Tips for USMLE Step 1 Test
Aspirants looking forward to acquire medical license to practice medicine in US, need to crack three-step examination. USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) Step 1 which is the initial test, judges the understanding of the candidate, to implement major concepts of science for medical practices.
Here is your guide to crack USMLE Step 1:
Determine your goals:
Before you start preparing for the USMLE step 1, identify your level of knowledge, as this particular exam is meant to judge candidate’s basic medical knowledge. To know from where you need to start, turn to take the practice tests, online. This activity will allow you to find out, how you will perform in your initial Step 1 exam, as prediction calculators will check your scores on question bank.
Dedicated study time schedule:
Aspirants can utilize their dedicated study schedule to prepare for step 1 exam provided by their respective schools. As many schools provide after class study periods to help their students to prepare for the exam and other schools may have the option to use their vacation days to make a dedicated study schedule. The time taken depends on your level of preparation and your speed of learning. There are several valid examples available for study schedules online and if your current schedule is not working according to your aspirations then you should try switching to new dedicated study plan for better test preparation results. Usually, medical board authorities recommend preparing for at least 2-3 months of dedicated study schedule and also utilizing time for practice test also. The time spent in a day on studying for exam totally depends on the capability of every individual student. So it is recommended to spend only productive hours which are 5-6 hours a day for good results.
Check your eligibility requirements before filling application for exam:
To apply for the USMLE examination you must be enrolled in or graduated from the medical school which is leading to the MD degree accredited with LCME or candidate should be officially enrolled or graduated from the medical school leading to the DO degree which is AOA accredited. During the time of filling application form and on the day of test, if you are found terminated or withdrawn from the medical school, you are not qualified to appear for USMLE.
Exam retake attempts:
You must clearly know how many times you can take the examination. As per rules and policies of the board you can take the exam not more than three times during the period of 12 months. If you are trying for the fourth subsequent attempt, it must be after 12 months of your first attempt at that examination and at least sixth months after recent attempt at the examination.
Trying for Multiple Attempts and Time Limits:
If you have already made six or more previous attempts to pass that step or step component, including incomplete attempts regardless of when the examinations are taken then you are ineligible to take USMLE Step 1 exam.
Select right exam preparation resources:
Choosing the right and appropriate study material is the key to success for preparing for the USMLE Step 1 examination. There are many resources that students can use to prepare for the exam. These resources can be broadly categorized in to 2 groups:
I) Pre Test courses: Pre Test courses offer organized classroom lectures and preparation material. These can be:
Medical Schools: This offers preparation courses as their curriculum. If these courses are available in school then it can be of great value.
Private Courses: You can also prepare by try to attempt MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) which offers tips, guidance, and help in answering common questions about the test.
II) Question Banks: Questions banks are important to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam, as they provide multiple questions to practice and you can attempt full test, blocks or by category.
Prepare well with Firecracker an Adaptive Learning Platform:
This platform is discovered to help your curriculum and what you have learned in your lectures throughout your all four academic medical school years. Firecracker offers programs for both individual students and for the complete medical schools.
Developing a consistent study strategy:
A good preparation strategy for exam will help you in achieving the desired results. You can devote distributed time in reading and brainstorming your knowledge in practicing questions and answers. During your initial study schedule, the main focus should be to read and study from the review book. This will help you in gathering more appropriate study material and facts.
Following proper schedule to study:
If you are taking any exam preparation course make sure to schedule your time for lectures which you are going to attend. Quick tip: Read your lectures notes before and after attending lectures to get optimum results.
Know your weak areas:
To know how capable you are to attempt the exam it is recommended to take NDME Assessment test online to check your weak areas and where you need to focus more.
Select your best study location and study buddy:
Choosing the appropriate location for studies will help you concentrate more. These places can be friends place, a library, a coffee shop or any other peaceful place where environment is favorable to study. Find a friend or group because having peers to prepare with helps you stay motivated and positive. It helps you prepare for the toughest testing challenge of your medical career. It may also help to join online USMLE forum or USMLE study group
Follow Healthy Diet Plan:
To keep your mind fresh and active you must eat healthy food which includes juices, high fiber food, and vegetables. It is recommended to avoid any type of junk and heavy foods which may lead to laziness and sleep deprivation.
Always try to be positive:
During the time of exam preparation we get stressed out quite easily. So, it is a usual feeling to get negative thoughts. But to avoid these types of feeling it is advisable to practice yoga and meditation to stay positive as it will help you to keep negative thoughts at bay.
Always do your question bank in MIXED MODE and in timed block sessions:
While preparing for USMLE Step 1, you are in training for an intellectual marathon. To do so, refrain doing your question bank in tutor mode or by subject as the questions on your exam will be un-categorized and will be timed. Switching from topic to topic requires flexible thinking and integrating information across several subjects. It is best to begin training your brain to “change subject sets” from the outset of your use of your question bank.
Periodically review subject with high rates of memorization required:
If your hardest area is a subject that requires a lot of memorization like Biochemistry or Microbiology, then you must periodically revise the material throughout the preparation. Flashcards can often help with these, which can be reviewed in short breaks.
Adapt all the above steps to crack the first stage of acquiring medical license and come out successful to prepare for the next stage. All the best!!