Alhamdollellah — I sat for my USMLE Step 1 yesterday and I thought I should share my experience with you all.
Preparation time was pure 4 months for studying USMLE plus 1 intervening month for entertaining research activities. This was my studying sequence — I did First Aid (FA) 3 times straightforwardly — I studied BRS pathology once and BRS physiology once — research activities — I did all USMLE Word (UW) questions (~2200 questions) once — 3 days before the exam, I did FA once and revised only the wrong answers for UW pathology questions.
I’m almost 100% positive my exam was ~ >70% pathology questions; 15% was physiology; and 15% was everything else. I got a total of NOT more than 12 psychiatry, 12 bio-statistics, 8 biochemistry, 8 pharmacology, 4 anatomy, 4 genetics and 2 embryology questions.
Believe it or not, so many questions were “exactly the same” as in UW question bank. Plus, I got some questions “exactly the same” as in my colleagues’ exams.
I had 5 minutes break after each block. After the 4th block, I had 15 min break for noon prayer (just next to the examination room).
I’m so far the last person (among my batch) to take the Step 1 exam. I looked into the experiences of the former exam takers and accordingly optimized my studying strategies.
Herein, I present my “personal” recommendations:
Study fully and “MEMORIZE” First Aid at least 3 times. Every single word mentioned there is for a reason.
Study fully “PATHOLOGY” and “PHYSIOLOGY” from textbooks. All textbooks essentially cover the same materials. I personally studied BRS textbooks.
For PHYSIOLOGY — study “extensively” the physiology related to cardiovascular system, respiratory system and renal system.
For MICROBIOLOGY — focus on materials related STD and HIV (common is common in USA).
Study time should be between 3 and 6 months and take the exam ASAP once you feel you are ready.
Do NPME shelf exam(s) to roughly assess your performance and strength/weakness areas.