How did you study for Step I?
I’ve gotten this advice from a friend who is doing his ophthalmology residency now: focus on classes and don’t overload yourself prior to dedicated time. Once dedicated rolls around, commit to studying literally all day every day. You will be burned out by the end but this is why you can’t start too early. Practice questions, practice questions, practice questions! There are studies out there that show the more practice questions you do, the better you’ll perform. Definitely try and take a practice exam as well. Good luck!
I started studying for Step 1 around the middle of my first semester of my second year. This was really lite studying (maybe 10-20 questions a day). My dedicated study time was 6 weeks before my test for about 10-12 hours a day. I treated it as a new job. I had a group of friends, we met at one friend’s house and studied and worked on our own. We ate together, went over practice tests together, and kept eachother accountable.
I broke down my dedicated using a couple tools:
- Cramfighter – this is a website you can use where you tell it all the resources you have, how long you’re going to study, and how time much on each resource you’d like to spend per day. It then generates a calendar and a daily checklist. It costs a bit, but if you’re bad at organizing like I am it’s a god send.
- Upper level students plans – a lot of people in the class above me made their own plans. These were usually in excel or word and broke down what they did on a day to day basis. They were a good guide on how to space things out and how to cover things. Also gives you an idea of what resources they used
Key resources are:
- UWorld – this is the be all end all resource. Everyone you ask will say this is a must. It’s a question bank with around 2k+ questions. Some people try to do it twice, some only do all once and missed again, and others just do it all once. I did it all once and some of my missed.
- First Aid – a solid text reference for the whole exam. This needs to be within 1 year of you taking the test as they update it regularly.
- Pathoma – the book is cheap and some students will usually share a subscription. It’s a great resource for pathology and general information as well.
- Sketchy Medical – As a visual learner, this was a god send. I struggled with meds and micro since it’s all brute force memorization. These gave me a reference to always go to.
- Practice tests – the NBME has some practice step tests. Treat this like actual step tests. Go to a foreign computer in a new setting (we usually went to the library). Do blocks and time it just like step will be. This gets you in the mid set. To make it actual length, you’ll have to add some UWorld blocks.
It’ll be rough and you’ll feel hopeless, but you’ll get there. Just stay strong.