pharm/Nutrition/Pathophys and in May, I took the COMPASS Arc Venture 4 week intense prep (this was in 98, not sure if they still offer that course now). The Arc Venture course was great for ethics, stats and jurispurdence because there was no way I was going to study that crap again. I will admit that I was pretty well prepared prior to ARc Venture, but I totally recommend that course to anybody.

    If you read First Aid and understand everything, then you're probably pretty strong already. If you just memorize a list out of First Aid, then you're dead. I'd just learn the stuff for real so that I won't have to struggle during rotations.

    Hope I've helped swerve you away from First Aid and towards a good review course. Even if it's a couple hundred bucks, the course is worth it. Step One scores stay with you for a long time.

    My IMG Medical Residency Webpage
  12. Mugsy1974

    Mugsy1974 Junior Member

    May 9, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    KNOWING, but not memorizing, all of the material in first aid is definitely sufficient to pass step one. I took step one last june and used first aid as an outline. In addition, I probably went through it about 3 or 4 times two days before the exam. There were many questions on the exam that I might of missed had I not done that. it is probably the best book that i have ever read for medical school.

    P.S. For all of you using the board simulator series: the questions in those books are much harder then the actual exam. If you are getting 65-75% of the questions right you will ACE the USMLE
  13. Test Boy

    Test Boy Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 30, 1999
    Are you sure about the Simulator Series? The authors state that >75% correct is considered excellent. Also, a lot of the questions there are not in the form of a case scenario. Does anyone know how their format differs from the real thing?
  14. Mugsy1974

    Mugsy1974 Junior Member

    May 9, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I did every question in the board simulator series, and feel that it helped tremendously! The types of questions, for the most part, a very different from the ones that are on the USMLE. The vignettes in the BSS are very good practice. However, the BSS questions (at least 30% of them on each test) are much more nit-picky in terms of content--the USMLE will never ask you what enzyme contains manganese in its active site. The authors are right in terms of 75% being a good score. However, most of the people I know (including myself) were getting 65%, and did well on step 1.
  15. Henry

    Henry Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 1998
    How about the "Step-Up" for USMLE part 1? Is that book as good?

    NSU 2002
    ([email protected]@-)

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