When I started thinking about studying for Step 1, I knew I wanted to start preparing well before my dedicated period. However, I didn’t know where to start and struggled to find a good pre-dedicated schedule. If that sounds like you, I can help you!
Thankfully, my school pairs 2nd-year medical students up with a 4th year AOA medical student/step 1 mentor to help us create a study schedule. The schedule that I’m sharing is adapted from the advice I got from my mentor. He did really well on Step and matched at UCLA! Hopefully, you’ll find this schedule as helpful as I did!
To give you a reference of my timeline, my test date was April 20th, 2019 and I started my pre-dedicated studying in January, after winter break.
A common question I get asked is, “Should I start studying during winter break?” My answer is it depends! If you’re like me and have your test scheduled in April or later, you have plenty of time and should not start studying during winter break. Relax during your break as it’s the last long, real break before the intense studying for Step 1. However, you should definitely spend some time researching different study schedules, studying techniques, resources, etc. Importantly, the best thing you can do during winter break is to BUILD YOUR SCHEDULE from January to your test day.
My Overall Timeline:
- January (4 months out)- 2 hours of Boards and Beyond (B&B) every day (start with basic sciences, move on to weakest subjects, then everything else)
- February- 2 hours of B&B, add 1 hour of Sketchy Micro/Pharm, start Uworld questions
- March until dedicated- 3 hours of B&B, 40 Uworld questions every day
Resources I used:
Boards and Beyond (B&B)
- I highly recommend using this resource BEFORE dedicated. It is way too dense to try to cram into 7 weeks of dedicated.
- Starting in January, I listened to B&B for topics covered during my 1st year of medical school (biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, genetics). As it got closer to dedicated, I started reviewing organ systems, starting with my weakest subjects (i.e. pulmonary, MSK).
- I took notes of the videos directly into my First Aid (FA) book. I spent about 2 hours a day doing this on top of studying for my classes.
- Be mindful of the notes you take in FA. You don’t want to dilute the high yield content with lower yield notes.
- Also, as you can see, I did not spend much time on step studying throughout the year. I focused most of my energy on mastering the material I was learning in class.
- I also reviewed ethics and biostats. In retrospect, this was a waste of time and I would recommend saving it for dedicated.
Sketchy Micro and Pharm
- After I got in a good flow with doing a few B&B videos a day, I started watching about 1 hour of Sketchy Micro and Pharm every day. I heavily used this resource from day 1 of 2nd year so I had already watched all the videos before.
- I highly recommend making a schedule or a checklist to organize how you’ll cover all the videos.
- In January, I began doing Anki flashcards to memorize all the material I was reviewing.
- Anki is a free flashcard app you can download on your desktop or pay to have on your mobile device.
- Reddit has a bunch of free pre-made decks you can download. I recommend the Lightyear to cover the B&B material. Pepper is a good one that covers Sketchy material. I also used the comprehensive Zanki deck. Refer to my other post for how to incorporate Anki into your step studying.
- I talk more about how to use Uworld in my other post, but just to reiterate, I recommend starting Uworld questions after you’ve covered a specific topic. For example, if you reviewed cardio with B&B, start doing a few cardio Uworld questions.
- During pre dedicated start off slow. Do 10, move to 20, then when it’s closer to dedicated, try to do 40 every day.
- Do them non-timed (tutor mode).
- For your incorrects, I recommend make Anki cards for them.
- When you first start going through Uworld, it will take a LONG time. Don’t worry about that. Focus on quality > quantity. Think of Uworld as a textbook. Read every word and learn from the wrong as well as the correct answers.
- Lastly, mark all your incorrect questions and questions you got right but for the wrong reasons (like a random guess). Plan to redo all your marked questions if not all the questions during dedicated.
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions! <3