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


7 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?

    1. Hi Srideshna,
      Thank you so much for your kind words and we are so glad that you find our content relatable. Choosing between boards and beyond (B&B) vs Kaplan always comes down to 2 factors which are the duration of preparation and confidence in the depth of knowledge. While Kaplan is extensive and requires a minimum of 2 months to finish, B&B focuses on high yield topics and is relatively quick to finish. The best will be to use both, where you use Kaplan for in-depth review of difficult topics and B&B for the rest.

  2. Such an awesome score! Congratulations!! Would you say that doing uworld two times helped? I’m currently doing uworld SYSTEM wise right now, and then I plan on resetting it and doing it again on random. Would you say that doing systems and then doing random prepared you well for the exam?

    1. Thank you! I recommend doing uworld as many times as possible. I would have done uworld thrice if I get a chance to do it all over again. 1st round of system-wise uworld, 2nd round of random uworld, and last round of marked and incorrect questions. All the best!

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