Hello everybody, My name is Hesham Mohammed Ezz. Im a 6th year medical student in Tanta
Uni. in Egypt. I took step 1 exam on 15th October 2014 (Wednesday) and got my score report
exactly 21 days later on 5th November 2015 (Wednesday).
10/9/2018 USMLE Step 1 - 261 Experience - Dr. Ezz - Egypt - USMLE Experiences & Best Books for USMLE Preparation
I’d like to thank everybody on step 1 preparation group who provided help to others by answering
questions , posting his experience and providing guidance to his/her fellow colleagues … you are
the real heros and may Allah provide you with those who will help you as much as you helped
So as you sow so shall you reap.
First of all I d like to confirm that I dont (and I think No one) has the ultimate right path for
preparing and acing step 1 but eventually you just examine and evaluate the experiences of
others and have your own experience and hope for the best.
I dont consider my experience a good one to follow as I did A LOT of mistakes in my preparation
so I will only write some tips to take into consideration and some mistakes to avoid so that you
may have a better preparation.
1-Anatomy: Kaplan videos(and yes I liked the kaplan Neuroanatomy vids!!) , a PDF called ”anatomy
shelf notes” someone uploaded it into the group, FA14.
2-Physiology: Kaplan videos, BRS physiology , FA14.
3-Pharmacology: Kaplan vids , FA14.
4-Microbiology: TA7 videos , Kaplan HY videos , FA 14
5-Immunology: Kaplan vids , FA 14
6-Behavioural, statistics and psychiatry: Kaplan vids , BRS behavioural , physician patient
relationship and defense mechanisms from High Yield (tables of quoted examples) , 100cases of
dr.Fischer , FA 14.
7-Pathology: Pathoma vids and book , Goljan slides PDF , FA 14 , Goljan tapes in hematology and
8-Biochemistry, Molecular biology and Genetics: Kaplan vids and LN , FA 14.
1-USMLE World 2014.
2-Kqplan Q bank (but not pharma and pathology).
3-rx Q bank (only biochemistry, Mol. Bio. & Genetics)
Study strategy: I would listen to videos or read a book and annotate into FA and if a topic was
quite large or not written at all in FA I would write the page number or take notes from the video
or take screenshots and revise it every time with FA and I did the same with UW I would take
notes or write a Q number so that I revise it later, I followed this method in all subjects and in the
end I had the ultimate study source (annotat
1-Start preparing seriously from the beginning don’t procrastinate. put a plan and stick to it but
also try to be flexible not to lose hope , this is to avoid taking a very long time in the 1st read that
will make u feel bored , overwhelmed and disconnected from the subjects you did earlier.
2- the main goal of the 1st read is understand everything (NOT memorize) , annotating FirstAid
and adding extra notes to make your ultimate study source that will be the main source of
revisions to avoid the need to re-listen and re-read kaplan vids and LNs again after the 1st read.
3- Solving UW and reading the detailed explanations helped A LOT in the exam so dont deprive
yourself from this amazing source of explanations and try to solve it multiple times (I did it 4
times) to truley grasp the concepts and how to reach the aim of the question.
4- The ultimate determinant whether you are ready for the test or not is the NBMEs self
assessments especially the latest ones 15 & 16 not the number of reads , If you can get your goal
score in 2 or 3 self assessments then you are ready.
5-The path is really long and tiring so try to remain motivated , refreshed and confident that you
can do whatever anybody could do….and may be better.
Some Tips regarding subjects :
Anatomy – The 1ry source I did is Kaplan and then revised FA and remained to revise Kaplan (with
FA) till just before the exam as FA is deficient in anatomy.
Biochemistry – also the 1ry source was Kaplan and it helped me A LOT especially in molecular
biology and genetics and even in metabolism and nutrition I wouldn’t have understood FA without
studying Kaplan and also kaplan videos were super amazing.
Neuroanatomy – Despite what everybody said , I did kaplan videos in neuro and actually it helped
me a lot, the guy might not be the best but he is ok, if u listen to the vids and directly annotate
into FA and try to understand everything then solve UW I think you will be fine (at least thats what
I did and I had absolutely no good base in neurology)
Pathology – Pathoma is super amazing especially if u have a weak background knowledge but also
I would advice listening to goljan’s tapes he is much more experienced and familiar with the board
Pharmacology – Kaplan videos are extremely important , every word said by dr L. Raymond is very
important , I ve met so many concepts explained only by kaplan ( not in FA)
Biostats – Try to understand biostats not only memories the equations but also know what
relative risk =5 means and what to conclude when OR is 4 …etc.
Behavioural – I actually still dont know what’s right and what’s wrong regarding behav. I ve always
got borderline/low performance till 3 weaks before the exam in it in the NBMEs (you may notice
that Ive read almost every available source because it was my persistently weak subject) but in the
exam I felt that the Qs are easier in behavioural than nbmes and I got high performance in the
score report….may be Im just lucky.
Kaplan Q bank – it was kinda helpful ( any Qs solving is definitely helpful) but also it has large
number of super wierd questions that you shouldn’t waste a lot of time in.
NBMEs – try to solve all the nbmes especially those on the online site to give u an idea of how the
board Qs are layed out and they are about 1200 Qs , that is a really good practice…(UPDATE)
Offline NBMEs I didnt consider them accurate assessment , just to give idea about the general
performance and also a great practice material … It is advised that you do 2-3 online ones to
actually assess yourself.
(UPDATE) Slides : Goljan slides pdf helped me a lot in the exam …also did slides in FA14, Pathoma
and UW… and also did Slides from HY neuroanatomy book
(UPDATE) Time management : Every Q shouldn’t take more than 1 min and ofcourse there will be
Qs needing more time u should just mark the answer of your initial thought and mark it then
revised it in the last 10-15 min of the block , I used to mark 14-18 Qs each block and revise later
and by this aproach I never had less than 12min (and in some blocks 18min) at end of the block to
Finally Im not posting how long I took preparing not to disappoint any body as I did alot of
mistakes in early preparing and almost total 2 months stops but If I would do it again it wouldn’t
take more than 10-12 months