For current MD/PhDs in the clinical years....

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Gradient Echo

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Jul 12, 2002
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How much (if any) did you study from the first 2 med years to get ready for the wards?

I'm trying to decide if maybe its worth it to wait until after the grad years to take the USMLE Step 1, since I might have to study anyways just to get ready to work in the clinical rotations.

But perhaps thats overkill. Did you just review a little bit before the wards or did you really study a lot to get caught up and refresh your memory from 3-4 years of doing grad school?


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Jun 16, 2002
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I just returned to the wards, having recently completed my PhD -

I, too, was worried about what I should re-learn, and in the end decided to take a rotation which I wasn't really interested in, but would provide a good all-around approach - Family medicine. After that, I am taking a couple of weeks to focusing in on my deficiencies, before I head to the inpatient clinics.

Actually, I am quite surprised how much comes back with a little proding. Moreover, while studying the Step I stuff would be good (I guess!) - I find that my focus currently is not only about the diagnosis and basic science issues (the step I stuff), but more on management and planning -

Have you thought about this approach - Do Step I after MSII, do grad school, then a rotation (like FM) first and then a couple (ie 2 weeks) to review areas which you have completely forgotten?



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May 16, 2002
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You could read First Aid for a bit, or maybe one of those Internal Medicine case books.

It is not worth waiting until after the grad years to do USMLE Step 1. Two reasons: 1) You forget everything within 2 months anyway, and 2) what you learn on the wards really has nothing to do with Step 1 material. Ask any doc and they'll tell you the same thing...



Dark Lord of the Sith
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Jun 5, 2001
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I'll just "echo" what the other posters have said already. :) I think it is best to take Step I when the material is fresh in your mind, which is usually after completing the first two years of medical school.

To avoid potential licensing issues, the AAMC has suggested that MD/PhD students wait to take Step I until after the graduate years. The problem with this is that in this scenario, one hasn't studied the material for quite a period of time (i.e. 3-5 years) and is a little out of practice thinking about clinical issues. It would seem much more logical to take Step I when it is all fresh.