Friday, November 26, 2010

USMLE Step 1 2011: Start Preparing Now

Many of you have arrived at this blog looking for information about USMLE Step 1. If you are planning on taking this exam in 2011, the time to start preparing is NOW! This advice is especially true if you are a foreign medical graduate or international medical graduate.

Everyday, I receive emails from foreign and international medical graduates asking me about who, what, where, when, why, and how to study. Ultimately the answers are pretty simple:
  • Who To Study For USMLE Step 1: Honestly, you should study yourself! What do I mean by that? If you have been following this blog, you'll know that I have often recommended that you purchase a general USMLE Step 1 review book such as First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2011 (First Aid USMLE) and annotate it with your own learning as you proceed through your basic science courses. Using this technique, when it comes time to study for Step 1, you are not reading some unknown professor's notes, but rather your own in a language you can understand.

  • What To Study For USMLE Step 1: First Aid for the USMLE Step 1, 2010 (First Aid USMLE) is everything you need to pass. Seriously. But, in detail, you should be studying all the basic information of biochemistry, molecular biology, and general physiology. Pathology and pharmacology are also covered, but you will not be expected to apply this knowledge (ie, there are no questions about patient management).

  • Where To Study For USMLE Step 1: Wherever you feel comfortable. General study advice is that you should avoid studying in areas you otherwise use for relaxation, such as your bedroom, in order to avoid conflating work with relaxation psychologically. A quiet, well-lit, comfortable study space with nearby access to water, snacks, and a restroom is ideal. Try to minimize the number of distractions around you. Personally, being close to a gym was also helpful such that once a study, I had a healthy study break just there waiting for me on the treadmill.

  • When To Study For USMLE Step 1: NOW! Well, don't go too hardcore just yet, but this is a good time to start planning your study schedule, especially if you are planning to take the test in January or February. Most people will be taking the test in May or June, but does not hurt to start early. Also check out my post about suggested USMLE Step 1 Study Schedules.

  • Why To Study For USMLE Step 1: To get into the residency program and specialty of your choice, duh.

  • How To Study For USMLE Step 1: See my prior post about my USMLE Step 1 Study Schedule which details strategies for studying as well as possible schedules

Good luck preparing! Feel free to email if you have any questions!

Updated 2015-12-20

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