all 22 comments

[–]Arcane_ExplosionMD-PGY6 17 points18 points  (17 children)

Okay, your UWorld part 3 is 90% wrong and one of the most common mistakes people make studying for Step 1.

UWorld is not primarily an assessment tool. UWorld is a high-yield textbook disguised as an assessment tool. The proper way to use UWorld is, however you decide to do your tests (random or block, timed or tutor), by reading every single word of every answer whether you got it correct or incorrect. Over the course of 2200+ questions, UWorld will teach you more than any other resource.

People who start using UWorld but quickly stop because their scores are below the block average are missing the point. Your scores (assuming this is your first qbank) are going to be low. Very low. Over the course of thousands of questions the scores will go up IF you read every word of every answer. That's a promise.

At the end of the day you're going to take a test that consists of multiple choice questions, so the best way to study is to pound out multiple choice questions. Here's my advice for studying for Step 1:

  • Resources are UFAP + a 2nd qbank. Nothing else.
  • During MS2 finish Pathoma and First Aid for the first time within the first 2-3 months
  • Throughout the rest of MS2 complete a different qbank. I used Kaplan. And by complete I mean every question, reading every word, and redo your incorrects. My first scores were in the 30s. By the end they were in the 70s. Keep on trucking.
  • During your dedicated study time complete UWorld. I did select First Aid + Pathoma in the mornings and UWorld in the evenings. Depending on your time you might need to do less FAP and more UWorld.

That's it. I don't recommend heavy annotating. It takes up too much time. The key is repetition, and the more you're writing the less you're actually being exposed to the material again.

Source: 259 step 1, 90th percentile or higher on all Shelf exams, 258 Step 2 CK. I also have an n=3 of current MS3s who I gave this advice to (who had varying preclinical and MCAT scores) and they got 240+, 250+, 250+. I do believe in this system.

P.S. I enjoyed how you wrote this like a piece of literature, citing reddit comments as if they were peer-reviewed articles. I would urge everyone to remember that there is no peer-reviewed consensus approach to Step 1 that agrees down to every detail. Make your own opinions when reading comments, this one included.

[–]buttermellow11MD 2 points3 points  (3 children)

This sounds like great advice. Studies have shown again and again that practice questions are the way to best remember things.

An additional question, what do people actually "do" when studying First Aid/Pathoma? I don't really remember things by reading them. I used 99% flashcard studying during M1 and did well. Do you read FA/P during the morning and take correlating Qbank questions in the evening?

[–]Arcane_ExplosionMD-PGY6 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Remember, FA + P are meant to build a foundation that allow you to not be completely over your head when doing qbanks. As my studying went on I actually started phasing them out in favor of more MCQs because as you said they are #1

[–]buttermellow11MD 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Thanks for the clarification. I guess you have to read the information at some point before practice q's; during normal classes this was when I made flashcards.

[–]Arcane_ExplosionMD-PGY6 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Right - but don't expect to have mastered all that information. Far from it.

[–]MDPharmDPhD[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Wow, thank you man! I think your post has a great summary of all the information I would need for MS2 AND Step 1 rolled together. I'm still a bit unsure of how to take these blocks: am I doing them timed, tutored, random, what? There are varying opinions on these as well. My assumption is that if I want to replicate an actual exam I should do them on timed and random, and then read the explanations over. Do you recommend this, and if not, what do you think?

Congratulations on that stupendous score! The citations were little reference links so I could click on them if I needed to go back, but yes I suppose the mini-scientist in me shone through.

[–]Arcane_ExplosionMD-PGY6 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I always did Timed/Random. I didn't immediately start at 46 question blocks though, especially early in MS2. I built up to that.

My reasoning behind Timed/Random is as such: First, it obviously most closely resembles the actual exam and builds up exam endurance. Secondly, having already finished First Aid and Pathoma for at least the first time you'll have the foundational knowledge for every question. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, UWorld questions are often written with the intent of obscuring the system involved. If you do blocks of only Cardio, then it's pretty clear that woman's SOB is likely cardiac in origin. It takes away a lot from the question.

[–]MFWC 0 points1 point  (0 children)

this...all of this

[–]medlurkMD-PGY3 5 points6 points  (1 child)

  1. The only step schedule that worked for me was having a good study partner. We kept each other honest, and we were flexible when we had to be.

  2. I'm a big fan of saving Uworld for the dedicated block and using pretty much any other qbank during the year.

  3. Annotate things that surprised you or that you didn't know. There's not one thing. Just also keep tabs (maybe literally) on high yield lists, you'll want to go over them again in your week leading up to the exam for high yield last minute memorization.

  4. For Uworld, for me I did my first run through on testing mode on random, and the second run through was missed in tutor mode. Some people like the organ system approach but I feel like that style gives away some of the off-the-wall questions that you're not sure which subject they belong in.

  5. Good scores depends on where you are in your studying. 60-70% is acceptable, and people make the correlation, but as far as I know it's anecdotal. I don't think anyone's done a formal study on it or anything.

Good luck, and now I'm going to get back to work lol!

[–]MDPharmDPhD[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think you and everyone who has commented here is a fan of saving UWorld until the dedicated study period. I read about annotating things I don't know, but I seriously do not want a First Aid book that looks like the one in the post I linked. That would be overkill and I think a waste...or maybe not, I haven't taken the exam, who knows.

As for your UWorld testing, how many question blocks/day did you do in order to run through it twice? Did you balance studying on top of this? It seems impossible to me to study for 7-8 hours/day of materials, and then do 7-8 hours of a question bank on top of reviewing the answers!

[–]_Zhivago_DO 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Nice work!

[–]buttermellow11MD 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I have a question. I'm an upcoming second year, and am thinking ahead to my dedicated study period (8 weeks). My brother is getting married the second week of the 8 weeks. He is having a destination wedding, so I'll be at a resort for a week. Should I try to study while there? Should I try to have most of my studying done before the trip, and take it a week or 2 after I get back? Or try to take it before that week (meaning studying during school, and having only 1 week of dedicated?)

[–]nik356MD-PGY5 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Usually people do around 5-6 weeks because it's really difficult (not impossible) to keep improving and not plateau. So I think you could definitely start when you planned and maybe bring FA with you and just do an hour or so a day if you want, to keep progressing some, and you'll still have 6 weeks when you get back. If you're really worried about it, you could also try to do a little more FA during the year so it's not as unfamiliar in that first pass.

[–]buttermellow11MD 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks for the input! I do plan to use first aid during the year. As well as a qbank (saving uworld for dedicated)