Improving medical students

How to Rock USMLE Step 1

Posted by medliorator on May 27, 2008

From Dr. Dimov at Clinical Notes:

1. Read a concise book to understand the basics, e.g. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine rather than huge volumes like Harrison’s or Cecil’s. Use the handbook plus a collection of medical images like the Braunwald’s Atlas of Internal Medicine, available after a free registration from Medicine is a visual science, and seeing often equals remembering.

2. Practice with a lot of MCQ. It is a common saying that one needs to solve 5,000 questions for each step of UMSLE in order to pass. If you want to do well, you need to answer 10,000 MCQ, and if you do 15,000 — well, somebody will score at the 99th percentile and it might just be you.

Remember the following useful strategy, when you practice MCQ:
– read the 1st line (age? background?)
– read the last line (what are they asking me?)
– read the answers

Then read the stem (if you have time), with the answers in mind. Do not waste your time reading the long stem first, you will go over-budget (i.e., over-time)

Pace yourself when you practice with MCQ. You need to know how long it takes you to answer each of those questions… after you are done with the practice session, always calculate 2 things: the percent of correct answers and the seconds you spend on each question… It took you 82 minutes to answer 120 questions, 82 minutes are 4920 seconds. This means you spent 41 seconds per question. Google can calculate that for you. Write these 2 numbers on the side of your answer sheet: “62 %, 42 s/Q”. Monitor your progress over time.

How to Score Well on the Boards? [Clinical Notes]


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