kaplan - usmle - strategies

so - we started off kaplan yesterday and i already feel totally overwhelmed. i come home at 5 pm and i certainly don’t KNOW the material that they just went over. i don’t know if i’m supposed to have this stuff DOWN or if the brief review that kaplan offers suffices and i should just concentrate on questions upon getting home. this is so much more overwhelming and frightening than i thought it would be. how well are we supposed to know this stuff? i’ve worked so hard for so many years, trying to compensate for the fact that my background isn’t in the sciences and for the fact that this stuff doesn’t come easily for me. and now i just feel so lost…
words of wisdom? advise? reassurance? i can’t possibly learn all this crap well. i feel like i’m just going to have time to read it all through one time before the exam comes round…

Kelly, just like for the MCAT, you need to be sure you spend plenty of time practicing the test. You DO know this stuff - you’ve heard it all in class and studied it for tests, or you wouldn’t be looking at Step 1 now. The Kaplan classes are for review purposes.
I didn’t take Kaplan classes, but if I were in your situation, this is how I think I’d handle it: I’d try to pay attention in class every day (that is a tough assignment right there). Each evening, my review would be to do a targeted set of questions on Q-Bank, choosing the same topic that was covered in class if possible, and then reviewing Kaplan’s explanations for the answers. I might not even do 50 questions per evening, depending on how long I wanted to spend on the answer explanations. That’s how I’d review. (I know Natalie suggests randomizing the QBank sections, because that’s what the real thing is like, but when you’re already doing the targeted review via Kaplan I think it’d be more productive to use questions as additional review. Others may differ with me on this.)
Then on the days off, I’d do more QBank.
You need to figure out a review strategy that allows you to maximize what you get out of the huge chunk of time that is being consumed by Kaplan, and that’s why I’m suggesting this approach… I would hope they would have some suggestions for how to strategize this, as well - you are paying enough for this.
Please stop beating yourself up for not having a science background. At this point in medical school you are on equal footing with everyone else and your background is NOT important. You can do this; you’ve BEEN doing it for four semesters now. Just start cranking out those QBank sessions and you will be okay.
My colleagues who took Kaplan had a similar feeling of time-management panic when they started the course - it really does suck away SO much of your day. So you need to be sure to get the most bang for your buck with your remaining available study time, and that includes DOWN TIME where you are taking a break and NOT studying.
Will you have a week or two post-Kaplan to solidify your studying and also take a few mental health days before taking Step 1? My classmates who had a minimum of a week after Kaplan felt that additional time was essential.
YOU CAN DO THIS. Good luck!