Step 1 Preparation and Experience

Step 1 Experience of an Average Medical Student

For anyone who is STRESSED about step 1, their NBMEs, or just med school life in general; I hope this post finds you and gives you some reassurance.

I’m a very average medical student at a very average medical school and spent each day I took an NBME during dedicated stressing over my score and how prepared I felt for the real deal. I would frantically look for Reddit posts of similar students but I could only find the gunners flexing about their 260s. For anyone nowhere near that scoreā€¦ take a deep breath. It will all work out.

Here are my practice exam scores and times I took each:
NBME 16 (8 weeks out) – 171
CBSE (6 weeks out) – 191
NBME 21 (5 weeks out) – 196
NBME 24 (4 weeks out) – 204
NBME 23 (3 weeks out) – 207
NBME 18 (2 weeks out) – 196
UWSA1 (11 days out) – 239
UWSA2 (5 days out) – 220
Step 1 – 224

As you can see, my real deal blew my NBMEs out of the water. I even beat my UWSA2 by 4 points. I promise I didn’t do anything special other than UWorld, anki for the sketches, and read some first aid. I read 3 chapters of first aid TOTAL during dedicated. I didn’t even complete a full pass of UWorld. If I can beat my practice scores, so can you. Keep your head up, stay confident, and know that all the hard work you’ve put in so far will pay off eventually.

✨Step 1 felt A LOT easier than the NBMEs in my perspective. But, you’ll hear different things from different sources. However, I can confidently say that there were plenty of “gimme” questions on the step that made the experience feel a lot more relaxing than taking an NBME.

✨ Yes, my NBME 18 was TERRIBLE and only two weeks out. YES, I did in fact have a meltdown when the 196 popped up. NO, I did not quit and give up once I was done melting down. NO, I did not do anything drastically different after NBME 18.

✨ I know that 224 isn’t impressive. This post is NOT meant for any of you plastics/ortho/derm gunners. This is meant for us little guys who spent dedicated freaking out and rethinking our entire “become a doctor” fantasy.

✨I’m pretty set on FM at the moment for anyone wondering. Even if I change my mind about FM, I don’t see myself straying outside of the primary care blanket. HOWEVER, my milk toast score still doesn’t close that many doors for me outside of the gunner specialties.



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