The Truth and Myths of USMLE Exams

The Truth and Myths of USMLE Exams

In this article, we will bust some of the USMLE myths and address the facts you need to know before you take the USMLE exam

Myth 1: The longer you take to write the USMLE Step 1, the better

This is a common belief, but isn't always accurate.. The USMLE Step-1 exam may be challenging, but your success entirely depends on the quality of your preparation.

In many instances  a student will score better on their USMLE Step One exam when they have prepared well for months, or as long as they are able to dedicate themselves to studying after they have completed their coursework. There can be exceptions to this though, and some students may do better on their Step One exam right after they finish their coursework.  There could be a number of reasons for this :

  1. All that you’ve studied is still fresh in your mind 
  2. If you've consistently prepared throughout the year you are likely to perform better than those who haven’t been preparing for the exam.

The point is about when you are ready and prepared. 

Myth 2: The more study resources a student uses, the better the chances of scoring well on the USMLE Step One exam

The wide availability of supplemental study materials for medical students has led to a common belief that the more resources students use the better their USMLE Step One exam score will be. While these resources can certainly be helpful they do not define your success. 

In fact, using too many of these resources might be overwhelming for students. Trying to use too many sources of information and relying on rote memorization can sometimes be overwhelming for students who may miss out on truly understanding a given subject. 

Let us discuss some of the truths about the USMLE Step 1 exam. 

Truth 1: Completing more practice questions will get you better USMLE Step 1 scores

The key to scoring well on the USMLE Step One exam lies in how well a student truly comprehends the exam questions. Research studies show that completing more practice questions during exam study time can lead to higher step one scores. Students tend to remember more from active learning than passive learning such as reading books or watching videos. 

Students who complete practice questions are also preparing themselves mentally for the environment that they will encounter in the actual examination hall.

Truth 2: No one method of study or prep is the right one for USMLE Step 1

If you study with your classmates during the step one prep period, you will hear a variety of strategies and different approaches for study. Each of these study schedules and tactics will differ from one individual to another, as everyone has their individual personal preferences and thoughts about what works for them. 

The gist of the matter is there is no one correct method to prepare for this exam, and if your method of studying is different from others it does not make it incorrect or correct. A dedicated Step 1 preparation plan should be set out as per your preferences and according to what works specifically for you.

Are you in search of a quality MD program? Check out the MD program offered by the Medical University of Americas (MUA), an accredited medical school in the Caribbean teaching the systems-based curriculum in small class sizes with an expert teaching faculty. 

The school offers small classroom settings that lead to close interaction with professors.


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