Recent takers of Step 1? Deciding on qbank.

Hey y’all, I just came across this forum. I was checking out the student doctor forums but things seemed somewhat hectic to say the least on what’s the way to go for board prep nowadays.

I’ve took a leave of absence after MS-2 for a few years - ended up working outside of med, got married had a baby - the whole 9 yards. So now I’m back to take the test and continue my MS-3 Clerkships, but I have to pass the darn thing first

I signed up for a Kaplan comprehensive course. I’m doing the center prep videos right now by subject.

Now I’ve been told not to mix so many resources since it might cause some contradiction and confusion, but a friend told me that I should definitely try and use Goljan Rapid Review for Pathology. I took a look at this at the bookstore and it seemed pretty nice to fill in all the pathophysio that apparently is big on the exam.

So I figure I’ll add that Rapid Review book with my kaplan material & first aid. The kaplan center was nice enough to lend me a medessentials book which seems to put more words on the page compared to first aid. It also seems to compliment there notes more so than a stand alone book. Now I’m giving myself ~3 months for the test. So now my question is about questions! I signed up for usmlerx since it practically covers first aid in a way I can actually run through it rather than staring at it. The questions to me seem alright, I’m just doing them randomly and in tutor mode for now. It actually makes first aid not so bad now. I’ll work on timing as I get closer to the month of my exam.

I want to use a second question bank. I’m deciding between kaplan qbank and the new usmleworld question bank. I hear that albeit their amazing explanations, usmleworld’s questions are much better for Step 2 CK or for the more difficult questions in preparation than it is for step 1. Is this true? I’m not sure if any of you had tried kaplan’s qbank for this test recently. Qbank has been in the game for years so I thought they would still be the gold standard in review. Now I wanted to revolve my knowledge around first aid with Kaplan’s material to fill the lost times. I heard qbank also has references to first aid and medessentials which seem more worthwhile in the end since I’ll be using that book more than anything.

I just don’t want to fall into a trap finding out that I should have used usmleworld instead, since that appears to be the widely used one by many! Most of my friends then only did qbank as their source of question review and did well and made it to residency. What’s your take on this?

Thanks for reading this!

I used Kaplan for Step 1 and am using USMLEWorld for Step 2. I’ve heard various opinions for Step 1 on kaplan vs USMLERx vs USMLEWorld. I have some friends who used USMLERx and USMLEWorld and liked both of them. I think Kaplan’s questions are generally pretty nitpicky and harder than the real test. Honestly, I think you’ll be fine with any of them, but Kaplan is definitely the one most people use.

You might also consider doing one or two of the NBME’s practice tests. They charge ~$40 per test and it takes about 4 hours. It’s good for practicing time for the blocks and at the end, they give you an estimated score along with a score report showing roughly how you scored in the various areas. My actual score was 2 points different than the practice test score I took a week before the test and one of my deans told me that she found most people who had taken it scored similarly.

Good luck!

PS- I really liked Goljan. Try not to get bogged down in too many resources, though. Find one resource for each subject area and use that.

Goljan Rapid Review for Pathology

AWESOME BOOK! Highly recommend.

USMLERx Step 1 QBank

Cannot recommend (and I answered the entire bank). The questions are far too easy, as compared to the real test. My own preference, borne out by MCAT, is to practice with questions that are harder than the real thing to build those muscles.

I am doing the same thing as Emergency–did Qbank for Step 1 and am now using USMLEworld for Step 2. I found the MedEssentials book from Kaplan to be great for Step 1. I think supplementing with Goljan is an excellent idea. I think probably more important than which system you use for questions is simply that you do as many questions as you can. I actually did better on the Kaplan Qbank than I did on the real exam, but I think for most people it’s the opposite (and, in full disclosure, I do get major test anxiety). I can see where it may be advantageous, if using Kaplan’s course, to actually do the USMLEworld test bank–Kaplan would seemingly write questions from their study materials and by using a different question bank you may pick up more material via tutor mode??

The suggestion to take the practice exams on the NBME site is also a good one. Also, I would echo not to get too many study aides as the tendency is to jump from one to the other without fully exploring any particular series–I would suggest using the Kaplan materials and then supplementing only in areas your practice questions are showing you need some additional understanding.

Ultimately just stay steady with your studying and do LOTS AND LOTS of questions.

Best of luck!

Hey thank you all for responding! That was really nice! I think I am going to stick to all the kaplan material with some of the goljan lectures. His book is pretty dense and the my main worry was information overload! I also think that doubling so many qbanks might cause some confusion in the explanations - so I will decide between kaplan or usmleworld. I keep hearing about the latter and as one of you mentioned, maybe I’ll stick to the kaplan material and their QBOOK and then do questions from usmleworld to get anything lacking.

The main worry was not to try and approach the exam overthinking the question, where usmleworld sometimes seems to do in thinking multiple steps ahead.

The same kind of goes with that medessentials and first aid book combo. I think I’ll just stick to first aid without trying to overwhelm myself.

This exam is doable right? I think the points of what you said about not too many resources is right!

The key with step 1 is not so much overthinking, but being able to think beyond the obvious answer in a two or three step question. A lot of questions you read will seem obvious as you read them, and then when you get to the actual question and answer they want is the next step. For example - they might give you a clinical scenario and description of the microorganism that was found on lab exam. You’re expecting the question to be “What is the most likely micro-organism?” and instead the question will be something like “What drug would you use to treat?”

And yes, it’s doable. You’ll be fine.