That's right: even though the exam is several months away for most students, the time to start preparing for the 2012 Step 1 is today! Why so early, you ask? Simple: USMLE Step 1 is an exam that tests your cumulative knowledge. The sooner you start accumulating this knowledge, the better. This is not crammable knowledge. I repeat, this is not crammable knowledge. Yes, I know, you're a medical student - you live off of cramming. It's worked so far, right? Why not keep pushing your luck? Trust me: this is *not* the test you want to cram for, nor is it the test to take chances with. Most residency programs heavily weight Step 1 scores when determining which applicants to interview, let alone rank. Remember, this test is a means to an end: getting into a great residency program.
If annotating is not your thing, there are other options. You can purchase a USMLE Step 1 Qbank now and start looking at practice questions now. Simply take a section related to a topic you are working on and go through it. Figure out what your weak areas are and study them doubly hard. Whatever method works best for you is fine. It does not how you are reviewing for Step 1, but that you are doing something specific to prepare. Even doing as little as one hour per week can give you as much as a 30% head start over your peers in that final stretch before the exam. The key is to start doing something every week now so that when it is crunch time you feel prepared and confident to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. Good luck!