HELP: Scheduling the USMLE Steps while attending a foreign medical school


7+ Year Member
Nov 14, 2009
Medical Student
Hello everyone :) I need some advice regarding how I should prep myself & schedule the Steps, especially with scheduling step I because my school does not have provisions for taking the test. The post I'm about to make is pretty long and may look clumsy :oops: but I have to put in some basic information about my condition so that you guys can give me a sound advice. I earnestly request you to please go through it and help me with scheduling the Step I.

First off, I am a medical student in Chittagong, Bangladesh going to start my 3rd year coming January. The curriculum of our course (MBBS) is divided into 3 phases:
(i) 1 and 1/2 yrs Pre‐clinical; when we study Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry,
(ii) 2 yrs Para‐clinical; when we study Pathology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Microbiology & Immunology, Forensic Medicine and Community Medicine(which partly covers behavioral science), and finally
(iii) 1 and 1/2 years Clinical; when we go through Medicine, Surgery and Obs. & Gynae.
At the end of each phase we sit a 'professional exam' and I've just passed my first one. I will sit the second professional exam by August 2012. I will have finished the subjects tested in Step I although might not be with full coverage of topics and in enough detail. I know that we haven't been taught Physiology in enough detail and I was particularly weak in Biochemistry & Genetics so I need to review them thoroughly. I wish to study my second phase subjects in a way more oriented towards the USMLE so hopefully I wont have much deficit in those subjects (i.e. Patho, Pharma & Micro & Immuno).

Now my question is if I take the USMLE Step I at the end of Dec 2012, after completing my 2nd professional exam by end of Aug/beginning of Sep, will about 3 months of time be enough to prepare for the Step I? I will still have my final phase classes & wards but I can afford to slack a little for the first 3‐4 months (Oct‐Dec '12) and concentrate on USMLE. I have to give more time to my curriculum from '13 so I don't know whether it would be wise to delay the Step I to a later date but maybe I could add a month or so to my planned 'slacking time' from school. I will be graduating in Jan '14 soon after which I plan to take my Step 2 CK before getting busy with my internship, the duty schedule of which wont allow me to study much. After my internship I wish to make a trip to US to sit Step 2 CS and get some US clinical experience. So delaying both Step I and II CK till after graduation or taking all three parts after internship might not be the right thing either.

I am unsure whether the tentative plans I have made regarding the USMLE are appropriate or not. So could someone be kind enough to advise me as to what would be the best path for me to take given my circumstances and if my current plan is okay, how should I be studying the next few years (esp for Path, Pharma & Micro & Immuno and whether I should be revising Ana, Physio & Biochem in between).

I know the post is really long and you might be bored to tears reading the whole of it :oops: but I would very much appreciate any words of advice, suggestions or tips. I would also like to here from international students who are going/went through their own curriculum yet simultaneously managed to prepare & take the USMLE.

Thank you in advance!