10+ Year Member
Mar 16, 1999
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I am taking Step 1 in 3 weeks and feel that I do not know any Pharm. Ive read First Aid Pharm 2x and feel that I do not know a damn thing. Pharm was the absolutely worst class taught at our school and not having a good background definitely is making things more difficult.

Basically, are there any books out there that can teach pharm to a lay person within a couple of weeks? If anyone has any experiences similar to this one and made it through Step 1, your input would be greatly appreciated.



Twisted Miler
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2002
Up North
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Hey there.

I used Katzung's (appleton & lange) board review book. But I think that would be too much to swallow in the last couple of weeks. No matter what you use, focus on First Aid in your last-days of cramming.

I think pharm comes in 2 distinct parts.

Part 1: Learn the groups. I only had pretty big groups with well-known side effects on my test. So learn, say MOA, side effects, interactions, indications for all the major groups without bothering with names.

Part 2: Learn the names. I hated that part. I think this is really where First Aid lacks a bit. I had several drug names I wasn't sure about. And that sucks so bad, because you might know everything about lidocaine but nothing about mexiletine (and they are almost the same drug). Bang, you just lost a question. I think too many people overdo part 1 and forget about part 2. Especially since you can always sort of make a qualified guess at a drug's side effects or whatever but you can never ever figure out what a drug called quiarone (made it up) does by just looking at the name.

If you want some specific advice or just want to rant, feel free to email me at [email protected]

I just got my score back. I did really well, and I owe that to friendly posters on these boards.

Good luck


Formerly 'wanna_be_do'
Lifetime Donor
May 2, 1999
Long Island, NY USA
  1. Attending Physician
My approach to Pharm on Step I was like this: basically the highest-yield information was antimicrobials and autonomic pharmacology, and so I hit those the hardest while studying.

For antimicrobial pharm, use the chapter from Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple (possibly the greatest medical text ever written :laugh: ) and supplement it with the First Aid stuff.

For autonomic pharmacology, First Aid is pretty good, though you might want to look at the Lippincott pharm book also for some extra knowledge.

All the rest is lower yield. If you have time, try to cover as much pharm as you can but not at the expense of these main topics.
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