Step 1 Preparation and Experience

Some Tips from Someone who Scored 265+ in Step 1 – Dr. Nabeel Hussain

Hi everyone I’m just making this post to give any help I can to those others studying. I’ve gotten a lot of help and information from this community and just wanted to give back. I’m writing this to include actual tips and other things I learned as I was studying. Most are a little more specific but I wanted to move away from the more common write-ups seen here that just include scores and resources. I split it up into tips for pre and during dedicated.


Try your best in your basic sciences classes, I know a lot of people harp about this but it’ll stop you from getting complacent and not learning anything outside the scope of high yield. Don’t let yourself burn out trying to get the highest grades in class but challenge yourself to develop effective study techniques, so that during dedicated you won’t need to worry about finding them.

Be consistent with Anki in a long term format. I myself have never been able to be super consistent in doing my cards but as long as you are doing cards it’s better than nothing. Anki is for long-term learning and try to understand the card instead of just memorizing especially when you do the cards initially. Try to read the extra sections and look at the pics, both of which are pretty high yield.

The better you understand physiology the better you will be able to learn new information. My school didn’t teach us physio in any good way, and during dedicated, I ended up spending a lot of time learning it. But after this, I felt questions got much easier because it would be much easier to understand.

✨ Learn how you would describe ‘buzz words’ to another student or doctor that has not seen high yield resources. Step is moving away from buzzwords and I would get a lot of qs wrong during dedicated from not knowing what buzzwords meant.

Don’t make cards for class material if you don’t have to. Most class material is kinda useless or is better covered in already made cards and you spend too much time making the cards instead of studying them. Just add extra information u want to remember to the extra section.


🎯 A few days to a week before doing 7 BLOCKS OF ANY QBANK OVER 7 HOURS to simulate the test and get your mind and body prepared for the length of the test. Don’t have the first time you do a test that long to be in the testing center.

🎯 Review the histo as you review path. If there is a histo pic included with a question or explanation try to identify, the key finding related to the disease. I felt that I just ended up memorizing the pics in anki and when I saw a histo slide that was not the exact same I wouldn’t know what exactly to look for.

🎯 Do UWORLD at least twice, but the second time around do it at double your first passes speed to build endurance and focus on the questions you got wrong. A lot of the times I thought I learned why I got the question wrong properly but still got it wrong on my second pass and its a good way of seeing if you actually learned from your mistakes the first time

🎯 If you know something is a problem area, suck it up and work on it. That’s the best way to improve your score fastest

🎯 Add a second q bank, UWORLD qs give a lot of information in the stems when compared to NBME questions which are vaguer. Doing as many NBMEs as you can afford as well as doing AMBOSS questions give you question in different styles

🎯 Find the best way to read questions for yourself. For me, I would read the last two lines, and if I could answer the question with that information, answer it, and then read the stem to make sure it was the right answer. If not, I would read the last 2 lines, and then as I was reading the stem highlight every abnormal finding. You have to make sure you don’t miss things in question stem that lead to the right answer so this helps out. I would then cross out all the obviously wrong answers and choose the right one. If there is a 50/50 question, I would reread the stem to see if I missed anything and choose whichever option that had the most things pointing to it and then move on. By the end, I usually had at least 10-15 mins every block to review and would review only questions I marked which were ones that I wasn’t certain about the answer. I would only change the answer I first put if I felt I could actually explain to myself why the other one was wrong.

🎯 If you don’t absolutely have to, don’t rewatch sketchy, pathoma, BnB, and other video resources. Better of using the time doing questions or reviewing questions you missed.

🎯 Memorize biostats equations the day before

🎯 Try to have a minimum amount of things you want to do each day instead of having a rigid schedule, this helps you adapt your studying to what you need to focus on

🎯 First Aid is super useful in the last month of dedicated to give you an overview. I honestly didn’t even think to look at it caused it was covered by anki until I felt I didn’t really get the whole picture on certain things. I would use it for short quick reviews while reviewing my questions by just opening the section for First Aid and just reading the related page or half

🎯 In the last 2-3 weeks of my dedicated, I reduced my cards and did more questions. Most of the cards I did were new ones added in the Anking update. Reviewing old cards I had seen before did not feel as beneficial as doing more questions.

Resources I used

📚 Zanki then switched to Anking (GOAT deck)

📚 Sketchy, pathoma, BnB for biochem/genetics/immuno

📚 UWORLD, AMBOSS, Rx, most of the NBMEs

📚 Dirty Medicine videos for specific things I didn’t get


Dr. Nabeel Hussain

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