If you are going to take the USMLE Step 1 in 2023, this is the article you need. Step 1 will be like no exam you have given before. Only hard work won't cut it. Therefore, if you want to pass on your first attempt, you must study smart. Hence, in this updated article, we will discuss the most common mistakes that lead to students failing Step 1 and how you can prepare to pass the exam in 2023.
Why do many students fail Step 1?
You don't always have to make your own mistakes to learn. You can also gain insight from other people's mistakes. Understanding the reasons that cause many students to fail the exam will help you to avoid them. The most common reasons students fail USMLE Step 1 are as follow:
- Trying to cram for the exam.
Ideally, it would be best to start studying for Step 1 on the first day of classes. However, only a few students do this. But once you are halfway through your preclinical year, you should definitely start studying for the exam.
The students who do the bare minimum to pass the preclinical years will find it harder to pass the USMLE Step 1. Without prior preparation, these students plan to cram for Step 1 in a 5- to 6-week period. They find these weeks super stressful, and passing the exam is quite challenging.
- Using too many resources:
Often students use too many resources to get prepped for USMLE. But this often leads them to get overwhelmed, and they end up wasting much time. The primary resources you need to prepare for Step 1 are USMLE Step 1 First Aid and a set of high-yield question banks.
Using too many low-yield resources will only waste time and effort. Thus, you should check out ArcherReview's USMLE Step 1 Question Banks. Our question banks provide in-depth explanations and performance tracking for over 1700 questions designed by our highly talented teaching physicians.
- Not knowing if you are ready:
Many students keep studying without testing themselves. Yet, testing is an excellent way to know if your study techniques are working and if you are ready to take Step 1. Hence before taking the actual exam, you should take full-length practice exams (like from ArcherReview or NBME) to understand if you are getting a passing score.
- Some personal problems get in the way.
Life happens! No matter how well some students prepare for the exam, something comes up during the exam period that affects their preparation. It leads to some students failing the exam. These students shouldn't rush into retaking the exam and let things settle down, get prepared, and then retake the exam when they are confident about passing.
Tips for succeeding in USMLE Step 1 in 2023:
- Learn the format and understand the exam:
Each exam is unique and has a unique way of testing the competence of the test taker. Hence, before preparing for USMLE, you need to understand the exam format, time, and content. Furthermore, you should ensure that you get no surprises while taking the exam.
To understand the exam, you can check out our detailed article on USMLE Step 1.
- Set realistic goals:
You are highly mistaken if you expect to complete the entire pathology in 3 days. Setting unrealistic goals for yourself may make you overwhelmed and burn out during the preparation period. Hence it is vital to keep your short and long-term goals realistic.
Doing 100 to 200 questions daily and reading their rationales is good enough. Trying to do more may make you get overwhelmed with studying. Hence, consider your USMLE Step 1 preparation as a marathon, not a sprint.
- Focus on high-yield topics first:
Not all topics you learn will have the same weightage in the exam. There are some topics from which more questions will be asked and vice versa. Hence, you can answer more questions correctly if you start with these high-yield topics.
In Step 1, all questions have equal marks and no negative marking. Hence, doing all the important topics first and then focusing on lower-yield topics is an excellent strategy to pass the exam.
- Study smartly:
We always like to emphasize that not all study methods are equally effective. The most famous study methods that students use, like re-read and highlighting, are the least effective. The study methods that work are more demanding and hence less popular.
But if you want to pass a challenging exam like USMLE Step 1, you cannot expect the preparation to be easy. Check out our article on effective study methods and how to use them to learn more.
- Use the right resources.
As previously discussed, one reason students fail the exam is using too many resources or using the wrong resources. Having a few resources that are high-yield and work for you is far better than studying with every resource there is on the internet (believe us, there are a lot!)
To get the right help for Step 1 Prep, you can check out the ArcherReview USMLE Step 1 Course.
- Don't forget to allow yourself some breaks:
As important as it is to work hard for USMLE step 1, it is equally important to take enough rest and pay attention to other parts of your life.
While studying, you can use the Pomodoro technique to take a break between study sessions. Also, you should have one day a week free from any studying or coursework. Taking breaks at appropriate intervals will keep your mind active and healthy and prevent burnout.
Wrap up :
You are now knowledgeable about the best ways to prepare for the exam. Now it's time to execute! Applying these tips will ensure success in USMLE Step 1 in 2023 and all subsequent exams.
And if you want some expert help in preparing for USMLE Step 1, you can check out ArcherReview USMLE Step 1 course.