|Early Career Johnite Initiative (ECJI)|
My Study Plan for Step 1:
I started in April and gave the exam in September. First, I read the following books and watched video lectures after reading each topic:
Anatomy (low yield; the amount of material is disproportional to the amount of questions asked. Do not get stuck with this and spend too much time): Kaplan notes; High yield – Embryology notes
Physiology: Kaplan notes; Kaplan videos
Biochemistry & Genetics: Kaplan notes; Kaplan videos
Pathology (most important, very high yield, for step 2 CK as well): Goljan Rapid Review; Goljan Audio Lectures
Pharmacology: Kaplan notes; Kaplan videos (must watch)
Microbiology & Immunology: Kaplan notes; Kaplan videos (especially important for Immunology)
Behavioural Science: Kaplan notes; Kaplan videos
Following this, I read First Aid for Step 1. It’s a very good review book, focusing on important information and concepts. After that, I did what I believe helped me the most. USMLE World (www.usmleworld.com) is an online Question Bank of about 2000 questions with good discussions. I subscribed for a 1 month period and did ‘random’ block tests till all questions were covered. This took about 20 days. Questions that you want to revise again can be ‘marked’. I did these marked questions for the next 10 days. 1 month Qbank subscription + 2 self-assessment exams of 2 weeks each is $130.
Always make notes of the things you want to read again. Take notes of flowcharts or tables from USMLE World when possible(USMLE World disables your clipboard for copyright enforcement and it’s not easy to copy paste anything or take a screenshot). The week before the exam I went through the notes I had made, the pictures and a little of First Aid as well.
Remember, Step 1 is very concept based. If you get the concepts in you can work backwards and derive the right answer from the choices most of the time. There is no negative marking. Common sense and educated guesses can go a long way.
How to evaluate yourself:
If you consistently score 65% correct answers on your USMLE World tests then you’re well on your way to a 99. Their self-assessment exams give you a score and are quite good.
A more conventional assessment tool is the NBME assessment exam (https://nsas.nbme.org/nsasweb/servlet/mesa_main). They will provide you with a score but without answers or discussions. So this is more for satisfaction purposes. Taking this assessment too close to the exam when it’s difficult to change your exam date may work against you in case you happen to get a low score on the assessment. So take it with adequate time to spare before the exam.