9 steps to learn from UWorld Step 1 QBank

My Question Gem notebook

My Question Gem notebook

“Do at least 5,000 unused questions.”  – Master Yoda 

You’re starting your first question bank, purchased dearly with the money you would’ve spent on food, and you can’t help but wonder if you’re using it correctly.  You may be asking “How much time per day should I devote to questions?  Am I really learning from this?  How will I organize this information?”

To start off, I will run you through a typical day of my step 1 study (for new readers, I took the test last year and found great success in this method.  I cleared my goal of 250 with several points to spare).  The bulk of each study day was spent on questions.  Each question set this year contains 44 questions, and I did 3 question sets a day.  I did USMLErx by topic, and I did UWorld completely random and timed.

7 am – 8am: Completed first question set

8 am – 9 am: Completed second question set

9 am – 10 am: Completed third question set

10 am – noon: Corrected 1st question set

noon – 12:30 pm: Took a much needed break.  Went outside and shot hoops

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm: Ate lunch while watching sketchy micro

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Corrected 2nd question set

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Corrected 3rd question set

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Watched Pathoma

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Reviewed flashcards

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Ate dinner, tried to make normal human conversation with Mrs. DA.

8:00 – 9:00 pm: I used this as a “clean up” hour.  The first part was spent reading the new entries of my Question Gem notebook from that day, but some nights I was so burnt out that the best I could do was watch more pathoma/sketchy micro.  It’s also a good time to do some pharmacology flash cards, or catch up on your Question Gem flash cards. (Question Gems are explained later in the post)

10:00 pm Go to sleep

Right off the bat you’ll notice that question banks take up almost the whole day.  You’ll also notice that there is no dedicated time for reading First Aid.  That’s because you will constantly be in First Aid while you correct your question sets.  Also, near the end of my dedicated study period, I finished UWorld.  At this point my plan changed, and I started only doing 1 UWorld question set per day on questions I had missed previously, and I used the extra time to read straight through First Aid.

So you devote all this time for question sets, but how do you make sure you’re actually learning from them?  Welcome to Mr. DebtAnatomy’s “How to learn from the Step 1 UWorld question bank.”

Step 1: Complete USMLErx qbank before starting UWorld.  Can’t stress this enough.  UWorld questions are the best of the best, so you don’t want to waste them.  The more you know before starting them, the better they will be.  Start USMLErx before your dedicated study time, and have it finished by the end of your first week of your dedicated study time.

Step 2: Always do UWorld questions on timed mode, all categories and unused.  This is how the real test will be, so this is how you should study.

Step 3: Do not take a question set, correct it, then take your second question set, correct it, etc. etc.  Do all 3 question sets in a row before correcting them.  Initially I was correcting every question set immediately after finishing it, but after a tip from a mentor I changed my strategy to the above schedule.  For some reason this saved me about an hour every day.  It also better mimics the real test.

Step 4: When correcting a question set, read the whole explanation provided in UWorld, including why the other options are incorrect.  HOWEVER, your main goal when reading the explanation is to pick out a single takeaway message.  This should be the principle that you didn’t understand, causing you to miss the question.  You should be able to summarize this principle in 1-3 sentences.  Often this will be very similar to the summary paragraph at the bottom of the UWorld explanation.  Do this for every question you got wrong, as well as for every question you answered correctly on accident.  For questions you answered correctly because you knew them, just read the complete explanation and move on.  WARNING: Each question explanation will have a TON of information, and you will be tempted to make a flashcard for every tidbit of information, especially for the wrong options.  Resist this urge!  Read the whole explanation, try to remember all this information, but only focus on the SINGLE MAIN principle that you need to learn to answer this question correctly, trusting that you will hit the rest of the information in the other 5,000+ questions you are planning on doing.  I can’t stress enough how important this is.  The biggest mistake people make when using qbanks is trying to learn everything at once.  They start to feel like they’re drowning, and they can’t get through 5,000+ questions.  Don’t drown, just find your main prinicple from that question.  I will refer to this “main principle” in the following steps as your “Question Gem”.

Step 5: Look up your Question Gem from step 4 in First Aid.  You will get very good at maneuvering through this book.  Once you find the correct page, read the relevant section (usually 1/4 to 1/2 of a page).  Make any annotations you feel are appropriate (small extra tidbits from the question explanation).  If you can’t find the topic in First Aid, then write in your summary sentence where it should appear.

Step 6: Turn your Question Gem into an anki flashcard.  Add it right then and there on your computer.

Step 7: Write your Question Gem into your Question Gem notebook.

*Step 5 – 7 are SO VITAL.  It is extremely important to keep your Question Gems short and sweet, otherwise these steps will take too much time.  These steps should be performed fast and efficiently.  Don’t worry, you’ll get better at this as you do it.

Step 8: If the question you are correcting involves microbiology, and you have already watched the sketchy micro video on that bug, then quickly review that image from sketchy micro.  For those of you unfamiliar with how to review sketchy micro, there is a feature where you can view the image, and there are red dots on the important parts of the image.  Hovering over those dots will reveal the explanation.  This step should take less than a minute.  If you haven’t watched the sketchy micro video yet, don’t sweat it.  Just do steps 5-7 and trust that you will eventually watch the video as you work through sketchy micro.

Step 9: Review your Question Gem flashcards and notebook that evening (see schedule above).  I believe my settings on Anki were to give me 50 new questions per day and 50 old questions per day.  However, I usually tried to do more than this.  Reviewing that day’s new Question Gem entries in my notebook was one of the last things I did everyday.  That ensured that each night I went to bed with a fresh 50-80 Question Gems securely in my mind.

In summary, read the complete explanation for every question.  For questions you got right on purpose, this can just be a skimming read.  For every question you missed or got correct on accident, pick out your main Question Gem.  You do three things with this gem: 1. Look it up in First Aid and annotate it.  2. Make it into an anki flashcard.  3. Write it in your Question Gem notebook.  These question gems should be short, sweet, and summarized in your own words.  This ensures that you learn 50-80 new things extremely well each day, plus information that you learn on the side as you read the explanations, not to mention what you learn as you watch sketchymicro and pathoma.  Resist the temptation to take several question gems from each question.  Just make a mental note of them and trust that they will come up in future questions.

Between USMLErx, UWorld, and practice tests, I completed over 6,000 new questions.

If this was helpful to you, please share it!  Have you found other ways to learn from question banks?  Do you have any questions?  Please comment below!

Confused at the difference between uworld and usmlerx?  Not sure what flashcards are the best for pharmacology? Here’s a link to a post I wrote a while ago about different step 1 resources: http://debtanatomy.com/9-top-resources-for-usmle-step-1/

Correcting question sets may take longer when you initially start studying.  Do no fret!  You will get faster at this.  Just keep on working!  Happy studying!

518 comments on “9 steps to learn from UWorld Step 1 QBank”

  1. Well wisher Reply

    This is a really well written post. If I don’t use anki, it’s ok to just go through the “question gem” notebook and go through 50 new things each day? I will start doing this I think it’s really important to keep seeing those tiny details that help with retention. Thank you so much for sharing, I hope I can do it as well as you did. Discipline is the key

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I highly recommend using anki flash cards. Their software recycles the flashcards that you get incorrect more frequently, and it really drives home the concepts that you don’t know. But all of this is with the caveat of you should do what works for you. I largely based my study plan off of a classmate who rocked step 1, but I included some minor changes that worked better for me. In the end, assess different plans and figure out what feels right for you. Hope this all helps!

    • Mickey Reply

      Thank you so much for the great study plan! Can you send me your Anki cards as well?

        • Amit Reply

          Hey can you please send me the flash cards. Trying to make anki decks but need examples so I can make my own. Thanks

        • Amit Reply

          Hey can you please send me the flash cards. Trying to make anki decks but need examples so I can make my own. Thanks

    • Seth Barishansky Reply

      Can you please send me your flashcards as well? Really great post! Saved this to come back to during dedicated time

        • Madison Reply

          Thank you so much for this post. I was really struggling with how to approach UWorld and this gave me some great pointers. Anyway you’d be willing to send me your flashcards too?

          • Mr. DebtAnatomy

            For sure! Just sent them. Good luck!

        • Jan Reply

          Hi! Just read your tips…very concise! Can you please send me your anki flash cards too? I would really appreciate it!

    • A.Z. Reply

      *can you send me your anki flashcards?? thank you
      *scored low on NBME around 150 (after reading just first aid)
      *what should my schedule look like?
      *new schedule: 30pgs first aid + 1 block uworld
      what should i do to boost my NBME score??
      i kind of hate uworld cause i read so slow and cant finish a block?

      • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

        Just sent the card. All of my answers to your other questions should be found in my post above. However, in the end you must find the study schedule that works best for you. Good luck!

  2. Cheers Reply

    thanks, this seems like a very reasonable approach to a massive undertaking. can you explain a bit more by what you mean when you say “correcting a question set”? does this just mean taking key point(s) that you didn’t know/got wrong and making them into a flashcard? I haven’t looked at USMLEWorld yet so maybe it’s a something specific to that system?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      After you do a question set the qbank provides long explanations of the correct answer as well as the incorrect answers. For me, correcting a set entails what is written above in the blog post: Finding the key point that I need to learn from the question, making a flashcard, looking at the relevant section in first aid, and writing that concept in my notebook. Does that answer your question? Good luck studying!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I studied Monday through Saturday. I took Saturday nights off so that I could take my wife on a date. I also took Sundays completely off.

      • Dan Reply

        How many weeks did you set aside for focused studying? Thanks for the answer above regarding days of the week!

        • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

          For sure! I set aside 7 and 1/2 weeks for full time study. Keep in mind that I had completed a lot of USMLERx beforehand, and was able to finish it around 2 weeks into my full time study period. Happy studying!

  3. Joseph Reply

    for questions that you got correct and you knew the answer, you read the whole explanation and then skipped the step of referring to first aid/annoting first aid/making an anki? Or did you perform the latter steps for each question even if you knew the material?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      If I knew the question very well then I simply read through it and moved on. I didn’t make a flash card or read about it in first aid. Sometimes if I got a question right but I felt like I didn’t know it as well as I would like to then I would read the relevant section in first aid. Hope this helps!

  4. Dana Reply

    How were you able to get through UWorld blocks so quickly while still taking notes? It’s taking me 4 hours a block without even taking that many notes. Did you do less than 3 blocks a day in the beginning or were you doing 3 blocks a day from day 1?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      You will get faster at this as you keep trying. There are 2 main reasons for the increase in speed. 1) You will start to get more questions correct on average, so when you review those questions you can just quickly read the explanation and move on. 2) You will get faster at picking out the main principle from the question and not getting bogged down in all the extra information. Remember, your goal when correcting is to read the whole explanation, lightly try to remember the details, but only focus seriously on the principle that you didn’t know and that caused you to miss the question. When I first started out there were certainly a few days where I could only do 2 question banks, but then I started forcing myself to do 3, regardless of how long it took, and I got a lot faster. Hope this helps!

  5. Lis Reply

    THANK you so much for these post! I really NEEDED it!!!
    One question… Doing 3 blocks per day you were able to complete the whole Uworld bank in about 20 days… What did you do with the rest of the days before the exam? Uworld second time? another qbank?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Glad you found it helpful! To answer your question, I did all of USMLErx qbank first, then did Uworld. At the end of this I still had about 2 weeks to go before my test, so I did 1 Uworld question set a day for the questions that I had missed (still following the steps above), and spent the rest of the time reading through first aid, going through pathoma a second time, taking practice tests each week, reviewing sketchy micro, and really hammering the massive deck of flashcards that I had accrued by then. I had initially planned to do uworld a second time with the extra days, but I quickly found out it wasn’t as high yield as I thought it would be, so I settled on 1 question set a day from the questions I had missed in order to stay in the question mindset but also giving me time to plow through my other resources again.

  6. Thankful studier Reply

    Hi, thanks for this post it’s super helpful. I’m about to start on my dedicated study time and think I’m going to mimic this quite closely.

    When you say you made it through the USMLERx qbank, you are referring to their Qmax product (not the Flash Facts product), right? I’m assuming so, just want to make sure.

    I haven’t completed the USMLERx qbank yet unfortunately but am starting my dedicated study time next week. From your emphasis above, I’m guessing you would recommend spending dedicated time doing that FIRST before moving onto Uworld?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      You’re correct, I am referring to Qmax, not Flash Facts.

      As far as finishing USMLERx before starting Uworld, it really depends on how much dedicated study time you have. The best case scenario is to finish USMLERx and then do all of Uworld. But if you’re allotted study time won’t allow you to finish both, then Uworld should be your priority. By the time I started my dedicated study time I still wasn’t finished with USMLERx, so I calculated out how long it would take to finish both Rx and Uworld and realized I had plenty of time, so I continued Rx until I was done, then started Uworld.

      Hope this helps. Good luck studying!

  7. confused Reply

    Hi. Can you please share your uworld step 1 notes ? They seem wonderful. When i was doing uworld i didn’t make any notes and now i feel i dont remember enough from uworld . My exam is in a week. Please help me.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I wish I could, but they are handwritten in a notebook, and would be extremely hard to decipher if I were to scan them in due to my poor handwriting and unorganized shorthand. I will send you my flashcards though!

  8. Cagri Reply

    Can you post some examples from the flascards you’ve prepared while going through Uworld or share them via anki maybe? That would be really helpfull I’m sure. By the way, your posts are really helpfull, you’ve already guided me through some of my biggest concerns. Gratitude 🙂

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      For sure! Just sent you my flashcards. I would still recommend making you making your own, but this should give you an idea of how to approach it.

      • Cagri Reply

        Thank you for your immediate response and also your great assistance via flashcards. Hope I’ll deliver you good news about my journey with the steps and also promise to provide feed-backs hoping to be usefull with your posts. Best wishes from the other side of the globe 🙂

  9. John Reply

    Hey! Your posts are of great help and guidance and I thank you very dearly. I’m in my dedicated study period of 7 weeks and it looks like I’m doing alot of things late. I have a few chapters of pathoma I still need to watch, I’m going through sketchy micro and they’ve added a pharm section now. I’m also doing uworld questions by subject for whatever subject I’m studying that day (or few days) in FA and pathoma. I figured it’ll reinforce concepts and details I need to remember from pathoma and FA. I only annotate my FA book with information needed to answer the uworld questions. What I’m trying to ask is should I cover pathoma, sketchy, and read FA fully before doing uworld and start it in random, timed mode? I don’t want to waste the questions as you stated but I also don’t have time to do the USMLERx qbank. Also another concern is, writing a note in a notebook, typing a flashcard, and annotating FA is literally impossible for me because I get so slow and bogged down. So I’ve decided on annotating FA with uworld notes, and maybe using premade anki flashcards. Would you recommend against that? Would I also be able to see how you written your uworld notes in anki? Are they annotated in FA in a similar manner? Sorry for all the questions and the bother. Your style of studying is organized and not very clustered so I was able to relate. I’m hoping with your experience you’d be able to provide me with proper guidance and advice. Thank you in advanced and God bless!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Great questions! I’m sorry for the late reply. Busy week with rotations. To start off, whatever works best for you is what you should do. I hope I have stressed that enough to everybody on this site. That being said, I am happy to share what I would do in your situation.

      1. I would not wait to finish FA, pathoma, and sketchy before starting uworld on random. In my opinion the sooner you start doing uworld questions on random the better. You will get through most of first aid in the meantime by virtue of annotating and reviewing the concepts from the questions that you missed.

      2. Annotating FA, writing the concept in a notebook, and making a flashcard bogged me down at first too. However, I got a lot faster at it, and was better at picking out the main simple concept that I needed to record. I am a HUGE fan of making your own flashcards, because then it is directly tailored to what you don’t know. That being said, if you really can’t do it fast enough you might just have to settle for using a pre-made set of flashcards.

      3. As far as examples, I keep meaning to write a post about examples about my flashcards. I should get around to it soon. In the meantime, I’ll email you my flashcard set. But keep in mind I do think it is better for you to make your own.

      Happy studying and good luck!

  10. Angel Reply

    Hello there,
    Many thanks for your detailed guide to study Uworld.
    May I ask a small query: I am a bit confused about writing the Question Gem on both anki flashcards and a separate notebook. I mean why would we write the same question Gem on two separate places and how would reviewing the notes on Notebook be different from reviewing them on flashcards?
    Can I please request to have a look at your anki cards so that I could have an idea on how to make them?
    Thank you so much again! 🙂

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I found that the repetitiveness of writing the question down in a notebook as well as the flashcards helped me remember it better. It is also easier to peruse, draw, and look up things in a notebook compared to a huge deck of flashcards, while the flashcards have the advantage of testing you. I’ll email you my flashcards. Happy studying!

      • Angel Reply

        Many many thanks for your kind response and for e-mailing your flashcards. I just went through them; they are amazing and I will surely take a lot of guidance from them.
        Thank you so much & God bless you! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Angel Reply

        Hello again!
        I have been following your tips and advices on making question Gem on notebook and ankiflash cards while going through Uworld. I am finding anki flash cards great to use! Thanks again for the great idea!
        Can you please advice me with a problem I am facing while doing Uworld:
        It’s been 10 days that I started doing Uworld for the first time and my exam is scheduled in about 9 weeks. However I am growing extremely worried and apprehensive as it’s taking me too long to review a block than I expected.
        In the last 10 days I have only been able to cover 5 blocks; I am only able to review 20-25 questions per day despite dedicated 8-10 hours of studying.
        When I review a question, not only do I read the explanation on UWorld but I read about that topic from FA and even read about the topics covered in wrong options from FA and I end up spending 30 minutes on each question.. Although with this strategy, I am seeing improvement in my average score but I am worried that if I keep going with this speed, I will never be able to finish Uworld before my exam.
        I have read Kaplan lecture notes, Pathoma along with FA 2x and even solved 47% of kaplan bank with 67% before I started Uworld but now my speed is really concerning me. Do you advise that I should just skip reading about wrong options from FA and just focus on the main topic of the question?
        Will really appreciate your advice.
        Thanks a lot!

        • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

          Fantastic question! Getting faster at correcting question sets is important. I understand that there is a fear that if you don’t study everything on the uworld answer page that you will never see it again. However, you will find that a lot of this information will resurface in future questions. Because of this, I would read the whole explanation on UWorld but ONLY read about the question gem in first aid. This speeds things up, and you will most likely address the other details in a future question. Learning the information is certainly important, but another important part of studying for this test is learning how to analyze the questions quickly, and then analyze why you got it wrong. In short, going through it at a faster pace will allow you to see a lot more questions each day, which will in turn help you practice thinking through lots of questions. Hope this helps! Sorry it was a late reply!

          • Angel

            Thank you once again for taking time to answer my queries and providing so much of guidance!
            Will do as you advised and hopefully things will speed up.
            Thanks a lot!!! 🙂

  11. Shawn Reply

    This is a phenomenal post. Thank you very much! I’ve been following this now for a few weeks and wanted to ask a few questions.
    1. What do you think really helped you the most to make the jump in those NBME exams? I’m a little frustrated with the lack of progress I’ve made in two weeks on NBME. My UW %’s have also stayed the same.
    2. A lot of people try to memorize FA/Pathoma via anki decks (ie brocencephalon) I see you didn’t really do a system based review during the dedicated time with UWORLD, but read/referenced FA while doing the qbank set reviews. Is that because you already did the system review with USMLE Rx?

    Thanks so much for the help!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Thanks for your comment!

      Here are my responses:

      1. There were definitely a few weeks where my nbme scores didn’t improve much. At that point I was tempted to change up my study tactics and find a new plan. But I decided that changing my study plan at that point would just be confusing, so I pushed on ahead and trusted that my work would eventually payoff in increased scores and percentages. I found (and other classmates have confirmed), that there is a period of stall in your scores, but if you keep pressing forward your scores get a second wind and start going up again. At least that is what I experienced.

      2. That’s correct, my systems based review was with USMLE Rx, so by the time I hit uWorld I was tackling all the material simultaneously. After I completed uworld I did read through about 2/3 of first aid as a quick review.

  12. Omar Reply

    Great blog post and blog! Thanks for sharing all of these incredible pointers. They are very helpful. I was wondering if you could also send me your flashcard deck for UWorld so I can get an idea of how to make the question gem cards like the readers above? Thanks!!

  13. San Reply

    Hi!
    Loved your post. Infact so much- that Im making it my own schedule. Thank you so much!!!

    A few serious questions:
    Were you able to get through all of sketchy with an hour each day?
    Instead of doing Pathoma videos again, I was thinking of hitting Anki for PAthoma. what do you think?

    – I am halfway through my UWORLD Qbank. I was thinking about starting it all over again to match your schedule, because I didnt add gems or notebooks to the other questions I did. Is this a good idea? Or should I finish the remainder of my questions, do the gems for it, and then go back and do all the wrong ones and add those into my gems?
    Is it beneficial to do Qmax after Uworld?

    Sorry I know its a lot of questions, but im kind fo freaking out. Thank you so much.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Great questions! No need to apologize; I was definitely freaking out while studying for this exam.

      In regards to your questions

      – Yes, I got through sketchy with an hour each day. However, I believe there are more sketchy videos available now compared to last year. I do believe there were some days that I watched sketchy early in the morning while on the exercise bike as well as during lunch. The nice thing about sketchy is that it’s fairly easy to sneak a short sketchy video in here or there whenever you need a break from what you’re currently studying.

      – I have never used Anki for pathoma, but it sounds like it could be pretty useful. I think this just depends on if you learn better from the videos or from the flashcards. I know that I was already sick of anki flaschards by the time I would finish reviewing my question gems, so the pathoma videos were a nice change. But that is just personal preference.

      – I would continue with where you are on Uworld, then probably move on to Qmax using the same strategy, and if you still have time afterwards then go back and do the questions you got wrong on uworld. My reasoning is that this ensures that you will see the greatest number of new questions, and I think that is very important. Even though the questions in qmax are “easier” they still have a lot of good information in them.

      Hope this helps!

      • San Reply

        Thank you so much for responding so early!!! That saved me time to readjust my schedule and make sure I didnt restart all of Uworld 🙂

        can you please send me a few of your flashcards so that I am on the right track? I just started making mine today. Thank you Mr.Debt Anatomy. Ironically, I am indebted to you!

  14. Sagar shah Reply

    Hi just recently found out about your blog … I’m an IMG and just recently started preparing for usmle step 1 just wanted to ask you should an IMG follow the same schedule just as you mentioned above or any changes ? And I would also like to know what is anki flash card as I’m still new to all this
    Can you also send me your flash cards as I would like to study a few and then start making my own.
    By reading your posts most of my doubts are getting cleared .
    Thank you in advance . God bless you

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      My schedule was based off having 8 weeks of dedicated study time, and being able to work through most of qmax before those 8 weeks so that I finished it within the first 2 weeks. If you have more or less time then you should certainly change the schedule to match your own. For example, if you have a lot more time to study then you might consider going through kaplan or firecracker. I’ve never used either so I can’t comment on the quality, but if I had had more time then that is what I would’ve considered.

      Anki is a flashcard app for your desktop and phone. The app recycles flashcards you get wrong, selecting the frequency of how often you see the same card according to how well you perform. The app is free for android and I believe you have to pay for it from the apple store. I just sent you my flashcards. Good luck studying!

  15. Sagar shah Reply

    hey these posts are amazing …as an img just starting out to prepare for usmle step 1 .. i have a few questions regarding “Make any annotations you feel are appropriate ” can you please send me a few images of pages from your first aid just to learn and understand how to do it more effectively .Thanks so much for the help!

  16. Kik Reply

    Hi, I recently found out about your blog…this post has been incredibly helpful to see how to use the qbanks and reinforce the information learned. Did you use the same question gem system for Rx or only for uworld? Is there any way to see an example of your question gem flashcards (just to see if I’m on the right track as I’ll do my own)? Also how often did you do the nbme’s? Did you do any other studying on the days that you did the nbme? Sorry for all the questions! Thank you so much for your help!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I came up with the question gem system about halfway through Rx. I did an once a week starting 5-6 weeks before the test. The week before the test I did two nbme’s back to back. On practice test days I would go over what I had missed and then I would take the rest of the day off. I just sent you the flashcards. Good luck studying!

  17. himadri vakharia Reply

    hi.. idk the exact concept of ankis flash cards. can you explain how useful it is. or how to use it? also send some sample flash cards/ anki cards if you can.. i just started uw. im an img btw. the uw explanations is takinf forever. also i still dont understand how much i should annotate in fa..

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Sorry for the late reply, I was on vacation. Anki flash cards recycle questions, adjusting the frequency of repetition according to how well you remember them. They really help you memorize the information. I will send you my cards, but I still encourage you to make your own. The UW annotating in First Aid should be very direct and to the point. If it takes too long, then you are writing too much. Hope this helps. Happy studying!

  18. Samantha Reply

    Hello! thanks so much for the post! I think I’m going to start this plan.
    I’m entering into my second year.. i was thinking of starting uworld with about 20 or 30 questions a day with the material i have covered in my first year/current material. A few questions..

    1- if i start doing questions now, should i time myself (1.5min per question) or should i wait until i start the 40 question blocks in 1 hour?
    2- do you think it is a good idea to try to get through as many questions before dedicated study time and start uworld again? my goal is to get through uworld at least twice.
    3- what’s the reasoning behind writing your question gems into a notebook if you’re making anki cards?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Hello!

      Great questions! Here are my thoughts:

      1. I would not start Uworld yet. Uworld contains your BEST study questions, and you should not use them until you are in your final study period. You want those best questions to remain fresh and unused. If you really really really feel the need to start questions early, then I would encourage you to use either firecracker, kaplan, or usmlerx questions. I wouldn’t worry about timing yourself either.

      2. Fresh questions are best. Whatever you do, try to do at least 5,000 unique questions without repeating. If you still have free time then maybe consider redoing uworld.

      3. The reason behind writing in the notebook, annotating in first aid, and making anki cards is repetition. I also found the notebook to be a really easy way to look up previous learned concepts as opposed to wading through a mountain of digital flashcards.

      Hope this helps. Happy studying!

  19. Angel Reply

    Hello again!
    Hope you are doing great. Sorry for bugging you so much, but can I request you to provide a rough idea of what do you think should be a good average in Uworld in first pass if you aim for 250+?
    Also did your NBME scores correlate well with your final score?
    I keep hearing from people that their real exam was nothing like Uworld questions or nbmes and that the questions on exam are really weird that they have never encountered. These comments are really making me anxious. I really hope solving Uworld and nbmes will prepare me well for the exam.
    Your comments will be very much appreciated!
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Great questions!

      A good average would be low to mid 70’s, though high 60’s wouldn’t be too bad either. But I wouldn’t worry too much about your uworld average score. The more important indicator is your nbme scores. I found these to be VERY predictive with my score. My final score was exactly in between my two highest test scores.

      I also heard people say that their exam was not like uworld or the nbme questions. However, I thought that my test was very similar to the nbme’s, with the biggest difference being the stress, intensity, and increased length. Were there tons of questions on the real thing that I had never encountered in the qbanks? Yup. But the qbanks taught me to think through questions, and I was able to apply those lessons to the real test. They will also test a lot of similar concepts that you have already studied, but they will approach it from a different angle.

      But in the end, it sounds like everyone’s experience in the test is different. Just prepare your best and rock it!

      Sorry for the late reply. I was on vacation.

      • Angel Reply

        That provides a lot of relief and boost of confidence! I have been following your tips and study tactics have managed to reach in early 70’s and hopefully will improve further in upcoming weeks.
        Thank you very much once again for sharing your study strategy and for always taking out time to answer our queries!
        Hope you had a great vacation. All the best to you for all your future endeavours! 🙂
        Regards!

  20. Jackie Reply

    Thank you for posting,
    I had a question regarding FA . How many times did you go through FA? Did you use the first aid express videos at all?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Good question. I never actually read FA straight through cover to cover. By annotating it via the question gems I ended up “reading” it multiple times. Then, about 2 weeks before the test, I sat down and tried to read it through. I only made it about 2/3’s of the way through. Was it useful? Yes. But I would still focus on using FA as part of your qbank study, and only reading it straight through if you still have leftover time. I never used the first aid express videos so I don’t know if they are helpful. Happy studying!

  21. Anon Reply

    Figured I’d extend my thanks to you! You plan served as the basis for my study schedule, and it sounds like we scored very similarly on the exam.

    For those who don’t want to use Anki (I never bothered to figure out how to use it) what I did each day to review the question gems was to first read over the ones I had made the day prior. Then I use a random number generator (https://www.random.org/sequences/) to go through 10-15 pages of gems (this requires you to have the pages of your notebook numbered). Lastly I would review the gems I’d made that day. During the last 2 weeks before the test I started from the beginning of my notebooks and read them straight through alongside First Aid. So all in all i went through each gem a minimum of 4 times, and in it was probably closer to 7-8 times for some of the older ones.

    After hearing about other people’s experiences with other strategies I firmly believe this is the best way to study for the test and I’ll be telling everyone about your blog! Thanks again.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Congratulations!!!!! I’m so glad it went well! Thanks for the good report! Good luck starting 3rd year!

  22. Farhan Reply

    Just wanted to thank you for all your help! Your posts offer such amazing advice! I’ve never used Anki but will be using it because I would like to mimic your study plan. I wanted to know if you could share examples from the flashcards you’ve prepared, just so I have an idea of how to set up my flashcards? Thank you again!

  23. Aloha Reply

    Hey can you please send me your flash cards and other relevant stuff thanks!

  24. Becca Reply

    First, thanks so much for taking the time to write this post. As a new M2 with step looming next semester, this was really helpful! I do have a few questions:
    1) You mentioned finishing USMLE-Rx’s qbank prior to starting UWorld. When did you start the Rx qbank? (i.e., concurrently with organ blocks? (doing block-specific questions? or mixed?))
    2) How many Rx questions a day did you initially complete? (assuming you ramped up to the 44/hour block?) Did you have a “gem notebook” (or Anki deck) for the Rx qbank?
    3) Had you completed all of Pathoma prior to the dedicated study time? (ie, was the Pathoma hour in the dedicated schedule first pass or second/third?)
    4) I’m loving Sketchy. Any recommendations for Sketchy Pharm vs. the Lange Pharm flashcards (mentioned in your 9 Step resources post)? (Or would you recommend using both? Pharm retention is a weak point, unfortunately.)
    5) Would it be possible to get a few of your Anki cards to get an idea of how to set the gem flashcards up? (Also, I’m a bit unfamiliar with the Anki system – any good resource recommendations for getting up to speed?)

    I know this has been a barrage of questions! I sincerely appreciate the post – thanks again for the time you dedicated to spelling out your study strategy. Best of luck in 4th year rotations!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      1) I started Rx qbank about 1.5 months before my dedicated study time.
      2) I can’t remember exactly, but it was enough that I could finish Rx 1.5 weeks after starting my dedicated study block.
      3) No, I had not completed all of pathoma beforehand. I had watched it sporadically throughout m1-2, but during my dedicated time I worked through it from beginning to end.
      4) Unfortunately sketchy pharm wasn’t released by the time I took my test, but I have heard really good things. Either source will help you prepare for pharm though.
      5) Just sent you the cards.

      Good luck studying!

  25. Farhan Reply

    I’ll be entering 2nd year and would like to start the Rx qbank. Did you do USMLErx random and timed? Or do you recommend doing it in tutor mode?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I did usmlerx by subject and not timed. I did all of uworld random and timed.

  26. Dil Reply

    Hello Mr. DebtAnatomy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and the amazing detailed study schedule/resources in your blog. I really appreciate them and plan to improve my study schedule as well. Hopefully it will help me out too. However, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions, if that is okay?

    1) I just wanted to ask you about the different question banks that are available out there. I am already tackling UWorld right now and do not plan on doing USMLERx or Kaplan Qbank at all. Is this still okay to do so or will I miss on any important information while just using UWorld? (I do plan on using the UWorld Self Assessment exams)
    2) Are there any other Qbanks out there that you absolutely recommend other than UWorld?
    3) I actually plan on doing ALL the NBMEs (online/offline) for practice and assessment purposes; hence, I wanted to ask if this is a good idea to go over every single one of them (NBME 1 – 18)?
    4) I plan to use the UFAP method (UWorld, First Aid, Pathoma) for now and have not included Goljan (too long and overwhelming), USMLERx, Pharmacology or Micro flashcards, and Sketchy Micro in my plan as of now. Do you recommend otherwise? (Trust me, any input/advice will help at this point as I really want to make sure I cover all the material with the correct amount of resources)
    5) After hearing a lot of good things about these Anki flash cards, I definitely want to try these as I have not started them yet. Could I please ask you to send me your flashcards as well, so I can have an idea of how to make my own flashcards to help me retain the material better? I hope it is not any trouble to do so.

    I really appreciate your help in advance. I hope you won’t mind if I can trouble you again in the future for any further advice. Thank you so much again and I wish you good luck in all your future endeavors! 🙂

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      1) My advice is that the more unique questions you see the better. So if you have the time to do more qbanks, then do more qbanks.

      2) usmlerx is great!

      3) Same as my answer to number 1. The more unique questions you work on the better, and that includes nbme practice tests.

      4) Clearly the more information you learn the better off you’ll be, but you have to balance that with what is doable. I heartily endorse usmlerx and sketchy micro, and think they complement the UFAP method very nicely.

      5) I’ll send them to you!

      Good luck studying!

      • Dil Reply

        Thank you so very much for all the answers to my questions. I really appreciate your advice in everything. If time permits, I will definitely give USMLERx a try along with sketchy micro once I have gone over UWorld completely. Unfortunately, I only have 7 1/2 weeks left in my dedicated study time; hence, I was trying to sort out the most important materials to go through first other than the UFAP method and all the NBME exams. Like you said, the more information I am familiar with, the better I will be during the exam. Thank you once again and thank you for sending the flash cards. I really appreciate your help! 🙂
        Good luck to you guys!
        God bless you and Mrs. DebtAnatomy in all your future endeavors! 🙂

  27. Myra ysmeen Reply

    Hey I have just two days left until my subscription for UW ends and i have like 700qs to go through, please can someone tell me how can I do that ?

  28. Rochy Reply

    Thanks sooooo much for the time you have put into these posts! They are very helpful! Its one thing to be successful and quite another to invest in the future of others! Thank you!

    Id really like to make sure my flash cards are not too detailed. Do you mind to send your set to me as well.

    Thanks in advance and my very best to you!

  29. nirvana Reply

    Hey, thanks for all the information.i am just done with medschool, internship as well . Basics were in the first two years, so, i have forgotten pretty much everything. so i am going through Kap videos once with the books and then start to do Q-banks. well i read through everyone’s questions and your comments, and it was really helpful. can you send me your flashcards and other stuffs like a few pictures of your notebook, just to know how one is supposed to prepare it.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Just sent you the flashcards. Hope they help! I am on vacation so I can’t take a picture of my notebook. Happy studying!

  30. Sarah Reply

    Hello!

    Reading this entire post has been incredibly helpful. Thank you! I am planning on following your strategy for studying. May I ask what was your approach to pharmacology? And, did you go through Pathoma 2x?
    Also, I currently use anki for my classes… but I would love to see how you created the questions gems if you could share a few examples with me. I would appreciate it!

    Thank you in advance!!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I learned most of my pharmacology by going through qbank questions and making my question gems, as well as using lange pharmacology flash cards. I believe I did end up going through pathoma twice, and was glad I did. I’ll send those flashcards right now!

  31. sri Reply

    Hi,
    That was some great advice. I think it really helps you focus towards your goal. Thank you for making us aware of the Anki app. As reinforcing is whats needed the most. If you could please share the flash cards, it would give us an idea on how to go about it and make our own ones. Thank you

  32. Fadi Reply

    This is seriously the best blog post on USMLE prep!!! I love your detailed schedule I will definately be using it!! Thank you so much for sharing seriously!! Sharing this post with some of my friends that are in a similar boat. Can you please send me your anki cards? I will definitely be making my own but would like to see your question gems. God Bless!!

  33. Boo Reply

    Hey, that’s a great post! Definitely will try to incorporate these suggestions into my studying plan.
    How many passes of UWorld do you think are required? (I have not/am not planning to do USMLERx)
    Thanks a tonne!

    Also, could you please send me a couple of your anki flashcards as a reference? Thanks!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Good question! Only 1 pass is required, though a second pass wouldn’t hurt. But if you had to choose between a second pass of uworld or doing a different qbank, I would absolutely do a different qbank.

      Just sent the flashcards. Good luck!

  34. Mohammad Reply

    Hi,
    Congratulations on your amazing score and thank you so much for sharing your plan honestly It’s the best that I’ve come across and seeing you reply to all so sincerely is the cherry on top. Most of my questions were answered in your replies. Will be trying to replicate your plan to my best, just need some help with anki flashcards. I’ve understood the question gem book bit but making these flashcards is alien to me I’ve never made them before. Kindly if you could guide and it’d be great if you could send me some of yours so that I can use them as a template for starting off. Thanks!

  35. vickky Reply

    Thank you so much Mr DA. This really is the best blog I’ve seen on usmle prep….. it’s like you had all the right answers to my exact questions, I’ll apply everything I’ve learnt. Please can I see your anki flashcards, I started using anki some time ago but it became so burdensome putting everything in it.( like re-writting the books)….. now I know I just I just have to put facts but please may I use yours as a sample?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Thanks for the comment! Sorry for the slow reply, as I was on an away rotation and was quite busy. Just sent you the cards!

  36. Kau Reply

    Hi,
    I am an img. I have recently started my preparation for step 1. I was wondering if i can see your flash cards. I recently learned abt anki (bros deck). I like ur study plan, as i agree that we should make our cards for better retention. Can u also please send me examples of anotating first aid. Everyone suggests it, but im curious how u did it.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I just sent you the flashcards. I don’t have any pictures of my first aid on me at the moment, but I basically just wrote small notes in the margins or explained some of the bullet points more. The more simple and straightforward the better.

  37. John Paul Reply

    Hi, do you have any thoughts on using Kaplan qbank instead of UsmleRX, or is RX better, some people said Kaplan contains too many minute details rarely tested. I would love your input and also please send me some same note cards. Thanks

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I have neve used Kaplan qbank, nor did I have the time to do 3 qbanks. I chose UsmleRX because I heard it was succinct and a good pass through first aid. If you have more time then more qbanks the better. But if I had to go back in time and choose between usmlerx and kaplan I would still choose usmlerx for the above stated reasons.

      I just sent you the flashcards. Good luck studying!

  38. Shah Reply

    Hello Mr DA!
    First of all thank you for being so helpful and providing your valuable insight!
    I am a recent IMG and for the last 6 months have spent reading Kaplan and watching the videos.
    I felt I did not have the proper ‘concepts’ needed to start UFAP. Although having finished Kaplan and also usmleRX, I am still left with the unsatisfactory feeling with concepts while doing UW. It is understood that it is a common feeling and the key is to do as many questions as you can.
    I will consider doing ANKI bros deck.
    How does your deck differ from that? Please do send me also. There are so many cards, I wonder how I can go over everything in a day or all in 8 weeks. I’ve increased to 300 cards daily maximum.

    Now my question is shall I continue with UW or take a hiatus and start reading from textbooks to solidify concepts? Or is this a misconception as passive reading probably won’t help with UW questions as my percentage is not going up.
    I am doing them on random tutor.
    I have about 8 weeks for my exam.
    Kindly advise most effective way.
    Thank you!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Thanks for your comment! I just sent you the flashcards. Hope they help!

      With 8 weeks to go, you could probably spare a few weeks to read other texts, but I would make sure that you still give yourself enough time to make it through uworld comfortably. Uworld should be a learning tool, which means that you should be coming across new material.

      Hope this helps!

  39. Jared Reply

    Thank you so much Mr. Debt Anatomy for all your help! I incorporated your insights and recommendations into my STEP 1 score and nailed it! I have recommended your site to all my underclassmen friends. Totally owe ya.

    I also have a question for you. I have just begun 3rd year rotations and am curious as to your study schedule and resources for boards and STEP 2 CK. Could you share any advise you may have on these matters? Thank you sir!!!

    -Mr. Phoenix

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Congratulations!!! I’m so glad to hear you rocked it!!! I have actually just started studying for step 2 ck myself, so I will have to write a post in a month on it.

      Thanks for recommending my site to your classmates. Enjoy third year!

  40. Marie Reply

    Can you give me an example of your Gem notebook. I have “something similar”, but I don’t know if I’m writing to much.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Sure! Here are a few excerpts:

      “OCP’s decrease risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. Slightly increase risk for breast and cervical cancer.”

      “Hypomagnesemia can cause hypocalcemia”

      “Wiskot Aldrich is a problem with cytoskeleton formation”

      The point is to focus on the reason that you missed the question.

      Happy studying!

  41. Preeti Reply

    Would you be able to send me your flashcards for UW? I’m so stressed about taking notes properly and finishing all the material on time. Thanks!!!

  42. Omaima Reply

    Hello,
    Thank you for this fantastic post which I have recently came across after searching about making flash cards for UW … I’m an IMG and just recently started preparing for usmle step 1 struggling with the huge amount of information and what you have written about the gem question sounds wonderful and I really find struggle in summarizing UW explanations as I am urged to write so much and end up frustrated….!!
    As an IMG the concept of Anki is entirely new to me and I don’t know how to make them . I am watching tutorials on this subject and I feel if I see an example it’ll be extremely helpful, if you can kindly send me your cards to have a look in how to summarize this will help me make my own .
    Thank you for your time ..

  43. J Reply

    Awesome tips thanks so much!!! Could i get a copy of your anki cards?? Also in those 3 blocks you do per day, is that incoporating 2 question banks or strictly just UWorld?? Thanks again for the advice!!!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Sorry for the late reply! I did it first with USMLErx, and then UWorld. I just sent the cards!

  44. JR Reply

    Thanks so much for the helpful advice on how to approach using Q Banks!!! Is there any way I can snag a copy of your anki flashcards?

  45. chris Reply

    Wow, so glad I ran into your blog/post. Super helpful!!
    Could you possibly share your anki deck with me? Thanks again for the great guidance you’re sharing with the world!

  46. Zach Ross Reply

    A true God send of an article! Your approach really resonated with me and I’m very thankful to you for sharing your method in such great detail with us! Would really appreciate it if you could send me the ANKI deck as well!

  47. Alyssa Reply

    Hi there! Thanks so much for all of this great info! May I also request your cards? Thank you again!

  48. Johnny Reply

    Hey! Thank you so much for this priceless advice…
    Here a few of my concerns
    1- You said start with RxQmax… I get that but I’m wondering if you did any resources to actually LEARN the material from before doing questions. for example: biochem. Did you go straight to questions to learn it? By questions I mean either Rx or UWorld. Did you know it very well straight after med classes? Any extra resources used (Kaplan Turco 2014, lange flashcards are the best two sources for biochem I know of)?
    I feel my physiology, for example, is my weakest subject from first year. Its like I know all the terms and vocabulary and some mechanisms about how everything works, but I actually don’t know what they mean/where they fit in the picture, etc… so what would you recommend for a situation like this?

    2- Can you please send me the flashcards and if you can a screenshot of 1-2 pages of your notes as well please?

    Thank you so much!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Great questions. In short, I tackled Rx immediately, and used that to learn the material, with a good base already from med school classes. This meant that by the time I started UWorld I had gone over the material once via Rx, and I was also used to doing questions. You will be surprised how much you can learn by going through questions and correcting them.

      I just the flaschcards. Good luck!

  49. Morgan Reply

    This was a great post! I’m in second-year and a little under 4 months away from my exam. Would you be able to send me your flashcards? I’ve been trying to get better at using Anki (over my usual preferred method of hand-written flashcards), and would love to see yours as an example. Thank you for this great advice!

  50. Alex Reply

    Hello! Thanks for this! I know this has been asked, but would you mind sending me your flashcards as well? Did you use any of the “close” card functions and such for your flashcards? Thank you!

  51. MIKE Reply

    Mr. DA, you are the man honestly haha. Thanks for your courtesy and selflessness for taking the time to share your way to success. I have been a nervous wreck and have tried many ways of studying, but with no true structure. I will adapt to your plan as it seems most logical to me and my personal ways of preparing. I DO HAVE ONE REQUEST HOWEVER, I HAVE DOWNLOADED ANKI AND WAS WONDERING IF YOU CAN ALSO SHARE YOUR FLASHCARDS THAT YOU PERSONALLY MADE OUT OF YOUR QUESTION GEMS THAT YOU SPEAK OF. THAT WILL SAVE ME (AND IM SURE OTHERS) HELLA TIME!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Just sent them! I would still encourage you to make your own cards, and use mine as a guide. My cards were built around my own gaps of knowledge, and are not comprehensive for the material.

  52. Jeremy Reply

    Hey started my dedicated study this week I will definitely start my gem notebook and anki flashcards from day one. Your advice, seriously added a lot of structure to my studying. If its possible could you send me your flash cards, I would love to have a idea how you made them .

  53. John Reply

    These tips have been awesome and I am preparing to start my dedicated study period in a few months. I’m hoping to have Rx finished before my dedicated period as I only have about 5.5 weeks to study (I believe you used 7.5 and 2 of those were Rx so I think my timeframe should be similar?) My schedule is relatively similar to yours and I am planning to finish UW with about 2 weeks left to study. I was hoping you could speak a little more on what you did during those 2 weeks and some tips for best utilizing that final time. I was planning to do a full run through of FA, but was unsure how long that would take and how I should structure the rest of my time. Thanks for all your help!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Yes, your timeframe sounds similar to mine. During the last two weeks I usually did 1 questions set per day of questions that I had missed, and I then cut the remaining time into thirds. 1/3 going through FA from start to finish as fast as I could, 1/3 going through pathoma again, 1/3 reviewing all my flashcards. I felt like this was a stellar way to review the massive amount of information that you just finished learning.

  54. Ann Reply

    Hi first off thank yyou so much for your post. Its officially time when most of my fellow 2nd years go into hiding and use this time to start studying boards. Our dedicated time starts in April as thats when classes are done. I had a question about learning from USMLERx. So the blog talks about UWORLD but i wanted to know if you coould elaborate more on how you used USMLERx to learn from prior to starting UWORD. For example, since USMLERx is question bank format of FA did you annotate anything from Rx into FA book? Also if you needed a better understanding of a topic did you use any other sources to figure out the topic. For example I did question: vignette said pt had itchniness and fatigue over 3mos, PMHx colon resection, path pic shows polyps, PE: (+) scleral icterus, US sowed: obliteration of intrahepatic bile duct. Question asked what is this associated with. Answer: Ulcerative colitis. Now how do you use this information when you go back into FA? ALso would you be able to send me your flash cards also? tHANKS

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I reviewed USMLErx in a similar manner to how I describe using uworld. However, I did USMLErx by category, as that helped me cement knowledge into place better. Yes, I did annotate FA while doing USMLErx, but only if the crux of the question wasn’t already stated in FA. With your example, I would’ve gone to the page in FA on ulcerative colitis, and next to ulcerative colitis I would’ve written “Intrahepatic bile duct obliteration, scleral icterus, itchiness and fatigue” assuming those things aren’t already in the text. I just sent the cards. Happy studying!

  55. Ann Reply

    Hello sorry I had another question, based on your schedule above. Does this mean that you started off with USMLE Rx Qbank doing sets of about 44 questions off the bat and did not build up to 44.
    -also USMLE Rx has about 2400 questions and Uworld about the same also–> Your flashcards only have about 1500 cards–> did you make a gem for each question in both qbanks or just topics you could not remember? And did you flashcard gems match what you put in your notebook of gems?

    Lastly–>are your gems phrased as questions or just notes? can you give an example?
    Thank you

    Thank you 🙂

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Yes, I started off doing a full question set of USMLE RX. As far as question gems, I only made them for questions that I missed. The number of cards is also lower than it should be, because I didn’t come up with this system until about halfway through USMLERx.

      Here are some examples of gems:

      “OCP’s decrease risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. Slightly increase risk for breast and cervical cancer.”

      “Hypomagnesemia can cause hypocalcemia”

      “Wiskot Aldrich is a problem with cytoskeleton formation”

      You can then turn these into questions for flashcards.

  56. Rani Reply

    Thanks for this great post – it’s been very helpful in how I approach learning the facts I do not know in missed questions. I’m curious as to how you incorporate the question gems that you’ve shared in the comments section as Anki flashcards. Would you mind sharing some of the cards of your deck? Thanks again for sharing your advice!

  57. Hannah Reply

    Could I bother you to request your cards as well? Thank you for the detailed advice and responses!

  58. Lola Reply

    Hi, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I have been going through first aid for 2weeks now and it does not seem am able to retain any information because am Just reading through without aim or achieving any particular answer to question. So have decided to do uworld question banks along with first aid and pathoma to help me retain information, what do you think? Do u think with that I can proudly say I covered first aid from cover to cover? Because I don’t really know how people retain I formation reading a first from cover to cover.Thanks and pls I wouldn’t mind ur anki flash cards. Am img graduate who studied medicine with a different Lang entirely, what do you advice pls?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      In my experience, reading First Aid cover to cover is pretty low yield until after you have done lots of questions and annotated first aid. I did two question banks, using first aid as a reference while correcting my question sets. Only after I had completed those question banks did I read first aid cover to cover, and this felt much more productive. I just sent you my cards. Good luck!

  59. Gloria Reply

    This is so helpful! Thank you for sharing this!! I have a question regarding the handwritten notebook, how did you go about writing the notes? Were they separated by section or organ system? How did you organize the notebook so that you could be efficient in finding the topics when needed? Also would you mind sending a sample of your anki flashdeck, I too want an Anki deck for UWorld but want to know how to structure it?
    For the most part I have been doing 20 -25 question sets and typing up my notes onto a Word document instead of handwriting it? How many question sets did you do for your blocks in the morning?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I just sent the cards! I did not organize my notebook in any way. If I needed to look something up I used the search function on anki. As far as question sets I think we are using different terminology. I define a question set as a full block of questions (44 I believe). So every morning I did 3 complete question sets (or blocks), which was 132 total questions.

  60. Tracy Reply

    Great post! Have you completed step 2 CK yet? If so, what was your study plan for that?

  61. Sarah Reply

    Amazing post! You mentioned that the last few weeks you did practice tests every week. Did you use NBMEs? If so, which ones?
    Thank you Thank you!!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Yes, I used several NBME’s, giving preference to the most recent ones. I also used both Uworld practice tests.

  62. Nush Reply

    Thank you soooo much!! for your detailed post! it’s awesome!! I wish I had seen this earlier… But better late than never! Can I please request you for your flash cards too? Thanks again! Keep up the good work!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the post! I just sent you the flash cards. Good luck studying!

  63. Gshock Reply

    Thank you for these posts. I am so glad I found them just as I start studying for my Step 1. I was also planning on doing Rx first then follow it up with UWorld during dedicated. I will only have 5-6 weeks of it, so I am doing a question block of Rx a day now.

    I didn’t think about the flash cards and gem notebook, I am going to steal that and incorporate it into my study methods from now on. Hope you don’t mind :). Can I also get a sample of your flash cards, so I can get a better idea of how to incorporate these gem facts? Thank you.

    I have also been doing 100 new cards/day of Brosencephelon deck and I was wondering how much stock you put in that. I like them, but the reviews can get long, and after doing 700 cards/day, like today, I just can’t bring myself to study anymore haha. Thank you again.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Just sent my flashcards. I didn’t use the brosencephelon deck, but I have heard good things about it. Good luck studying!

  64. Daniel Barber Reply

    Hi ! My name is Daniel and I am IMG from Romania. I have bought UWorld account couple days ago. I’ve activated it but I used it less than 0%. My plans totaly changed and I am not going to use it anymore. I am going to sell it .

    So if you are interested you can get it for 250$ ( 350 $ real price ) and maybe you know somebody who need UWorld Self

    Assessment! Please contact me in private messages!

  65. MS2 Reply

    Thank you so much for your comprehensive overview. I can totally attest to the fear of not using my crazy expensive Qbank to the best of my/its benefit. I’m an MS2, and have been implementing a very similar plan to yours. I am currently working through Qmax by organ system on tutor mode. I was wondering how you approached going through organ systems in rx? Did you do it timed and review each section at the end (like in UWorld) or question by question?

    Also, I was wondering if you could elaborate a little more on the utility of approaching UWorld questions on random right from the get go? I’ve heard recommendations from both sides, and wanted to know if you thought it was a major pro tip for scoring >250. Lastly, I would be very grateful if you could send me your Anki cards as well, so that I can compare them to the level of how I’ve been making mine? Thank you again so much for your kindness in helping others conquer the dreaded step 1 – and much CONGRATS to you and Mrs. DA (it takes a village :D) on matching into Optho!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Thank you for your congratulations! When I did RX I did it by organ system, not timed, and not on tutor mode. For some reason I just preferred to stay in the mindset of answering questions before I had to correct a question set.

      For Uworld, I really liked starting on random and timed from the get-go, because this test is all about learning how to think quickly and to be prepared to answer the most random of questions. It is as much about training your brain to tackle brand new problems as it is about learning the material. That being said, you would probably be fine either way. I just sent the flashcards. Good luck studying!!!

  66. Rachel Reply

    Hey! This post is awesome, I’ve been referencing your blogs a lot recently so thank you.
    Did you do anki for the usmle rx too? or just uworld? I’ve been doing anki with usmle rx but I feel like I am just making flashcards for the whole first aid book. I don’t seem to have that problem with my uworld anki cards so I was just curious. How long are your anki flashcards?
    Thank you,
    Rachel

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I started anki about halfway through rx. You are correct about RX mostly producing flashcards straight out of first aid. I actually think this is one of the big benefits of doing RX first, because you get a solid first-pass through first aid and you are actually seeing the material presented in question format. Doing anki flaschards based off of RX can only help you, as it is solidifying first aid basics.

      I just sent you my flashcards as an example. As always, I encourage people to make their own, but feel free to use mine as an example.

      • Drew Reply

        I received your Anki cards but they appear to be straight RX.
        Do you have Anki for UW?
        I use another Anki deck for UW by Ironslave.

        • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

          The deck includes concepts I learned from both question banks. I only made 1 deck.

  67. Preeta Gupta Reply

    Hi, thank you very much for this post! Could you please also send me a copy of those anki flashcards, so that I could get an example of how to make them?

    I am about to start my dedicated study period (8 weeks until the test), and I have been working on the Kaplan Q bank, did not know about the USMLE Rx q bank. Do you recommend going right into UWorld in this case? Thanks!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      If you have been working on Kaplan Q Bank, then you will probably be all right to start UWorld. You can calculate out how long it will take you to finish UWorld at your current pace and then see if you have any time to spend on other qbanks. I just sent you the cards.

  68. Charles Reply

    Thank you for your post! I was wondering, how did you manage to keep up with all your Anki reviews in just an hour? I find that my Anki reviews pile up every day even after I review them, and it seems almost impossible to review several hundred cards in one evening.

    Also could you please send me a copy of those Anki flashcards? Thanks!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I adjusted the review system so that I reviewed 50 old cards each night, as well as all the new cards from that day. At first you will get really behind, but as time goes on you will start getting more questions correct, which means you make less cards, allowing you to catch up. Also, I finished UWorld with a week and a half to go before my test, which meant I had 1.5 weeks to really study the rest of my anki cards.

      I just sent the cards. Good luck!

      • Mikey Palangio Reply

        Mr. DebtAnatomy,

        Thank you very much for your insightful approach to preparing for the USMLE Step 1. I just recently discovered Anki cards, and it is taking me a very long time to make my own cards, and I am still trying to learn how to use the program, in a way that maximizes my learning. Could kindly please email me your the set of cards you used to help me out. My email is mikey.palangio@gmail.com

        Thank you very much.

  69. Ann Reply

    As you did the questions for Usmle Rx did you do them with the first aid book or did you rely on what you remembered? I wasnt sure since you used USMLERx more as a learning tool.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Great question!! I did USMLERx questions without help from first aid, although when correcting the questions I definitely used first aid. I wanted to test myself as well as learn from it. A big part of this test is teaching your brain how to confront new questions and material.

  70. Sanjeevani Reply

    Thank you for taking the time out to write this amazing post. I am currently in the process of watching the video lectures and reading the corresponding text alongside (mostly Kaplan and Pathoma). However, this is proving to be extremely time consuming as I have been pausing the lectures to add additional info from the lectures into the lecture notes. So, would you suggest just going through the lectures without reading the text or vice versa? Did you follow the text while watching Pathoma? Also, could you please send me your Anki cards. TIA

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      The first pass through pathoma I watched the videos. I used an application to speed up the videos because it took too long. After that I just reviewed the text.

      Just sent the cards. Good luck!

  71. Khalil Reply

    thank you sooo much for this important information . doing UW .I was trying to learn every thing in the question and it is really hard so I will follow your advice. Can I get your flash cards please. thank you again

  72. Manik Reply

    Great review Sir, Do you really think Doing Uworld @ Random is better and could you please share your Anki Deck. Thank you.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I do think doing questions on random is better. A big part of this test is teaching your brain how to confront a myriad of subjects. I think practicing this on a consistent basis is helpful. Just sent the anki deck. Good luck!

  73. Razan Elsheikh Reply

    Hello doctor, thank you so much for the awesome advice and guidance! Super helpful 🙂 this has definitely encouraged me to start making my own flashcards 🙂 could u please send me yours as i think they would be very useful? Thanks in advance

  74. Viv Reply

    Hey Mr. DebtAnatomy, could you please send me your anki deck? thank you so much by the way!

  75. Sanaz Ebrahimi Reply

    Hey there!
    Thanks for this post! It was so so helpful! Would you mind sending me your Anki deck as well? I would be forever grateful! 🙂

  76. vin Reply

    Thank you so much. I am currently preparing for the step 2 ck (done with cs and step 1) can you kindly write a similar blog post about your step 2 ck preparation strategy and how you have used uworld? I am having great difficulty with ck and currently using USMLE-RX qbank before moving to uworld. I don’t know which text to use as there is no consensus.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Great question. I will admit that I did not try as hard on step 2 as I did on step 1, because I was very comfortable with my step 1 score, and decided I wasn’t going to release my step 2 score to the ophthalmology programs I was applying to. I went through uworld with a similar strategy as above, and I read some of step 2 secrets. I got a decent score, but didn’t knock it out of the park because I didn’t need to. Sorry I can’t be of more help. I do want to write a summary of what I did for step 2, but it won’t be as detailed as my step 1 posts simply because I didn’t go to the same effort for step 2. From what I read of step 2 secrets, it seemed very useful.

      • vin Reply

        Thank you very much for your response. I am grateful for your advice. I did use step 2 secrets initially but since conrad Fischer said there were a lot of mistakes I avoided it but I will open it again as it helped you and you have done fairly well on the test as you mentioned. Would you also recommend the question gem strategy for step 2? I guess it is important to not drown in to the details. Really, words cannot thank you enough for sharing your experience with all of us and helping us. If it is not too much to ask would you mind sharing with me your step 1 and/or step 2 ck anki deck? It’s ok if you cannot too I understand 🙂 thank you so much though. I wish you alllll the success In your career.

        • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

          I’m glad I can help! I would definitely recommend using the question gem strategy if you are looking to score highly on step 2. I will send you my anki deck for step 1. I do not have the one I made for step 2 unfortunately. Good luck!!!!

  77. Abby Reply

    Very helpful post indeed. This is what i am planing to do at the first place and ur post ease my stress by showing that it works. Can i also ve a copy of ur ankideck just to get an idea how they are look like, cause I ve tendency to make flash cards longer. Thanks a lot

  78. Ibro Reply

    Many thanks for the wonderful step wise
    summary of your experience. It is really very
    helpful. Do you have any tips how harmonize
    studing lecture notes like Kaplan, Pathoma,
    FA and doing the questions at early stage of
    Preparing for Step 1.I am at cross road whether
    to focus first to skim the notes and start doing the questions ….or dive on the questions and use
    them as main study resource?
    I really appreciate if you share me also your
    Flash card and if possible the Anki deck.
    Thanks!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I am a big fan of using the question banks as your main study resource, starting with usmlerx. I then used pathoma and FA on the side to take breaks from the qbanks throughout the day. I just sent the flashcards. Good luck!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      A question gem is a term I created that describes the exact concept that caused you to miss a question. Question explanations contain a LOT of extra information. In order to simplify studying, I would read the whole explanation quickly, but then determine the exact reason whey I missed the question. I would turn this piece of information into a sentence, and then write it in my notebook. This meant that I ended up collecting thousands of pieces of information that had caused me to miss questions. If you correctly identify and learn your question gems, then you should always get those types of questions correct in the future. Does that help?

  79. Abbas Rizvi Reply

    Very well written. Bravo. Using usmlerx early on is truly a great benefit. Hope I can get the anki deck too 😊

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I used costanzo to study physiology for my normal class tests, and I listened to Goljan during interview trips for step 2. I think goljan would be fairly useful, although I prefer pathoma. Costanzo might be useful just to look up something if you have forgotten it, but I wouldn’t use it as a main step 1 resource.

  80. DrK Reply

    Hey DA,

    Thanks for this helpful post, Could you please send me your anki deck?, appreciated and best of luck 🙂

  81. Ludovica Reply

    Hi! Thank you for your post! It was very helpful! Can I ask you if you can sand me your flashcards and ainki devo please? Thank you so much 🙂

  82. Andrew Reply

    hello, thank you so much for this post. would you be able to send me the anki deck as well? id really appreciate it. thank you!!

  83. MSII Reply

    Hi,

    I was planning on following a schedule similar to this. I was just hoping to get a sample of the question gem cards.

    Thanks!

  84. azhar Reply

    i am so slow in reading explanations any tip. it take me a whole day to do just 1 question set.

    any advice on how to go faster on uworld explanations??

    thnk you

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      That’s a difficult question and I am afraid there’s not a simple solution. If you are normally a fast reader then maybe all it will take is some practice. I definitely got faster at reading the explanations as days went on. Another thing that might slow you down is if you are going into too much detail. I would speed read the explanation, but only focus on the reason you got it wrong. Then you just have to trust that you will later review the rest of the information contained in the explanation in future questions.

  85. azhar Reply

    thanks alot….
    -my problem has been getting stuck in details…i am obsessed with detail..
    -i recently started doing speed reading and it helped but i was not sure if i was retaining the information.

    thanks i am gonna focus on 1 purpose of the question and speed read the explanation.

  86. Wil J. Reply

    Hiii,
    You are very informative, I like the post. Would you mind to send me your Ankideck please?

  87. Jc Reply

    Thanks for the info. Would you be able to send over the flashcards? Very much appreciated, thank you!

  88. Ari Reply

    To join the bandwangon, can i also have access to the anki cards and gem questions?

    Thank you

    Youre so helpful!!

  89. Charlene Chalmers Reply

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m so glad I found this because every other step study schedule I’ve found has them reading straight through First Aid, but I’ve found that reading a text does nothing for my retention of the material.

    So I’m nearing the end of second year and I’ve been doing organ related questions from Uworld throughout this year, cardio questions in my Cardio phase and so on. I’m about halfway through Uworld now, and still have renal and endocrine to go before my step study period. Would you recommend stopping Uworld now, doing UsmleRx and finishing it before study period, and then going through Uworld from the beginning during study time? Or finish Uworld now, start making the gem cards for the questions I have left, and then go through UsmleRx when study period starts? Please let me know what you think!

    Also would you send me your Anki cards so I can see how they are set up? I’m so thankful for all your insight and suggestions!!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Thanks for your comment!! Great question, and one that might not have the perfect answer. I would probably recommend stopping uworld now and starting UsmleRX. Once you finish UsmleRx, start Uworld from the beginning. The reason I say this is because Uworld is not only important for the content, but it is also important for teaching your brain to think through difficult questions. A solid and unfettered pass through uworld immediately before you take the real test is ideal. UsmleRx, on the other hand, is more content based and basically walks you through most of First Aid.

      I just sent you the cards. Good luck!

  90. Anne Reply

    This is fantastic advice! I think I am going to do the exactly same study strategy as you!

    Could you please send me your Anki deck as well? Thank you so much!!!

  91. shaweta khosa Reply

    hi if we are writing the samething in first aid gem and then question bank gem notebook what is the differnce ? y o we have write it again and again, CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT DO U MEAN BY QUESTION BANK GEM BOOK ?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      The notebook is where you summarize the main concept that caused you to miss the question. This means that by the end of your study period you will have a notebook full of facts that you didn’t know before you did the question banks. As far as annotating it in First Aid, what I did was look in First Aid for the information. If it was there in its completeness, then I would just read it. If it wasn’t there fully, then I would write it in. You certainly don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, and you should definitely make adjustments for what works best for you. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  92. Mike Reply

    Thank you for post and amazing responses to everyone!

    My question is similar to the previous one. If I were to start from scratch, would you recommend doing all of both UWORLD+Kaplan QBank for the next 2 months (feasible only 40q of each a day) then entire UWORLD again during intensive period? Or just Kaplan now, UWORLD during intensive?

    Also, could you plesae send me your Anki deck?

    Thank you so much!!!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I would save UWorld for the intensive period. If Kaplan QBank isn’t enough to keep you buys before the intense period, then I would suggest doing USMLERx as well. In summary, instead of doing UWorld + Kaplan and then Uworld again during the intensive study period, I would suggest doing USMLERx + Kaplan, and then Uworld during your intensive study period.

      Just sent the cards. Good luck!

  93. Alex Reply

    Thank you so much for the post! Would you please send me your Anki cards?

  94. Jake Reply

    Thank you so much for your post! I stumbled onto this page as I am panicking about the usmle this summer and your post helped calm me down.

    I have about 2 months of school left and then about 2 months of dedicated study time. Most of my classmates are planning on doing uworld twice. I tried a few uworld questions and I got demolished. I then tried to just study first aid and I find it hard to read because it is a series of bullet points.

    So I got the usmlerx question bank to help me read first aid and I want to run through it by subject just like you did. My question is do you think it is feasible to run through the rx questions along with first aid while finishing up school? I think it works out to 40q’s a day or so for 2 months. When school is done I think I can finish uworld in about a month of dedicated study time.

    Also, when you set up the rx questions, did you use the “easy” questions or just the “medium” and “hard” sets? For some reason the easy questions are never ticked on by default.

    Thanks again!!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Hello! Great question. Depending on the difficulty of your school’s curriculum, I would say that it could be possible to do all of USMLERx while finishing up the school year. I did a fair amount of USMLERx before I finished school, and found it manageable.

      I would do all the questions, including the easy questions. Some of the easy questions can be quite hard, and at they very least they are a good review.

      Overall, I think doing USMLERx and Uworld once is a lot more productive than doing just uworld twice. Happy studying!

  95. AldoF MD Reply

    Very informative post, thank you. I would appreciate it if you could send me your anki flash cards 🙂

  96. Love Reply

    Loved the post. I’m an M1 and I’ve been using Anki for my 2nd semester and it has really helped out. Would you mind sending your cards? I’m always looking for examples on how to improve card-writing ability.

  97. Chinwe Reply

    Thank you so much for this great share!!! Please can I kindly get your anki cards?! I have 2 months to go and I just started Uworld today.

  98. Richard Reply

    thank you for your advice. would you please send me your anki cards, just so I can have an idea to model after.

  99. Laura Reply

    Thank you so much for your post (again because I already thanked you a while ago hahaha). And thank you for being so kind hearted!
    Could you please send me your anki cards too?

    Thanks!!

  100. Kelly Reply

    Hi Mr. DA,

    Thank you SO much for your helpful post. I have about 3.5 weeks left before my exam.
    Throughout my studying, I first tried typing a word doc of notes from the gems, which turned into a MASSIVE, overwhelming document I have still refused to read haha. Most recently I’ve tried voice recording questions based on gems and other important stuff from the answers to Uworld, which is great for walks/cars, but not good at all for space repetition and has probably been a waste of time. I always annotate first aid and read the page.

    I’m not nearly where I want to be score-wise, and I think that your plan and anki could be a game changer for me. (I wish I had read this earlier and done Rx *sigh*). Do you think it is too late to start anki? I only have 25% left of uworld. I plan to do my missed questions too.
    I’m going to try to resist the urge to read first aid (which is so hard for me) and stick with your plan of solely referring when I miss in Uworld + do pathoma & sketchy. I’ve made some quizlets on high yield tables but don’t know how often / when to study…

    If you don’t mind sending along your anki cards and providing any advice I would be forever grateful for your generosity. Thank you so much!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Great questions! With 3.5 weeks left, you want to be careful to avoid completely overhauling your plan. Sometimes persistently and patiently pushing forward is the right way to proceed. The decision of how much to change your plan is up to you, because only you know exactly how you are doing. But I would think carefully before changing your plan radically at this point. Focus on getting through uworld productively, and start using anki. If you finish uworld and still have some leftover time then I would try to get through as much usmlerx as possible. That will help you get through more first aid.

      Just sent you the cards. Good luck! Rock that test!

      I just sent you the cards. Good luck studying!

      • Kelly Reply

        Thank you so much for your advice and the cards!
        I saw on another blog of yours that you used microcards and lange pharm cards? How did you integrate this into your designated study time? Or did you just focus on the cards you made in Anki?

        I’ve been using most of my day doing UWorld and making/studying flashcards, so I’m not finding much time to do the pre-made cards. The pharm cards seem very helpful but I’m unsure of the microcards. Are these worth doing or is it better just hammering out pharm/micro related Uworld?

        You’re the best– thanks again for the help!!!

        • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

          I used the pharm and micro cards more as an afterthought. I reviewed them in the evenings the week before I took the real test. I had finished uworld by that time, so I had some extra time to review. I found the pharm cards more helpful than the micro cards, because sketchy micro was very thorough. Sketchypharm might be good too, but it wasn’t available when I was studying. So keep on hammering out Uworld and anki, and only use premade cards at the end if you have extra time.

  101. Charlie Reply

    Hello Mr. DA,

    First of all, congratulations on matching into Optho! Your blog has been such an inspiration and this particular post has provided me so much hope and structure for my studying plan. We just started our dedicated 6 weeks and so far I’ve been watching videos along with First Aid and doing about 40 UWorld questions a day. However, as I have realized this past week, that has been a very time consuming process. With that being said, is it too late to start USMLE-RX? Lastly, can I also please get a copy of your Anki cards?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Trying to do UWorld and USMLE-RX in 6 weeks would be pretty tough. I would focus on getting through UWorld, and then do some of USMLE-RX if you have extra time.

      Just sent you the cards. Good luck!

  102. ipsita.t Reply

    This was really a well written and extremely helpful write up!! Thanks a lot!!! Is it possible to have the anki flashcards of yours?? Thanks a lot again!!

  103. Feruza Reply

    Could you please also send your anki cards?dId u use Kaplan lectures? Thank you.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Just sent the cards. I did not use Kaplan lectures, so I cannot comment on whether or not they are good. Good luck studying!

  104. Bojangles Reply

    Could you send me examples of your anki cards? Thanks for the helpful post!

  105. Mia Reply

    Hi Mr. DA,

    I’m really glad I found this post at the very beginning of my study block. I’d been feeling very lost about how to approach my study strategy, and your post hit on every tactic that I’d wanted to incorporate but wasn’t sure how to. Thank you so much for the advice you’ve put out for everyone!

    I know many, many people have asked already, but would it be possible to get a copy of your Anki cards? I’m going to try my hand at making my own while going through UWorld, but I think it’ll be helpful to have another set to go through as well. Thank you in advance!

    (Also congrats on matching into your dream program!)

  106. Ria Reply

    Congrats on your match. Sharing your experience and responding to each and every message shows your passion in medicine and your willingness to help others. It is good to know people like you exist. I would really appreciate if you could send me your anki card. I plan to make my own but it will be better to have yours as a reference. Thank you so much!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Thank you for your kind words. I apologize for my late delay. I was overseas with limited internet connection. I just sent you the cards. Hope they help!

  107. Brian Reply

    Thank you for your amazing advice. Could you please send me your anki cards?

  108. Gurcharan Reply

    Can you please send me your flashcards? Thank you in advance, and also for this reassuring and insightful post!

  109. bobbyjoes Reply

    HI. Just wanted to say how much i appreciate your post and how helpful this all was!

    Could you please send me a copy of your anki deck as well?

    Much appreciated!!!

  110. Mand91 Reply

    Hi, thank you for the post!! Would you share your anki set with me as well?

    Best to you!

  111. Kelechi Nduka Reply

    Hey I know you’ve heard this a lot lol Can you please send me your anki flashcards?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Sorry for the late reply! Somehow your comment ended up in my spam folder. I sent sent the cards. Best of luck!

  112. Preeta Reply

    Thanks for this post! Could you please send me a copy of your anki cards? Thanks so much!

  113. Kala Reply

    New to this whole anki flashcard thing. I have already been annoying in FA and writing down the main points from each question in a word document. How did you turn those into anki flashcards? Did you make your statement into a question? Just confused on the best way to transition a summary statement to anki. Any examples would be a great help! Thank you!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Take a look at the cards to see an example. Just sent them. I hope they help!

  114. Allison Reply

    Hi,

    This is a great post! Can you please send me your anki cards? Thanks 🙂

  115. Pit Reply

    This is a great post! Can you please send me your anki flash cards!) Thank you very much!)

  116. Taryn Reply

    Thank you so much for your post and congrats on your recent match! I’ve found your post to be some of the most useful advice for my study style as I move into dedicated study time. Would you mind sending me your anki cards as well to reference? Thank you in advance!

  117. Charlene Chalmers Reply

    Hi thank you so much for sending your Anki cards, they’ve been really helpful! I have a question, when you were making your cards did you put all of them into one deck and then study from that deck every night? Or did you separate the decks based on topic? Thank you for all your suggestions, it’s been a life saver!!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I ended up putting them all in a single deck. I liked being presented with a massive variety of topics, just like the real test. Hope that helps. Good luck!

      • Kit Reply

        Hey, sorry to ask but any chance you could also send me your Aniki cards? I’d really appreciate it.

  118. Charlene Chalmers Reply

    That’s what I was thinking, sounds good to me! Board studying starts on Monday, kind of freaking out but I feel good about having this study schedule. Thanks again for all your help!!!

  119. Future Doc Reply

    Thank you so much for the post! So I’m in a interesting situation, I have been given an extension of time to study and now my exam is on May 22nd. I have completed most of UWorld but believe that I was not learning from the QBank as I was supposed to. I have about 500 questions left. My plan is to finish the QBank and then go through it a second time employing the technique you suggested? Do you think this is a good idea? Also, can you send me the Anki deck?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Sorry for the late reply. Yes, if you feel like you didn’t learn the material from the Qbanks, then it would probably be useful to go through it again thoroughly. Just sent you the cards. Best of luck!

  120. Natalie Reply

    Thanks for the great post. Could you send me your Anki cards with the Question Gems so that I can get an idea what I should be including and a good format for the cards I will be making?

  121. Thiri Reply

    Thanks for this post. Can you please send me your anki cards? Thank you in advance.

  122. Dee Reply

    Thanks for the great post, it was just what I was hoping to find! Can you please send me your Anki cards? Thank you so much in advance, & looking forward to reading more of your posts for that extra boost!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      You’re very welcome! Just sent the cards. Good luck!

  123. Bella Reply

    Hey Mr. DA, I really appreciate you sharing your study techniques and advice. I have finally found a method that will help me to be more focused and efficient in annotating. I am wondering if you would recommend this same method when studying for Step 2? I am trying my best to rock it to achieve my dream residency.

    If you don’t mind, can you send me your Anki cards as well? I would really appreciate referring to them as a reference. Thanks again for all your help, I appreciate it so much!! =)

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I did a similar approach to Step 2, but I will admit that I watered it down and wasn’t worried about scoring high. I studied a lot fewer hours and for only a few weeks. I decided not to release my scores to my programs because I was comfortable with my Step 1 score. So yes, I used this method, but I didn’t try as hard, and I scored decently but I didn’t knock it out of the park. My goal was just to pass, because I knew I wasn’t going to share my score with my programs until after interviews and the match.

      Just sent the cards. Hope they help!

  124. Nic Chan Reply

    Hi! is it alright for me to ask a copy of your flashcards as well? i’m an International student graduating this july and have a year of internship which i plan to use as a study time as well for step 1. i actually don’t know how to make flashcards of my own and am hoping to use yours as a guide.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Sounds like you have a good amount of time to study! Just sent the cards. Good luck!

  125. Sarah Reply

    Wonderful read, going to follow a very similar schedule! Could you send me your Anki Flash Cards? thanks!!!

  126. Shawn Reply

    Thank you! Great post! Do you have any advice or suggestions for the Step 2 CK exam?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      My advice for Step 2 CK is limited. The reason for this is because there’s a strategy in applying to ophthalmology: If you are happy with your step 1 score, then you purposely delay taking step 2 so that programs don’t see your score. I went this route, which meant I didn’t really care what I got on Step 2, as long as I passed it and scored good enough that it wouldn’t spook intern years.

      What I ended up using was a method similar to the one I used for Step 1, but very watered down. I used very little resources outside of uworld, question gems, and flash cards. I did read some of First Aid, which was pretty poor for Step 2. Step 2 secrets was decent, but I only read the first 20 pages or so. Due to my lack of effort, I have refrained from writing a post on Step 2 strategies, because some people really need to boost their scores and I wouldn’t want to lead them astray, seeing as how that is not the route I took.

      Not sure if you wanted the cards, but I just emailed them to you just in case.

  127. Maria Reply

    Hi, thank you so much for the post! It’s been super helpful. Would you mind sending me your anki deck? thank you!

  128. John Reply

    Thanks for this great post! Can you please send me a copy of your anki deck? Thanks!

      • Sarah Reply

        I have been reading countless posts about how to study for Step 1 and I can honestly say this is both the most humble and thorough post I’ve come across. Thank you so so much for taking the time to write this out for everyone here and being so willing to share your deck! I’d very much appreciate a copy as well!

        • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

          Thank you for the very kind comment! I just sent you the cards. Hope they help. And good luck on the test!

  129. Kevin Reply

    Great post. Can I grab a copy of your card too. Also when you reviewed the relevant section of a question you missed in uworld, did you try to memorize the all the patho -physio mechn. , symptoms, causes, right then and there (uworld explanation/FA)? When I try to do this, my review takes forever and i eventually forget most of what i tried to memorize by the end of the day.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I tried to focus on the main crux of the question, while still quickly reviewing the path, physio, mechanism, etc. Otherwise it takes too long, as you said.

      Just sent the cards. Hope they help!

  130. Lynn Reply

    Hi Mr. DA, thank you for your suggestions! I am wondering if you could send me your ANKI cards so I can get an idea of what kind of cards to make. Thank you in advance!

  131. Avani Reply

    Hi, I just wanted to thank you for your post. It really helped me revamp my study schedule. If it’ s not too much trouble I was wondering if I could get a copy of your cards. I recently discovered anki and feel like revising cards are the key. Thank you so much for your help and I hope you have a great day!

  132. StudentMD Reply

    Hi very informative post! and NO I am NOT asking for your flashcards 😉
    my exam in less than 4 weeks. I just completed U-wrold prior to final exams but still have a lot of questions left with USMLE Rx (I really wish I had stumbled across your post earlier).
    I really like your technique of doing multiple question sets a day because I cannot read FA, it’s really great at making me fall asleep! So I am starting to forget things that I learned just weeks ago.
    My question is when were you able to review your “question gem notebook” outside of the days that you created them, because I have been using a similar technique but in trying to meet my goals for the day I am finding it harder and harder to go back to my notes.
    Lastly is there any particular order you recommend taking the practice NBMEs I hear some of them are harder than the real STEP1 and it would suck to take one of those and feel defeated so close to my exam date.
    Thank you!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Great questions! I usually focused more on reviewing my flashcards at the end of every night as opposed to my question gem notebook. I studied the question gem notebook the week before my test when I was doing fewer question sets per day.

      I would recommend taking the older NBMEs first (the lower the number, the older). That way you are hitting the more up-to-date practice tests closer to the real thing.

  133. Michael Reply

    Thanks for the write-up! I’m half way through my board studying and am going to switch over to taking question blocks back to back then going over them all at once. I feel like I spend 2-3 hours going over one question block and it’s taking forever. Hopefully your method narrows it down for me!

    Can I also get your anki cards please? Thanks a bunch!!

  134. Dave Reply

    Thank you for this awesome post! Can I please get a copy of your Anki cards?

  135. Mickey Reply

    What percent were you getting correct in UWorld during this process?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I started in the low to mid 60’s, then spent most of the time in the low 70’s, and at the end was around mid 70’s, with the occasional score in the 80’s and even a few in the 90’s. However, I also would still randomly score in the 50’s and 60’s. But I think my final average was around 72%

  136. dania Reply

    Thank you so much for all your advice! It’s really helpful. Is it possible that you could send me a copy of your Anki cards? Thank you!

  137. Jordan Reply

    Hi! Really liked your post. Can I get your anki cards? I just started using them and I really like it.

    • Jordan Reply

      Also why do you think it saves time to do all the blocks first and then review? I typically do a block and then review but I’m considering trying it your way.

      • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

        Good question. I think the biggest reason is because you end up taking fewer breaks because you aren’t switching between questions and then reviews. I was skeptical when a fellow student encouraged me to try it, but I was happily surprised to find that it worked for me.

  138. Fiteh Reply

    Hi, i found your post really helpful!! Thank you! I also have a question as how you watch pathoma or other videos at the end of your day for 1hr? do you randomly watch it? or select videos of your weak areas? or based on your question gem you made that day? thank you. Will you be able to send me a copy of your Anki cards please?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I preferred to work through pathoma systematically from beginning to end. I don’t see anything wrong with trying to target it to your needs, but by the end of the day I was too tired to strategize and figured a chronological approach was the most straight forward. Just sent the cards. Good luck!

  139. Emmanuel Reply

    Hi could you send me your flash cards please? Great post BTW thanks

  140. Antonio Reply

    At a time when it feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day and I feel as if i’m treading water…i’m happy I have come across your advice/experience.
    I’ve started a question gem, hopefully not too late.
    I’d be happy if I could add your Gem’s to my knowledge bank!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Hope studying is going well! I just sent the cards. Good luck!

  141. Evan Vidal Reply

    Hello, thanks for your awesome post. Would you please send me a copy of your cards as well?

    also wanted to ask you what would be the best use of my time in 1st year summer? I was planning on getting through pathoma and all the sketchy micro videos. would it be too early to start a qbank like usmlerx and doing question gems? I always feel pressed for time during the school year once classes start.

    I am a huge anki fan too but I also like having a sheet of paper/notebook where i can see all of my high yield facts in one place instead of only coming up through spaced repetition with anki, so i was wondering if this is why you combine the notebook with anki cards as i havent seen that recomended before but it seems to fit my study style better as well. I apologize for the lengthy question, thank you so much!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Just sent a copy of the cards. Hope they help!

      In general I don’t think you need to study a ton during summer of first year, unless your chool gives you very little dedicated study time. A better use of your time would be to find a good research mentor and get some publications. Remember, a step 1 score is only one important piece of your application. I also encourage students to have fun during that summer. If you must study, a light first pass through pathoma and sketchy micro couldn’t hurt, but it really isn’t going to stick in most people’s brains for very long. I tried to study during my summer after 1st year and after a week decided that biking and fishing would prepare me for the coming school year just as much 🙂

      I agree with you that a high yield notebook is nice to be able to see all your learned facts in one space at once. Good luck!

  142. moe Reply

    Thanks for your post, is very helpful! Am currently reviewing my basic science materials. I personally feel like i have forgotten everything and need to reteach myself all over again. So i purchased Usmle rx qbank and saved uworld for later. This week is my first week and my aim is to review materials subject by subject. For example i started with histology since i forgot almost everything of it by watching kaplan videos then doing rx qbank histology. finally review explanations by taking notes and looking up concepts that i forgot or needed more info. My questions is how did you learned from Usmle rxqbank and what was your approach to questions whether you had right or wrong? also would you recommend FA flash cards?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      The answer to all your questions can be found in the above post. You can use the same method for RX as you can UWorld. Good luck!

  143. Arm Reply

    Hi,

    Your post on UW / Qbanks is very helpful. I have been struggling with mastering pathology and ended up pushing my test date back to get a full 5 weeks to study for Step 1. I’m trying to improve from 200’s to 230+ and any advice to really learn/remember path would be helpful. I’ve used pathoma which is helpful as it is concise, but it also ends up being a run through of straight facts to me which is hard to internalize.

    I’ve gone through UW 1.5x but was going to ask if you think doing USMLERx alongside UW would help me get through first aid and master concepts (I can’t learn from reading facts). Any thoughts?

    Also, could you send me your flash cards?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      My advice to everyone is that doing Uworld and USMLERx once is much better than solely doing UWorld twice. The more unique questions the better! I would continue hitting questions banks hard (incorporating RX so that you’re seeing new material) and make sure you’re learning the material either by using the methods I describe in the post or you’re own, and on top of that keep going through pathoma and sketchy micro.

      Just sent the cards. Good luck!

  144. Kash Reply

    Hey, I found your advice really helpful. Planning to work on it. And also wanted to know if you annotated anything important from pathoma into First aid. And I just started using Anki and was wondering if you can also send me your flash cards. Thank you so much !!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      I annotated a few things from pathoma into First Aid, but I mainly wrote extra notes on top of the pathoma text. Just sent the cards. Good luck!

  145. Aleksandra Reply

    Hi, thank you for the advice!
    Can you please send me your flashcards?

  146. Jake ashton Reply

    could i have a copy of those anki flashcards as well?
    thanks so much!
    would 5 weeks be enough to get thru uworld, sketchy micro and pathoma?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      That’s a lot to do in 5 weeks, but it is possible. Just sent the cards. Good luck!

  147. ZS Reply

    This post has been super helpful. Could you please send me your flashcards too? Thanks.

  148. Sarah J Reply

    Thanks for all your wonderful advice, I really appreciate it!

    I wanted to ask you, would this similar strategy work with the Kaplan Q bank. I was planning to do the Kaplan Q bank throughout the year with classes (per system and untimed) and then UWorld during my dedicated period.

    Also, could you share your flashcards as well, thank you in advance!!

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      It certainly could work for Kaplan as well. Just sent the cards!

  149. Moe Zaman Reply

    Would you be kind enough to send me your cards Dr.? It’s so great of you to help out the community in such a nice way. Thank you.

  150. J Rich Reply

    Do you suggest getting another qbank with uworld i have 6 weeks till Step?

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      It might be a stretch to complete all of uworld and rx in 6 weeks, but if you are already partway through uworld then it would be very possible.

  151. Andre Reply

    As an IMG, the idea of studying for Step I is daunting and only made more difficult with the overabundance of available resources. Your posts and website have nicely streamlined my approach and I wanted to say thank you for your help! I would be very grateful if you could sent some examples of your anki flashcards.
    Best wishes

  152. Moe Zaman Reply

    Thank you so much for the cards sir, there’s so many cards! May I ask you as to how you studied the anki cards? 100/200 cards each day. Also towards the end, did you just do a couple of rounds of 1000 cards at once? Thank you again.

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Yeah, that is pretty accurate to what I did. Mainly 100 a day, and then the last 2 weeks I tried to do a lot more. Good luck!

  153. Gurp Reply

    I just started Uworld, should I still get Usmlerx sub. and quickly work through those questions?
    Also if you dont mind sending me your flash cards, highly appreciate it.
    Thank you

    • Mr. DebtAnatomy Reply

      Just sent the cards. To answer your other question, if you have the time to do more question sets then you absolutely should! If you don’t have the time, then focus on uworld. Good luck!

  154. Nikita Sijapati Reply

    This was really helpful. Thankyou so much.
    Can I get your Flashcards too?

  155. Arslan Reply

    Can I have the flashcards too, please? Thanks for the amazing advice by the way :’)

      • Neel Tapryal Reply

        Hey Man,
        thanks for your time and effort with the post.

        Have you seen UsmleRx Flash Facts? They are Essentially flash cards based off the First Aid Material.

        Would Love to Compare Your Anki Deck to these cards.

        If you dont mind could you please send me your Anki Flash Card Deck – Thanks a ton Man!!

      • Ed Ago Reply

        Thank u so much for your help with these strategies. Would you be kind enough to help with some of those flashcards.

  156. Suzanne Reply

    Hi! Thank you for the wonderful advice. Will you send me the flashcards too? Thank you 🙂

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