my USMLE tips

My USMLE Step 1 Experience & Tips

This is the test taking experience of USMLE Step 1 submitted by a USMLE taker. You can read other USMLE takers’ experience here.

I scored 244 in the USMLE Step 1 test.


I used Kaplan review lecture notes and videos for all topics except pathology. I reviewed Pathoma videos, Goljan, BRS anatomy, BRS physiology, and BRS behavioral science. I worked through UWorld, NBME, and First Aid 2014.

First, I would read the First Aid chapters and then read the Kaplan lecture notes and view the Pathoma videos. Then, I would attempt the UWorld questions topic-wise. Although this took longer, it helped me strengthen my concepts. In order to practice random questions I also used PrepEZ Question Bank and USMLE Question of the Day on a daily basis to practice daily questions. Always do your question bank in MIXED MODE. 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 not be categorized. 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.

I wrote several practice tests throughout my preparation. Here are my scores:

Uwsa1 = 184
Nbme 17 = 192/330 (~ 12 weeks ahead)
Nbme 13 = 198/360 (~7 weeks ahead)

Nbme 15 = 230/510 (6 weeks ahead)
Nbme 12 = 217/450 (4 weeks ahead)

After this test, I wrote a practice test at the test venue and scored 87%. The questions differed from UWorld and NBME.

Uwsa2 = 244/620 (9 days ahead)
Nbme 16 = 245/580 (8 days ahead)
Nbme 11 = 241/560 (2 days ahead)

I completed my preparation by re-attempting the UWorld questions (~5-6 blocks per day).

Test experience:

I was familiar with the test environment, so it was helpful. I drank water, went to the rest room, and stretched a little during my breaks. I ate lunch after completing 5 blocks. The first 2 blocks had tough questions but the rest of the blocks had questions similar to UWorld and NBME.

Satabdi is a content writer and editor with degrees in Biology and English. Her interests include education, health and wellness, and books. When not writing, she can usually be found reading in a corner.

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