Seeking Step 1 Study Advice - Finish UWorld or FAP and Sketchy?


5+ Year Member
Jul 19, 2015
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
Hey everyone. My Step exam is 12 "study days" away (have blocked out three days for practice exams) and I'm worried because I'm clearly not going to be able to make a full pass through FA/Pathoma AND complete UWorld. My dilemma now is whether to complete UWorld or make a full, detailed pass through FAP and Sketchy.

I'm ~40% through UWorld with an average around 78%. The problem is that it takes me forever to review each question - and moreover, I've just never really been much of a question bank person. My gut is telling me to review FAP extensively and forget about UWorld, but everyone touts UWorld and, of course, there are plenty of questions that I know I'd miss as of now. I can't decide if I'd benefit more from exposing myself to novel questions/practice thinking through or just strictly reviewing the material.

UWorld Pros: Real practice for exam, questions presented in more challenging way, there are plenty of questions I miss solely because the information is present in a novel/tricky way (so my worry is that, if I don't do them now, I'll miss them on the test), everyone says it's essential
UWorld Cons: I get a large portion of the questions correct (maybe 60-65% I know cold, 10-15% I get correct with an educated guess/thoughtful elimination), I don't traditionally learn best from questions, have a hard time staying focused and not beating myself up for missed questions

FAP Sketchy Pros: Feel like I learn better this way, getting more comprehensive content and less worried about leaving things out, more focused and less critical/stressed when I'm reading vs. doing questions, have missed plenty of UWorld questions simply because the material isn't fresh
FAP Sketchy Cons: Worried I'm missing critical practice answering difficult/novel questions, (again) everyone says UWorld is essential

Basically, I'm leaning towards strict content review because that's what's always worked for me and put me in the top 10th percentile of my school exams, but I'm worried that the same won't hold true for Step 1. My current NBME scores (13 and 15) are around 230-235 which is lower than I'd like to be. I'd really like to score 240 at the least and my ideal score would be 245+.

Thank you all in advance, I really appreciate your time and advice.


2+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2018
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I understand your dilemma! Evidence based reviews of study techniques have shown that practice questions yields the best results compared to rereading study material. As you stated UWorld gives real practice for exams and forces you to extrapolate information and apply your knowledge. I also understand the urge to review FA and Pathoma as you can probably cover a wider variety of topics and review buzzwords / associations. I can only tell you what I would do with the time (I see you posted this on Wednesday so you have 9 days left)
- 6 days of UWorld, quick review of answer, no annotating FA.
- Final 3 days of rereading FAP focusing on associations, buzzwords, high yield topics.
- I wouldn't do practice exams this close to the test date (It would just scare me if I didn't hit the score I wanted).

Best of luck!
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