I hope everyone is doing well. I'm writing this post to describe my experiences with the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS, and to offer advice regarding what to study and how to best study it for those who still feel lost and unsure of what to do. The reason why I'm doing this is because I've noticed that I have received several emails repeating the same questions about these tests. And while I'm more than happy to answer any questions, it would probably be easier and quicker for everyone if I cover all the basic and most asked about info right here.
I'll go over the resources for each test, what the test was like, and general tips to help improve your preparation. Any input from people who've done the test is appreciated. You'll probably notice that my advice is somewhat different from the advice of others, and that's fine. There is no one perfect way to prepare for these tests. Everyone has their own style and strategies that suit them. You don't need to follow every single tip - just take whatever you think will suit you and create your own study plan. This is going to be a long post, but here we go...
USMLE Step 1:
If you want to apply to the US, this is possibly the most important exam you'll take in your life. No pressure. I'd say you should start studying this as early as possible (I'll go over what I think is the optimum study schedule later in the general tips). Just keep in mind-Step 1 is more important than your university tests, GPA, research, electives, LORs, happiness, and time with your family. But if you study hard and more importantly, study smart, you should be able to ace this exam easily inshallah.
Now, this is very important. When it comes to studying the content of FA, just understanding it is not enough - YOU MUST MEMORIZE. You need to understand the information first, then you need to memorize it. FA is a review book, meaning everything inside it is important. I knew people who were finishing more than 9 or 10 pages of FA every hour. Unless you have photographic memory, that's way too fast. I'd say an average of 3-5 pages every per hour is a good range. I would highly recommend going over FA at least twice. And focus on the 3 P's - Pathology, Physiology, and Pharmacology. These are the most important and most high-yield topics.
Now, what about other books, videos, websites, etc.? Well, that depends. If you have trouble understanding something in FA, it will be very difficult to memorize. Then you'll need to study that material from someplace else, understand it, then go back to FA and memorize it. For example, I had difficulty understanding Biochemistry and Biostatistics from FA, so I watched the Kaplan videos first, then went back to FA. If you have difficulty understanding pathology, use Pathoma. If you have difficulty with anatomy, consider using BRS. If you look at the end of FA, there is a list of recommended resources for each topic. Don't make the same mistake I did and buy somethi