This is USMLE Step 1 Experience shared BY Christina Yang And Uttamananda Gour Das.
This is a joint statement. Why? Well because when you are at the losing end of life you tend to make irrational promises. This is the one we made- that if we cross 240, we will do this.
Two months ago, my study partner (SP) and I, came to the same conclusion that after 1 year of studying we were both losers- ergo didn’t have a good score on NBME to give exam and were in the last trimester of our Step 1 extension period.
With that, we started our studies together over Skype. 60 break-less days of 10 hours each dragging of FA and of course my sp’s personalized notes and we both appeared for our exams. Point being- it doesn’t matter where you are on the prep or how much delayed you are, if you work hard you will eventually make it.
What we had was not called an action plan. It was called the survival plan.
Resources: UW (pure gold); FA(pure gold); Goljan Textbook for path (will explain you in depth); Sketchy Pharm and Micro(these will make you golden- trust us); Kaplan Videos and Notes (they really lay down the ground work which you don’t even realize initially);Google (for everything else that USMLE threw at us); UW biostat review (it trashes your self confidence- maybe that’s how we learn)
(love to Dr Barone– he made the tough stuff memorable for me)
On a serious note about the resources:
Kaplan- We think some, not all, the subjects should be done from here. We feel Physio, Biochem, Pharma and Behavioral science should be done with videos. If any other subject is your weakness, you can use. But DO NOT USE PATH and MICRO. Many people trash Kaplan unnecessary, you will not realise it but Kaplan does indeed lay the groundwork for you to pile more information.
UW- make good notes from this. Do it at least 2 times, one extra time you can go through the marked questions.
Sketchy- We’re going to pay them for sure if and when we get moneeeeeeyy. They were absolute treasure for us to retain FA micro and pharm. DIAMOND!
Goljan RR-We used it, it’s a very very good book, at the same time exhaustive. Some times we thought we could have done pathoma just due to huge size of Goljan RR. We used it while reading FA.
FA- In last stages, this should be your only companion. Memorizing facts and understanding concepts from FA, is the most crucial part of your prep. In last stages, you can’t review any other book. FA will be there for you. FA and UW note will prepare you for the 80-85% of NBME and even the real exam. The only thing we regret is not doing it more than twice. Sigh!
Me- NBME 18- 225 (November); NBME 17 238(15 days out); NBME 16 250(8 days out); NBME 19- 234(7 days out); NBME 18- 261 (two days out); Real Score 246(28th March)
SP- NBME 17 240(40 days out); NBME 16 246(9 days out); NBME 19- 238(7 days out); NBME 18- 240 (two days out); Real Score 252(29th March)
We gave NBME 17, 18 and 19 online.
There are lots of recipes for success but that is also true for failures. So we want highlight our mistakes:
1-Do not use too many resources. Select few and stick with them.(we have read this multiple times in other experiences, still we didn’t listen, we know you won’t too, still… 😉 )
2-Give NBMEs from the start. Do not do what we did. Remember we are not the examples of inspiration. the opposite. (we know you will make excuses on this one- DON’T)
3-Do not under estimate UW and FA.
4-Learn your weakness and be honest to yourself about your performanceAnd learn from other people’s experience.
5-Take help of others when it seems impossible
And never give up.
At last, I am thankful to my friends, family and this amazing group which helped me all through the way.
My SP- Well he is thankful to Lord Krishna first, then his amazing wife and his cute son and his family and of course to the entire universe. He tells me- that we should give back to the group and we are working on that. He loves the group and is thankful for all the help.
And yeah, we have developed this huge respect for anyone who appears for step 1 and passes it.