A lot of students come to me after having already failed the exam, or after having taken practice exams where they have not been able to pass. Many of them have a singular goal based on the time constraints of their study period — how do I make sure I pass, and how do I then maximize beyond that, given that I only have *x* amount of time?
One thing I really stress with all of my students, but especially the ones who start out not passing, is that Step 1 is all about diseases. I truly believe if you know the big pathology from Cards/Pulm/Renal/GI/Heme Onc alone, you can pass the exam. What that means in actual terms is doing UFAP every single day. In terms of big picture, I say start with the big organ systems (1 week cards, 1 week pulm, 1 week renal, 1 week GI, etc). During those weeks, I suggest starting with 1 block of UWorld daily (all categories, timed, 40Q), and reviewing those THOROUGHLY (took me up to 3-4 hours to review one 40Q block!). Then, sit down with Pathoma, FA, Sketchy, B&B, Anki (whatever you like to use, don’t have to use all of these by any means), and spend the rest of your day on the dedicated organ system of the week. In the first few weeks, it is really important to not get bogged down in the physio, rare diseases, and biochem. Focus on the big things you KNOW will be tested– COPD, lung cancer, MI complications, nephritic v nephrotic. By focusing your energy on the truly high-yield topics, it is absolutely possible to pass the exam. As you get further along, I recommend building in an hour of “review” questions for organ systems you have previously covered. After that, once you pass the threshold of those topics, you can work on refining details to really bump up your score further with biochem, physiology, rare diseases, and nuanced pathology.
Everyone’s priorities for this exam will be different — depending on what you want out of your dedicated study period, your plan may be different! If you have any general questions or specific questions pertaining to your own circumstances, please feel free to comment below!
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