Step 1 Study Schedule

Discussion in 'Step I' started by Darkskies, 01.14.14.

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  1. Darkskies

    Darkskies 7+ Year Member

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    Hi guys,

    I'm somewhat at a loss of how to study for the USMLE. I have Firecracker, UWorld, USMLE Rx and First Aid. I know many people recommend Firecracker but I've barely used it at all and if I'm going to take the Step in June isn't it too late to start considering that I have to stay on top of class material as well? I've been trying to go through BRS physio and First Aid but even that's hard to keep up with since classes get in the way. I would greatly appreciate some advice as the stress of not having a schedule and being bombarded with resources is really increasing my anxiety. At this point, I don't really feel prepared at all for the boards. Thank you in advance!
     
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  3. Darkskies

    Darkskies 7+ Year Member

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    Sorry for bumping the thread but could someone please answer? I'm worried because my classes this year haven't really been teaching to the boards either(unlike last year). Also, when is the best time to start UWorld? I was thinking about going through Rx now and start Uworld in March. Would that be too late if my exam is in June and I want to go through UWorld 2x?
     
  4. 001100010010011

    001100010010011 2+ Year Member

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    Start early! That's what I am doing. The question-load is really high and if you want to learn/strengthen your weak areas then you need to take the initiative early (especially if you are going to do UWorld 2x with Rx). It seems like dedicated study time is far away, but I have a feeling that it's just going to creep up.

    At this point, FC is going to be too heavy. You can turn on light mode and only do the really HY stuff, or go in-depth for areas where you need reinforcement.

    I have a lot of anxiety too. I try not to use too many resources. I do not listen to what my classmates have to say. Just put your blinders on and get to work.
     
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  5. Darkskies

    Darkskies 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks for your advice! I thought you were going to start Uworld in March. Is that not what you recommend in my case, though?
     
  6. 001100010010011

    001100010010011 2+ Year Member

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    I have Rx to get through and plan on doing some Kaplan so I've got to hold off on UWorld. I am going to start it as early as possible--in my case that'll probably be around March.

    Also, I was going through some FA this morning and feel that FC really helped material stick. So if you can, try to use it on light mode and compare it with just reading FA. See which on you like better.
     
  7. Darkskies

    Darkskies 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks again for your reply. Really appreciate it. Are you doing FC on light mode? How many questions a day of FC are you doing and when did you begin? I'm just trying to figure out a schedule for myself. Will it be possible for me to begin FC now and finish it on light mode in addition to reading FA, doing Pathoma, UWorld 2x, and USMLE Rx? My exam would probably be around June 19th or so.
     
  8. 001100010010011

    001100010010011 2+ Year Member

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    I've been doing FC for a while so I'm almost fully banked (normal mode). I fell behind lately and my count is about 400-500 questions. It's manageable but I want to move on to qbanks only soon.

    My exam is early June. Your schedule sounds similar to mine--I'm interested in seeing it.
     
  9. ajprobashi

    ajprobashi 5+ Year Member

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    Guys, stays away from too many sources at the last 6 months. Stay with USMLE World and First Aid. You need to go through First Aid with DIT. I passed the USMLE Step 1 with an above average score. As long as you have your basic foundation down then the sources I mentioned is more than enough time. Do not deviate from USMLE World at the very end. I wrote how I passed the USMLE Step 1.
     
    Last edited: 08.10.16
  10. Darkskies

    Darkskies 7+ Year Member

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    Hey,

    Sorry for the late reply. I had exams this past week. My tentative schedule is to go through BRS physio for each section I'm on, corresponding first aid chapter, corresponding pathoma chapter, and do usmle rx questions to get ready for UWorld questions. I also want to incorporate FC into my studying but as you said, I guess I only have time for light mode at this point, correct? My exam is in mid to early late june. Even planning on just doing FC on light mode, I feel as if there won't be enough time to get through it along with the other resources I mentioned I'm using. Are you planning on going through UWorld 2x? How can I get through USMLE Rx with its 2200+ questions in a timely manner so that I can still get through UWorld 2x? Does it appear as if it won't be possible and I should just start UWorld at this point?

    Also, when do you recommend studying Biochem, Behavioral sciences, psychiatry,etc.? Also, when and how do you recommend studying for Micro and Pharm? Do you go through flashcards every day?

    Sorry for the barrage of questions, but I'm still trying to find a definitive schedule.
     
  11. ulikedaggers

    ulikedaggers Account on Hold Account on Hold

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    How many sources is "too many" in the last 6 months? 6 months seems like quite a ways away from the test date.. basically second semester of MS2..
     
  12. Dharma

    Dharma 5+ Year Member

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    DIT? I've heard a lot of mix reviews regarding DIT, and most of them have not been so favorable. More commonly I hear folks saying FA with Rx. DIT maybe if you didn't "get" the material on during classes. DIT sounds like a bit of time sink though. I'd rather be hitting questions with the Rx-FA duo. To each his own though; I've heard a few folks swear by it.

    OP, I asked a similar question in a thread recently. http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/when-to-hit-questions.1051567/ Some solid advice there. I have a somewhat heavy course load too, but I'm willing to get lower grades at this point (losing points to low yield minutiae that costs too much time) and donate that time to prep instead. My words don't hold much weight since I haven't taken the exam yet, but I feel pretty confident about my game plan. I think that's a big key to this: Having a solid plan that leaves one feeling confident, and attacking the daylights out of the mofo! Good luck!
     
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  13. Darkskies

    Darkskies 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks for your advice! I went through the thread you posted, but I don't think you stated what your plan was exactly on it. Could you let me know what kind of a schedule you have and how you're tackling this? I know you're starting UWorld in March with 2 blocks of questions every other day meaning you'd be done with the first run through in 1.5 months but how are you using Rx in the meantime? Are you going through pathoma and first aid chapters that concern other topics than what your class block is focusing on? You're not using Firecracker,correct?

    I agree with you that having a solid plan definitely makes one more confident but I feel like I haven't figured out a complete schedule yet leaving me nervous about how I'm pacing myself/study strategies. So your help is greatly appreciated!
     
  14. Dharma

    Dharma 5+ Year Member

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    I'm using Rx the same way I will use UWorld. I'm going through systems already covered. So during my "board time" I'm just focusing on systems outside of the one we are covering in class. I still use FA, Pathoma, BRS for whatever system I'm on though (essentially making that as board honed as possible but with my main focus on really "getting" the material down and developing a solid foundation to build upon). And I also do practice questions for that system from the question bank our school set us up with.

    No firecracker though. I'm trying to keep this as streamlined as possible. Sticking with the generics.

    As far as the core topics go at the beginning of FA (biochem, micro, pharm, etc), I'm only giving them a small slice of prep time (right now shooting for 1 hour of the reading day [day B], but even that may be too much) but continually referencing back to them when the topic comes up. As opposed to just sitting there and going through all of biochem in one big chunk knocking out pathways (that I'll probably forget unless utilized), I will knock out one pathway at a time as I cross it in systems. So I think of those first few chapters before systems as references- super important references that shouldn't be forgotten, but instead integrated into systems. I'd be bored out of my skull any other way though. Once I really build up some momentum, I'm sure I will tweak things along the way.
     
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  15. Darkskies

    Darkskies 7+ Year Member

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    I appreciate the replies I've received. I will keep everyone updated with how my progress goes. I recently used firecracker for the GI block and I came away impressed since it seems like a very high yield way to solidify and remember the concepts and facts you've learned. Although it's a lot of work, I was wondering if it's still possible for me to finish all of it(except for the anatomy section) by June. My plan now is I'll read through FA, do Pathoma, BRS physio, and Firecracker. I'll also do USMLE Rx questions until the beginning of March after which I'll start UWorld. Is this unfeasible? I think I could really benefit from Firecracker(comprehensive mode) but is it possible for me to bank everything except for the Anatomy section and get through all of it before my boards without falling behind? I was also thinking about not flagging any of the anatomy topics in the systems either but are those high yield? Thanks in advance!
     
  16. Donald Juan

    Donald Juan 5+ Year Member

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    OP, just to add in it seems like you need to figure out how much time you can dedicate to board studying a day while keeping up with classes before you can really decide what is feasible and how many sources is too many. Obviously, it's easier to keep up with stuff when you are following along with your classes (i.e. just doing cardio sections of pathoma and fc while you are doing cardio), and it is harder when you are trying to tackle sections you aren't covering right now.

    For me, I've found that I can cover about 4 hours a day of board stuff, and then do about 6 hours of class material and I haven't had any trouble keeping up with my class. This has led me to decide (for now at least...) to do a block of questions from a qbank every other day, then doing several chapters out of a review book on the other days. I'm using pathoma throughout my classes, but only the sections that go along with what we are currently learning, so I don't count this as board study time.

    My point is that once you figure out how much time you can realistically spend a day solely studying for boards, then you can start with a plan. After a week or two you should be able to decide if your plan is realistic depending on how fast you are getting through whatever materials you are using. Then you adjust. Obviously, you don't want to jump around to a ton of different sources, but if something isn't working then you can change it--it's still relatively early in the game. For example, I got about halfway through DIT before deciding it wasn't working for me. I was just watching the videos and I only felt like I was really learning when they said to stop and do a quiz. That's why I decided that my time was better spent doing more questions and watching less lectures.
     
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