I was recently hanging out with my study group, when someone brought up their worries about Step 1. We all eagerly pitched in our own study plans and theories about how we could maximize our gains. This is one of the great things about my study group. They are always eager to help each other out and are willing to share the things they have learned. But when it comes to Step 1, I feel like our efforts are counterproductive.
This is by no means unique to my friend group, in fact I feel that all second-year medical students could hold their own in a debate about the relative merits of First Aid or Pathoma, with equally scant information on how that will prepare them for the actual test. Med students like to plan and discuss, so in the absence of any tangible information, it is no wonder that we intensify these efforts to try to allay our fears. The ironic thing is that for all of our well-meaning discussion, all my group succeeded in doing was stress each other out.
Each of us had decided on a different strategy, and even though virtually all of our plans were based in a gestalt feeling, or in anecdotal evidence, we all clung to our ideas as if they were received truth. Lately I’ve been of the opinion that after you have acquired a certain amount of information about how to study for Step 1, you should make a plan and (barring any drastic new information) stick to it. Discussion is great, but when it achieves nothing but more aimless stress, it is time to rethink whether you are actually trying to seek knowledge, or just being drawn into your own stress/analysis feedback loop.