Things I Wish I Avoided before USMLE Step 1

Dr Shady M. Elnaggar

Step 1 score — 202

Well, it’s the worst score but I will share my mistakes for you to avoid during preparation for USMLE step 1:

  1. Very long time of preparation (5 years since 2012).
  2. Buying an enormous amount of books, textbooks, review books, videos, flashcards, etc.
  3. Thinking so perfectly that you will know every large and small detail and you will find the hidden secret that nobody knows.
  4. Wrong methods of studying that depend on memorizing more than learning and understanding, making a lot of timetables and schedules that procrastinate studying process itself.
  5. Scattered sources of studying e.g., First Aid of different editions, review books, lecture notes …etc.
  6. Pausing at every minute detail in explanations of question banks and writing them down “so as not to miss a word”, but finally getting bored and skip important explanations.
  7. I wasn’t patient enough to watch most of Kaplan or Pathoma videos.
  8. I didn’t complete Goljan.
  9. After being ready for the exam, I was so worried that I extended the eligibility period for another 3 months to give myself enough time to study and that was useless and led to more procrastination.
  10. Copying notes from First Aid 2016 to 2017.
  11. Didn’t solve enough NBMEs.
  12. Reviewed only pathology and pharmacology of body systems in First Aid before the exam.
  13. Didn’t sleep at the night of the exam at all because of anxiety.
  14. Didn’t review or mark doubted questions in exam blocks.
  15. So fast paced for the fear of shortage of time, that I finished the exam in 6 and half hours.

Don’t do such foolish things so as to avoid such bad score.


Shady M. Elnaggar

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Originally published at on May 25, 2017.

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