(Asad Mehmood Lak is perfect inspiration for all the juniors who are thinking about USMLE and cannot decide when and how to take the test. It is best to plan early, whether you want to go for USMLE or PLAB or FCPS etc as it will save you a lot of time and energy. When you reach 3rd and 4th year of MBBS, peer pressure will mess with your minds badly, so better decide early what career path you want and stick to the plan)
USMLE STEP 1 in 4th year M.B.B.S.
Asad Mehmood Lak
In the Name of Allah,the Most Gracious,the Most Merciful.
First of all thanks to Allah Almighty, my family and friends for the continuous support and encouragement. And to everyone reading this, the purpose of this experience is to encourage you because if I can do it, so can you.
I had made up my mind to take my step 1 in 4th year after my 2nd year prof when my elder brother decided to go for USMLE(who was then preparing for his 4th year prof, he used to talk to seniors for guidance so listening to their conversations I had a very good knowledge of the things-to-do for step 1 in the beginning of 3rd year).
In the first few months of 3rd year I started with kaplan video lectures and notes of biochem and physio and did them along with offline uwolrd of physio and biochem by march 2015.Then came KDS and KAPS and I couldn’t study for next 3 months(Though I had planned to do anatomy as well in 3rd year but couldn’t).Then in june i started preparing for 3rd year proff, did pharma and micro from kaplan and Gen.Patho from pathoma. By the end of 3rd year i had a very good grip on pharma and micro only, couldn't remember a word from physio and biochem :p
BEGINNING OF 4th Year:
After 3rd year prof I did BS in 10 days alongwith offline uworld of biostat. I was done with BS till 10th or 15th january.
Did Anatomy from Kaplan videos+notes in the next 15-20 days.
In the first week of Feb 2016,i started pathology from pathoma along with its videos and I was done with pathology by mid april.After finishing pathoma(did 2 reads in 2 months),I bought 6 months subscription of UW and started with pathology uw and did it in 15 days,so by mid april I had done pathology along with uw.
Then started with Kaplan physio lectures and FA(didn’t read kaplan again,annotate kaplan graphs on your FA,they’re good),finished it along with uw till end of may(20,25th i think,not sure btw),it took a little more time because I had to take a few breaks.Then started biochem from kaplan lectures+FA+uw and did it in around 15 days.Started Anatomy from FA+Shelf notes+uw and after that Biostat/Psychiatry from FA+UW step1+UW step2+UW biostat review.I had my 2nd read(FA+Uw complete) done by end july.
Started revising FA+Pathoma from last week of july and took first nbme in mid august.
NBME 7(offline):242 (50 days before exam)
Revised again a few things and took another nbme.
NBME 17(online):232(42 days before exam)
This was a pitfall,thought to delay the exam but talked to a senior and came to know
that this is the least predictable nbme.Anyways,again started revising FA+Pathoma+UW,took me another 20,22 days.
NBME 16(online):245 (20 days before exam) NBME 13(offline):250 (19 days before exam) UWSA 1 (online):258 (20 days before exam)
This was encouraging,very encouraging,because after 232 the next 20-22 days were the worst but that was also the time i gave my best and that was my best revision(thanks to nbme 17 :p)
Thought to revise the entire syllabus again in next 18-20 days,it was tough but did it in 15 days and took rest of nbmes.
NBME 18(online):251(2 days before exam) UWSA 2(online):256(2 days before exam) NBME 15(online):251(1 day before exam)
I was very confident on my exam day Alhamdulillah,woke up at 6:00 in the morning,offered Fajar,had my breakfast,reached exam centre 30 min earlier.
1st,2nd blocks were medium level difficult,took a break of 10 mins after 2nd block.
3rd block was easy so didn’t take a break after it and continued into 4th block. This was tough,really tough,got tired by the end of block,rushed out and had a 20min break.
5th block was good,took a break after it,6th was also good,after 6th block i had 25 mins of break left so took it.
7th block had only 28 questions but they were the hardest,anyways i had and an entire hour for 28 questions so it went smoothly.
After coming out of the centre i was confident that this was the best i could’ve done and In sha Allah will get a good score.
-plan early for your exams,take it in your MBBS,it's very doable.
I’d suggest take step 1 in 4th year,u have done pharma,micro in 3rd year and it’s fresh in your mind,main subject in 4th year is Pathology which u’ve mastered in step1 and prof doesn’t remain that big a deal.
-don’t get discouraged during your preparation.
-don’t take BIG breaks(yes u can chill for a couple of days,but don’t take 15-20 days break,it breaks your rhythm)
-surround yourself with encouraging people,I had a very encouraging circle of friends,u do get depressed in b/w sometimes so it's better to have good people around you. -Don’t ask every other person how to study.This is the single most important point.You made it to K.E that already means that you know how to study,so don’t go around every other person asking for study tips,every one has his own way of studying.Believe in yourself.
-Keep in touch with one or two people for guidance.These ppl should have done their steps recently,if u’re doing it during undergraduation ask someone who did it during his undergraduation.
-Start uw early in ur preparation,it helps you familiarize with the pattern of exam. -Try doing maximum NBMEs,it actually becomes another question bank.(7 nbmes is actually 1400 questions)
-Plan.Make a timetable,try to follow it,though u wouldn’t be able to but still :p -Plan your exam day very well,decide about breaks,meals everything.
-Don’t worry about failing,Allah helps u and u do study good not like profs :p
-I wouldn’t suggest doing kaplans,just give them a read,take extra concepts,annotate it on ur FA and invest in FA,Uw.
-Don’t worry about attendance :p make good friends,they’ll take care of it :D
Best of luck.Regards, Asad Mehmood Lak.