PREPARATION for exam day (USMLE step 1 & CK ):
1.USMLE step 1 is one of the hardest exams. The most challenge is tiredness, as 8 hours exam is not an easy job. The last block will be really difficult for tiredness. How to overcome it ?Exercise that increases stamina & eliminates mental fatigue due to prolonged study & sedentary life
- Adequate sleep - optimal is 7 to 8 hours of sleep for couple of days prior of exam day . Most students take anxiolytic in the exam night. Taking anxiolytic like Zolpidem, Midazolam couple of nights won’t be wise as it will have hangover & amnestic effect, however sleep on the exam night outweigh the risk.
3.Taking stimulant: Caffeine is the most common & easily available. Some have more diuretic & some have less diuretic response to it . Taking coffee too earlier than the actual exam time is not good, as it will cause diuresis earlier. Optimal time to take coffee just before starting the exam. It’s not wise to take that much at a once rather better to drink little more frequently when you take break. Remember every break for restroom take 7 to 8 minutes due to sign out & sign in process. Those who are used to drink coffee or tea, they should drink at the usual time though it’s early in the morning otherwise will get withdrawal headache. Some guys take off label prescription stimulant, it helps indeed. For every thing there should be a trial if it works best for you.
- Dress up : Every time you enter the exam room you will be scanned, all the pockets required to be displayed to the security check, so the less the no of pockets - it saves break time. For long sleeve shirt should be button free as you will need to elevate the sleeve at every sign in. Those who use glasses should leave it on the test computer desk, cause it will be inspected every time you take break to make sure there is no hidden camera. Check the weather on the test day & wear appropriate clothing. Avoid all jewelry.
5.Meal : I recommend every time you take break eat something. Avoid protein as it has longer transit time. Easily digestible carbohydrate is the best choice & drink as it required. Don’t drink too much nor too less & get dehydrated, as hydration is important for optimal brain function.
Keep ready earlier – exam permit & state ID or passport.
Break numbers - it varies person to person. Try to allocate more time in the later breaks. Break before the last block is must. Skip the tutorial & add it to your allocated 45 minutes break time. But in the tutorial must check headphones , i found it mute. It’s not possible to go out after every block but take break for 2 to 3 minutes after every block, close your eyes, take deep breath & forget everything what happened in the last block. I went outside the test room every two blocks.
Avoid neck & eye strain : Adjust the height of the minitor & the chair so that the monitor remains at your eye level . You can down the monitor as low as onto the desk.Adjust it simply pulling it up or down & tilt it as you feel comfortable. For prevention you can take paracetamol / acetaminophen before starting the test & after 4 blocks.
Take the practice test in the same test center you scheduled the real test, as everyone feel comfortable & less anxious at a familiar environment.
Test time : Take it when your brain works better. For me it works better after 11 am & I started the test after 12 pm. To get this timing i have to commute another city, Fairlawn,NJ. If you arrive earlier you may start the test if they allow. I got phn call at 8:30 am on the test day & asked me if I wanted to start the test earlier in that morning.
Take all the medications you may need eg PPI.
After logging in the computer check all the blocks & question number. I got less than 40 questions in the last block that why avoided break before it.
Stress & time management skills are most important for good score. Will post another day about it . Thanks, wish you good luck.
Md Shahin Ali
USMLE step 1 TUTOR (got 254 in step 1 recently ): Both for beginner & advanced , one on one & in group, live in New York & online who is dreaming higher score but finds it difficult & lengthy. I will arrange 45 minutes free session for interested one.
To schedule the free session –
Contact: cell# +1 917 214 2823
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