Let’s face it, it is getting tougher and tougher to get a residency these days. Ten years ago, a simple pass on the USMLE exams meant you were guaranteed a residency position, but today, this couldn’t be further from the truth. With that said, you need to score as high as possible, not only to make yourself more competitive, but to make sure you will get a residency position. You need to score well just to get some interviews, so take the USMLE exams as serious as possible, and this isn’t limited to just the Step 1.
Here is a FIVE STEP plan that can help you score 230+ on the USMLE exams.
Step 1 – Get the USMLE World question bank.
This goes without saying, UWorld is the “go-to” question bank for USMLE preparation, and you will need it to give yourself the best chance of USMLE success.
Step 2 – Get yourself a 500 page notebook
This notebook is going to be your very own “goldmine” when it comes to studying for the test. What you are going to do is this:
Do your qbank in “Tutor Mode”, and this will allow you to learn from every single question you do. After you have answered your question, go through the learning objectives, pick and choose the stuff you know is important, jot it down in your book, and move on.
Step 3 – Finish the Qbank
This is key to your success.
Go through every single question, slowly and meticulously, and take notes on stuff you don’t know, and jot down quick points on the stuff you do know. Make sure you do every single question, which will give you a full, well-rounded look at everything you may encounter on the exams.
Step 4 – Record your notes
This is a little used technique, but it can be extremely lucrative to your knowledge, and here is why:
Some of us are visual learners, some of us are auditory learners, and some of us are both. So what you can do it record your notes (from your workbook), into your computer, enabling you to listen to them on your iPod, in your car, and while you workout. This will allow you to get in extra studying when you are on the go, and it will help fill the audio-learning component of your preparation.
On top of an extra mode of study, simply reading your notes aloud will do wonders for your memory.
Step 5 – Compare your notes to a rock-solid study guide
This is the final step to your preparation.
Grab the top study guide for whichever exam you are taking. If you are studying for Step 1, this is obviously the First Aid or the Step 1 BIBLE, if you are studying for Step 2, this will be the USMLE CK BIBLE, and if you are studying for Step 3, this can be the Step 3 BIBLE or one of the Kaplan books. Either way, grab the best source for your exam, and as you read through each section of your own notebook, read the accompanying chapter in the study guide. This is the last step and will help you round out your knowledge and complete your preparation.
The last thing to keep in mind is that repetition will help you solidify the information. Go over your very own workbook full of your qbank questions a few times, and you will be ready to rock the exam.