USMLE World question bank is extremely difficult; however, it is the guide for studying for the USMLE and there are so many ways to study from it. Make sure you have a book while you are studying; you shouldn’t study just from the question bank; for Step 1 you should be using the First Aid book and for Step 2 CK it’s usually Master the Boards for Step 2 CK or Step 3. You should always write notes and don’t skip any concept because the information presented on this question bank is gold. For the rest of the post I will concentrate for the Step 1 to keep it simple, but you can use it for other steps as well.
What Notes to Write:
Figuring out what information is important can be a challenging for beginners but the way I see it is if the information is not in the book then I write it. You don’t have to write everything but write only the information that is new to you and not in the book. For example, for USMLE Step 1 looks for these key points for each or every diseases:
– Signs and Symptoms
– Associated Diseases
– Tests for diagnosis or Treatment
And example would be for Myasthenia Gravis disease:
- Pathophysiology: IgG antibodies blocking post receptors in the synaptic cleft, which decreases muscle contraction.
- Causes: It’s autoimmune so it’s genetic based.
- Signs and Symptoms: Ptosis and tired at the end of the day.
- Associated Diseases: Thymoma; hypoxia from respiratory depression because of the diaphragm muscle movement hindering.
- Test for diagnosis: Edrophonium test.
- Treatment: Acytelcholinesterase (neostigmine, pyridostigmine) blockers because with more acetylcholine in the synaptic cleft, the acetylcholine will outnumber the antibodies.
Most of the information should be in your First Aid for the USMLE Step 1. If you don’t have enough space to write in your First Aid book then get it unbounded at a local office store and put it in a 3 ring binder.
Make sure you write down your notes in your First Aid book next to the topic the question is related to. If you don’t have enough space you should have the book unbounded as mentioned earlier. For me I still didn’t have enough space on my First Aid even after I had it unbounded so I got a more precise pen about 0.5mm to write smaller. But the pen’s ink blots a lot on the book’s pages and messes it up so I first whiteout the area of the page before I write on it and I’m able to write it clearly. I admit that was not the cheapest method, because whiteout tape is expensive and I probably spent over $70, but it worked for me. I was able to take a lot of good clear notes because I used a lot of white out tape. It was beneficial when I studied for Step 1 and it’s beneficial now because you still need your First Aid book with your notes to study for the USMLE Step 2 CK.
If You Get the Question Wrong:
You may feel frustrated or down since you got the question wrong but the wrong questions are the ones, which you will remember so, getting it wrong, is beneficial. Read the entire explanation of the wrong question and write down any notes that are not in the book you are using.
Each wrong answer choices will remind you of a previous concept or point out a new concept. If it’s a new concept then it will be an introduction to a future question that you will see. This is a constant cycle with all the questions, which will help you memorizing and connect the dots with other subjects and systems. The more questions you do the more you will learn and retain the information. However, you have to do the questions in mixed and random mode in order to achieve this.
If You Get the Question Right:
If it’s your first time doing the question bank and just because you got the question right doesn’t mean you should skip going over its explanation. You may get the question right for the wrong reasons and that will harm you during the real exam, that’s why it’s important to go over the question. Follow the same method as you would if you were to get the question wrong, which I mentioned in the previous paragraphs.
Remember this method is very good for going through the USMLE World question bank the first time. If you go through the question bank very first time thoroughly with my method and do this for every single question then you shouldn’t have to write anything at all for the second time and afterwards. After the first round is done, you should take an assessment test. For whichever subject you are weak in, study that subject from First Aid and from your notes. In the second time and afterwards, you should start using DIT.