centered image

centered image

How Do I Prepare for the USMLE?

Discussion in 'USMLE' started by Egyptian Doctor, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Practicing medicine in:

    My first piece of advice about the United States Medical Licensing Examination (better known as the USMLE) is to accept it with a smile! There is no way to get out of taking these tests (Steps 1 and 2) if you wish to practice in the United States. So, you might as well have a good attitude. Think of it just as it sounds, a "step" on the road to becoming a doctor.

    The good news about the USMLE is that there are many resources that can help (see below), and there is no one right way to prepare. The most important thing is to figure out a plan that suits you and then stick to it. I'd like to encourage you to find a personalized study plan that will guide you and keep you smiling through your study experience -- even during the test.


    First, you need to think about 3 things: which type of learner you are, what environment you study best in (café, library, test prep center), and whether you want to study with partners. Take time to think through these questions before you start.

    To determine what type of learner you are, ask yourself: Are you a self-starter or do you like to follow a series of guidelines? If you are a self-starter, you may want to buy a review book and a series of flash cards, and then sign up for a question bank service and outline your own study plan. If you learn better by following instructions, you may want to consider signing up for a test prep course. Although courses can be expensive, the reduced stress of planning may be worth it to you.

    Once you know what type of learner you are, you can invest in the right study materials for you. For example, if you are a visual learner, take time to leaf through different review books before you buy, looking for graphics that work best for you.

    Next, take time to pick your favorite study spot and note the hours of operation, nearby restaurants, and even proximity to a gym or pool, so that you can take an exercise- or food-related study break.

    Finally, you must decide whether you want to study in a group or alone. Be honest with yourself. If you do choose to study in a group, pick only 1 or 2 people as study partners. Agree on a study plan that makes you feel good about yourself and that utilizes your strengths.


    The next thing to do is to make a schedule. You may want to buy a calendar to use solely for blocking out study sessions. Do not skip this step! Studying for these exams takes time, and it is easy to lose motivation if you do not have a plan. Another important step is to review the test materials on the USMLE Web site (see Resources below). This will help you know exactly what you are getting into before you start.


    When you are studying, be sure to stay on track. It is helpful to take a diagnostic pretest to examine your areas of weakness and strength. Focus on your areas of weakness, because all sections of the test will contribute to your score.

    Practice Questions

    If there is 1 "rule" for the USMLE, it is to read many practice questions. You may want to sign up for a question service, such as Q-bank (see Resources below). Start reviewing questions from the beginning of your preparation period, and keep going back to them throughout. Do not leave practice questions until right before the test. Dr. Andreas Carl, the author of USMLE Made Ridiculously Simple (Medmaster, Miami, Florida), says a good goal is 100 questions per day, so get started! When you make mistakes, write down the correct answers, and review them at the end of the day to solidify what you learned.

    Pamper Yourself

    If you allow yourself to feel good during your exam preparation, it is more likely that you will feel good during the exam. So don't forget to pamper yourself! Make sure that you allow for time to eat, exercise, and sleep. You may want to block times to study and play in your calendar so that you have things to look forward to.


    Remember the basics: Get plenty of sleep both the night before the exam and 2 nights before it. Pack your bag the night before exam day. Bring layers of clothing to adjust to different room temperatures and to stay comfortable. Bring a watch. Bring a lunch. Bring your smile.

    [Broken External Image]:

    Source : Medscape: Medscape Access

    Add Reply
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011

  2. Hasan

    Hasan Bronze Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Practicing medicine in:
    Please give some suggestion about IMG student.....

Share This Page