How I scored 262

USMLE Step 1 Experience

98th Percentile


My school does 1.5 years of basic sciences and then 6 months of clinics in the first two years. I took Step 1 at the end of my second year before starting graduate school. I only had 5 weeks of dedicated study time but I came off three months of internal medicine and no doubt, the time I put into studying for my medicine shelf provided a really solid base for starting my Step 1 studying. As far as Basic Sciences is concerned, I was a slightly better than average student with an overall average approximately in the low 90s.



2-3 blocks of 44 a day – Random, Timed mode. I don’t recommend tutor mode because it doesn’t simulate testing conditions well at all.

First Aid

Read about 50-100 pages a day. Took outlines of the sections I was least familiar with (biochem, pharmacology, biostats, etc.). Re-read my weaker sections 2-3x. Gauged which sections to focus on based on UWorld question analysis.


Took detailed outlines of the videos. Highlighted all the facts he emphasized as “high-yield”. Generally tried to line up the sections with the pages of First Aid I was reading on a given day.

Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple

I used only a few sections in this book where I thought First Aid was lacking a bit — Mainly viruses, parasites, bacterial toxin table, and pharmacology. I felt that the First Aid bacteria section is pretty complete as far as Step 1 material is concerned.


I don’t recommend this Qbank, but I had a subscription that I had bought last year to study for a school administered CBSE. I used it for about a week before I purchased my 30 day UWorld subscription.

Practice Tests

UWorld Self Assessments 1 & 2; NBME 17 (Technically 16 as well, but I took it before my CBSE in Dec. 2014), and the Free 130-ish questions put out by USMLE.

USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule

Monday – Friday: 50ish pages of First Aid / day with associated Pathoma sections in the morning to early afternoon. Late afternoon into evening I would do blocks of UWorld questions (2-3 blocks a day).

Saturday: UWorld Self-assessment (+ a few extra blocks) to simulate test conditions (and length). On the days I didn’t take a self-assessment I would do 7 blocks of UWorld questions.

Sunday: Relax day – would go through the questions missed from Saturday. Early on I outlined explanations to questions I got wrong, but stopped doing this about halfway through because I was not very efficient at it.

This schedule was for the first 4 weeks. The last week I re-read my problem sections and did extra blocks of UWorld questions to ensure that I got through the full set. I also took the NBME 17 the day before my test to gauge my performance on the test.

Score Timeline

NBME 16: 209 (Nov. 2014)

School administered CBSE: 217 (Dec. 2014)

UWorld Self-Assessment 1: 247 (4 weeks out)

UWorld Self-Assessment 2: 255 (2 weeks out).

NBME 17: 262 (1 day prior)

UWorld (First and Only Pass): Random, Timed – 81% (Started off ranging between 50-70%, but ended with 85-90%).

Step 1: 262


I think the most important thing is to find a study strategy that works well for you. For me I used First Aid and Pathoma to review the majority of the information, and used UWorld to solidify that information and learn those useless little facts they love to test on.

Preparation Time

  • 5 weeks of dedicated study

Books Used

  • First Aid for the USMLE Step 1
  • Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple

Question Banks Used

  • UWorld
  • USMLE-Rx

Video Lectures Used

  • Pathoma

NBMEs Used

  • NBME 16
  • NBME 17 (most indicative)

*This post has been used with permission.