When I was starting my prep, I kept on meeting the word high-yield. As in high yield review, high yield topics and high yield questions. So what does high yield means.
As used by most people reviewing for the USMLE, High yield means medical concepts that are frequently tested in the USMLE. Therefore reviewers or q banks that cover high yield stuff means they cover only frequently tested concepts. How do you know what is high yield? So should you really just study the high yield stuff? If you want to know more, then read on.
How do you know what is considered high yield stuff?
We need to understand that majority of medical students will wind up in clinical practice rather than in academe or research. Hence it makes sense that the USMLE will have a clinical slant. That is why clinical vignettes is the rule even in Step 1.
In Step 1, basic science concepts that serve as basis for the safe and effective practice of medicine are considered high yield. Therefore concepts that are primarily academic or research oriented appear less often and considered low yield.
In Step 2 CK and CS, clinical science concepts needed for effective patient care is considered high yield. Since common diseases and medical conditions are found more often in clinical practice, they form the bulk of the examination. Rare diseases and specialized therapy are considered low yield.
In Step 3, the emphasis is on diagnosis, initial management and continuing care in an ambulatory setting. Like Step 2 the more common diseases and medical conditions will form the bulk of the examination.
So, Should you just study the High Yield Stuff?
Since high yield stuff appear in the exam more often than low yield stuff it makes sense to concentrate your review on the high yield concepts. However, studying only high yield stuff makes sense only if the exam tests only high yield concepts. Although high yield concepts cover 65 to 75% of the exam, that leaves 25 to 35% comprising of low yield materials which means you probably need to learn low yield concepts if you want to score high. And unless you are very good you will probably only be able to retain no more than 80% of the high yield you study which makes failing the exam a reality.
But there are exceptions. If you are a third year or very recent grad, you may retain enough low yield concepts in memory from school that concentrating on high yield can give you a good enough score. If you have photographic memory and can remember close to 100% of the high yield materials you study, you may also be able to make it work.
If you want to know more about high yield materials see this post..