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I just took Step 1, and I think it went horribly…now what?

Activity Forums USMLE Step 1 Forum I just took Step 1, and I think it went horribly…now what?

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Dr. David Delnegro MST USMLE Tutor Dr. David Delnegro MST USMLE Tutor 2 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #214
    Dan S., MST USMLE Tutor
    Reputation: 30
    USMLE ExpertMD or DOContributor

    First off, let me just say, many of us have been there. Whether for Step 1 or for one of the other approximately 10,000 exams we take before, during, and after medical school, there are times when we walk out of the room thinking, “what just happened?” or “welp, I studied for that wrong”.

    A few things:

    1) For most people, final Step 1 scores reflect study trajectory. If you scored in the 230s on your last few practice tests, you will likely score around the 230s. Try to think back to how bad you felt on some of those UWorld blocks that actually went well. I at least had lots of blocks where I would get to the end thinking, welp, that was awful, just to hit submit and see that my score was right around where I usually averaged (or higher). I think as you get further and further with prep, you reach a point of knowing enough that you over-estimate the impact of the things you miss. Earlier on, we’re blissfully clueless about our mistakes – we don’t think about them because we don’t know enough to dwell on them. It almost definitely went better than you are anticipating.

    2) If it didn’t, that is okay. It doesn’t negate all of the learning you did in the build-up to the test, or the work you put in, and it certainly doesn’t mean you won’t be an awesome doctor.

    3) Do your best to focus on the controllables. Stay away from looking up questions you were unsure about – these will disproportionately be the ones you are more likely to have gotten wrong, which will again artificially inflate the number of answers you actually got wrong. Exercise, spend time with friends, and find other things to focus on. Binge watch a show, or go for a trip (better yet, go for a trip somewhere without internet). Try to find work or recreation that feels meaningful and acknowledge the reality that it’s over, and pass or fail, goal score or not, you are making progress towards becoming a doctor, and that’s amazing.

    You are so close to having this whole thing behind you!


    If there is one that I have learned in years of boards and helping others slay them, it is that your perceived self-efficacy taking board exams have almost no correlation with your actual score.

    I always tell my students to not count questions because you are not going to do anything useful with the information even if it is accurate.

    Enjoy your vacation and eat lots of ice cream!

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