Hello everyone,

I am Dr. Rajshree Singh, a foreign medical graduate from Nepal. I studied in Nepalese Army Institute of Health Sciences-College of Medicine and graduated in the spring of 2018. Currently, I am working as Master Trainer for modules by AAP on neonatal resuscitation and by ACOG on postpartum hemorrhage. I plan to apply for a match in 2021. This is just a structured detail of my step 1 experience.
  1. Scores in test
  • NBME 17: 260 (2 months before the test)
  • NBME 19: 262 (1.5 months before the test)
  • UWSA 1: 269 (1 month before the test)
  • Free 120: 98% ( 3 weeks before the test)
  • UWSA 2: 260 (2 weeks before the test)
  • NBME 18: 256 (1 week before the test)
  • USMLE Step 1: 262

2. Time period :

  • Dedicated but on the job: 6 months
  • Final prep: 2 weeks
  • Total prep: 10 months on and off
  • Breaks in between :
    • 2 month due to starting a new job when I was 4 month in preparation
    • 2 weeks break due to an episode of Viral Keratitis
Phase Materials Color code on FA Time duration
1 Kaplan books Pathoma1st round First Aid (FA) Blue sticky notes or blue pen 3.5 months during internship
2 1st round Uworld system-wise – 73 %
2nd round FA, BRS physiology,100 clinical cases of medical Ethics by Conrad Fischer, Goljan Audio lectures from Spotify (1 week when I had Keratitis)
Yellow sticky notes and black pen 2.5 months
3 2nd round Uworld Random – 89%
ANKI cards (24K cards)
3rd round FA (removed low yield sticky notes)
Yellow sticky notes and black pen 2 months
4 Uworld marked questions
4th round FA with circling
high yield texts
Physeo videos in weaker topics of physiology board & Beyond (B&B only difficult topics)
ANKI 7K cards (couldn’t finish)
Green pen or Green Sticky note for NBME & UWSA 6-B Pencil for circling (glossy papers need darker pencil)
Red pens and red sticky notes for Physeo, B&B, internet/forum resources
20 days
5 5th round FA reading only the circled text Qmax 7 day free trial – 3 times 8 blocks/day for endurance Subject-wise color-coded index sticky notes to marking topics to revise day before test   10 days
6 6th round FA reading selected topics in indexed sticky note   10 hours

  • Test day
    • Had a heavy breakfast
    • Reached there at 7:30 AM
    • Skipped tutorial
    • Had figured out where the washroom and place to eat was during Free 120 trial test
    • Packed Fried Rice with vegetables but had lunch in two parts after 4th and 5th block, also chocolates, sweets and did not eat dried food
    • Poured 2 cans of caffeinated energy drink in a water bottle and apple juice in another bottle
    • Wore trousers with no pocket, sweater, and ankle-length socks just to save time during check-in and check out
    • Voided bladder after every block because I couldn’t if my senses were working !!
    • Medicines: took a PPI early morning and prophylactic Acetaminophen after 4th block just in case I get a headache
    • Submitted all test 5 mins early  and  took a break after every block: 10 mins for the first 4 blocks and 15 mins for last 3 block
    • Pro-tip: Wrote CIN once and copied it (CTRL+C) and then every time I logged in I just pasted (CTRL+V)
  • The thing I would do differently :
    • Skip Kaplan and introduce Boards and Beyond earlier into the preparation
    • Resisted from Heavily annotating information from Uworld into First Aid
    • Made my own flowcharts and Illustrations instead of text while annotating
  • Things I did right :
    • Never compromised my sleep and food
    • Spent time with friends and family whenever I had an off day
    • Studied together with a study partner especially while doing ANKI and solving NBMEs
    • Color coding contents while annotating First Aid
    • Upper back yoga couple of times a day because constantly studying in one posture gave me Back pain and regular light exercise
    • Downsizing content to filter out only important and confusing topics for last-minute revision
Step 1 experience


2 thoughts on “USMLE STEP 1 EXPERIENCE”

  1. Hello! Thank you for this detailed information about your preparation. Although there are many videos on youtube about step 1 preparation, this blog feels more relatable as a mbbs student. I wanted to ask you a question, for someone who has not watched kaplan videos, will watching only boards and beyond be enough?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *