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Learn from My Step 1 Mistakes

I did not do well on my Step 1. Whew. There I said it. Now that that is over with, I will continue.

Several of my instagram followers (follow me @mentormd) have recently been DM’g me about how to study for Step 1. I will let you know the three biggest mistakes that I made in my studying, that I remedied before I took Step 2.

Please babes, if you want to crush the USMLE Step 1 exam DO NOT do the following:

  1. Buy every single q-bank, study book, flash card, and study aide out there. Guys lets be real, in medical school I was broke as a joke but somehow found a way to purchase/download every single study aide there was out there. I was where you are now and I was desperate. This was the worst mistake I ever made. The reality was that instead of focusing on one main source and one study aide, I tried to know all the knowledge in every study aide. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none?”. I was basically Jack. Get ONE study book, ONE q-bank. Your main source should be the books you spent so much time studying from during medical school. Mentally, if you got into medical school, you can truly master all the material in one study book and one question bank.
  2. Deviate from your normal studying pattern. Like you I read every blog post, watched every video about studying habits to prepare to study for the Step 1 exam. If you got into medical school(do you see a thread here?), you know how to study. Do not change your method right before a high stakes exam. For some reason, my type A self decided that my old method was not good enough. Use what you know works for you. That is more than enough. As an aside, I also decided to use group study. Now I love my group until this day with all of my heart, but I don’t do well with group study. I’m a talker, and I get more interested in what you ate for lunch and why, than what peptide is important for a certain process. Don’t deviate.
  3. Purchase a gold mine of questions and only get through half of it. To be fair to myself, I ran out of time because I was trying to do 2 question banks and 2 question books(overkill, I know…). Take that one question bank and do it over and over again until you get all of the questions right. My friend who did well, told me that her strategy was to do her question bank of choice 4 times. It sounds like a lot, but it paid off. If you do not have the time to do that, just don’t reset your question bank. Keep doing your incorrect questions until you have no incorrect questions left. Questions are like liquid gold. The Step 1 exam is more about memorization and knowing how to take the test than Step 2. Therefore, the more questions you see/do, the better you will do. It’s like learning to ride a bike, the more you try, the better you ride.

I know that personally, I learn more from my mistakes than my successes. Please share your thoughts! I hope that this helps someone!




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