Everything You Need to Know About the USMLE exams

Everything You Need to Know About the USMLE exams

The USMLE exams are some of the most important exams a medical student can take. They are required for anyone who wants to become a licensed doctor in the United States. The exams test your knowledge of all things medical, from physiology and pathology to pharmacology and medical ethics.

The USMLE exams are offered in several different locations across the United States, so there is bound to be one that is close to you. And if you do not pass an exam on your first try, don’t worry, you can retest as many times as you need to.

USMLE Step 1: Overview

The USMLE Step 1 is the first of three tests that you will need to take to become a licensed doctor in the United States.

The Step 1 exam is designed to test your knowledge of the basic sciences, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and pathology. It also tests your ability to apply this knowledge to clinical situations.

The test is eight hours long and consists of 280 questions. It is administered in a computer-based format.

You can find more information about the Step 1 exam on the USMLE website.

USMLE Step 2: Overview

The USMLE Step 2 exam is a required exam for all medical students who want to practice medicine in the United States. It is a three-step process that covers basic medical knowledge and skills.

 

  • The first step is an online assessment that tests your basic science knowledge.
  • The second step is a clinical skills exam that tests your ability to apply that knowledge in a clinical setting.
  • The third step is a Clinical Knowledge exam that tests your understanding of complex medical concepts.

The cost of the USMLE Step 2 exam is $620, and the deadline to register is one month prior to the test date. You must be a licensed medical doctor in order to take the exam.

USMLE Step 3: Overview

The USMLE Step 3 is the final exam in the USMLE sequence. It is a multiple-choice exam that covers all core medical subjects.

The exam is administered in a computer-based format at test centres around the world. It is offered year-round, and results are released within four weeks.

You must pass all three steps of the USMLE in order to receive your medical license. The cost of the Step 3 exam is $395.

How to Become Eligible for the USMLE

In order to become eligible for the USMLE, you must meet certain requirements. You must have completed a course of study at an accredited medical school, and you must have a valid license to practice medicine in the United States.

Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills needed to pass the USMLE exams. The best way to do this is to take one of the many prep courses offered by USMLE. You can also take advance of CandaQbank’s services and get access to hundreds of prep materials.

How to Register and Schedule the USMLE

You can register for the USMLE exams by visiting the official website. The website provides all the information you need to know about the exams, including the cost, steps to write the exams, how to become eligible for the exams, and how to schedule and reschedule the exams.

It is important to note that the registration deadlines are pretty strict, so be sure to register well in advance. You don’t want to miss your opportunity to take the USMLE!

How to schedule your USMLE exams

Now that you know what the USMLE is and what it entails, it’s time to learn how to schedule your exams.

The first step is to ensure you are eligible for the exam. Once you qualify, you can schedule your exams through the NBME website.

Keep in mind that you can only schedule your exams up to six months in advance. If you need to reschedule, there is a fee of $75 per exam. Also, make sure you plan your exams accordingly and give yourself enough time to study for them.

Tips for Taking the USMLE

To get the most out of your USMLE experience, follow these tips:

  1. Study hard and review often. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll do on the exam.
  2. Take practice exams to get a sense of what the real exam will be like.
  3. Get plenty of rest and eat healthy foods in the days leading up to the exam.
  4. Arrive at the testing center early so you can relax and get comfortable before starting the exam.
  5. Pace yourself and answer questions accurately and completely.

Conclusion

You need to be completely prepared before scheduling your USMLE exams. This involves understanding the costs, knowing what is expected of you on the exam day, understanding the scoring system and knowing how to prepare. You should also be familiar with the different steps of the USMLE, so you know what is expected of you. It is important to start preparing early and to seek help if you are struggling.

Schedule your exams well in advance and make sure you are familiar with all the rules and regulations, so there are no surprises on exam day. We wish you the best of luck on your journey to becoming a licensed physician!

Prepare for the USMLE with CandaQbank

The USMLE may seem like a difficult exam to pass but with adequate preparation from CanadaQBank, it will be a breeze. The question bank has more than 3,000 simulated MCQs. All the MCQs cover different important areas in USMLE, and the answers all come with detailed explanation to ensure you retain information and thoroughly understand the concepts.

The tests at CanadaQBank are timed to simulate an examination system. What is even better is that you can access this question bank from anywhere in the world at any time. Our question bank is also upgraded and updated with changes in the curriculum and new information to ensure we provide only the best services.

PLAB vs USMLE – Everything You Need to Know About Medical Exams

PLAB vs USMLE

If you are an international medical graduate (IMG), choosing where you want to work can be a hassle. Usually, people go to the US or UK, but to become a doctor there, you must pass specific licensing exams. These licensing exams are either the USMLE or PLAB, which follow very specific processes and criteria to write.

In the coming paragraph, we will compare both, but you should know that this comparison is not about comparing which exam is better or easier to pass. But to highlight the processes and criteria you need to meet to take each exam.

PLAB

The PLAB stands for Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board. This exam is divided into two parts and ensures that IMGs possess the necessary skills and knowledge to work as a doctor in the UK. When you pass the PLABs, it means that you are eligible to get GMC registration.

GMC registration is an essential part of becoming a medical practitioner in the UK. This is because the certification as a doctor in the UK is governed by the General Medical Council (GMC). However, you should note that the GMC does not give you any degree, only a certificate.

Writing the PLAB

There is no specific point you need the PLAB exam to become a UK doctor. However, it is better to write the exam earlier so far you have gotten a primary qualification in medicine.

The PLAB exam has two parts

  • PLAB 1
  • PLAB 2

PLAB 1

The PLAB 1 has 180 MCQs and lasts three hours. You can only take this exam if you have a primary medical qualification.  You can take this exam anywhere in the world from March and November.  However, in the UK, there are additional dates for the exam in September and June.

To take the PLAB 1, you need to take the IELTS/OET and must get at least a 7.5 overall with a minimum of 7 in all sections. For the OET, you must get a “B”. The OET (Occupation English Test) and IELTS are used to prove your level of proficiency in English.

PLAB 2

The PLAB 2 is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) which tests the participants’ level of clinical knowledge in Medicine. To take the exam, you must pass through 18 stations, each with its examiner that assesses your clinical expertise in real-life situations. These stations span 8 minutes each.

For you to write this exam, you must pass PLAB 1. However, after two years of passing PLAB 1, you can’t take PLAB 2. You must retake PLAB 1.

The cost of the PLAB exam

  • IELTS costs £175
  • OET costs £338
  • PLAB costs £247
  • PLAB costs £906
  • GMC registration costs £53

The total cost for the provisional registration pathway is £1,381 to £1,544. At the same time, the entire complete registration pathway costs £1,489 to £1,991.

Scheduling the PLAB exam

The first thing you should do is create a GMC account. Once you are done creating the account, you then schedule your USMLE exam based on what country you are in.

To find where you can write the PLAB exam overseas, contact the British Council in your country of residence.

 

To prepare for your PLAB exam, you go to CandaQBank.

USMLE

USMLE stands for United States Medical Licensing Examination. You need to write this exam whether you are an IMG or an American medical graduate. The exam is divided into different steps that you must take at specific points in your medical education to become a practising medical practitioner finally.

In the USMLE, there are three steps. The Steps 1, Step 2 and Step 3.

Step 1

The USMLE Step 1 is the first exam you take in the USMLE journey. Step 1 tests your basic knowledge of what a medical student should know about clinical medical practice. The exam contains multiple-choice questions. To take the exam, you must first take the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates).

The exam takes eight hours and is separated into seven blocks that are 60 minutes long each. There are 40 questions per block which sums up to 280 questions.

Step 2

This is the second exam in the USMLE journey. This exam assesses your clinical knowledge in eight 60-minute long blocks. In this exam, you will cover areas such as the Blood & Lymph System, Behavioral Health, Immune System, Medicine, Psychiatry and Surgery.

Step 3

This is the final part of the USMLE exam and typically lasts for two days. On the first day, you will cover about 223 questions in 6 blocks. Each block is 60 minutes, but the entire exam lasts for 7 hours.

On the second day, you must first undergo a 9-hour exam. The exam is divided into six blocks and contains 180 questions. After the exam, you then have to face 13 case simulations.

The cost of the USMLE exam

  • USMLE Step 1 costs $985
  • USMLE Step 2 costs $500 to $100
  • USMLE Step 3 costs $300 to $500
  • The ECFMG certification costs $160

However, you should know these prices are not 100% stable, and there can be changes.  There are added fees you may have when registering for a course.

Scheduling the USMLE exam

Before you can register for your USMLE, you need to register for your ECFMG. From there, you register for the USMLE and get your scheduling permit. After you get your scheduling permit, you can then go to the Prometric website and get a test date.

You should ensure you schedule your test at least six months before you intend to write the exam.

What test should I take? PLAB vs USMLE

You can either take the PLAB or USMLE, depending on what country you want to become a doctor in. For the US, you should take the USMLE, and for the UK, you should take the PLAB.

After you take the entire USMLE exam, you can apply for residency. But for the PLAB, you need to have a GMC registration so that you can apply for a job in the NHS in the UK.

 

To access our questions bank for USMLE exams, go to CanadaQBank.

10 Steps to Becoming a Doctor in the United States

The United States for a while has been suffering from a shortage of doctors as it is estimated that in 13-15 years the USA will have a shortage of doctors. So if you are a medical graduate outside the US you can consider helping them bridge the gap in the number of doctors and since you are here it means you are giving it quite some thought. Nevertheless, it would be wrong if we at CanadaQBank did not tell you the truth about the process and about how long and convoluted the process is. You should also know that it takes about 10-11 years for the entire process to be done.

Still, it is not all bad because medicine in the US can be financially rewarding depending on your definition of what financially rewarding is. It is also always in demand so you will most likely not be stuck in the job market without a job. If you decide to take that leap, here are 10 steps to help you become a full-blown doctor.

1. Get your bachelor’s degree and finish your undergraduate studies.

This is the first step that you have to complete because you cannot go to medical school without having an undergraduate qualification. You should know that there are no specific degrees you should have before you can be accepted. However, the US College Board has stated pre-medicine, exercise, and biology as majors that could potentially help you get it better.

Also, you should note that the application is not just about academic qualification as there are a lot of other things taken into consideration like experience and attributes. So, you should make sure you have a strong application from every angle.

2. Passing the MCAT

To become a doctor in the US, there are many exams that you have to pass and the MCAT is one of them. It stands for Medical College Admission Test and it is a very rigorous examination that requires serious prep time. The exam takes 7 and a half hours to complete.

The best thing to do for this exam is to choose a date that best suits you, take prep courses and be disciplined. You can take the exam 3 times a year if you fall short.

Practicing for this exam with CanadaQBank can help you pass. So take advantage of our resources.

3. Apply for medical school

When you pass your MCAT it is time for you to start applying to your medical school of choice but do not be pressured to do it as quickly as possible as there is no specific timeline to these applications. You can start applying in your junior year of college or after you are done with your undergrad studies.

Choosing the right school is also an important thing because that school will be your home for at least 4 years. You could consider speaking to students of your prospective school to get real-life experiences that will inform your choice. You should also consider your support system as medical school is very stressful. So, you have to go through the school’s requirements to know what they offer and what they do not.

4. Finish med school

This goes without saying because you will not be able to be a doctor without first finishing your med school studies. It is a long road full of countless clinical rotations, lectures, tests, and a whole lot more so be prepared.

Be sure you have a good support system because this part is one of the most strenuous. Remember to have fun no matter what.

5. Apply for the USMLE Part 1 and Part 2

The USMLE is an important exam that medical students have to pass before they can practice medicine in the US. Step 1 of the exam must be passed before they reach the third year of medical school and Step 2 must be passed before the fourth year of medical school.

CanadaQBank can help you prepare for this exam with over 3,000 multiple choice questions to help you prepare with detailed explanations.

6. Send your residency application

Here you have to make a choice to know what specialty you want to pursue. To do this, you have to know what part of medicine interests you, what the pay is like and if the pay and work lifestyle align with the type of life you want to live. After you have carefully considered all you want, the next thing to do is to apply for any residency program that you want.

7. Graduate from medical school

Before you can get into your residency program, you have to graduate from medical school and then start yet another training.

At this stage, you should know that you are very close to the end even though you will have at least 3 years to do your residency training to learn more about your specialty of choice. Note that this could be longer depending on your specialty and where you do the residency training.

8. Apply and Pass the USMLE Stage 3

You will have to pass step 3 of the USMLE by our third year of residency to be able to be certified by the board and get your state license.

9. Board certification and state license

For your board certification, you will have completed your residency training before you can get it. This certification is voluntary but most employers will need it to validate your expertise in your specialty. You will write a board exam and pay an average of $2000 to get it and note that each specialty has its requirements.

For your state license, any state you want to practice medicine in must issue you a special license before you can work there. You will have to have passed all three parts of the USMLE and have successfully passed through all the steps above. Furthermore, you should expect your license at most 60 days from your application date.

10. Find a job

The final step is to find a job and luckily for you, that will not be hard at all. There are a lot of opportunities to choose from. Where you did your residency program may retain you or even recruiters may scout you,

Congrats on getting to this part of this article and as you can see becoming a doctor is not for the faint of heart. However, we at CanadaQBank are here to make that journey easier by helping you pass all your exams with ease.

Overview of USMLE Step 1

Overview of USMLE Step 1

Becoming a doctor in the United States is no small feat, there are a number of exams you have to pass like the MCATs and USMLE before you can practice medicine legally there. The process to write the USMLE is a little complex but that is why we are here to break it down for you. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the U.S. meant to assess a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles and demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills.

It is usually done by med students as well as graduates from foreign and local universities who wish to exercise their medical skills in the United States of America.

Step 1- Basics

The USMLE Step 1 exam is the first element of the USMLE. This exam is meant to assess the basic science knowledge of the student and requires the students to apply these basic science principles in clinical medical practice. Step 1 consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQs), that you will have to answer. These MCQs were created by USMLE committees that have recognized prominence in their respective fields.

However, the majority of questions require the examinee to interpret graphic and tabular material to identify gross and microscopic pathologic and normal specimens. These examinees also have to solve problems through the application of basic science principles.

Application Process

Before applying to ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) for examination, international medical students/graduates must obtain a USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number via ECFMG’s online services (an Application for ECFMG Certification), including the notarized Certification of Identification Form (Form 186).

Furthermore, applicants are advised to read the detailed instructions for the application before they begin working on it. This is because these instructions contain information on how to complete Form 186 using NotaryCam. They also include resources that will help you plan the timing of your application and outline any necessary items (such as official signatures). Also, it is essential to note that the application for ECFMG Certification will not be considered complete until ECFMG receives and processes both the online part of the application and the notarized Form 186 from NotaryCam.

You can apply for USMLE Step 1 via ECFMG’s online services. To do this you should read the USMLE Bulletin of Information and submit an application through your registration entity; as there are different procedures to account for both foreign and differently-abled students. When applying for the examination, you must select an eligibility period during which you wish to test, and then a scheduling permit with your eligibility period will be issued via email. After obtaining the scheduling permit, you may visit the Prometric website to schedule a test date.

Prometric’s test centers are grouped into defined testing regions, and you can take the exam at any test center in your testing region that offers USMLE, provided there is space available on the date you choose. Note the test centers available for USMLE Step 1 are subject to change. Scheduling may not be available more than six months in advance. You are permitted to reschedule within your eligibility period though you will pay a fee if you make a change during the 30 calendar days before your scheduled appointment.

Examinees should also keep in mind deadlines imposed by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and graduate medical education (GME) programs as it is solely your responsibility to complete the required exams in time to meet deadlines imposed by the NRMP and/or GME programs. Since the number of applicants seeking to complete these exams may exceed the spaces available in time to meet those deadlines, there is no guarantee that sufficient spaces will be available for all applicants to meet deadlines imposed, so

Fees

Application for ECFMG Certification: $160

Step 1: $975 + $180 (Surcharge fee for writing outside the U.S.)

The total number of attempts allowed per Step is four (4). If you have attempted a Step four or more times, including incomplete attempts, and have not passed, you are ineligible to apply for any Step in the USMLE exam sequence.

Benefits of CanadaQBank

The USMLE Step 1 exams are not easy. Practicing with CanadaQBank allows examinees to test and develop themselves against the main exam. The question banks familiarize you with the different systems of questioning, and you will see an increase in the speed and reasoning with which questions are answered. You will be compelled to tailor your study plan to its optimum state; a good study plan will help you perfect your skills and increase your knowledge about the field. Handling such an exam will be less of a burden.

CanadaQBank contains 3016 classic simulated USMLE Step 1 multiple-choice questions (MCQs), with each MCQ covering a different USMLE Step 1 topic from the subject areas tested.

It offers three different modes that allow examinees to take tests in timed, un-timed, and tutor modes. Answers and detailed explanations for all questions are provided to allow you to review your selections and know where you erred.

CanadaQBank offers examinees the ability to generate tests by subject category or any combination of categories and to choose how many questions you want to take in each block,

Review detailed analysis of previous USMLE Step 1 tests taken, compare your scores with other users, review performance breakdown from an overview to overall cumulative performance.

CanadaQbank receives continuous updates to the questions and explanations. So therefore it is revised with feedback from the most recent exams and has an upgraded MCQ interface for accurate simulation with normal lab values. Furthermore, it can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

Subjects Covered

Anatomy, Biochemistry, Embryology, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Ethics, Genetics, Histology/Molecular Biology, Microbiology & Immunology, Neuroscience, Pathology & Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychology

CanadaQbank is an efficient and affordable way to practice the questions with ease under simulated exam conditions. There are different subscription prices tailored to whatever your need is. The prices are:

  • $95 – 1 month
  • $135 – 2 months
  • $ 175 – 3 months
  • $250 – 6 months
  • $335 – 9 months
  • $395 – 12 months

Avoiding Burnout when Studying for the USMLE Step 1

USMLE Step 2 Test Prep

As a student who is studying to obtain your USMLE Step 1 qualification, chances are that you already know how demanding medical school is – especially if you’re working at a part-time job as well. Although the amount of time spent in classes and studying certainly doesn’t leave much time for anything else, it’s important that you take some time out so that you can avoid reaching burnout stage.

Below are some tips that will help you get the most out of each day without becoming totally overwhelmed:

Prioritization is Crucial

Learning to prioritize what is most important will help you achieve as much as possible each day. Although you’re currently studying, keep in mind that while your studies are important, they should not be your only focus. In fact, your main priority should be to look after yourself. If your mind and body are over-tired, you won’t be able to study properly anyway.

Your studies should be next in line after your physical and mental wellbeing, and work should come after that. Students who put their physical, mental and emotional needs before that of their studies usually find it easier to get through their studies than those who focus on the books alone.

Ensure that Everything is Scheduled

Putting a schedule together that contains everything you need to do will help ensure that there is enough time to get through it all each day. Many individuals often don’t know that there is a degree of free time in their days until they see it on a planner page.

Purchase a daily planner and write in the events that cannot be rescheduled first. This can include aspects such as work shifts, classes and other appointments that might come up. Once this is done, start filling in your study time slots – ensure that they are evenly spaced throughout each week. Leave room in your schedule for some down time each day as well, preferably in the last hour or so before going to bed.

Lastly, you’ll be able to see where you can fit time in to socialize and spend time with friends. Perhaps you’re free on a Sunday and can spend time with friends or family then or have a drink at the bar with some fellow students one evening.

Knowing your Limits is Important

Knowing when to say “no” is extremely important where your mental and emotional wellbeing is concerned. As such, you need to give a considerable amount of thought to whether you’ll be able to cope with full-time classes and part time work if necessary.

If you feel that you’re already doing as much as you can comfortably cope with, refrain from taking on additional responsibilities – especially if you’re going to be sacrificing sleep to do so. If you want to preserve your physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing while studying towards your USMLE Step 1 qualification, the phrase, “everything in moderation,” is key – especially where time-management is concerned.

What Are the Hardest USMLE Topics to Study and Learn?

USMLE Step 2 Test Prep

The United States Medical Licensing Exam, known as the USMLE or simply “board exam,” is by far one of the most difficult examinations in existence today. It covers several years’ worth of highly complex information that you must know in order to become licensed in your field. The following USMLE topics are widely regarded as the most difficult, so familiarize yourself with them early on and perhaps give them some special attention, too. 

Biochemistry 

Biochemistry is truly a paradox among medical students. It’s absolutely fascinating to explore the various chemical processes that keep human beings alive, but as part of gaining a firm understanding of the subject, there’s a lot – a lot – of memorization involved. You’ll find yourself learning about metabolic pathways, enzyme design and structure, and much, much more, so without a solid understanding of terms and their meanings, it’s difficult to understand much of anything. The sheer complexity of biochemistry makes it the most difficult topic on the USMLE according to the majority of medical students. 

Many doctors (who were once in your shoes) recommend that you take the time to study up on the basics of biochemistry whenever you have a chance. Simply understanding basic terms and processes will make everything to come much simpler for you. 

Microbiology

Medical students also agree that microbiology is the second most difficult topic you’ll find on your USMLE. In fact, it’s difficult for many of the same reasons as biochemistry. It’s the study of all living organisms that are small enough to require a microscope to see them, and that encompasses thousands upon thousands – even millions – of different organisms. The volume of information that students must retain in order to understand even the simplest concepts in microbiology is staggering. 

Getting a head start on microbiology basics (much like doing the same for biochemistry) can benefit you here, as well. The more of the basic concepts you learn now, the easier it will be for you to learn the more complex ones down the line. 

Pathology

Though it isn’t quite as difficult as microbiology or biochemistry, the topic of pathology presents challenges to most medical students at some point in their education. Pathology is a bridge between science and medicine, and to put it as simply as possible, it’s the study of diseases. There are more than 100,000 identified diseases across the globe, so it’s easy to see why so many students struggle with this particular topic. Fortunately, medical students also tend to find pathology interesting, which can make things a bit simpler. 

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a difficult pathology course involves reading your course syllabus and obtaining as much of the recommended material as you can early on. The more you can read and understand about pathology before your course even starts, the more the lectures, your textbook,  and other materials will make sense. 

Biochemistry, microbiology, and pathology are the three most difficult topics on the USMLE according to medical students from around the world. In all three cases, the complexity lies almost solely in the volume of information you’ll need to retain and very little on actual comprehension issues. As such, start studying these topics as soon as you can and consider scheduling some extra study time for them as needed, too.

The 5 Most Difficult Topics on the USMLE According to Medical Students

Medical Students Surviving

The United States Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE, is one of the most difficult and rigorous exams you will ever take. The questions focus on numerous topics ranging from anatomy to communicable disease, and you’ll need to recall several years’ worth of information to pass and obtain your license to practice. Below are the five most difficult USMLE topics according to students who have passed their exams with flying colors.

Biochemistry

Most medical students agree that biochemistry is by far the most difficult topic you will find on the USMLE. Not only is there a ton of information to memorize and absorb like a sponge, but because biochemistry is at the cutting edge of medicine in 2020, it’s also changing almost every single day. Doctors recommend devoting a period of your daily study time to biochemistry and keeping up with the latest trends and news, too.

Microbiology

Much like biochemistry, the strange and expansive world of microbiology is difficult to study and even more difficult to truly understand. Nevertheless, microbiology is the very basis for disease; microbes like viruses and bacteria must be fundamentally understood in order to provide the best possible diagnoses and treatment plans for patients. Be sure that you spend plenty of time reviewing microbiology texts, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.

Pathology

Pathology is the study of disease and is often referred to as the bridge between science and medicine. It’s at the very center of every single interaction you will ever have with your patients, from diagnosing them to treating them – and even slowing the spread of contagious diseases. Like biochemistry, the way we understand pathology changes on a daily basis, which means it’s incredibly difficult to study effectively. Dedicating a lot of your study time to this topic and keeping up with any new findings will go a long way toward helping you score well on the USMLE.

Ethics/Medical Legal Issues

The ethics and legality of the practice of medicine is quite complicated, and with every single passing year, that complication grows. Doctors and nurses fill out piles of paperwork with every patient interaction as dictated by numerous healthcare regulations and laws. Learning the ethics and legal aspects of medical practice is difficult because there’s simply so much to take in and it never stays the same for long.

Neuroanatomy

Gross anatomy is one of the least difficult topics on the USMLE according to med students and doctors, but neuroanatomy is a different story. This is the term used to define the anatomy of the nervous system, and while it may not seem all that intimidating at first, it’s important to remember that neuroanatomy also encompasses the complex anatomy of the human brain and the way our bodies respond to it. With so much still left to understand about the brain and how it works, it comes as no surprise that students find neuroanatomy an incredibly difficult topic.

Biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, ethics and legal issues, and neuroanatomy are arguably the five most difficult topics you’ll find on the USMLE. It’s important to utilize a variety of study tips to focus on these areas so that you can pass your licensing exam with flying colors.

5 Awesome Tips to Help You Study Effectively for the USMLE

usmle study tips for students

The United States Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE, is an important test for anyone who wants to be a physician or surgeon in the US. It’s also a difficult test and one that requires months and months of preparation. Below, you will find five of the best tips to help you study for the USMLE.

Tip #1 – Start Early

All too often, medical students wait until the last few weeks before the exam to start cramming information. Though some research suggests that it may be beneficial to review certain types of material just before an exam to help with information retention, it’s typically best to start studying well before the exam. Absorb new information once or twice each week, then for the rest of the week, review all the information you have learned so far. This is the best way to truly learn information in a way that will serve you well on your exam.

Tip #2 – Study Frequently

There’s nothing wrong with a once-a-week study session with your favorite group, but it’s important that you set aside some time every single day for study. The longer you go between reviewing your materials, the higher the chances that you will forget what you have learned. Successful medical students set aside at least an hour every single day for study, though many set aside even more time when they can. Taking a day off from studying now and then is also encouraged as it can help you avoid burnout.

Tip #3 – Use a Variety of Study Tools

As a medical student, you can glean your information from a wide variety of sources. Information covered on the test will be covered in your classroom lectures, of course, but you’ll also need to read your textbooks, create flashcards to help with memorization, and more. Utilizing a quality USLME qbank is another great option since it gives you the opportunity to experience a mock exam and review your progress over time. Similarly, though studying alone can be productive, sometimes it might benefit you to study with a group. Use all the tools available to you for the best possible results.

Tip #4 – Ask for Help

Everyone struggles with certain topics now and then. Maybe you’re a whiz when it comes to anatomy, but pharmacology has you stumped. This is another great reason to join a study group that consists of a few students. Each of you will have your own inherent strengths and weaknesses, and you can help each other find new ways to learn and retain critical information. If you must, email a professor or colleague and ask for help. Often, they don’t mind providing you with some extra knowledge, and they may even be able to point you toward new resources.

#5 – Take Mock Exams

Mock exams are one of the best study tools of them all. They allow you to imagine yourself in the real testing environment, but they give you options that the test environment doesn’t. For example, when you finish your mock exam, you can easily go back through the questions, review what you’ve missed, and even learn why your answers were incorrect. Then, you can flag those questions for study later, or you can even create a new mock test down the road comprised of nothing but questions you previously answered incorrectly. The possibilities are limitless.

Studying for the USMLE can be a challenge, and for some students, it’s one of the most stressful periods in their lives. With the five study tips listed above, it’s possible to make it a little less exhausting, a little less difficult, and a lot more productive. Start early, study frequently, and use all the tools available to you. Finally, never hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

 

The Best Advice for Acing the USMLE

MCCQE Examination

If you’re like many students who will be taking the USMLE later this year, there’s a very good chance you’ve spent several hours reading blog posts, scouring forums, and looking for the best possible advice available for acing it. Though there’s no one magic recipe that works for everyone, there are a few things you can do that will drastically improve your chances of not only passing but doing so with flying colors.

Study Religiously

Everyone who’s ever scored a 99 on the USMLE will tell you the same thing: the key to acing the exam is studying. Though there are a few exceptions out there, most people can’t simply sit down at a computer and fly through the questions with a perfect score without putting in an incredible number of study hours. No matter how busy your schedule between school and work, you must set aside some time every single day for studying – no exceptions. This is the only way to ensure the information is ingrained in your mind in such a way that when test day comes, you have no trouble at all recalling answers.

Use the Right Study Materials

It is also important to remember that no two people learn the same way, so you’ll need to make certain that you’ve tried various study methods. Whether you respond better to lecture-style learning, quiet reading, using flash cards, or like many other students, online question banks, try to discover which of these methods gets you the best results and then stick with that. Of course, you should use the other methods to your advantage as well, but if question banks seem to help you memorize information better than textbooks, try to schedule most of your study time around the question banks.

Learn More about the Exam Itself

Though a lot of students spend a great deal of time learning the material that will be on the exam, they fail to spend much time learning about the exam itself. Via the USMLE website, you can find out everything you need to know, including how the exam works, how to apply, the fees you can expect to pay, and even get access to your scores and transcripts after you’ve taken the exam. It’s always a great idea to check the USMLE website often for information, and reading the FAQs can help you familiarize yourself with many different aspects of the site and the test itself.

Keep Calm and Prepare Yourself

It may seem tough to stop thinking negatively at times, especially when you come across specific topics or material that seem intimidating or difficult. In these cases, rather than worrying about your ability to learn the material, continue to go over it in different ways using different methods. If it still seems too difficult, reach out to professors at your school or ask about mentors and tutors who may be able to provide you with the insight you need. Allowing anxiety to take over will only make it more difficult for you to learn.

Though acing the USMLE is a great feeling, it’s important to remember that you don’t need a perfect score – you only need a passing score. You should always do your very best but be careful about allowing your desire to achieve perfection hinder your ability to properly study. Above all else, know you can do it, and be sure that you put in the time to study the right materials.

 

What Every Medical Student Should Know about the USMLE

usmle-med-students

The USMLE, or United States Medical Licensing Examination, is by far one of the toughest examinations you will ever have to take. Learning as much about it as you can is important to helping you prepare, and with the right tools, you can truly succeed not only on test day, but all throughout your medical career. Here’s what every medical student should know about the USMLE.

There are Three Parts to the USMLE

The first thing you should know is that you will take the USMLE examination in four separate parts over the course of five days. There are three “Steps”, and the USMLE Step 2 is divided into two parts – clinical knowledge (CK) and clinical skills (CS).

  • Step 1: This is the multiple choice examination, and it takes place over the course of one day. You will answer questions on a computer about everything from nutrition and genetics to diseases and pathology.
  • Step 2: Step 2 is divided into two parts:
    • USMLE Step 2 CK – The CK part of Step 2 involves multiple-choice questions all about your knowledge of medicine in the clinical setting.
    • USMLE Step 2 CS – In this part of the exam, you will examine and diagnose a variety of actors based on their “symptoms” and histories.
  • Step 3: Finally, the USMLE Step 3 is a bit different in that you will take this after your first year of residency. Once again, you will be asked to diagnose and treat patients, make assessments based on virtual cases, and answer multiple choice questions.

You Need to Prepare Early On

The USMLE isn’t like any other test you have ever taken, and that means the earlier you start preparing for it, the better. Many students wait until the last six months prior to the exam, but those who start preparing earlier – even on the very first day of medical school – tend to fare better. One of the best ways to prepare for the USMLE is by utilizing a question bank filled with customizable features. By going over questions during your studies in a variety of different modes, you will not only reinforce the material you learn in class, but you will also familiarize yourself with the question formatting, which will help you feel more confident when test day comes.

Not Everyone Passes the First Time

Finally, it’s time to address the elephant in the room – what happens if you don’t pass. Each and every year, somewhere between 75% and 80% of those who take the USMLE pass it on the first try. That means 20% to 25% do not pass immediately and must take the exam again. Though this can be disheartening and certainly frustrating, you should never give up. Schedule the examination again as soon as possible, find a study group, and utilize your question banks as often as possible.

The USMLE is a difficult exam that puts tends of thousands of students on edge every single year. Understanding how it works, what you should do to prepare, and what to do if you don’t pass the first time will help to ease your anxiety, and that alone is often enough to enhance your chances of success. You absolutely can succeed as long as you are willing to put in the effort and study.