Do it once. Do it right. Get it over with. Master the USMLE Step 1.
The goal of the self-paced prep course is to help as many people pass Step 1 in 1 take as much as possible. It is a waste of time, money and effort to prep the wrong way and have to redo your prep all over again. Not to mention the emotional turmoil you undergo in failing the exam.
So how do we build a prep course that will help as many people as possible to pass Step 1?
1. Basically it must cover the different situations people find themselves and how to get from where they are to their end goal which is to pass USMLE Step 1. Different strokes for different folks.
2. It must be low cost so most people can afford it. Less than the price of a daily cup of coffee at Starbucks. ( which is the favorite hang out place for people prepping for the USMLE.)
3. It must be able to guide people to know if they are making any progress or not and signal to them when they can sit for the exam and pass it. In other words, take it when you can pass it.
First, the course should have different study plans geared towards people in different situations. To that end, there are 3 basic study plans that can be modified by people to suit their needs, depending on their situation.
For people, who have forgotten practically everything, they need to start with a full learning phase, then followed by mastery, test preparation and high yield review.
For people, who still remember a lot of the medical concepts, but need some review, an abbreviated learning phase, then onto mastery, etc.
For people who are third year medical students and those who have done prepping on their own, they go direct to mastery phase.
There is a fourth plan, for third year medical students who have been prepped by their school for Step 1. Test preparation phase , then high yield review.
There will be instruction on how to choose which study plan is best for you and how to modify the study plan for any weak points you may have.
For the moderated prep course only the third and fourth study plan is followed. And there will be a workshop in making your study plan and schedule.
Second, the cost will be US$ 199.99 for 3 months which amounts to just US$ 2 per day. For September, it will be for only $99.99 for 3 months or about a dollar a day. That will keep it affordable to most people. To keep costs low and enroll as many students as possible, personal monitoring is at a minimum and forum support is the norm rather than email or live chat. Provisions for group study will be provided, so people can study together. In the moderated prep course, email and live chat predominates. Fees for the moderated prep course will be higher. Final fees will be announced in September.
We will also be offering tuition discounts up to 100% for both moderated and self-paced prep course effectively making it free to deserving students. Watch for the announcement on how this will be done and how the tuition fee discounts will be awarded. This will be about one per quarter for the moderated course and 1 per month for the self-paced course.
Third, there will be step by step guidance given on each of the study plans. This is based on the study plans which my students followed in the original course. However, this will wind up more detailed. In the original prep course, instructions were given during chat sessions and those posted on the site. The problems students encounter are the same then and now. But since they were answered by me thru chat sessions, no written record of them exists. This time, we will try to reconstruct some of those answers in the forum. And as people go through the course and ask questions in the forum, the answers will be compiled and will serve as guide for other students down the line.
We will also be providing live chat rooms for students who want to form online study groups as well as developing group study materials and tools. For example, currently all flashcards are set up for individual study. We will set up flashcards that can be used for group study and discussion. That will also be the venue for discussing approach to questions. For example, questions will be answered by a study group with live chat discussion on the answers. In the moderated prep course, the chat will be moderated by me. In the self-paced there will probably be recording of discussions I had done with the moderated group for students to study.
Students will be told what assessment they need to do, when to do it and what to do if the results are not good. They will also be guided on when they should sit for the exam.
The goal of the self paced prep course is to help the student to do their prep one time and pass the Step 1 in one take. To do that they need to study the right way. If you have any additional suggestions on what to add to make the prep course better, feel free to comment or reach me thru the contact form.
Do it once. Do it Right. Get it over with. Master the USMLE Step 1.