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Taking Step during MS3


Full Member
Jul 10, 2018
Just had a quick question about how students with a 1.5 yr preclinical curriculum who took Step 1 during MS3 kept up with Step 1 material during rotations. Did you mature all of Zanki during those 1.5 yrs and keep up with reviews during rotations? If you didn’t mature Zanki during preclinicals, did you find time to incorporate step 1 studying during the relevant rotations? About to finish MS1 and unfortunately jumped onto the AnKing/Zanki train later than I should have. I’m a little worried that with only 6 months or so left in my preclinical curriculum, I’ll still have a decent amount of cards left to mature by the time rotations begin. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Full Member
2+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2016
Ummm....no. I focused entirely on my clerkships and on passing shelves (not always trivial!), and took it during dedicated time after MS3. I never was an Anki person though, so I can't speak to that. UWorld is very helpful, though I wasn't fanatical about making it all the way through that either. I ultimately did below average on step 1, so maybe I really shouldn't be giving advice :unsure:. What I would say though is to focus on figuring out what you most enjoy/ want out of medicine, figure out what you need, and work on getting that.
Fortunately, for what I want to do a high step score is not an entry requirement. I used Freida to look up the residencies programs that I'm most interested in and looked at what their step 1 cutoffs (if any) were. I literally made the highest of the cut-offs as my goal, and I scored 5 points above that. Does it mean I'll necessarily match there? No, but hopefully it means I won't be automatically screened out based on a soon-to-be pass/fail test that already gets too much of our time, money, and energy. Best of luck with your test prep!
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Do it.
Staff member
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2016
  1. Medical Student
I’m at a school like that. The advice I’ve been given is to just focus on clerkship. The dedicated period is enough time to refresh the stuff you've forgotten and they all said you’d be surprised at how much you remember. It’s not all irrelevant to clinical practice. Our school is above the national average, so there must be something to that advice.
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