Usmle Step 1 Preparation Experience/Guide

Hello everyone,

I am a resident doctor from Baghdad/ Iraq, and this is my step 1 experience. I hope that this experience will help you.

This group was of great help to me, so I wanted to share with you my experience.

Target +250

My score: 257

Time of preparation: 15 months (first 8 months on/off but dedicated in the last 7 months).

(my exam was scheduled on the first of May but because of COVID 19 it was postponed by 4 months)


  • FIRST AID BOOK (the Diamond): every word every pic and every diagram is important. make sure you master the
  • UW: First round offline and second one Online, try to understand and memorize everything in I printed some diagrams and pictures and wrote notes from it on the FA book, so I revise them together with FA.
  • Pathoma: I watched half of the videos and read it completely for first time, but I realized that only the first 3 chapters were useful, the others were similar to
  • BOARDS and BEYOND by Jason Ryan: you should watch it with your first read of FA. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ( please if you are about to begin then begin with these videos)
  • Zanki deck for pharmacology: it was very useful to memorize pharmacology stuff, in the exam, I don’t find any difficulty because I well memorize the stuff, microbiology Zanki deck used for some extent of
  • uworld biostats review: I think it is useful to strengthen my weak topics in 7- AMBOSS: highly recommended if you have enough time at least you can use it to strengthen your weak areas.
  • Turco videos: very useful at beginning of biochemistry study.
  • 100 cases by Conrad Fischer: I found it useful to ethics Qs together with dirty medicine
  • Google and YouTube: I used to any difficult or weird topics in 11-Anatomy shelf notes High yield topics. I read it for one time only.
  •  NBMEs and UWSAs


Uworld second round: 89% Amboss = 88%

NBME 21 = 234 (27/2/2020)

NBME 13 = 244 (4/4/2020)

NBME 15 = 254 (8/4/2020)

NBME 16 = 244 (6/5/2020)

NBME 17 =257 (8/5/2020)

NBME 19 = 252 (11/5/2020) UWSA1 = 260 (4/6/2020) NBME 23 = 252 (26/6/2020)

NBME 24 = 255 (7/7/2020)

NBME 18 = 267 (10 days before exam, I guess it was over predicted but I don’t know the reason. May old


UWSA2 = 258 (1 week before exam) FREE 120= 88%

IFOM BSE in Prometric site 3 days before the exam, the result is pending


after doing UWSA2, I felt relaxed and comfortable.

I traveled to Egypt 5 days before the exam, I performed my IFOM BSE then, on the next day free 120.

During these days I study my weak and forgetful information with all equations from FA, also revised biostatics. Study 5 hours, swim in the pool of the hotel, sleep, and eat well.

Last day: I wake up at 8 am, took the breakfast then did Free 120. After that, I swim in the pool for 1 hour, listening to music and songs. I ate well with every food I loved, didn’t take any coffee, and didn’t sleep in day.

I went to bed at 11 pm after taking shower

Exam day: I wake up at 7 am, took shower. Then went to the restaurant and ate a delicious omelet with one piece of donut and tea.

Reached prometric site at 8:45 minutes. I entered directly.

The exam was doable with some lengthy QS, it had a unique shape, it may resemble UW and free 120 in terms of length of questions.

I found UWSA2 more difficult than it. The time was enough with the average remaining time between 5-10 minutes at the end of each block.

I took 5 minutes in the first 3 breaks, then I took a lengthy 30 minutes break and ate a lunch of one sandwich, water, and juice.

2 minutes in 5th break then the last 13 minutes break I ate sweets with water and juice.


Do as many QBanks as you can. To me, the best ones are UW and Amboss. Do all NBME and try to find an explanation and understand each question. ll of the questions at the exam won’t repeat any other question you see in any QBank, they will use the concept. If you don’t understand the concept, then search on Google or YouTube.

Trust your assessments, the most predictive self-assessments are UWSA 2 and NBME 24. The best last week is just to review your weak areas in FA.

If possible, take a practice test in the Prometric center (Free 120 or IFOM BSE 200$ if you are willing to apply to HMC) where the actual exam is scheduled. It will reduce your anxiety in the actual test date. Bring a jacket with you as the prometric center is cold t.

Take foods that you like to eat and tea/coffee. Relax and celebrate at end of the exam.

Good luck to everyone.

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