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Should I focus on my incorrect UWorld questions or take it a second time?

Activity Forums USMLE Step 1 Forum Should I focus on my incorrect UWorld questions or take it a second time?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Dan S., MST USMLE Tutor 2 years, 3 months ago.

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    As a Step 1 tutor, I am often asked if one should go through UWorld a second time, or do “incorrects.”

    Like most questions of this sort, the answer is always that it depends. You have to be honest with yourself as far as where you think your ability to grasp the knowledge is and where you want it to be. Some students find a cycle through incorrects to be helpful because it represents the areas where extra work could be fruitful, but like most things, the law of limiting returns applies. if you keep cycling through eventually you’ll start recognizing the questions themselves, and then you lose a lot of the value of doing them again. Uworld questions are not infinite and you can really only see the same question two, three times max before you are memorizing different parts about it.

    If you finish your first pass through without major deficiencies, it is probably best to roll right into mixed blocks.

    To summarize this all up, if you are struggling to break into the mid-tier, doing incorrects is as a solid way to get a second pass through a difficult system. However, if you find that after a cycle through of incorrects you’re still having difficulty, it might be best to move to a different qbank so that you’re not spoiling a large percentage of UWorld questions for a second pass through mixed if that’s in your study plan. USMLE RX and Kaplan tend to be good adjuvant qbanks if this is the case.

    If you have any follow up questions I can help you with on this front, please comment below.

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

    We’ve all got different takes on this, and as David said, 100% dependent on you and how you learn best.

    Here’s another approach if you’ve got the time for it:
    Do random, 40q, timed blocks from the beginning (these won’t go great at the start – that’s okay). This way you get used to the format, the timing, you start to build connections between topics, and you can use your performance to track progress.
    As you review material, do blocks of incorrect questions pertaining to that block for a deep dive. E.g. by the time you hit cardio, if you’ve done some random blocks you’ll have a chunk of cardio incorrects to work through.

    I think going through once, and then going through again only looking at incorrects is sort of based on a false presumption that you knew the questions you got right really well and that you had no idea on the questions you got wrong. If you have two questions you are fifty-fifty on, and on one you guess right and the other you guess wrong, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to just re-review one of the two down the line.

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