USMLE Step Exams Preparation Strategies for Medical Students in 2023.

USMLE Step Exams Preparation Strategies for Medical Students in 2023.

United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is jointly sponsored by National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) and Federation of States Medical Board (FSMB). U.S. M.D. students are sponsored by NBME whereas International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are sponsored by Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). 

Important links for those who want to apply for their USMLE Steps and learn more about application and Content Outlines as well as Score Reporting, Costs as well as Frequently Asked Questions and Practice Materials can be found below:

Learn more about USMLE Step Exams

USMLE Performance Data (Pass percentages for First Attempters and those Retaking their USMLE Steps 1, 2 CK and 3 year by year for US/Canadian USMD and USDO Students as well as IMGs).

USMLE Score Interpretation (Percentiles and Scores for USMLE Steps 1, 2 CK and Step 3).

Now, let's discuss preparation strategies and time needed to prepare for your USMLE Steps 1. Step 2 CK and Step 3.

Preparation Strategies and Time Needed for Passing USMLE Step 1 (Basic Sciences) is discussed in great details in the following post: 

USMLE Step 1 Preparation Strategies and Times Needed to Prepare

Preparation Strategies and Time Needed for Scoring High on USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge) is discussed in great details in the following post: 

USMLE Step 2 CK Preparation Strategies and Time needed to Prepare to Reach your Best Score.

Preparation Strategies and Time Needed for Scoring High on USMLE Step 3 (Clinical Medicine) is discussed in great details in the following post: 

USMLE Step 3 Preparation Strategies and Times needed to Prepare

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Pricing and Packages can be found below:

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Use these active learning techniques to get ready for your USMLE Step 1 in one month.

Use these active learning techniques to get ready for your USMLE Step 1 in one month.

Are you an USMD/USDO MS2/ M2 or an IMG currently preparing for your USMLE Step 1, and looking for the the most logical and comprehensive and the fastest way to Pass your USMLE Step 1 during dedicated Step 1 study time?

If you are, then continue reading and following all the recommendations in this article/post to Pass your Step 1 in a few weeks.

Follow these time tested and proven strategies used by Dr. Harish Malik's students to get to 80% correct with 99% chance of Passing USMLE Step 1 in a 3-5 weeks during dedicated Study Period before taking your USMLE Step 1.

Try active learning as opposed to passive learning using NBMEs for Assessment and Skill Building and UWorld for Knowledge and Stamina Boost.

Active learning by following these strategies will help you stay focused on what you do not know and learn specific things faster as well as ensure retention of those Step 1 factoids and concepts that you need to understand and also allow you to build requisite stamina and skills needed for Passing Step 1. Passively Reading Books including First Aid for USMLE Step 1, or Pathoma, Boards and Beyond, watching YouTube Videos or even reading your own notes will waste a great deal of time and mental energy and take time away from attempting USMLE World and the 7 available NBME Self Assessment Exam questions and learning from the explanations.

Here we go...

Day 1 of USMLE Step 1 Preparation: Take NBME (lowest CBSSA currently Form 25) Self Assessment Online and get a baseline percentage correct and percentage chances of passing USMLE Step 1. Review the NBME thoroughly the same day.

Note: If you are scoring in 30s or 40s, give me a call immediately because you will not be able to get ready on your own without delaying your first M3 rotation and even might require a Research year and delay graduating or fail your Step 1. Such low Scores are a sure sign that you need immediate help with your USMLE Step 1 Preparation. Proceed to Day 2 on your own if your score is in 50s or higher.

Day 2 of USMLE Step 1 Preparation: Reset or Buy a UWorld Step 1 QBank along with Biostatistics Subject Review and the 2 Self Assessments (UW SA1 and UW SA2).

Create 10 Timed and Not Tutor Mode 40 question blocks of UWorld (If you want to take your Step 1 in 3 weeks) or 8 blocks of UWorld if you have 5 weeks at 5:30 am and after quick morning routine get started with Block 1 at 6:00 AM at the latest. 

Give yourself 25-30 min to finish each block and do not review until you finish all blocks with 5 min breaks after every 2 blocks and you will be able to finish all blocks by 12:00 noon (10 block) or 11:00 AM (8 block). 

Important Side Note: Now when you attempt your USMLE World Blocks, you MUST resist Debating while picking answers because the goal is not to score high but simply to identify misinterpretation, misinformation and lack of knowledge to build upon while reviewing the blocks. If you can do that you will notice that you will be able to finish each block of 40 questions in 25-30 min. Time and mental energy saved by doing so can be uses towards learning the correct concepts and facts necessary to get those answers correct the next time while avoiding competing stupid ideas to develop and anchor in your memory which lead you to mistakes.

This includes 1 hour break if you were doing some Math, therefore at 11:00 AM or 12:00 noon, you begin reviewing mistakes from each block spending no more than 20-30 seconds on flagged but correctly answered and 1.5 to 2 min for mistakes as well as flagged mistakes. Very crucial to ignore all the rest of the questions. Remember the plan is not to score a 100% on USMLE Step 1. 

Av. Score of 40% or lower: Do NOT proceed and Call/Message Dr. Malik now.

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Av. Score of 50%: If you have only 3 weeks left, follow steps as above for 40% or lower. If you have 5 or more weeks, proceed as follows - 20 Mistakes to review in 30-40 min each for 8 blocks will put you at 4 to 5.5 hours and with some break let's say 6 hours later at 6 pm. 30 min Exercise and Meditation time. Light Dinner and Review time again for all the Flash cards that you made during review and any images/Educational Objectives that you want to hit again for 2 more hours before winding down for the Restful Sleep. These are the 2 hours that students who hire me review their hardest questions, concepts, concerns and build skills and reinforce memory before winding down for the night. Please try to be in bed no later than 10 PM and fast asleep by 11 PM because you will need that rest for day 2, 3, 4, 5...

Av. Score of 60% Enjoy the extra hour of rest.

Av. Score of 70% Enjoy the extra 2 hours of rest.

Av. Score of 80% Enjoy the extra 3 hours of rest.

Av. Score of 90% (Geniuses) Maybe do 20 blocks a day.. lol and finish the UWorld in 5 days.

Av. Score of 100% (God) I am speechless! 

Follow Day 1 routine for the next 8 to 10 days to finish one Round of UWorld in this manner. If this plan seems unreasonable, you need to consider USMLE Consultation with Dr. Malik because everyone has been able to do this with my help.

Day 9 (for 10 blocks/day students)/ Day 11 (8 blocks/day): Start by making Blocks from mistakes always one by one. 

Now you want to start at 6:00 AM with first Timed and Not Tutor Mode Block from your incorrect questions and finish attempting and reviewing by 7:00 AM and if you are scoring 60% or less, Please Message me so that you won't have to delay your 1st rotation or fail or fail and add an extra Research year to your resume. Proceed with Block to if scores are now in 70% or higher and finish all 8 or 10 blocks for the day and hit the bed on time. 

Add 20% more questions to your mistakes to figure out number of days needed to finish this time. So worst case scenario 6-7 days. 

Important Side Note: You must review each block before creating the next block from mistakes or UWorld will take forever to end.

Day 15 or day 18: Next perfectly Simulated  Online NBME (CBSSA) Self Assessment. (Begin no later than 8:30 AM and End no later than 5 hours including all breaks. No within block breaks for anything). 

If your NBME Self Assessment Score is less than 70%, please STOP your USMLE Step 1 preparation and Reach out Immediately. Depending on your assessment scores and UW averages allow yourself 3-5 additional weeks for getting ready for your USMLE Step 1. 

If your score on the Second NBME is 70%, that is a positive sign that you might be able to get it up to the safe corridor which begins at 80% or higher within a week or two by doing the following:

First and foremost review this Second NBME Self Assessment (All questions and All options), obviously spending more time on incorrects and then also go back and do the same with the First NBME that you took on Day 1. This might take the remainder of the day you took this second NBME as well as the Next few days because I want you to identify topics that you scored the lowest on this Exam and Reset your UWorld and hit all those topics again like day 2 above.

Then it's 3rd NBME time.. Day 17 or Day 22.

If your score drops or does not go up by atleast 5 points on this Exam, please do reach out NOW so that I can help you reach 80% plus within a week or so by helping you solidify understanding, remove any misunderstanding and add to your USMLE Question answering Skills.

If you're score gets to 75% or higher but not 80% or higher, keep redoing what I recommend after the 2nd NBME to raise your score fast. If your score plateaus or declines, reach out immediately.

Once you hit 80% or higher on an NBME Exam, I want you to take 2 NBME Self Assessments back to back to simulate better and check for any stamina or break timing issues that might need adjustments before the real exam. If you run out of NBMEs use the Online Interactive USMLE Step 1 tutorial as one of the NBMEs to make it a longer Exam simulation. 

Take all 7 or whatever the current number of Online NBME CBSSA Exams and the last one must be above 80%, preferably more than once.

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For pricing, click on the Pricing page on top or click on the link below:

USMLE Step 1 Tutoring Pricing and Packages

Watch this Video on my YouTube channel "Raise your USMLE Score Fast" to assimilate this study plan that has worked for many USMD and USDO as well as IMGs...

Thank you and All the Best on your upcoming USMLE Step 1.


Dr. Harish Malik 

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