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USMLE Step 1 Exam - 7 Tips For A Top USMLE Score

Written By onci on Sunday, January 8, 2012 | 8:10 AM

Studying for the USMLE Step 1 exam is serious business, and we are now in a time where there are more applicants than there are available residency positions, so there is absolutely no room for error in preparing for it thoroughly. It's true, there are almost twice as many people applying for residency today than there are available positions, so students should no longer be striving to simply "pass" the exam and go into a primary care field, because even the simplest residency programs to get into are now extremely competitive.


Because of the increasing difficulty in attaining a residency and the direct relationship between getting interviews and a good Step 1 score, I am going to share seven tips that I believe can help anybody do well on the USMLE exam, even if you are not a strong test-taker.


My seven tips for an outstanding Step 1 score are:


#1 - Start thinking USMLE from day 1 of med school



Get into the mindset from day 1 that you are preparing for the boards, because the sooner you set your mind for it's preparation the sooner you will start to absorb the appropriate material.


#2 - Class time = USMLE prep time



Pay close attention throughout your courses and pay extra attention to anything that your professors say is "high-yield", because they have been there already and they know what is likely to be on the exam. Take notes and develop your own process for marking the high-yield stuff that comes up in your classes.


#3 - Give the USMLE 1 hour every week from the start



If you are taking the right steps and making notes consistently for the Step 1 then you should have an ever-growing set of USMLE notes. Every week, take only 1 hour and sit and study your USMLE-specific notes, which will help you to absorb the high-yield information over time and this will ultimately help you best prepare.


#4 - Combine your class notes with your study guide notes



Something I didn't do but I wish I had done was get a USMLE Step 1 study guide from day 1 and bring it to all my classes. I had friends who did this and it helped them tremendously, and the only thing you need to do is jot down class information that comes up that is discussed in your study guide. This helps you to add more depth to the high-yield topics mentioned in the study guide and this ultimately gives you an even better study guide in the long-run.


#5 - Do a question bank from day 1



Starting a question bank from the beginning of your med school days is a great way to learn how to take standardized exam questions as well as a great way to help you prepare for your classes. Be sure to work through the qbanks slowly and take great notes along the way, as these will come in handy closer to your Step 1 exam date.


#6 - Create 3 sets of notes for the USMLE



Studying simply from a pre-written study guide is a fast way to a mediocre score, so instead of that you want to create 3 sets of study notes for your USMLE prep. First, you need to create notes straight from your classes which are your most in-depth set of study notes, secondly you need a set of notes mentioned in #4 which is more high-yield in nature, and third you need a thorough set of notes taken from your question bank. These three are a killer combination and will help you do very well on your exam.


#7 - Treat your USMLE preparation like a job



This test is tough, so approach it as if it was a job, giving it plenty of dedicated attention. When you are done with your 1st and 2nd year courses, create a schedule for studying and stick to it firmly, as you need to study intensely and consistently for a few weeks in order to get a top score.
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2 comments:

  1. that's an informative read... preparing for USMLE exam and being enrolled in http://www.wiziq.com/course/207-Best-USMLE-Step-1-Preparation-Course I needed some information regarding the examination. thanks for the useful post.

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  2. Hi,

    USMLE step 1 score is an important variable in the residency application process. The best way to ensure you score well is to get started early. If you use your first couple years of the basic sciences as your prep time, you will be so far ahead of 99% of your competition that you will almost be able to pick your score. Thanks a lot...

    USMLE Step 3 Course

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