Dr. Varshita (name has been changed for privacy) shares with us how she scored 267 in the USMLE Step 1 Exam. Her in-depth USMLE Step 1 experience will answer your questions on how to score 265 + on the USMLE Step 1. As per the recent 2020 USMLE notification, USMLE Step 1 score has been changed to pass/fail.
I am an IMG from Vijayawada and took my Step 1 currently in my 3rd year of med school (2016). So I went over to a counseling center and enrolled myself for the Kaplan courses (center prep) in the year 2014. I started the lecture series in the year 2015 as I had to wrap up some stuff prior to that. By June 2015 I was completely sure of wanting to give off the exam in the year 2015. I visited the center almost 2-3 times a week. I would sit for 5-6 hours at a stretch and do the lectures.
By the end of 2015, I was done with most lectures except Behavioral sciences and parts of biochemistry, pathology, physiology.
What I covered from Kaplan courses?
- Behavioral sciences: The whole thing. Found it extremely useful. Dr. Daugherty is an amazing professor and always clarifies stuff amazingly. I also completed the lectures for chap 1 and 2 twice.
- Biochemistry: All chaps once.
- Pathology: Covered the whole of systemic pathology. Did only neoplasia from the general pathology section.
- Pharmacology: Again complete lectures. Did the lectures for the volatile stuff like ANS, CNS, and antiarrhythmics twice and thrice.
- Microbiology: All lectures once.
- Physiology: Just CVS, Renal and a little bit of respiratory physiology, the whole of chap 1 (fluid distribution), nerve and muscle physiology.
- Anatomy: The whole of anatomy lectures except neuroanatomy and muscles. Histology lectures were an absolute regret. Did anatomy as my last subject because it is extremely volatile.
Materials other than Kaplan that I used:
- FIRST AID FOR THE USMLE (LATEST EDITION) – Practically the Gold Standard for step 1.
- BRS for physiology: Concise and crisp. I would only recommend if your basics are damn strong.
- High yield neuroanatomy: Again extremely concise and volatile. Good for the neuroanatomy stuff tested on step 1. But again your basics have to be strong else you are gonna end up reading your base book every now and then (happened to me).
- Dr. Najeeb’s lectures: Never ending video lectures!!!! But concepts cleared BEAUTIFULLY and SLOWLY!!! The lectures are amazing. Unfortunately, I found out about these extremely late during the course of my preparation. So did a select few chapters of physiology (renal and respiratory), neuroanatomy (a few lectures), ECG.
- Goljan for pathology: The whole thing once. (every single page) Revise chapters like skin, musculoskeletal. (These are tested very frequently on the exam).
Books I would recommend if you have time:
- Robbins and Cotran for pathology.
- Clinical Microbiology made ridiculously simple.
- Katzung basic principles for pharmacology: The chapters on pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.
Question Banks that are mandatory:
Kaplan Q Bank
NBME 15, 16, 17 and updated ones as well. (Have heard that form 13 is a good predictor of your final score. But an average of all your u world and NBME’s is a better estimate rather than one single test).