This post has been updated. Please see The Key to Acing the USMLE Step 1.
When I started thinking about taking on the USMLE way back in last quarter of 2004, I would scour through all the forums. Trying to find any information I can get on how to tackle this difficult exam. I would pay special attention to the postings on exam experience. And whenever I see someone posting that they got a 99, I will read it avidly, desperate to find out how it is done and wishing that it was me.
However, it wasn’t long before I notice that everyone was reviewing the same materials. Kaplan notes, FA, Kaplan and UW Qbank, Goljan notes and yet the results range from failing to high 99’s. So it wasn’t the materials that they were using that is the key to scoring 99 although it makes sense that they should be important.
So I did my own research on what it would take to get a high score. I went through various study materials available. I devised specific approach to each study material to maximize my ability to retain and recall the information in them. I tried to apply what I know about good study methods for maximum retention and recall.
I took my USMLE Step 1 Examination in April 2006 and scored a 99/256. I took my USMLE Step 2 CK in November, 2006 and scored a 99/258. So I finally made it. I have now proven that my system works for me. The test is will it work for other people.
I had written extensively of how I did my review in the forums, especially at www.prep4usmle.com. And a lot of people have sought my advise. Although not everyone got a 99 there were a few who told me that they got a 99 by following my advise.
That is why I am starting this series of blog posts on how to get a 99. Now don’t get me wrong. Not everyone can get a 99. Obviously limitations on intelligence, reading speed and memory capacity will limit the maximum score you can get. But a lot of people who failed to get 99’s could have gotten them. And the difference lies mostly in how they studied rather than in what they studied.
Therefore, I hope you will follow me on this journey of discovery. On how to learn more effectively and efficiently. And how to get the best score possible in the USMLE
The Series so far: