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Improving Your Score During the Final 2 Weeks of Your USMLE Preparation

As I have said previously, the final 10-14 days of your USMLE study period can make or break your score. The best scores typically belong to students who utilize these final days to tackle high yield topics, fine tune areas of weakness, and both mentally and physically prepare for their exam. But what else can you do?

Given that the USMLE is coming up for many of you, I decided to add ten more suggestions to my prior post. Hopefully this can help you maximize your exam score!

1. If you’ve created one, make sure to review your UWorld journal.

2. Review high yield memorization content. This includes:

    1. Biochemistry nutrition, genetics, inborn errors of metabolism, lysosomal storage disorders, and glycogen storage disorders.
    2. Immunology immunodeficiencies, hypersensitivity reactions, autoantibodies, transplant rejection, and immunosuppressants
    3. Pharmacology know the mechanism of action and side effects for every single drug
    4. Microbiology
    5. Musculoskeletal  nerve injuries
    6. Neurology  stroke syndromes, localizing lesions, and visual field deficits
    7. Don’t forget how effective flashcards can be for this kind of drilling! (We strongly recommend Memorang’s decks!)

3. Complete your question bank.

Ideally, you can utilize this time to finish a second pass through UWorld and review your incorrect questions. You can also consider adding the Kaplan Question Bank in order to continue seeing fresh questions.

4. Fine tune your test taking strategy.

Evaluate your performance for any timing issues and address them accordingly. Review how you will handle questions you are uncertain of and how you plan to incorporate the process of elimination. Visualization will lead to actualization.

5. Review any organ system that you’re nervous about.

For USMLE Step I, many students will benefit from a quick pass through cardiology, endocrinology, reproductive, and neurology. If you are scared that something might appear on your test, make sure that you devote a significant amount of time toward that subject.

6. Step 1 students: begin reviewing the Rapid Review section at the end of First Aid.

This will refresh you on a lot of high yield content and is always useful for adding some points to your score.

7. Memorize your biostatistics equations!

If you’ve put this off, make sure to start focusing on it as soon as possible. You shouldn’t be cramming this section 24-48 hours before your test.

8. Step 2 CK students: review the Online Med Ed videos if you need a refresher on any particular content area.

Also, make sure to review some of the Step 1 material that tends to appear on Step 2 CK. This includes:

  • Pharmacology (particularly cardiac, psych, heme/onc, neuro, and antibiotics)
  • Biochemistry (nutrition, genetics, and diseases associated with biochemical processes)
  • Immunology (immunodeficiencies)
  • Some microbiology.

9. Avoid stressors don’t get caught up in what your peers are doing or information posted on internet forums.

Stressing over what others are doing is only going to cause you to deviate from your plan and throw you off of your game. Trust the process! It has gotten you this far.

10. Believe in yourself!

You are smart enough, dedicated enough, and talented enough to have gotten this far. Having confidence in yourself is crucial for attaining a high score!