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Step 1 Study Motivation
Hi. I’m really struggling with studying for USMLE Step 1. I know all the generic advice. I basically have zero fun or moral support, and lots of pressure. Correction - there are a few random people who I have never met in my life - either through gtalk/forums… but that hasn’t helped me in any way whatsoever. I hope this isnt inappropriate or out of place in any way. To avoid rambling that could be off-putting, can you give any suggestions to peak motivation and focus? I think I’m losing it. -doctumbl
First, on the pressures of med school life: having internet buddies is great (I have plenty, for sure), but they are no substitute for good, supportive, in-the-flesh friends. Are there any fellow classmates / upperclassmen / professors you can vent to? (If not, you can always Skype me @ WayfaringMD).
On motivation and focus: the best thing for me was to set short term goals. Find something fun and stress releasing you want to do every day during your step 1 study. It can be exercise, sports, tumbling, going to the movies, going out to dinner, etc. Set a goal of X amount of material (reasonable amounts, of course) you need to cover before you can go do that fun thing. You’re stressed out, of course, and you really want to go have fun, so that will motivate you to stick to your studies and get your work done.
If a goal for the end of the day is not enough, set even shorter goals. For example:
- I’m going to get through 20 pages of First Aid by lunch and then I’m going to make the best grilled cheese sandwich ever made and eat it outside
- I’m going to do 100 World questions and then call my best buddy (make sure you schedule phone dates if your friend is also studying!)
- Just 5 more pages and I’ll have a 5 minute dance party
My name is Sugar Motta, and I'm an addict.
I have been using cocaine for a little over three weeks. I began rehab today and will be completing an 8 week program. It is an outpatient program which means I spend two hours everyday after school in therapy and classes that teach me how to cope with problems in a non-destructive manner and how to deal with temptations and high risk situations. I also spend more time there on the weekends. If I’ve been awful to you over the past few days it’s because I was undergoing detox (there was no cold, I lied) and I’m so incredibly sorry. I realize I’ve burned a lot of bridges and that some things that I’ve broken may never be repaired.
A lot of you have told me you want the old Sugar back. I don’t know where she is or how to get her back, I don’t know if I ever can. But I’m working on it.
I’m really sorry. And if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them. Dede, my therapist, says talking about it helps. So… yeah. That’s all.
STEP 1 Study Plan
I like to keep things simple. So this is my plan:
- Study 9-10 hours/day, in three blocks of 3-4 hours each day. In between each study session I’ll eat and/or workout. Yes, I plan to eat (and workout) everyday. I’ll also try to end each day with a little fun.
- Friday nights and Saturdays are for me. I’m giving myself free reign to go out Friday nights, and I will not study on Saturdays. I’ll get back to it on Sundays
- My best study time is in the morning, so that’s when I’ll try to do most of the heavy memorizing. Immunology, you may be first on my list!
- I want to study in the company of others as much as possible to ward off depression.
- I’d like to meet up with some friends for an hour or so each day to cover high yield or hard-to-grasp concepts.
- I’ll probably do 3 self-assessments. I want to do my first one this weekend. These, of course, should give me an idea of where to focus my studying.
- My materials are First Aid, UWorld question bank, and a couple self-assessments from UWorld. I think I’ll get at least one NBME exam, maybe two. At this point I’m unconvinced that any additional materials would actually be helpful.
Test day is less than six weeks away.
One Big STEP
My first licensing exam (USMLE Step 1) is less then 10 weeks away. It’s a comprehensive exam of the first two years of medical school. But the truth is, I don’t even know exactly what Step 1 entails. So I’ve done some research:
- The exam consists of 322 multiple choice questions.
- The exam is divided into 7 blocks of 46 questions. You are given 1 hour to complete each block.
- Testing must be completed within 8 hours, including break time and tutorial.
- Most scores fall between 140 and 260.
- Minimum score for passing is 188.
- The theoretical maximum score is supposedly a 300, though I can’t find any explanation to back this up.
- Many of these details, along with a detailed description of content and 3 blocks worth of practice questions (could be useful), can be found here (pdf on the right hand side).
That’s one big STEP.
The ECFMG, and My USMLE Score..
Eight weeks after taking my exam, I called the ECFMG to find out why I hadn’t received my score yet (they tell you not to call before 8 weeks).
Anyways — after waiting so long they told me that they were waiting on some documents that my school should have sent back to them! I had them resend the documents, and was waiting for my school to return the documents to the ECFMG, so they would release my score..
And, guess what!!? They returned the documents — because I got my score! I win.