Exam Preparation and Experience Step 1 Preparation and Experience USMLE Preparation and Experience

USMLE Experience by Dr. Lewis Latt Part 1 – Step 1 without NBME


Well, I finished my exam. The exam is even easier than UWSA in most questions, and also most are from First aid 2014 & UW. Don’t bother reading for Low Yield things; they will only ask you High Yield facts. According to my experience, First & Last blocks are the most difficult; others are quite easy going. I won’t reveal the specifics but they love to ask changes in Vital signs in Various shock stages, most of the physiology questions are like that in my exam. Also make sure you know, which Inducer or Inhibitor of P450 affects which Isozyme (2A1,2D6,2C9,3A4). The exam is nothing to be worried about. I slept only 5 hours, and I thought I was doomed, but actually, I still nailed it except for the last block. So, my advice for all of you preparing is Read First Aid carefully (Not necessarily word to word, that would heighten your stress and will affect your absorption, just read and understand them) and do UW more. Step 1 questions are structured like, you will know the answer in the last line so don’t bother taking so long for reading the description in front. Mark every question you are not sure. Don’t waste time, come back later. Goljan is really gold standard for Step 1. Also, for other subjects, Kaplan is more than enough, you don’t need to read High Yield (HY) Histology or Gross anatomy. But I did read HY neuroanatomy. Most important thing as a conclusion is, read Kaplan, then when close to the exam, read FA & UW only, that’s more than enough. When the question is something you won’t know, no matter how you read, you still won’t know lol. But most answers are within the question itself, okay, all the best, best of luck to you all too.

Cover image for Lewis Latt Step 1 USMLE exam

Conversations with the candidates

Do you mind telling your NBME scores, please?

I didn’t take NBME since I won’t delay my exam whatsoever, only took UWSA.

Were the questions similar to UW?

Yeah, I think most are even easier than UW, if you have taken UWSA, you will know it, there’s no ridiculous question like you add alcohol to Amniotic fluid & bubbles appear, there’s NO such question, all clinically oriented.

What other resources did you use for Patho? Pathoma?

I studied only from Goljan, so I don’t know about the others, never touched them, one fact I like about Goljan is it doesn’t let you memorize the thing WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING, you can build many concepts by reading that.

Immuno Levinson or KLN or only FA?

first read Kaplan, then add what you think is High yield to FA, I didn’t notice even how many Immuno were there, very few questions, don’t waste time for that; also, neuroanatomy, it’s not like everyone said, I only got 3-4 Q

Which Goljan book did you use?

Goljan Rapid review 4th edition (733 pages)

Do you think it worth to give a 2nd read to Kaplan again? Will FA be sufficient along with UW? Actually, Kaplan is taking enough time in for reading along with lectures. I don’t want to spend three months more on Kaplan. Again, what do you suggest can a person stick to FA and UW after the first read from Kaplan, n use Kaplan as a review only?? or is better to give the 2nd read anyway?

It depends on your time; I would suggest if you have time, read Kaplan more than once, it will worth it.

According to your personal experience which subjects had the highest no of questions from?? Like which topics to focus more?


We really need to know every inducer or inhibitor which isoenzyme affects? are those listed in FA enough? what about the substrates?

I did 2013 subject wise, e.g., if I finished CVS physiology, I would take CVS physio question and learn it and make notes to it, then after I finished them, I took 2014 online. Online is a lot better, I advise all to take online; Kaplan, more than enough, even FA alone, is enough, all the facts are asked; you can skip them if you want, I got only one question about that in my exam

Cover image for Lewis Latt Step 1 USMLE exam

What was your study plan?

I will tell my whole study plan. I took “4 days for Kaplan whole anatomy book including Histo, gross, neuro”; “2 days for HY neuro”; “2 days for HY embryo”; “10 days for Goljan”; “10 days for FA”. So, just keep cycling but make sure you are reading FA for the last ten days. I never left Goljan. My study plan is Cycling, Kaplan Anatomy->HY neuro->HY embryo->Goljan->FA; then I repeat that circle again. It’s so sure that, if you leave Goljan for even two weeks, you would forget all lol. never leave it, it covers almost every subject in Step 1, very good book. For Kaplan, I read them five months ago, but I made points for Kaplan what I think would be HY to FA, but it’s not a good idea, too tiring and stressful to read FA

What do you suggest for microbiology?

I think FA is enough, add some high yield facts from Kaplan, also if you read Goljan, it will cover a lot of Clinical aspects (not lab findings)in Micro, that make them complete, I personally love Clinical microbiology made ridiculously easy but never could find the new version; exam has every few questions though.

In short, FA+UW is enough

I’m going take the exam in oct, right now going through UW and that enough or do I need to go through Kaplan again before exam?

if in October, just go for UW & FA, if can postpone, you can do Kaplan, FA & UW is enough for most questions, I would suggest you read another Pathology book too, whichever you prefer

I am planning to give step 1 next yr.; so, wanted to know for Patho Kaplan is enough or do I need to start with Goljan as well?

I am sorry, but I never read Kaplan pathology before, but everyone said it’s not enough 🙂

My time period starts from Oct. That’s y I planned to give in Oct. Yes, right I did Goljan and now giving a review from Pathoma.I want to know does it make different if I give exam in Nov by finishing Kaplan series too or oct is ok with UW & FA?

According to my experience, UW & FA are definitely enough, but I can’t be sure since exam questions are not the same every day. But, if you are short of time, they are enough, that’s what others said too. Can get 240+ with these two, but have to study thoroughly and Understand clearly. also, don’t just read the wrong Q in UW, read all Q, then it will be okay.

Where did you study biochemistry from? Kaplan? And thank you so much, you have helped a lot! Best of luck!

I studied BC from Kaplan long time before, then I added what’s missing in FA (mostly in Lipid metabolism & NH3 transport), and studied only FA

What your scores in NBMEs?

I didn’t take any NBME since they are just assessing you, I have no intention to postpone my exam dates so, if Score is high, satisfied, low-> Depression, I only took UWSA since you can both assess & learn, my score was both 265(92%)

Lewis is it important to go through all the Kaplan videos or are books enough?

I think books are enough if you understand them, I used to google to understand them, I suck at listening so even skipped the Goljan audios, let alone boring Kaplan lectures lol

How to solve Step 1 questions
Do you suggest if v just do first aid for biochemistry and then u world?

I would suggest Kaplan BC; FA doesn’t cover about two questions;

Would you recollect n tell me if there were any questions on puerperium n pregnancy? n how about gross anatomy? too much in details? or just enough? Kaplan FA and UW would do it?

they had a question about what Fetal heart rate will become when the fetus has some adverse conditions, and also for gross anatomy, most are external, not covered by both UW nor FA, but they are easy, just common knowledge;

Kindly tell how much ques are from behavior n bio stat? Are they kind of easy?

sorry to say it but Behavioral science questions are difficult, all choices look correct, the good news is bio stats questions are easy & make more questions than neuroanatomy, about 6

How many times do you read first aid and UW?

four times FA, two times UW (didn’t complete the online version, over 400 left)

How you suggest reading Biochem

I would say, if you read Biochemistry from FA, you won’t understand, better read them first in Kaplan, then do FA after adding High Yield facts; FA & UW are enough for Microbiology & Genetic, well according to my test 🙂

How about anatomy?

Anatomy is easy common knowledge but Not from FA & UW nor Kaplan, so don’t bother about it, if you have some basics, will do fine.

A note from the author

I took my step 1 in 2014 July which has been like more than 3 years so the exam trend may change.

My Other Articles

USMLE Experience by Dr. Lewis Latt Part 2 – Step 2 CK Experience


Dr. Lewis Latt

🌿 Acknowledgement

Article published with permission from the author.

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