Step 1 Preparation and Experience

Step 1 270 scorer-some key study habits/concepts that worked for me

Hi all,

I wanted to share a relatively concise list of some of the things I did before/during my dedicated that I think really help maximize scores come test day. I should point out that these are what happened to work for ME, and a key point unto itself is that doing what is best for YOU is paramount (and realistically half the battle for this test).

  1. Anki: be extremely strict with cards that you’re getting wrong-I never marked cards as easy and instead looked at them in a very black and white sense: wrong was “again ”and right was “good”. This may not be exactly how Anki is intended to be used, but I think this maximized how many times I saw those troublesome cards and really nail down my weaknesses. This way even if I struggled with something conceptually, I had likely seen it enough times to approach the question. I recommend Zanki, lolnotacop micro, pepper pharm, and the Dorian anatomy deck.
  2. Use google/Anki to your advantage: any time you don’t know/forgot a fact or concept, search it immediately! This may sound super simple, but I really believe that immediate retrieval (instead of procrastinating or finding out later) really helps strengthen and reinforce those facts. This is huge for recall come test day
  3. Use boards and beyond to supplement FA. Throughout M1/M2, for each organ system, I would watch the B&B videos with my physical FA copy in front of me and pen in anything I deemed relevant but not already in FA. This way come dedicated, I felt I had a really solid representation of “all” the material in my FA. Dr. Ryan drives home some of those key clinical concepts that aren’t in FA and help you earn extra points
  4. Do not get bogged down in anatomy during dedicated. Work hard in your M1/M2 anatomy classes (you’ll find yourself remembering them come the test more than you expect) and then use the Dorian anatomy deck
  5. Watch each sketchy video once, then do it’s respective Anki cards (be it from Pepper or lolnotacop). Watching videos more than once is redundant, in my opinion
  6. Goljan audio tapes are unbelievable, and everyone should use them. This guy will provide approaches to questions that make you think about the content differently. I really think listening to him makes you a better test taker. Also, call me crazy, but I swear listening to it during exercise helps you prepare and be able to think clearly while the adrenaline is pumping come test day
  7. Read the last sentence of a question first-helps you start considering answer choices while you read the stem. If you already have something in mind and it’s there when you look at the answer choices, chances are you’re right
  8. UWorld questions mixed and timed, always. It takes time for the brain to adapt to pulling knowledge from different systems from question to question, and you need to give it as much time as possible to do this
  9. Quiz yourself constantly, and the harder the better. I think this may arguably be the single most important thing for mastery of the content. More mental reps of any particular bit of info=faster/easier to remember on test day
  10. Make as many connections/integrations as possible. One of the things Goljan stresses is how USMLE question writers love to go after integrative concepts, and this is something I absolutely buy. Beyond the fact that you may see any particular integration on test day, integration helps you remember the individual components even better (to me this is similar to the concept of “chunking” in memory)
  11. Do not ever change your first answer unless you can actually concretely explain why you are changing it. IMO those that use their gut do much better on test day
  12. You know yourself – if you feel like you’re burning out studying/not retaining info like you usually do, take a day. This often feels like such a wrong/hard decision at the moment, but ends up usually being the smarter, more efficient choice both for you and that score you’re striving for 🙂
  13. Your MCAT should have no bearing on this test. Completely different tests and chances are you’re an even better test taker now anyways. 472 or 528, leave the MCAT in the past and crush this thing

My apologies for absolutely failing to be concise-will try and continue to add to this if I think of any more concepts! Best of luck everyone! 🙂



This article was published with permission from the author.

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