Dr. Betelehem Bezawork
My Step 1 equation- ‘Hard work + perseverance+ prayer= Success’
I’m an Ethiopian medical student in the final year of my studies. I got lucky enough to take my step 1 as soon as I finished my pre-clinical courses. This was all thanks to the 8 months of COVID 19 lockdown period which I used to focus on my step 1 studies. As a non-US medical student this was one of the great advantages I had. It also became a good foundation for my clinical years of study, and I still live by step 1 memory!
I used the first 5 months as a pre-dedicated period where I went through each system of the First Aid book along with Uworld questions. I supplemented my readings with videos from Pathoma, Boards and Beyond and Sketchy. I really struggled with Biostat/Epi and Biochemistry for which I started watching videos from YouTube and Pixorize. After this, I started my dedicated period by taking an NBME exam which I failed terribly. I gave myself a few days to find out what I had been doing wrong and I realized that I had spent most of my time by studying passively.
I entered the dedicated period of my study with anger, drive and motivation. I started waking up earlier than I used to, then watch 2 sketchy pharm videos and continue with 2 sets of Uworld. I then spent the rest of the afternoon reviewing, taking notes and annotating on my first aid. After a month of doing this, I started taking practice tests (NMBEs and UWSAs) weekly and gradually started seeing progress.
In addition to the right timing of the exam, another thing I benefited from was having a study partner; I can’t emphasize enough about how important it is. Having some to empathize with is crucial and I don’t think anyone will truly understand the physical, mental and most of all the emotional challenges you face unless he/she has passed through it. Moreover, finding out what kind of learner I was really helped me in picking the resources I used to study.
As Robert Tew once said, ‘the struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. DON’T GIVE UP!’