Step-by-step prep for Step 1

By Loren Deutsch

If you’re an M2 you’re probably getting ready for Step 1, the first of four physician licensure exams. It’s a little stressful to say the least. Adding to that stress is the significance of Step 1. Although it is only one-quarter of the required Step Exams it carries more weight than the other three.

Medical Coaches & Scholastic Managers @LAS!

Medical students study for Step 1 knowing that their Step 1 score effects their specialty decision and entrance into a residency program. Adding to this impact, Step 1 is more high stakes than many other standardized tests. Unlike students taking the SAT or MCAT, medical students are not permitted to retake Step 1 in an attempt to achieve an higher score. Instead, students who take and pass Step 1, regardless of the score, have fulfilled the Step 1 requirement. So, the goal for Step 1 is to take it once, achieve your desired goal and move on to M3. Below is an overview of our top 5 Steps for Step 1 prep. These 5 steps are part of an LAS evidence-based plan for step-by-step success on Step 1! Let us know if you have questions. We are happy to answer them!

  • Pretest and error analysis – Complete one half-length pretest to establish a baseline achievement score, then complete an error analysis to prioritize the highest-yield, lowest-achieving organ systems. Don’t forget to apply for your 3-month eligibility window.
  • Design an evidence-based test prep plan – Incorporate measurable outcomes and progress tracking!
    • First half of test prep – Complete questions from highest-yield organ systems at 70% or above. Complete daily maintenance question blocks and complete one weekly, half-length self-assessment for progress tracking.  
    • Second half of test prep – Complete questions from the remaining organ systems at 70% or above. Complete daily maintenance question blocks and complete two weekly, half-length self-assessments for progress tracking.
  • Read Symptom to Diagnosis by Stern, Cifu and Altkorn – Complete the first chapter (or two) while prepping for Step 1. This book is a must! It will help during M2, M3 and beyond.
  • Practice applying your foundational science knowledge to patient care – Think about diagnosis and management, decision-making strategies and clinical reasoning skills.

Get ahead! LAS Educational Coaches™ provide structure, support and accountability.

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