Usmle step1 experience 242


2nd year medical student…
Thank you to this community for all the resources and knowledge throughout the years, I’d just like to give some back from sharing some of my exam experience from last month. I hope it’ll be some help to someone in this group.

Step 1 Experience:

Goal: 240+

NBME 18: (350)196 (5 months out)

NBME 20: (380)203 (4 months out)

CBSE from school: 221 (1 month out)

NBME 17: (35Q missed) ~213 (4 weeks out)

NBME 21: (50Q missed) ~228 (3.5 weeks out)

NBME 22: (46Q missed) ~230 (3 weeks out)

NBME 23: (47Q missed) ~227 (2 weeks out)

Free 120: 83% (1 week out)

UWorld: 70% (only 1 pass; always random and timed via phone [a timer on the side so I know when I go over time, but test won’t close and I won’t waste a question])

UWSA1: 251 (2 weeks out)

UWSA2: 237 (1 week out)

I’m a 2nd year MD student, dedicated studying was 4 months (~9 hours of studying everyday) and casual studying in first and most of second year(about 4-6 hours a day) on school material and First Aid.

Exam experience: In my opinion, the exam was more similar to nbme than it was to Uworld. It had a wide variety of pure memorization questions and a few uworld type multi-step thinking questions. The score correlation to Uworld question bank was accurate for me.

Resource used: Uworld, USMLErx, First Aid (One pass, then second time guided by question banks), Pathoma (I only had time to read the heme section), Sketchy Micro

I found it very difficult to read First Aid like a book and memorizing it. After reading it once, I started USMLERx 4 months prior to exam and used the answer key to guide my reviewing of First Aid. (I will read everything on the answer key, then find the same content on first aid and read everything on that page and the next page). Pathoma was good for explaining disease pathophysiology and concepts, but I started too late so did not have time to finish it. Sketchy Micro (a must have for microbiology; this will help you remember specific things about each microbes, then use First Aid tables to group the microbes together).

Started question banks 4 months out: offline USMLE Rx 40~60 questions a day

-> Uworld 40 questions a day (only one pass)-> Kaplan at the end only to fill up the rest of the free time (did only about ~300 questions)

Dedicated studying (4 months before exam):

Daily schedule on days without school:

7:00AM: Exercise

7:30AM: Breakfast over news or youtube

9:00AM: 40 question banks, Go over questions, reading up the page of First Aid related to the question

12:00PM: Lunch and relax

14:00PM: 20 questions, Go over questions, read up first aid

18:00PM: Dinner

20:00PM: Sketchymicro 4 videos a day, Anki decks (Zanki or lightyear), Review school materials

21:00PM: relaxation until bedtime

23:00PM: Bedtime

During the last 4 weeks:

Did NBME (from lower number to higher number) every week, I have to be honest, going over the questions took a lot of time and I wasn’t even sure why the answers were correct, so I just skim over the answers and tried to memorize it. Then I did UWSA1 and 2 in the last two weeks. Two weeks prior to exam I was still scoring 220-230’s for NBME which made me panic a bit, although the UWSA and Free120 helped give me confidence.

EXAM DAY: The night prior I had terrible sleep for about 5 hours, but my mind was rather clear and not too anxious. I had coffee, two eggs and banana for breakfast before heading to the center. Brought sandwich and juice for lunch. The exam process was clear and the staffs were friendly. In terms of exams, the break schedule was as such:

2 blocks in a roll ->

15 minutes break bites of sandwich and bathroom ->

2 blocks in a roll ->

30 minutes lunch ->

1 block ->

10 minutes bathroom->

1 block ->

5 minutes just closing my eyes and resting ->

Final block

After the exam, I thought I definitely bombed a few blocks and felt terrible. I suppose it’s true that how you felt at the end of the exam does not correlate with your score.

I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.