There are many NBME exams out there. Some are newer than others, but by now all the ones available for purchase reflect the 2016 revision of the exam (which received much less fanfare than the 2015 MCAT revision). Save 18 for near the end, as it is battle-tested and has strong correlation skills to your actual score. Other than that, you can go from oldest to newest.
Depending how many practice tests you are planning to do, you can even try and scour the internet for old NBMEs or even do the Kaplan Self Assessment. Your first 2-3 exams should be less about the number, and more about the question answering process, getting your timing down, and finding your weaknesses.
Totally agree with you — I always tell my students to save 18 for last, and it seems like most of them agree, it’s the most representative for content and difficulty compared to all the others! One additional point I’ll add is to save the UWorld ones for the end — the length of those prompts and complexity of questions seem to be a bit closer to the real exam too!
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