USMLE [NOW POSTPONED] Dear SDN, I test in <2 days. Please come give me your take on whether I should postpone.

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Jan 10, 2012
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I'll keep this information up for at least a bit; DM's are welcome!

a deleted (?) reply asked how I spent a whole year studying -- after finishing second year in 2020, I was going back to my PhD instead of clinic. When I wasn't ready to take it by the fall, I did my Zanki reviews for a couple hours every day, hoping to maintain my high-fails/borderline scores before trying another dedicated period and taking it pass/fail this summer (no PhD committee is perfect, but mine is pretty damn accommodating).

The relevant numbers:
  • 70 days out, UWSA2: 173
  • 29ish days out, New Free 120: 57%
  • 21 days out, UWSA1: 190 (took once before in 2020)
  • 14 days out, NBME29: 59%, score report says I have a 75% chance of passing!
  • 6 days out, NBME26: 55%, 52% chance of passing. devastated. Boyfriend wishfully discounts this performance because I hadn't taken my clonazepam.
  • UW average hovering around 56% right now, including questions I've seen before since I haven't reset it since finishing it a while ago. I've done ~1200 questions since May 2022. I'm in the 25th percentile on UW.
  • says 208 +/- 29 lol
The turmoil:
a hail-mary, jesus-take-the-wheel attempt might be worth it??

I have registered for Step 1 before and ended up canceling after pushing it back over a year (when they extended the 2020 permits because of COVID). I have been very committed to not pushing it back this time. My support network is amazing, and I've been feeling really motivated and ready to get it over with and confident since NBME29 (75% chance of passing). I wonder if I shouldn't be making this thread because I'm just getting cold feet and need to keep studying. I know that people go in with numbers like mine. I don't want to toot my own horn, but, if I failed this upcoming attempt, I am certain that I wouldn't have trouble getting into a residency as long as they don't screen out the failures. If I don't take it Saturday, postpone it, and don't do well anyway, I'll always wonder about whether I should have just ****ing gone for it. Postponing hasn't helped me before.

On the other hand, umm... it's my understanding that it is very common to be screened out of consideration for residency with a USMLE fail. I'm not blind to the fact that the risk of keeping my July 30 test date is one that many other medical students would not take. Even since NBME26, my support network, including other medical students who took and passed step 1 like 2-5 years ago, has still been gassing me up and wanting me to take it Saturday. I really, really want to get this thing over with. But I don't know if I am ready for the consequences of whatever doors might get closed on me with a failed attempt. I've worked extremely hard to get into the MSTP that I am in and to pass my PhD quals, etc.; my post history shows the little gunner I used to be.

Please be nice to me, I have a pisces moon.
<3 thank you for reading.

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I deleted my post because I did not want to erode your confidence if you were testing.

By every test you've taken success is almost a coin flip and if you have what it takes to get into an MSTP you have what it takes to pass. You have at least another year to do your PhD right?

Zanki is good but you need to get some solid tutoring to the point you can just PASS the exam. You should at least be doing practice questions all year. The other question is how are you doing the questions? Hopefully something like 80-120 per day during dedicated under test conditions? (Alone, quiet room, no water, no bathroom, maybe even masked).
Thank you for being thoughtful. And, yeah, I deserve to give myself more than a coin flip.

Yup, I have more time in my PhD, but I want to be only working on my dissertation, and not studying, this fall. This is what my committee expects as well.

Re practice questions: I got through 80%ish percent of UW my first time studying, but my average % correct was 49 and I think I was in the 7th percentile? I just did not have the knowledge base. Now I've done 80-100 Q's each day this month, sometimes including incorrects, and my average since going back in is about 56% (I didn't reset but am separately tracking my stats for this period). I'm always in tutor mode so I can treat the questions kind of like flash cards, and the blocks are all random. Re testing conditions -- for everyday studying, honestly, I'm usually not far from my roommate or my boyfriend, and I'm wearing noise-canceling earbuds in a comfortable place. The practice scores I show in my first post, however, were achieved alone in a quiet room, no water/bathroom/food except breaks, as close to testing conditions as possible.
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