Today marks what I will look back on as the most “book smart” day of my life. Today is the day after my USMLE Step 1 exam. I have been preparing for this exam for the past two years and cramming for it for the past 6 weeks. This exam is based on lecture material and textbook information. The questions are black and white will little shades of grey. Tests from now on will mix in instinct and life experience into the equation. Future test questions will have multiple right answers and I will have to use my book knowledge along with my practical experience to pick the next “best” treatment. But for now, I am free.
The other side of the Step 1 exam, the post-test side, was something I dreamed about for months. Now I am here, trying to forget the test and move on with my vacation. Even though this is a fantastic time with no problems or responsibilities, I do envy my past self. The person I was 2 days ago had only one obstacle in his way. All his efforts were focused on this obstacle. Now I am back to being a regular medical student/person thinking about research, clubs, dating, shelf exams, Step 2, sub-internships and even residency. My excuse for the past 6 weeks to put everything aside was the Step 1 exam. Now, that excuse is invalid. Though it does feel good not to study for 13 hours a day anymore.
This whole experience really taught me a lot about how I best learn material. These lessons will be carried into next year and beyond. Now it is time to leave for Thailand and try not to think about my USMLE Step 1 score anymore.