If you are getting close to the beginning of your USMLE Step 1 exam preparation, then you have to realize that it is more important now than ever that you get a score well above 200, and even better well above the average of approximately 217. There are almost twice as many people applying for residency than there are spots available, so if you fail to get a top score, you are putting yourself in harm’s way as far as your career goes.
Since there is so much pressure to score well, I’d like to share with you a few tricks that my mentor from medical school shared with me before I started to study for the Step 1.
Step #1 – Gather and master the high-yield information
The best way to do this is with a study guide or a set of notes created by yourself or someone who has recently been through medical school. Take your time to get through these notes and be sure that the high-yield stuff is completely memorized before moving onto step 2.
Step #2 – Take this high-yield information and dig a bit deeper
Now that you have a good grasp on the highest-yield information, dig a bit deeper into every topic. It really isn’t enough to simply know the high-yield information these days, you have to go the extra mile and know more depth, but more depth about the high-yield information is what will get you a good score.
Step #3 – Start doing a question bank
Once you’ve got a great grasp on the high-yield stuff and then the deeper information, start doing a question bank. A good question bank done slowly and with purpose is one of the best ways to round out your exam preparation. Be sure to go slowly and to take really detailed notes from each question.
Step #4 – Add all new qbank information to your high-yield information
Once you’ve been through your question bank, you should turn to your high-yield study notes/guide and add anything extra that you’ve taken from your qbank. This is a great way to finalize your prep notes and give you absolutely everything needed to set yourself up for a top score.
Step #5 – Read and re-read those notes at least 4-5 times through
It isn’t enough to just create your notes and carry them with you, you have to get through them a few times. The best way to ensure you completely absorb everything is to get through it at least 4-5 times, and if you learn slowly you may want to make it even more times than that.