Askdoc’s USMLE Step 1 Prep Course open for Applicants

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Back in 2004 when I was just starting my preparation for the USMLE, my greatest fear was in failing this examination. My status as an old graduate made failing a stark reality for me. Every person I asked told me that as an old graduate I have no chance. The most encouraging response I got was, “maybe you’ll pass, but it’s impossible to match with really low scores.” When I went to forums, I hear horror stories of people failing which frightened me even more. Then once in a while, when I read of people celebrating and crowing about their 99’s, I secretly wished that that was me. Even my own family thought it was impossible for me to make it. It got so bad, it took me over a year to get around to seriously preparing for it. 😥

Now 4 years later, with a double 99 in my belt, I feel bad whenever, I read about people failing the examination. If I can make it, they should be able to make it, too. 2 years ago I wrote an advise to someone who had failed already thrice and was plaintively asking people “What to do”. I’m happy she eventually passed her exam with an 82. Since that time, I am happy to note that a lot of people have passed and raised their scores and even got 99’s using that advise. A couple of them had the opportunity to catch me between Steps and was couched by me through emails to raise their scores with varying results. However, since that time, hundreds of people still failed. Some had read my advise but were doing exactly opposite of what I had written. Others, I found out did not understand how to implement what I had written.

As I wrote recently in my post “Milestone”, I learned that for some people, you just need to show them how to study and they can do so on their own with excellent results. These are the people helped most by my blog and posts in the forums. Then there are people who need to have study tools and taught how to use them. So recently, I’ve tried to analyze the different study tools and tried to teach people to use them, writing mostly in my blog. I’m also trying to build one through the USMLE Wiki Project. Then, there are those who needs couching in order to get anywhere with their review. Their only choice seem to be expensive prep courses whether “live” or not that are essentially cookie cutter courses made for the average reviewee. However, if these people are really average, they should’ve been able to pass the USMLE already. They need special couching. It is for this group of people that I am starting this course

I would like to announce that I would be starting a free USMLE Step 1 Prep course starting hopefully on September 1, 2008., which is to last from 3 to 6 months. It will of course be called Askdoc’s USMLE Step 1 Prep course. 😉 I will be accepting initially 6 participants to this program. The main criteria for acceptance being that you have failed the Step 1 at least once in the past 2 years. Only if less than 6 applicants have failed Step 1 will I consider applicants who have not failed Step 1. The main reason for this is that they need help the most and also to prove to others that with proper preparation, anyone who is able to finish medical school and pass their countries’ medical board should be able to pass the USMLE.

If you are interested in applying for the course, you will need to submit the following information:

Your Name:
Your preferred nickname or callsign
Year of Graduation
Country of Medical School:
Country of Origin
Country currently residing (ie. where you will be reviewing)
Sex (only so I don’t make a mistake of addressing you wrongly)
Age: (only if you want to, however, I may have to make adjustment to how to couch you depending on whether you are older or younger, so if you don’t want to state actual age, give me an idea more or less)
Year Step 1 Taken (if more than once then indicate all years)
Step 1 Scores (if more than once indicate all scores)
Have you taken Step 2 CK (if yes indicate year and scores)

Please submit scanned image of of your Step 1 Scores (all if taken multiple times). Try to make the files small by using JPEG compression. (I have limited mailbox size) You may cover your USMLE number and street address, but I need your name to match what you submitted, exam dates and country as proof you failed the examination. You will also be asked to submit your perfomance profile at the back of your score report but only if you are accepted as a participant in the prep course

Please submit them to this email address:

Do not email anything else to this email address as you will not receive any reply.

If you are going to this year’s match, please be aware that the earliest I expect any participant to take Step 1 is December with January to February being more likely. So plan accordingly.

Other Terms and conditions you must agree to is as follows:

1. commit to finish the program in the appointed time,
2. willing to purchase, borrow and/or acquire one way or the other the study materials needed for the review. although study material provided by me will be free
3. willing to follow the prescribed schedule and course materials. You can supplement but not subtract from them.
4. will follow instruction and be able to follow all meeting schedule including chat sessions that may be implemented weekly or even more frequently
5. active participation in discussions of medical concepts and practice questions, etc.
6. set a goal of 85 or higher and will not register for the actual examination until advised by me of their readiness
7. will not duplicate and/or sell or distribute study materials developed by me for the sessions
8. will not provide access to any website used for preparation to individuals not in the program by providing them your user name and password, or allowing them access through your account
9.should also have not applied for the next examination schedule yet or are willing to drop it if it conflicts with 3 to 6 month review schedule,ie. September-February.
10. should not have any ongoing family or personal problem that can affect their ability to follow the review schedule as prescribed.

…and any other conditions that may be implemented as necessary to insure that the prep session go properly and be successful.

Although this program have been conducted in part before informally, this is the first time I will be doing this formally. As such, I expect, it will not go smoothly. There will be startup pains and missteps. Nevertheless, although previous participants have used this system to raise their scores, some even getting 99’s some have not reported back and the possibility that they actually failed the exam could not be discounted.

Therefore, although I will try my best to help you pass this exam, I think you know that I can’t guarantee that you will pass for the simple reason that only you can guarantee that you’ll pass this exam since only you can do the studying needed to pass this exam. All I can do is guide you and help you.

The deadline for submission of your application is August 10, 11.59 pm EDT Sunday. Names of those accepted will be announced subsequently.

Whether or not there will be future prep courses will depend on how this first one turns out. Certain parts of this prep course will be made available to others so that they may be able to see how the participants have progressed in their review. However, some portions of the prep site will only be available to participants.

All discussions and teaching session will be held at the forums: Quizzes and other study tools will be available at Both sites are of course still empty and closed although the necessary software to run the sites has been setup. phpBB3 for forums and Moodle (an educational program) for prep website.

Again, I hope this project is successful and I can help more people achieve their dream of a medical career in the US.

note: Marlene, sara, sara9999 and others, hi. you can now start applying.

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