Thursday, 6 December 2012

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A list of the recommended books to Defeat the USMLE Step 1

There are various approaches to defeat a common enemy. There is no correct or incorrect path. Ultimately, use what suites you best. Of course, there are hundreds of books available and targeted reviews, videos, audio courses, etc., and yes, it is difficult to decide which one to choose.

This is a list of the books I used and the method I recommend. Some may agree with me, others may not. Ultimately, choose what's best for you based on your preferences, weaknesses, and strengths.

Review books:

I found the Kaplan Review books to be optimal for me. They presented the information in a very efficient way. I also took the Kaplan Step 1 review course. It was great, but not necessary. You'll be fine without the course. If you can purchase Kaplan's review videos for specific topics you have trouble with, that would be grand. The explanations Kaplan's faculty give are great.

You need to buy either one or both of the following:

- First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 book, and or
- MedEssentials of the USMLE Step 1.

If you have to choose between the two,  I would go for MedEssentials. It just so happens that the way the information is presented and organized is much more well received by my brain. But that's just me. I know a lot of students who would rather First Aid. Frankly, I used both and they compliment each other very well.

Other books? Hell no. I wouldn't advise you to buy anymore than the above mentioned. That is already a bucket load of information to binge down. If you wish to buy more books, perhaps Goljan's Pathology or some other book may aid you as you journey to defeat the USMLE.


I did 3 Qbanks for Step 1:

USMLE World, and

I would advise that you buy at least 2 Qbanks and complete each one of them at least twice. If you don't have the time, then perhaps you can repeat only the questions you got wrong.

USMLE World is by far the most similar one to the actual exam. Kaplan's is ok. USMLE Rx was way too easy. I was scoring 98% at times. That's just not realistic.

Simulated Exams:

You need to perform at least 2 simulated exams and do everything you can to mimic the exact exam conditions. This is vital so you get used to the pressure of the actual exam way before you take it.

If you have any suggestions for other students or wish to post your own methods, you can leave your comment in the section below this post, or go the forum and leave a topic explaining the method you used to conquer the USMLE.