I did not study for Step 1 until the beginning of 2nd year of med school, which is always a point of controversy amongst students, but as you can see it worked out ok. I approached Step 1 with aggressive learning of First Aid throughout the year (had to use the 2013 edition for a bit but then transitioned to 2014 when it came out). My goal was to not have anything unfamiliar to me in that book by the time I got to my dedicated study period. I think this was the single most important decision that I made. If anything wasn’t covered in lecture but in FA, I always did enough background reading (usually on Wikipedia) to understand the concept. That being said, here’s how I tackled the year from a resource by resource perspective.
USMLE Step 1 Study Plan
First Aid 2014
Make it a priority from day 1 to know that book backwards and forwards. I would follow along with class lecture material, and like I said earlier, if there was something in FA not in lecture, I would read up about it. I want to make a quick note here and say I rarely annotated FA. Unless there was a concept or word I didn’t understand and wanted a quick reference, I left the book as is. It’s pointless to clutter the book with info that’s not important, because what’s in the book already is what’s important.
I think Pathoma is a hugely important supplement to lecture during the year. Nobody explains concepts and distills them down to the key facts like Dr. Sattar. And don’t pirate it. It’s such a valuable resource that I don’t think he charges enough. Plus he updates content so don’t risk missing out on the latest. I would just watch the corresponding video for the lecture material about once a week, and I rewatched all of the videos during my dedicated study period.
NBME Practice Tests
I took every NBME exam. It’s expensive, but it’s a great way to track progress and see where your weaknesses are. Also, my final score was right within the range of my test scores, so I’m a big believer in their predictive value.
Not a terribly valuable resource. I don’t think it helped me get any extra questions on the test, but my test also had a lot of random ethics and behavioral science questions so YMMV.
USMLE Step 1 Mock Study Schedule
I had 5 weeks to study, and my goal was to get through UWorld x2, FA x2, and Pathoma x1 watching and another x1 reading.
06:30-07:00 – Wake up, get coffee, prepare for the day
07:00-11:00 – do 3-3.5 UWorld question sets followed by review and powerpoint creation
11:00-13:00 – work out, shower, eat, Skype with my SO, review old powerpoints
13:00-17:00 – review 1 full FA chapter while making a powerpoint for difficult to remember facts or concepts
17:00-22:00 – make dinner and eat while watching 1 Pathoma video; review old chapters if I had time
22:00-06:30 – SLEEP
Every so often I would sprinkle in an NBME in the morning instead of UWorld, which I would move to the evening in place of Pathoma.
I’m not guaranteeing you greater than 270, but I can say that this method will have you ready for whatever Step 1 will throw at you.