If you are in medical school, you have probably heard how the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 is essential. This will be your first board test on becoming a full-fledged physician. Therefore passing the step 1 exam is very important if you want to continue your medical studies. You can pass the exam with adequate preparation.
Here are tips to help you prepare for USMLE Step 1:
1. Make and stick to a study schedule
The USMLE step 1 covers a wide range of topics and having a study plan will help you stay on track and prepare for all of the content that will be tested. Creating a study schedule for your USMLE Step 1 preparation will keep you organized by reminding you of which topics to study, when to take practice examinations, and when to take off days. On average, students devote 4-6 weeks to studying for the USMLE Step 1. However, you may need more or less time to prepare for the exam, so follow your study timetable to ensure you utilize the study time well.
2. Study the topics you struggle with first
While studying for your USMLE step 1, you can easily fall into the trap of starting with the topics you are good at, as it will give you confidence. However, start with the subjects you are weak in. For example, if physiology is one of your strong subjects and pathology is one of your weaker subjects, you should concentrate on pathology first. The beginning of your study is when you will be most focused and productive; this is an excellent time to concentrate on your weakest areas. In addition, starting with your weak topics will offer you more time to review and revisit them over the rest of your study session. This repetition will aid memory retention.
3. Limit cell phone use
We frequently underestimate how much screen time we spend on our phones in a day, and they affect us. Distractions can reduce your productivity over time and cause you to miss your daily study goals. Therefore, when studying, you should put your phone in airplane mode or, if possible, leave it in another room. Use your phone during the break period only. However, you can keep your phone with you if you have an urgent need.
4. Take a break between study session
When studying for the USMLE Step 1, ensure you take a break to rest between each study session. Taking a break will give your brain time to absorb all the information you have studied so that you may remember them during the exam. During your break period, you can exercise, stroll outside, sleep, meditate, watch TV, catch up with friends, use your phone, or do whatever else you want during this time.
5. Take care of your mental and physical health
Studying for the USMLE Step 1 may be demanding, and it frequently necessitates devoting time away from family and friends. However, you need to take care of your physical and emotional well-being. Some of the activities you can do every day to improve your mental and physical well-being include going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, exercising, eating healthy and meditating. In addition, during your dedicated study period, you should take two-three full days off. You may spend more time doing activities you enjoy on your off days, such as visiting extended family, traveling, chatting with friends, hiking or anything else you want.
6. Simulate the actual USMLE Step 1 with practice exams
During your intense USMLE Step 1 study session, you should strive to take at least three self-assessments. Most self-assessments help you get your expected scores and an analysis of your weak and vital subjects. You can use this information to make any required improvements in your weak subjects. Additionally, practice tests can help you build endurance and stamina for the actual USMLE Step 1. Studying for your step 1 exam is one of the significant challenges that every medical student has to face. However, if you pass the exam, you have a chance of continuing to pursue your medical career. While studying for the exam, ensure you take care of your mental and physical health as they can contribute to your success in the step 1 exam.