4 Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing for USMLE Step 1

The USMLE Step 1 is one of the most important parts of your tenure as a medical student, and should be treated with a reasonable level of seriousness. This examination assesses your knowledge and understanding of the scientific concepts that form the basis of medicine. With this in mind, it is no wonder that the exam means so much, and that it is even considered a defining factor in whether or not med students receive residency.

Most students take weeks and even months to study USMLE Step 1 material ahead of the examination. Setting aside enough time to do so is a sure way to succeed. In addition to this, there are several other strategies that can be employed to score the highest results possible. Yet, even with this information readily available, many students fail USMLE Step 1 each year. Here are some simple yet detrimental mistakes that exam takers make when they study USMLE Step 1 content. If you avoid them, you could very well be one of the success stories!

Study whenever you feel like it

USMLE Step 1 examines multiple areas and course materials. Because of this, effective studying involves sample tests, theoretical revision and USMLE Step 1 tutorial items. With so much to cover, it would be a big mistake to neglect a structured study plan or program. Creating a realistic schedule gives you an overview of how much you need to get through, how much progress you’ve made, and how long you need to study. Scheduling your study time also helps you to commit to doing a certain amount each day. This way, there is less risk of your deadline creeping up on you.

Don’t set a date for your exam

Studying until you are ready to take the exam makes sense, right? Not exactly. If you do not set a test date, you will lack the urgency to prepare for the exam. An open-ended USMLE schedule means that you may procrastinate and take longer than necessary to get it done. If, on the other hand, you do set a date for yourself, you can easily structure your study plan and keep to it.

Don’t practice taking the exam

Step 1 is not something you can prepare for purely by reading through your study material. Along with using USMLE Step 1 tutorial items, you will need to take practice exams. This gives you the opportunity to retain more knowledge, learn from your mistakes, determine how long it takes you to answer each section and familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam. Not only does it help you learn, but it also makes you a more confident test taker.

Avoid getting help

While many students successfully make it through the examination without the help of a tutor, it is important that you do not overburden yourself if you are already struggling. Tutoring will help you to set more realistic goals, understand your study material, motivate you to do your best, and even calm your nerves ahead of the exam. Ideally, a tutor is someone who has gone through what you are going through, and has helped several other students like you. With this kind of support, it’s hard not to do well.

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