Doing well on the USMLE board exams is very important. I was fortunate enough get scores well into the 99 two digit score for Step 1, 2, and 3. I thought I would share with you some of the things I learned along the way, and some tips that may help you increase your score.

The reason I am sharing this information with you is to help other students similar to me. In the beginning of medical school I did not do very well (I actually failed my first test) because I did not have a clue how to study and was not very good at standardized tests. But as medical school progressed I learned many of the methods I will share with you, and at the end of the first 2 years was doing very well. By the end of medical school I was very competitive and was able to match at the residency of my choice.

  1. The most important thing you can do to ensure that you do well on Step 1 is to do well in your classes the first 2 years in medical school by really learning the material rather than simply memorizing it.  Easier said than done, right?  These methods helped improve my performance considerably throughout the first 2 years of medical school, but you must find what works best for you, and don’t get stuck in a rut studying a certain way if it is not working for you. Do not be afraid to try out new methods to become as efficient a learner as possible – what worked for your undergrad courses may not be the best way in medical school.
  2. The second most important thing to do is to diligently prepare for the USMLE in the 4-6 weeks prior to your exam.  Check out these Step 1 preparation recommendations and example study schedule for an idea of where you should start. Focusing on the important, frequently tested subjects and concepts is crucial during this time.
  3. The next most important aspect of preparing for Step 1 is to get UWorld Q-bank and complete ALL of the questions and read ALL of the explanations of the questions you missed.  It is best to do this during the 4-6 weeks leading up to your exam. Learn how to best use UWorld to study for Step 1.
  4. Make sure you know some basic test taking strategies for the USMLE exams.
  5. Check out the best review books for Step 1 and Step 2-3 to make sure you have the books you need for your classes, rotations, and for the boards.
  6. If you have already taken any of the USMLE exams, convert your 3 digit score into a percentile score rank with the percentile calculator. This allows you to easily compare your score to everyone else who took the same exam.

Although these methods worked extremely well for me, I cannot guarantee your success, only your hard work and preparation can do that.