SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

What/how to study for USMLE Step 1

Discussion in 'Step I' started by DoctorMars, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. DoctorMars


    Nov 10, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    I'm about to start my MS2 year in a month, so obviously I'm starting to think about Step 1. I'm wondering if I can at this point at least start making a plan about which materials I need to get through and when I should start studying. I know very little about how to approach the exam, other than that First Aid and UWorld are absolutely necessary and that there are certain other review books that are highly recommended. I also heard about the Faus method, but am not sure if that's the way to go. Is there a definitive thread somewhere on SDN about this? I keep seeing different threads about people's study plans but I have no idea which one is sound and what I should go with. I'd appreciate any advice/ links to threads that are useful.

    Thank you in advance!
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. blueboyscholar

    blueboyscholar 7+ Year Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    There is no one size fits all. If you want to break 250, my advice is to do at least 10,000 questions and go through FA at least twice. If you just want to score a 220, go through UW once and FA twice. Of course, this prescription is contingent on your foundation and natural ability to retain info. Good luck
  4. DrYoda

    DrYoda Space Cowboy Physician 7+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    Dagobah System
    The best thing you can do IMO is get the M2 material down cold.

    As for dedicated boards study, there's many different ways to successfully do it, so try and pick something that meshes well with your style of studying. Personally I did the following and scored in the 250's:

    -Got most of the drugs into long term memory during the school year (you will thank yourself if you do this)
    -Read through FA twice (~1.5wks)
    - bought a month subscription to UW and went through almost all of it.
    -Read FA 1.5 more times while doing UW.

    - I also quickly ran through BRS biochem and HY neuroanatomy, both of which I feel were unnecessary.
  5. tco

    tco 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Through our shelf exams and the basic science exam, I covered FA once. Next, I did some self review for a week or so on the things I was very weak on. I followed that with DIT 5 weeks out, which I finished in 17 days, and accounted for a second review. I then did questions every day, all day, reviewed only the ones that were incorrect or I had no idea on and jotted down notes (very quickly). Then, I left 7 days to review FA again...And thank goodness I did because I had to take a day off with 4 days left because of burnout. I finished up reviewing FA at about 3 PM the day before the exam, then went through as much as I could as fast as I could (got through the basic sciences) with the remainder of the day until 8 PM.

    That was my strategy. However, I knew the MS1/2 material very well to begin with...
  6. MeatTornado

    MeatTornado On Sabbatical Physician 7+ Year Member

    Dec 1, 2008
    I think the most basic advice is to get through FA at least once before your dedicated study time so you can familiarize yourself with it and know where your weaknesses are. The easiest way to do this of course is to go through the chapter when you're doing a system and annotate as you go along. You should also be doing questions throughout the year. Get a 9 month subscription to Kaplan QBank and do the questions as you're studying each system.

    Make a rough plan before you start your dedicated study perod. Don't look to other people and copy their plan. Only you know how much time you need to spend on each subject. Also, I changed my plan a whole lot from when I started. As you get more feedback (from UWorld or NBME self-assessments) about how you're progressing you shouldn't hesitate to tweak your plan so you are focusing on your weaknesses. I feel like its more important to reach a certain level of aptitude in every subject than to be awesome at a few subjects because you don't know what the question distribution will end up being. Equally importantly, if you are doing poorly on a section in the self-assessments you should take it seriously ...don't just say "oh, i know that subject well that must've been a fluke".

    Finally, kaplan videos are an excellent resource for subjects you are shaky on!
  7. tco

    tco 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    This is very true, but I'm often worried about forgetting the details of the things I know well, so I typically tried to (at least) flip through the sections that I was fairly confident in, even when reviewing sections that I was less proficient with.
  8. MeatTornado

    MeatTornado On Sabbatical Physician 7+ Year Member

    Dec 1, 2008
    yes definitely keep reinforcing the subjects you're good at

    that reminds me - during your dedicated study time do UWorld questions randomly not by subject. The worst thing would be to exhaust all the questions for a certain subject because you won't be reinforcing that subject as you go along.
  9. neuromaniac


    Jun 14, 2011

    In BOLD: that is probably the best advice ever because you'd rather be 75% on everything than 95% on one thing, 65% on another, etc.. good job :thumbup:
  10. JohnGT


    Jul 6, 2011
    U S of A
    In regards to the problem you described, I think one of the usmle test prep programs may help you with remembering previously learned material. I'm sure you can do a search on these forums and find out which test prep focuses on this improvement.

    Some times the difference between you knowing the answer immediately versus struggling to recall an answer is simply whether you remember a detail fact. Based on a bell curve, this is difference between having a passing score versus a 235 and up on Step 1.

Share This Page