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My Step 1 Experience in Final Year MBBS: Muhammad Asad Fraz (Class of 2016)

Exam date : Oct 14 ,2016
Major Study Material : Uworld(6 months online ) + Pathoma + First Aid
Nbme 11(offline) : 233 (3 months before exam)
Nbme 7(offline). : 240 ( 2 months before exam)
Nbme 12(offline): 240 (2 months before exam)
Nbme 17(online): 243 ( 7 weeks before exam)
Nbme 16(online): 245(6 weeks before exam)
Nbme 15(online): 243 (5 weeks before exam)
Uwsa 1(online) : 250 (5 weeks before exam)
Uwsa 2(online) : 250 (4 weeks before exam)
Nbme 13(online): 254 (2 weeks before exam)
Nbme 18(online): 256 (1 week before exam)
Real deal : 257
My timeline:
I prepared Pharma , Micro and Immuno from Kaplan in my 3rd year for my annuals.
In 4th year , I listened to kaplan lectures for biochem , physio and neuroanatomy . But as I had no motive of doing step 1 at undergrad level back then so I didnot do uworld or first aid then . I only listened to video lectures alongwith a quick read of Kaplan ( but I dont think i gained any substantial benefit from this ) . I managed to study whole of pathoma uptil august of 4th year for annuals . It was not until september that I made my mind to take step 1 in final year . For this purpose , I again gave a good read to pathoma and started reading goljan . Its a good book but it was very time-taking so I decided to stay on pathoma and quit goljan after a week. Then I started doing first aid alongwith pathoma for pathology. My main book for patho was pathoma but I annotated on pathoma or underlined on FA the extra topics and facts of patho. Alongwith this I started offline UW of patho and was able to do almost 70% of it in 1 month. I also did 1st 2 chapters of kaplan BS for my Community medicine exam. Then time for the annuals came so i quit UW and started prep for exams. I revised pathoma during this time as much as I could and it was totally worth it. 

In Feb of 2016 , I started my prep again after getting free from annuals . I made my target of giving step 1 in september . I gave a quick read to kaplan physio
( alongwith new lectures which were really helpful ) , biochem , anatomy and behavioral sciences. This took more than a month . I left Kaplan then and stuck to FA and UW .I started FA in mid March and was able to give my first read of FA uptill mid of April . Then I started online uworld . Firstly , i did UW of biochem , micro and immuno. Then I started it system wise . I used to give a quick read to a system from FA and then do its online UW. I used to annotate imp points from UW on FA (not whole of it). It took me almost 3 months to complete UW once.
I also read anatomy shelf notes and 100 cases for ethics and did biostat review and step 2 psychiatry UW offline during this time.

My 20% uworld was left undone when I took nmbe 11 offline. After completing UW , I gave a read to FA alongwith UW material which I had annotated on FA in 2 weeks .Then in start of august , I applied for sep-nov window. Then gave nbme 7 and 12 offline and nbme 17 online. By then I had completed 2 reads of my FA . I then revised all tables and diagrams of UW in a week and then started UW second time after getting it reset. This time it took me almost a month to do UW completely. I solely did UW this time without using FA. I attempted it all and also reviewed all those i got wrong or which i had marked ( almost 50-60%) . In the meantime I planned to take online nbmes and uwsa almost every week uptil exam. After completing UW second time , I gave my 3rd read to FA alongwith UW notes on my FA . Then i spent a week revising all UW tables and pics ( helped a lot ) .

Completed my 4th and final read of FA 1 week before exam . In the last week , I tried not to over-burden myself and just read random topics which I thought were difficult and revised imp concepts. I also revised anatomy shelf notes , important points of ethics and biostat review in this last week which I had already done earlier once. Only revised review points at end of FA and some important facts from micro and listened to heart sounds on the day before exam . Took a good night’s sleep of 6-7 hrs (took me 2hrs to fall asleep :p ).

Exam Day : I was surprisingly very confident and calm on my exam day Alhamdulillah . Took my first break after 1st 2 blocks and then after every block. All blocks were of same difficulty level almost. I was unable to properly manage time in first block as I was over-thinking on each question . But then I decided not to over-think and was able to manage time in later blocks. I marked as less questions as i could because I knew I would not be able to get time to review them later on. I just tried to answer them one and the last time the very first time. I ended each block 2-3 mins before time and then reviewed those questions I had marked. Time management was somehow a problem for me . I got 40 qs in the last block.
Anatomy , pharma and biostat were comparatively easy.
Do’s
1- Study at moderate speed. Dont try to rush and also dont stop.
2- Do UW as attentively as u can. Dont try to rush through it.
3- Take all nbmes from 7 onwards. Better do online those which are available. Heard nbme 5 is good too but i didnt took it.
4- Take nbmes at regular intervals , regardless of how much u have revised. They test your baseline knowledge and so does the real exam. Its ok if u havent revised biochem or micro just before giving nbme. Does not make much difference!!!
5- Make UW ur primary source and start it as early as you can. FA is also necessary but UW is more important as far as i think. I know people who have got decent scores without reading FA and keeping UW as their main source for prep.
6- Do UW in timed mode. It will enable you to get accustomed with exam mode and will improve your ability to manage time.
7- Set your timeline and your preparation timeframe. And its ok if you are not able to follow it completely because no one is able to do so. But atleast you will have a goal in your mind which will keep you focused.
8- Review all nbmes once you do them. It was helpful in my case.
9- Stay calm while taking exam. Getting over-anxious will just do you more harm.
Dont’s
1- Don’t try to cram whole of first aid. Focus more on understanding it rather than memorizing it word by word . You will not be able to memorize it and even if u succeed in doing so somehow by spending so much time , it will not be worth it!!!
Its because you are using your reflexes in the exam. There is not enough time to recall FA while doing exam and also majority of questions in exam involve baseline knowledge. So the thing which will benefit you more than FA is your ability to pick questions which you will develop from UW and nbmes.
2- Don’t try to rush. Take breaks. Spare some time to relax.
3- Don’t scold yourself and don’t get anxious by looking at others who are preparing alongside you. Everyone has his/her own way of doing things . So suit yourself and study the way you like.

4- Don’t let your fears and your inability in keeping pace with your schedule turn you down. No one is able to exactly follow their schedule and its totally natural . So let the nature take its course :p
Best of luck to all of you out there! :)

5- Don’t get depressed if you are scoring low than what you expected in UW and nbmes . Use them not only as assessment tools but also as learning tools (specially UW).Keep yourself composed. And remember that there is always a room for improvement.
6- Don’t bother what and how others are preparing. Follow your heart. You have your own path to tread.
7- Do not overthink. Overthinkig will do you more harm than good.
Important points
1- PERSISTENCE is the key. Be determined.
2- You must know from the start that its a rough road but its achievable one. There will be difficulties in your way (everyone has) but it does not mean that you should quit. Just KEEP MOVING.
3- Learn to say NO to others while you are studying but do enjoy when you find time to do so. Don’t let others interfere with your routine.
4- Keep offering prayers regulary. You are gonna need them more than anything else.
5- Reading FA 7-8 times and trying to cram it line by line is a wrong concept as far as i think. For me, 4 reads of FA were more than enough. Instead of wasting your time and energy on cramming it , do UW and all the nbmes. The more types of questions you do , the better your ability to pick questions gets.
6-Make a habit of reading last line of each question first so that you could know what is exactly asked . This will save you time as there are many questions in which answer is totally based on last line like those in pharma about the adverse effect of a drug and the whole remaining statement is just a formality without any definite clue about the answer.
7- If you see a question with a diagram , table or flow chart as you will see in experimental questions , don’t get anxious. Just quickly review the diagram first and then read the statement. You will be able to save time and will save yourself from getting confused. Atleast it worked for me.
8- Difficult questions are gonna come to everyone taking the exam. Dont get bothered by them and dont let them confuse you. Just mark the most suitable option and dont let their difficulty cloud your judgement.
9- There will be times when you will think of quitting but donot stop. Take moral support from family and friends. You will need that very often.
I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me in every possible way and to my study partner Usman Sheikh for always being helpful towards me.

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