<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2619149828102266&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
NBME vs UWSA: When & How to Use Practice Tests for USMLE Step 1
Posted by Annette Gawron, MD, MPH

One of the most common questions I get as a USMLE tutor is:

"What is the difference between the NBME Comprehensive Basic Science Self Assessments (often referred to as just NBMEs) and the UWorld Self Assessments (UWSAs)?"

For starters, the NBME and UWSA are both practice tests that students take to help them prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam, to gauge their study progress, and to predict their final score.

There are six NBMEs that are available for purchase for $60 each (and in 2020 an additional five that are available for free). There are two UWSAs that are included in your UWorld subscription if you buy at least a 180 day subscription.

NBMEs consist of four sections of 50 questions while the UWSAs contain four sections of 40 questions. The actual USMLE Step 1 exam is made up of 7 blocks of a maximum of 40 questions per block. 

NBMEs: How Well Will They Predict My Step 1 Score?
Posted by Annette Gawron, MD, MPH

Over the past several months we’ve had more and more students note a disconnect between their scores on the NBME practice tests and their final USMLE Step 1 score, and they are voicing their unhappiness on forums like Reddit and Student Doctor Network.

Currently there are 11 NBME CBSSA forms available, five of which were made available free of charge due to the delays experienced by COVID-19. Forms 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 were introduced in Spring 2019. Forms 13, 15, 16,17, 18, and 19 are also currently available. (Not sure which order to take the NBME Free Assessments? See our updated recommendations here.)

A quick web search will lead you to numerous posts of individual students correlating their NBME and UWorld Self-Assessment Exam scores with their final Step 1 score.

Bottom line, though:

Looking at medical students as a group, do the NBMEs under-predict, over-predict, or accurately predict scores on the USMLE?

6 Tips to Start Your Residency Applications on the Right Foot
Posted by Annette Gawron, MD, MPH

Can you believe it? It’s already that time of the year. Residency applications are just around the corner. Soon, thousands of medical students from across the country and globe will submit applications seeking PGY-1 residency positions for the following year. You will be one of them. Somehow you will need to stand out amongst the vast number of applicants. Here is how to do it.

Residency Letters of Recommendation: How to Ensure Your Attending Writes a Good One
Posted by Annette Gawron, MD, MPH

ERAS season has finally begun, and ERAS tokens are now available to start the residency application process for a 2020 residency position. This also means that attendings may now upload their letters of recommendation to ERAS. The letter of recommendation (LOR) may seem like an aspect of your application that is entirely out of your control. But, I can assure you it is not. In fact, there is a lot that you can do to ensure you get a well-written and strong LOR. In the next few paragraphs I will provide you with the best approach to requesting a LOR from your attending. This approach will ensure that your attending has all the information they need to write you an excellent LOR.

Can I Get My Med School Loans Forgiven in 10 Years?
Posted by Annette Gawron, MD, MPH

There are a lot of rumors out there regarding the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). I’ve heard anywhere from “99.9% get denied PSLF” all the way to “it won’t exist in a few years.” As a recent medical school graduate with a pretty uncomfortable sum of debt with an interest rate nearing 7%, I knew that I needed to figure out a plan and I needed to figure it out now. Over the past several months, I’ve spent considerable time researching PSLF and other forms of loan repayment. Additionally, I hired a student loan consultant (best decision of my life). Here are some key points that I learned while trying to navigate the scary world of finance.

careers med school tutors