USMLE Study Strategy by Successful Students (Part 4 of 6)

General Advice about Step 1

  • Just study now. Focus on your classes of the Organ Systems in the second year. I believe that if you focus well in the class, you need not seperately study much for test.

How did you approach this exam?

  • As stated above, I studied for Organ Systems during the whole of my second year. An then seperately I managed out time of 5 weeks to study for this exam.

Did you use a subject review or a system-based approach, and how well did that prepare you?

  • I used the system-based approach which I feel was a great decision and I couldn't have done well than it did.

Did you form study groups, how did you go about forming them, and how effective were they?

  • I always believed in self study. I cannot study well in groups as I cannot focus there and keep remaining distracted. However as the time approached the exam, I did do DIT with a friend and it helped me keep my sanity during that time.

What books were essential for preparing for this exam?

  • First aid came of great use to me.

What other books did you use?

  • I referred other books such as Goljan's rapid review pathology, BRS Physio, BRS Behavioral, High Yield Neuroanatomy.

What review courses did you use? Did you use notes from 1st and 2nd year?

  • As I said earlier, I used DIT. And I did not study from the notes of the class.

Do you have any recommendations or general comments about Question Banks? How useful were they in your studies? Which ones did you use?

  • I feel that you must study from USMLE World questions bank. It is the best and is essential for the exam. However besides this, I also referred Kaplan during Organ Systems to help study for those tests. Because of it, I also got much familiar with the format of the actual exam.

How early did you begin studying? How early did you really begin to study? Would you go back and change that if you could?

  • Once again, studying for Organ Systems is studying for the test. This means that your focus in class should be there which will help you a lot for test.

How long did you prepare for?

  • I justified the 5 weeks I took out for study of the test. That much time I dedicated myself completely for the exam preparation.

What was your everyday schedule like once you began to study? How did you prevent fatique?

  • The initial two weeks I did two sets of questions, one in morning and other in evening. In the time that remained I studied a chapter ot two and looked for its questions in other supplementary books. In the next two weeks I did DIT and then in the evening I solved one set of paper. The remaining time I practised questions and other sets of questions.

How did you plan your schedule?

  • I, in the beginning tried to look out for the best way of managing the study in the given 5 week time. I spent some time looking for it. However I ended up laying down my own schedule which I could manage well by myself.

What did you do a week before the exam and the night before exam?

  • Week before the exam, I focused on practising questions. A day before the exam I just relaxed and paced around my apartment. The night before the exam I was totally free and did nothing.

How did you deal with difficult questions? What do you think about changing your answer?

  • I had practised well enough and the questions that I could not deal with, I thought were questions to be researched enough before are answered. Hence I completely avoided them. And changing the answer depends on how confident you are:

How did you avoid fatigue? When did you take your breaks during the exam?

  • I used to relax myself by intaking Red bull. Take breaks when you feel like taking them.

What was your strategy at reading and answering the question in the allotted time/dissecting a question stem?

  • I believe that you must read the last line of question first and then proceed to read the whole question.

Noteworthy Tips

  • Goljan audio lectures are extremely helpful. Use them during Organ Systems.