How I scored 255 – IMG USMLE Step 1 Experience March 2021

IMG USMLE Step 1 Experience Score 255

Hi everyone, I want to share my step 1 experience as I owe it to this group that helped me a lot in my preparation. I’m deeply thankful for everyone who shared their experience and helped others through their experience.
Goal 250+
Score 255
I’m from Palestine, in my 6th year.
I started my journey after the 4th year, so the total preparation time was about 20 months, dedicated was five months.

Study Material I Used :

  • FA
  • Uworld
  • Pathoma
  • BnB ( all of it )
  • Kaplan videos for biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, and neuroanatomy.

I did four runs FA, offline Uworld, and 1 round online Uworld.
Before my dedicated study, I solved the offline world for every subject I finished, I used pdf FA as it was easier to put all my notes on it from other resources.

I start doing NBMEs after finishing 1st run FA with BnB and Pathoma, and just before UWORLD online, I gave an assessment every 2 or 3 weeks until the last month of preparation, where I did one assessment every week.

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First Aid for the USMLE Step 1:

1st run, I did it subject-wise to be along with BnB, Pathoma, and offline Uworld.
2nd -4th run, I did it from scratch with all the notes from other resources.

UWORLD Qbank :

Offline Uworld after every topic ( before dedicated), but it was only just 2000 questions.
Online Uworld random timed 1 round, started with 40 questions daily and kept raising qs till 60 questions daily, after the first round I did wrong and marked plus Uworld flashcards I made, online Uworld with 2nd run FA took 4month of my dedicated. In the last month, I focused on FA ( did 3rd and 4th run ) and self-assessments.

Download Complete Uworld Qbank 2020 For USMLE Step 1

Pathoma & BnB :

Did videos and text with taking notes to FA.
BnB videos are amazing; they explain almost every word in FA, did them all by taking notes to FA.

Kaplan Videos:

Well, I did them before BnB, so they were good, especially biochemistry and neuroanatomy but seriously, after watching BnB, I realized that they were a waste of time as BnB explained everything so well, so I thought that if I had begun with BnB, I would’ve saved myself a lot of time and effort.

Self-Assessments:

UWORLD random timed( 85%)
In the following order
NBME 17 ( 238)
NBME 19 (238)
NBME 16 (242)
NBME 15 (250)
NBME 13 (250)
NBME 20 (248)
NBME 18 (255)
NBME 22 (255)
NBME 23 (236)
UWSA1 ( 258)
AMBOSS SA (259) received just after my real deal
UWSA2 (251)
Free120 (89%)
NBME 24 ( 259)
Real deal 255

Download ALL NBMEs Self Assessment

One Week Before the Exam:

I recommend reviewing Immunology, general pathology FA and Pathoma first three chapters, General Pharmacology FA chemotherapy, Endocrine, and Reproductive especially hormones and 2nd messengers.
After that, I did a rapid FA run just the bold topic to make sure that every topic is in my mind as one my know everything about a particular disease, for example, but if it’s not in your mind, you have a very good chance to miss it, and while doing this if I found that some topics need to go in its details I do it.

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Exam Day :

I did almost as DirtyMedicine video.
I slept very well, waked up at 6 am, ate a high protein breakfast, and drank a cup of coffee; my exam was at 8 am; I only brought water and protein bars to the exam.
Once I started the real deal, I was very calm, not stressed out; the exam was like you doing UWORLD, and its a mix of easy hard, and average questions; I took a break after every block to keep my mind fresh, when I finished I felt I could score anything between 230 and 260 but believed in my assessments and didn’t overthink it, I got out of the Prometric so happy regardless on how I did back there, it was really one of the most amazing feelings I ever felt.

Things I Regret Doing in My Preparation:

  1. I had so many gaps, it is just frustrating, and every time you feel you forget everything you’ve studied, If I had the chance, I’d do just do one big dedicated period of 6-9 months. I think it’s more than enough, and after that, you begin to fatigue, and information starts to slip away.
  2. Doing Kaplan lectures, although they helped me a lot, wasn’t time effective, and BnB was more than enough.
  3. Studying the last day before my exam (it’s not good, not beneficial, trust me, don’t do it and try to relax and clear your mind )
  4. Overthinking some questions in the exam, guys, please believe in your answers and don’t change unless you’re 100% sure it’s wrong.

Some Tips and Things That Helped Me and I Don’t Regret :

  1. Not delaying NBMEs and using the old ones mainly for practice.
  2. Focusing on FA the last month instead of a 2nd round online Uworld as I felt satisfied and I might waste time in a 2nd round Uworld.
  3. Revising Pathoma’s first three chapters in the last week ( very, very high yield).
  4. After every assessment, besides reviewing your weak areas, see every wrong question and try to figure out why you answer it wrong. Is it a time issue, lack of concentration, memorizing issue, or lack of knowledge?
  5. In the actual exam, try to take a break after each block, even if it’s 2min.

Finally, I want to say that you will go through many hard times in your preparations and feel exhausted, depressed, and frustrated. THAT’S NORMAL! , we are human beings, after all, and not machines. Try to relax and calm yourselves, take a couple of days off and do whatever puts you back on track, and believe that your hard work will pay off in the end.

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