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Both are necessary, and neither alone is sufficient. Now ask yourself this. A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes, the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here.


The drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. Comparatively, it is much harder to measure mastery.

You may realize your Step 1 score depends on your ability to apply and integrate. Let me be clear: I used First Aid. Instead, my approach was to do QBank questions first, then to use First Aid as a reference later. I was extremely nervous about not reading First Aid. I read the same accounts as you have. However, I wanted to understand the material. Reading First Aid rarely led to a deeper understanding. Several days before Step 1, I decided to answer that question.

To see how much I knew, I thought it would be a good idea to skim First Aid. I was naive. I expected that I would know most of — if not all — the words in the book. I was wrong. After reading through the First Aid cardiology section, a moment of uneasiness set in. Then I went through the next section. Most concerning to someone about to take the most critical test of their medical career? I began to calculate how many pages I would have to read per hour before my exam to get through all of First Aid.

UWorld: Is Your Strategy Wrong? (I Scored By Ignoring The Dogma)

But then something strange happened. I took a deep breath, took a step back, and told myself to chill. I tabulated how many items I got right because I knew facts vs. I knew how to apply my knowledge. The more I thought about it, the calmer I became. This was particularly true for the most challenging problems. Histiocytosis X and Birbeck granules. Stop memorizing First Aid! Could I master all the material for Step 1 in 3 weeks? Not a chance. Yet that is the impossible goal most students set for themselves.

They have a particular goal score. However, they tell themselves they have to take their tests by an arbitrary date. Therefore what should take a normal student weeks, I need to do twice as fast. Instead of slowing down, however, these students move even faster. They learn even less and cram more, and the cycle of stagnant NBMEs repeats itself.

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Let me tell you a story of two students I worked with recently. Every time we met, I would remind her that she needed to learn things at greater depth. He focused several days or more on each organ block. He took as much time as necessary to understood the organ before he moved on. Even then, probably best to repeat UW questions in those areas. Accuracy before speed. Keep the question banks in un-timed tutor mode.


Only switch to timed blocks and practice tests in the last days leading up until Test Day. While in un-timed tutor mode go slowly and really think through questions and work on your technique and thoroughly flesh out a process that works for you. Practice tests in the home stretch. Save these for the end. You should already know your weak areas from your grades thus far.

Why did I get that wrong? For every question, really try to parse that out. Did you misread? Did you over think? Were you able to see what the test writers were going for?

UWorld: Is Your Strategy Wrong? (I Scored 270 By Ignoring The Dogma)

Did you narrow it down and guess wrong? Were you jumping at a distractor? Did you narrow it down and give up and just guess? Did you simply not have the requisite knowledge to answer? Did you rule out the correct answer and, if so, why?

The Worst Mistake Students Make with First Aid for the USMLE Step 1

Or was the correct answer still among the ones you did not cross out? Practice questions themselves can beat the information into you. Try asking yourself a different question: what is the tester trying to get after? What are they trying to test me on? It might make the question unfold simpler than it seems.

Triage your block time. For the questions about study bias and such, probably simply doing lots of questions would be good. Just straight skipped them when I hit them. Come back when you have time. Leave them to the end when you have less feeling of pressure like you need to move on. Only use Pathoma where you need review. Goljan however is really good to listen.

I hit the treadmill an hour each day for focused listening to one Goljan session each day. I swear, nearly every day I got a question correct only because I had just heard that man talk about it. For more tips on how to use this, see my resources page. Anatomy is always in context.

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You only need First Aid and UWorld. BRS is too dense at this point. I recall that most questions centered around the following:. Online videos are a great way to learn. More tips on my resources page. Eat well and exercise daily. Take care of yourself. De-stress by exercising. Spend time preparing nutritious foods leafy greens, veggies, low carbs, lots of water, low sugar.