This semester is FLYING by. I started my official ‘USMLE board prep’ schedule in January. Right now I have a slightly lighter board study schedule to study during the semester because we are still in class. We are officially done with class (along with ACLS and BLS training) at the end of April. In May, I will start ‘dedicated study’ starting with a 4 week Wolfpac course mandated by my school. Following that I will take 2 weeks to rampantly study on my own before taking both the USMLE and COMLEX.
If you want to check out my original USMLE board prep post, click here! I outline my plan and what resources I planned on using. I have followed my plan pretty consistently, but I have also learned a lot about what works best for me. If you also want to read more about why I decided to take both the USMLE and COMLEX, check out my post here.
USMLE Board Prep Changes
First of all, I discovered that I basically retain nothing from just reading First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. It is an essential resource, but I don’t remember any specific details that I need to memorize from reading alone. The pictures are pretty helpful, but if I just read First Aid, I would not do well. However, I am using First Aid as I go through other resources, and that has worked wonders for me. For example, when I watch SketchyPharm, I take notes in First Aid. When I do Uworld questions, I go back and read the sections of first aid that are pertinent to that question. Keeping this in mind, when I do my first pass reading through First Aid, I do not stress about memorizing every little detail that I am reading.
UWorld is absolutely amazing and this is where the majority of my USMLE board prep learning is coming from. I can remember details better when I see them in a clinical context. I use UWorld on untimed tutor mode and read the explanations religiously after each question. I will go through the explanations for each answer choice. If I understand it and feel like I will remember it, that is all I do. However, it there are a lot of little details, I will go back to First Aid and take notes. If I get a pharm or micro question, I will watch the corresponding SketchyMicro or SketchyPharm videos that pertain to the question at hand.
New Resource – Physeo
Like I stated above, just plain reading does basically nothing for me. If I can hear someone explaining something or see a picture, I remember it so much better. That being said, I have discovered a new USMLE board prep resource that I really love! If you have read any of my medical school posts prior to this one, you will all know how obsessed I am with Pathoma. Well, I discovered Physeo, which is essentially Pathoma for physiology. The videos are around the same length as Pathoma and are organized by system.
Having another USMLE board prep video resource is really helpful for me. I watch the videos and take notes in First Aid. They also have a workbook (similar to Pathoma), but I prefer to consolidate all my notes into one book (First Aid).
New Resource – Osmosis
Again, I found out I am all about the videos. Osmosis is essentially a database of short videos on just about every topic you will encounter on Step 1. My FAVORITE part of Osmosis is that they include the reference page in First Aid and the SketchyMicro/Pharm picture if it is applicable to the video. Repetition is essential to learning all that you need to know, so it is nice to reference back to the same page in First Aid or the SketchyMicro video that I have been using to learn the material.
Well, that is about it for now. Check back soon for updates as I get further along in my USMLE board prep studying! I am sure I will have a lot to say after Wolfpac and during my ‘dedicated study’ period. Feel free to comment below with questions, comments, or advice!