The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination that a doctor with an MD degree must pass to practice in the country. The USMLE Step 1 is the first of the three examination steps necessary for assessing the understanding of a candidate about basic sciences and the ability to apply necessary concepts during patient care.
The USMLE Step 1 examination is divided into about seven blocks, each taking about 60 minutes, and thus, a session lasts 8 hours. Every block comes with nearly 40 examination items.
Step 1 of the USMLE is essential in several ways. For instance, the score you obtain plays a role in determining your specialty and residency location.
Below is how you can prepare for and pass USMLE Step 1.
Understand the process of testing and syllabus content
The examination covers different disciplines, including genetics, behavioral science, microbiology and pathology. The different tested areas may change, depending on the licensing authority. For that reason, it is only reasonable that you are aware of what the syllabus covers.
Regularly check the USMLE site as it usually provides information regarding an upcoming examination, such as the date of tests, change in delivery platform, and practice materials.
Examining the past or sample test questions provided on the website may help you have a deeper understanding and feeling of the examination procedure. You will discover that some questions test your theoretical knowledge and practical ability.
Begin early preparations
As soon as you start learning, start preparing for the USMLE Step 1. Remember that the examination takes about 8 hours, meaning that you will have a lot of questions to handle. Adequate preparation, including the extensive reading of the syllabus and the USMLE Preparation Course, will make you have a high chance of comfortably providing answers for almost every question.
During preparation, it will be to your benefit to set your goal. Having a score you are working towards will motivate you to study very hard. Importantly, identify the subjects that the exam covers and put in a lot of study hours to score well.
Use resources proved to be high-yielding
Often a high yield information source for your exam may be your teachers. That is because your teachers have the experience, having sat for the USMLE Step 1 examination. Therefore, your teachers have the knowledge you can apply to pass the test.
Apart from the teachers, set up a studying group for your serious friends. You may benefit yourself or others by discussing or listening to different pieces of information. You can also utilize the opportunity to encourage team members to work harder and maintain focus.
Particular books may come in handy for USMLE Step 1 preparation. Some books that may provide you with high-yield information and practice questions are Qbanks, First Aid, and miscellaneous items like Goljan audio. The First Aid resource is popular as it contains plenty of details and test questions.
Other proven and tested programs for USMLE preparation and passing are the Pass program and Kaplan.
Avoid burnout during test preparation
It is admirable and understandable why you may decide to put a lot of hours into preparing for the exam since there are many resources to study. Nonetheless, ensure that your way of preparation does not overwhelm you, leading to burnout and stress.
Signs that you may be suffering from exhaustion and overload are an increase in negativity, diminishing performance, and lack of energy. Remain alive to your limits of studying and concentrating on reducing burnout risk. Have a manageable schedule and take much-needed breaks.
Strive to be a person that does not like giving up easily. Do not let yourself have a negative attitude because you have to attend lectures and study extensively. Also, being open to learning new concepts is one of the best ways of putting yourself in a position to succeed by having the highest possible score.
Because of the sheer size of the USMLE Step 1 syllabus, it may appear intimidating. But if you have proper preparation and put the right amount of effort into studying, you will succeed in the exam. Familiarize yourself with the syllabus, have a schedule for studying, and take tests for practicing.