Hanging Up The White Coat Till April – Studying for USMLE Step 1

It’s time to prep for the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step I! Baylor Med students tend to take Step I in the spring-time of their third year. Because we start clinical rotations 18 months into medical school, we have a year of rotations under our belts before embarking on the arduous task of studying for this vital exam. Historically, our scores have been among the top in the nation, so I’m hoping to do my part to continue this trend! 🙂

I plan to stick to the following resources:

  1. First Aid for the USMLE Step I 2011
  2. BRS Physiology
  3. USMLE World Question Bank
  4. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease (chapters 1-7)
  5. All the pictures and selected readings from Goljan’s Rapid Review Pathology and BRS Pathology

I’ve always learned better by writing things out (it’s an active process, after all ;-)), so I plan to use First Aid as my “primary textbook” and annotate it with sections from the aforementioned resources.

For those wondering what the exam format is, here’s a description from UWorld’s website.

Step 1 has approximately 322 multiple-choice test items. This is divided into seven sixty minute blocks and administered in one eight hour testing session. For Step 1, during the defined time to complete the items in each block, you may answer the items in any order, review your responses, and change answers. After you exit the block, or when time expires, you can no longer review test items or change answers.

My goal for this exam is ambitious. It’s more than just the “MCAT of medical school.” This can, in a large way, determine what I do with the rest of my life. The exam is scheduled for Sunday, March 18th giving me less than 50 days to prep… some of which I plan to use to clear my head before and after studying.

It’s game time! 😀

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    • Goljan has more pathophysiology than BRS, but BRS is more “readable” for someone who is familiar with a lot of path. I’m going to bounce back-and-forth between the two to ensure I’m (a.) filling in the gaps in my understanding and (b.) seeing lots of pictures.

      That being said, I don’t think anything rivals the first seven chapters of Robbins for cell biology. 🙂


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