USMLE Steps I and II

For some folks, USMLE Step I and Step II will be approaching pretty soon. I would like to recommend the following for USMLE Step I: Board Simulator Series and Q-Bank from Kaplan. You should be working the Board Simulator Series while you are doing your classwork for second year. You can review with Q-Bank for the actual exam. I also recommend getting the Goljan STARS Pathology once you have reached second year. All of the pictures on the exam come from the Sixth Edition of Robbins Pathology. If your school uses a different book, at least look at the photos in Robbins. If you know this material thoroughly, you will be on you way for review. Your USMLE Step I score is largely going to determine where you end up for residency so don’t skimp on study time for this one. I actually started studying for Step I during my first semester of my first year. I set aside at least 2 hours per weekend to just study for USMLE Step I during my first and second years. I spent 8 hours per day for a month doing the final review. While rank in class is a good thing, most residency directors look at this score and invite or not invite based on this alone. While medical schools vary, USMLE is a constant. Remember that you REVIEW for your board exams and STUDY for your class exams. Do not make the mistake of confusing this point.

For USMLE Step II: I recommend the NMS Step II prep and Q-Bank for Step II. For review, I used the Outline review for Step II by Goldberg. It is part of the Appleton & Lange Series. Step II is mostly Medicine so that is where you should put your study emphasis. Prescription for the Boards is also a good review but you need to do plenty of questions. My USMLE Step II exam was very, very difficult. Ignore the old refrain that you need to study only about two weeks for this exam. You need to put in at least a month even more. Get a copy of the sample questions from USMLE for the most realistic idea of what the actual exam is like. You take 8 fifty-question blocks to make a total of 400 questions. By the end of the sixth block, your eyes don’t want to read anything else. You also need to rest well the night before. You don’t want to “poop out” before the test is done.

thanks natalie