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How to Make & Use a UWorld Journal — Plus Free Journal Templates

When I finished the USMLE Step 1 exam, I was almost too eager to finally throw away two years worth of medical school notes, old textbooks, and study guides. It was a cathartic release and a final closure on two years of hard work. But still sitting on my shelf, nearly three years later, is my UWorld/Step 1 journal.

I think I kept it all these years as a reminder to myself about how important it was. I still sometimes pick it up and show it to students during a tutoring session to prove to them that I really did keep a journal and that they should too. Making and using a UWorld Step 1 Journal can be a golden ticket to a high Step 1 score. Read on for how to get started!

NBME Self-Assessment Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Brian Radvansky contributed to this post and we regularly keep this information up to date. (Last update: June 10, 2020.)

NBME FAQ! Man, that’s a lot of capital letters. We often vilify the National Board of Medical Examiners for building hurdles for us to scale. Along with their right hand man, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the NBME constructs everyone’s favorite tests, USMLE Steps 1, 2, and 3. Luckily we are not shoved off into the miasma of these tests without a little guidance. NBME self-assessments allow us to peer into the soul of the exam, and get a taste of what to expect. Sadly, NBME practice tests are a bit less user-friendly than our beloved UWorld, so we have compiled this simple FAQ to get you pointed in the right direction.

Top 3 Reasons to use UWorld in Tandem with Classes as an M2

UWorld is widely known to be the gold standard question bank for Step 1 studying. Here at MST, we see consistent and significant improvement from our students who spend the most time with it. However, there’s a lot of advice out there about when to start using UWorld for studying. Should it be used alongside classes or saved for a dedicated study period? We strongly recommend using this invaluable resource throughout your entire M2 year, and here’s why:

USMLE Strategy: Shrinking Questions Down to Manageable Size

When I started medical school, I had a major problem — I was a very inefficient reader. While I could read through a passage or page very rapidly, I constantly found myself rereading that same material as many as four or five times before moving on. My logic was simple, yet flawed – medical school is hard, every sentence I read could be tested, so I must memorize each sentence. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this strategy was unsustainable and that a better alternative needed to be found.

Revisiting the UWorld Journal: How I Scored a 263 on the USMLE Step 1
I recently had the chance to implement my own study technique as I studied for Step 2 CK. I used the exact same UWorld Journal method I described for Step 1 and in doing so, I definitely was happy to see that it was still an efficient way to get the most out of the UWorld Qbank.

However, with another go (as well as some great comments and questions from other students on my initial UWorld Journal post), I’ve come up with 5 ways to make your UWorld Journal an even better tool.

How I Scored a 263 on the USMLE Step 1
My students and peers often ask me: "How the heck did you score 263 on USMLE Step 1?"  My response is fairly simple: "I mastered USMLE World," and here's one way I did that.  

We all know that the USMLE World Qbank is a commonly used resource for USMLE Step 1. It’s an excellent combination of a realistic test environment with questions that test high yield facts. In fact, sometimes these questions appear almost word for word on the actual exam! Almost all students use UWorld, but are they getting the most out of this wonderful resource?

Most students I work withscore around 50% on their first pass through UWorld, which is a solid start. However, on their second pass through, these same students score between 65-75%. While this is an improvement, it is a little discouraging that even though you have seen the questions before you are missing 1 out of every 4 on your second pass through. (i.e., Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.)

When I was studying for this exam, I used a tool to help me learn from my first run-through of UWorld so I could score 90-100% on my second run-through. This tool was a UWorld Journal, and it's one of the things that made my USMLE prep unique and definitely contributed to my success on the exam.

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