The Holy Grail of the USMLE exam is to get a 99 or much more rarely the double 99. This is where you get a 99 on both the USMLE Step 1 and the USMLE Step 2 CK. Only very few people can achieve the even rarer triple 99, where you also get a 99 in the USMLE Step 3. Everyone wants a 99 but not everyone can do it. So the question you have to ask yourself is, can I get a 99 in the USMLE?
There are many factors that limit the score you are able to achieve in the USMLE exam. Some are innate and cannot be change. Some are skills that require a long time to develop. While others can be managed and improved to raise your over-all scores.
Innate factors and therefore can’t be change include the following:
- Memory Capacity
- Rate of forgetting
Skills that require time to develop include the following:
- Reading Speed
- Analytical Skills
Factors that can be managed and improved
- Test-taking skills
- Study Methods
Innate factors are inborn and cannot be changed. Therefore the only thing you can do about it is to compensate for it and work your way around it. And there are various methods to do so. Skills that require time to develop are for the purpose of the USMLE almost permanent and cannot be changed in the time frame involved in USMLE prep. Depending on the overall time commitment you are able to put into your prep, you may still be able to do really minor improvements to these factors.
The largest room for improvement lies in test-taking skills and study methods. There are various ways to improve the way you retain and recall information. To study in such a way as to anticipate questions that will be asked in the exam and prepare for it ahead.
We will discuss each of these factors in more detail in the future posts. Watch for it.