When I started looking through exam experiences of other people and how they did their prep, what was going on thru my mind is if all this is applicable to me. Early on I knew I was not the typical person taking the USMLE. Majority of those taking the USMLE are young, fresh grads or third year medical students. Meanwhile, I am a very old grad who has not read a basic medical science book in ages or taken examinations. Therefore, most of the study plans out there do not apply to me.
Another thing is that one of my basic strengths was reading fast and having a good memory. But everywhere I read, the suggestions seem to be study only high yield stuff and don’t bother with textbooks. Since it will take too long and memorize all of them. And yet doing so, I kept on scoring poorly on my initial assessment exams. So instead I decided to capitalize on my strengths and plowed thru textbooks selectively. That may had done more to help me ace the exam than anything else.
Therefore, early on, I decided that I have to know my strengths and weaknesses, my educational background and my current situation or environment in order to best judge how to proceed with my prep. They will determine what methods and what steps were applicable to me instead of blindly following some study plan developed by someone for his or her particular circumstances.
Therefore, it is important to know yourself. There is a long discussion on how to evaluate your strengths and weakness in my free ebook, ‘How to Create a Study Plan for the USMLE’. There is a more recent, updated version in my book ‘How to Master the USMLE Step 1: Askdoc’s Method of USMLE Prep.’ Read more here.
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