I’m very close to beginning my study period. For those of you who don’t know, the study period is a dedicated portion of time where I can study (read: cram) for Step 1. My study period is about 5 weeks. I have to admit, I’m starting to get nervous about it. Step 1 is arguably the most important exam I’ll ever take in my life. When I was in high school, the most important exam for me was the SAT. When I was in college, the most important exam for me was the MCAT. And here I am now, about to take the most important exam of my life–the USMLE Step 1. This is exam is different from all the other ones that I mentioned. The primary reason being that this exam basically determines what kind of doctor I can be. That’s pretty stressful to say the least.
They tell you when you start medical school that everyone learns differently. If someone tells you to study a certain way, listen with one ear and let it out the other. No one knows how you work except for yourself. And that’s certainly true about studying for this exam. Some of my classmates have been studying for boards since the school year started. Others are waiting for the designated study period to actually begin. There are different methods people use to study for this exam. Some people are taking a class. Others are solely using one book. Many are using a whole host of books. The methods vary but the test we all take is the same. As nerve racking it is, I do think it’s exciting to put all of that knowledge together, and synthesize it into coherent thoughts!