How to prepare for USMLE Step 1

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The medical school boards, USMLE Step 1, is a very important test in determining the future of your medical career. Scoring well on the test may open up opportunities for elite residency programs. Doing poorly on the exam may limit your opportunities. This article will explain how to prepare for the Boards.

  • Study hard during your first and second years in medical school.

    All of the material on the test is gathered from the classes you took during your first two years. By remaining dedicated to your classes the first two years, you are creating the path towards an excellent score on the boards.

  • Register for the exam as early as possible.
    Before you even begin studying for Step 1, you must register for the exam. It is advised to register early as dates can fill fast. You want to be taking this test under the most ideal circumstances. Therefore, you want to pick the time and location that best suites your preferences.

  • Pick your study materials
    There are countless resources available that you can use to prepare for Step 1. Research the different options and pick a few sources. Some options include Kaplan review, Board Review Series, Clinical Microbiology made ridiculously simple and others. You may also want to consider taking test prep classes to help you stay focused.

  • Make a schedule
    It is imperative to create a study schedule for yourself. There is an abundant amount of information to review, and it can be overwhelming! Creating a schedule will help you to cover all of the necessary information and not dwell too long on one subject. And remember, you must stick to the schedule.

  • Don't Burnout
    Take a break every now and then to relax and refresh. These breaks can help you refocus your attention and prevent you from overloading yourself before the test.

  • Stay Calm.
    As the test date approaches, it is common to second guess and doubt yourself. Remember that this is normal and that if you stuck to your plan you will do great.

  • Enjoy your great test score!

Tips & Warnings

  • Study hard early in your medical school career. This will not only allow you to get better grades earlier, but it will also make studying for the Step 1 easier.
  • Do not get caught up in other people's study habits. Some people will talk about how they studied for 16 hours a day and you may feel guilty that you only studied for 8. They may not be studying as 'smart' as you.
  • Keep to your plan!
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