I know we are deep in the Step 1 study season so I thought I would make a quick post about some tips that helped me. Keep in mind that people have their own study techniques and what works/doesn’t work for them, but I’m hoping you guys will find at least one of these useful.
For a more thorough breakdown of how to study, check out Jenny’s post over at The Vibrant Med.
- Find what works for you and stick to it. Stay flexible in terms of getting through the material, but don’t feel overwhelmed because a classmate is using xyz resource and you’re not, or that they’re scoring insanely high on practice exams.
- If you can swing it, move home to study. When I did that, I had nothing to worry or think about except for studying. It also helped to not be surrounded by classmates talking about questions or how their practice exams were going. Forever grateful to my parents for taking care of me during that time and giving me pep talks whenever I had breakdowns during dinner.
First Aid tips
- I had my First Aid unbound and hole-punched. Spiral binding is popular but I liked to recreate the UWorld diagrams on a blank sheet of paper and stick it in my First Aid. If you have issues with the pages ripping out get some of those reinforcements! They sell them for cheap on Amazon here.
- Find a PDF of First Aid. It was incredibly helpful to have this as I reviewed UWorld questions because I could just search for the word/section in the PDF and then annotate accordingly in my book, instead accidentally ripping pages out as I flipped through First Aid.
- Try not to go crazy with the highlighting (guilty!). We always try to hit the high-yield but everything in First Aid is important. Especially since you want to go through First Aid more than once PLUS you have annotations from UWorld, the coloring will start to get crazy. I attempted to color coordinate my notes and then gave up after the biochemistry section.
- Check out my blog post about my favorite pens for First Aid and Pathoma!
- Create your question blocks with 40 questions, random, TIMED. When my friend first told me about this, I was hesitant because doing random questions on material I hadn’t studied yet felt like a waste of questions. But as I started doing it, I realized it showed me topics I was weak in. Doing them timed is an absolute must. If you can’t get through 1 block of 40 questions timed, just think of the trouble you’ll be in when it comes to the actual exam with 7 blocks. You need to build your stamina for exam day.
- Review each question thoroughly, even if you got it right. On average, reviewing a block took me about 1.5-2 hours because I read each answer choice, including the incorrect ones. This ensured that I knew why it was wrong, and that it wasn’t just a lucky guess! All the questions I missed, I annotated into First Aid by making notes of what was missing (mechanism of action, additional details, etc).
- Something that helped me a lot was a UWorld Journal for incorrects. Click here to read more about it, but essentially you’re creating a one liner that summarizes the information you needed to know to answer the question. Nothing more, nothing less. I started doing this halfway through studying and wish I started it sooner. It was a quick way for me to review high yield information from previous study days without feeling overwhelmed about reading everything again. I didn’t end up scoring 263 like the author but my percentages in UWorld did increase after doing this.
Good luck and happy studying, everyone! The importance of this exam cannot be stressed enough, but please remember to take care of yourselves during this tough time.