USMLE forum
Step 1
Step 2 CK
Step 2 CS
Matching & Residency
Step 3
  <<   < *  Step 1   *  >   >>  

* My step 1 experience
  doc185 - 12/06/06 13:33
  My Step 1 experience

Hi i'm an IMG, graduated 2 years ago. Started studying for Step 1 in

April and took my exam on the 8th of nov and just got my score

yesterday( dec 5th).

Got 239/97!!
I still cant believe it !

I went away on a two week holiday immediately after my exams and

then had the dreadful wait for the results so i decided to post my exam

experience after the results came.

My Resources :

I mainly used the Kaplan notes had 2004 edition and the Dvd's. The

biochem and Behavioural science were the best of the lot. The

anatomy and physiology were good but the Micro, Pharm and Path

were not that good.

For Pathology the best is without a doubt GOLJAN. I listened to his

audios twice and it really helped..some of the stuff he said came out

word for word in my exam. Plus he really makes it please

do listen to him.

First Aid was the best investment. I got it during the second reading of

kaplan notes and just had it open in front of me while doing questions .

I made lots of notes and highlights and used it solely in the last week.

I also got the Kaplan q bank 3mths. The questions weren't similar to the

actual exam style but it was a good source to practice doing questions

under timed mode and the bar graphs also helped me to work on my

weaker areas. My cumulative score was abt 69% but i was scoring abt

80% in the last couple of tests.

I also used the Robbin and Cotran review of pathology (2nd

edition).This was also a very good buy.This book together with Goljan
and you are set in pathology.

I also used the kaplan qbook towards the end.. but didnt have time to

finish it.

Apart from this i used a whole lot of other resources .. webpath, did

questions on the various forums , questions from pre test, Appleton &

Lange , NMS..and a whole lot.

And of course did NBME 2, 1 month before the exam got 530.

My Mistakes :

1) I did not have a good idea of what the usmle was all about..hence i did not have a good plan.
Thats the biggest mistake.

I just started studying with the Kaplan notes ..and only later read about Goljan, and First Aid . So i had to keep changing my timetable .

So my advice to you is to take maybe a week to find out everything you can abt usmle .. speak to people, read people's experiences, go and check out your local Kaplan centre .. take a practice test, look at the kaplan books and listen to the dvds.
Theres tonnes of resources out there and its very easy to get overwhelmed.and what works for others may not neccesarily work for you.

Once you have an idea of what books are out there..go to the library or bookstore and just browse through the books.
So you have a basic idea .

2) I took 8mths to study for this..and it was too much time. I think its very doable in abt 4-5mths. Book a date and stick to it. Its very tempting to postpone ..hence i booked a two week holiday the day after the i had to take it on nov 8th. But my eligibility period only ended in dec so i had some option.

DONT book ur exam on the last week of eligibilty period..have some flexibility in case you need to postpone.

The Actual EXam:

8 hrs goes by quickly especially the 45 min break time. Plan ur breaks properly. And allocate at least 10-15mins to the whole signing in - signing out process.
I went into the exam convinced it would be the worst exam possible. I had read prior exam experiences saying some blocks were tougher than others.
But in truth it was a very do able exam. And all the blocks were pretty much the same. they had abt 25% easy questions, 50% mod questions and 25% hard.

This has turned out to be a very long message. If you have any questions please do ask.

Report Abuse


* Re:My step 1 experience
  rmansour - 12/06/06 13:45
  doc 185, I appreciate ur input. I have a few questions

1) My eligibility period ends on January 31st, I've already done 2 NBME'S and scored between 210-215 on it. If I take the exam now, will I pass?? I want to get a real good score.

2) Were the questions like Kaplan Q-bank, NBME, or other question banks? I've already done Kaplan Q-bank, and did pretty well on the questions.

3) Did you have ALOT OF 1-LINER QUESTIONS OR MOSTLY 10 SENTENCE LONG VIGNETTES?? Also, could you pinpoint what was going on by reading the case??

Thanks, I'll appreciate ur input
Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  yoki - 12/06/06 13:52

How many times did you review Kaplan notes? Thanks
Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  yoki - 12/06/06 13:53
  How are NMS questions comparing to real exam, easier or more difficult or same? Thanks!  
Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  lilla - 12/06/06 14:02
Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  doc185 - 12/06/06 14:03
Two digit…Three digit…NBME score.
75---- 182
------- 183
------- 184
------- 185
------- 186
------- 187
------- 188
------- 189
------- 190
------- 191
------- 192
------- 193-- 1sd--- -------400
------- 194
------- 195
------- 196
80---- 197
------- 198
------- 199
------- 200
------- 201
82---- 202
83---- 203
83---- 204
83---- 205-- 1/2 sd------- 450
84---- 206
84---- 207
------- 208
85---- 209
------- 210
86---- 211
86---- 212
------- 213
------- 214
------- 215
88---- 216
88---- 217-- mean--------500
88---- 218
89---- 219
89---- 220
89---- 221
90---- 222
90---- 223
------- 224
91---- 225
------- 226
92---- 227

92---- 228
93---- 229-- 1/2 sd------- 550
93---- 230
94---- 231
94---- 232
94---- 233
95---- 234
95---- 235
95---- 236
96---- 237
96---- 238
97---- 239
97---- 240
97---- 241-- 1sd--- -------600
98---- 242
98---- 243
99---- 244
99---- 245
99---- 246
99---- 247
99---- 248
99---- 249
99---- 250
99---- 251
99---- 252
99---- 253-- 1.5sd--------650
99---- 254
99---- 255
99---- 256
99---- 257
99---- 258
99---- 259
99---- 260
99---- 261
99---- 262
99---- 263
99---- 264
99---- 265-- 2sd----------700
99---- 266
99---- 267

According to this score conversion a score of 210-215 ranges in the 86-87 percentile which is a pass.
have a look at the bar graph the nbme provides you and concentrate on your weak areas.

The questions were more like the NBME fact got 2 questions from the forms.
I only did the kaplan qbank. The question style wasnt really similar to the exam but i was able to improve my timings.

Remember the 1 hour goes by really fast. You have to be abls to read, pick a choice and move on..or you'll run out of time at the end. If your unsure mark the question and come back and review it.

The questions were mixed. There were some one liners , as well as long sentence vignette.
For the long sentence vignettes i usually read the last line first so i knew what they were asking for and then i read the vignette. But they give lots of clues in the vignette so its pretty easy to pinpoint the answer.. if you know it .
Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  doc185 - 12/06/06 14:10
  Thank you very much Yoki and Lila.

I reviewed the Kaplan notes abt 4-5 times. I didnt use the pathology notes at all though.

I didnt do many NMS i cant really remember Sorry.i dont want to give you a wrong idea.

good luck with your studies
Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  rmansour - 12/06/06 14:11
  Thanks, doc 185 for ur reply. I understand what ur saying, so basically if we did well on Kaplan Q-bank (I GOT LIKE 75 PERCENT ON IT), we shouldn't be surprised by any of the questions they throw at you right??

Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  vijired - 12/06/06 14:35
  Doc185, congrats on the great score.

There is lot of hype about UW, and i was surprised that you did not mention about UW in your preparation. Why is that?
Its a stupid question but how many hrs did u study the last month!


Good luck!
Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  doc185 - 12/06/06 16:58
  Hi rmansour

Kaplan q bank is good but dont rely on it solely. I stopped using it abt 1 mth before my exams and i used only my kaplan notes, goljan ,first Aid and practiced the NBME questions.

The problem with kaplan qbank is that they repeat a lot of questions , and sometimes it focuses on minute details.

Thanks vijired.

I heard abt usmleworld the last 1 month before my exam. At that stage i did not want to start using new resources and freak my self out.
I heard lots of good stuff abt it but i also heard it was pretty hard so i decided not to do it.

The last 1 month i studied abt 10-12 hr. I would study from abt 7 in the morning till abt 9-10 at night. But i took lots of mini-breaks..coz i didnt want to burn out before the big day.
The last 2 weeks i tried to adjust my sleeping pattern to wake up at 6 and be in bed by 10pm.

Well i hope that helps.

Good luck
Report Abuse

* Re:My step 1 experience
  grace98 - 12/06/06 17:04
  thanks Doc 185, very useful tips indeed. thanks for you time. BEst wishes for a Great score.  
Report Abuse

          Page 1 of 2     [Next >]     [Last >>]

[<<First]   [<Prev]  ... Message ...  [Next >]   [Last >>]

Logon to post a new Message/Reply




Step 1 Step 2 CK Step 2 CS Matching & Residency Step 3 Classifieds
LoginUSMLE LinksHome