This page is going to be designated to share USMLE Step 3 experiences with your co-residents to help each other in the journey of passing the exam especially for those who are are doing it during your first year of residency.
Please feel free to add your experience or send it to me and I will post it on the blog.
Dr. Lindsay Utley’s experience:
- I took my boards end of January. I had several months of medicine completed at that time and had gotten into a groove where studying wasn’t going to be overwhelming in Dec/Jan. I picked it on an easier rotation – I had week vacation end of December and then had ambulatory so I knew I could actively study all of January without much interruption. I also had CU night float in Feb and knew I would not study during that so I didn’t want to lose progress. (people think they can study during this month – every one that said that in my class did not study!! You are exhausted after an intern Creighton night float!! VA isn’t bad) I would recommend looking at your schedule and figuring out when you know you can study and when you cant and pick a test date around that, even if it is earlier than everyone else is taking. Or ask an upper year when is a good month based on your schedule.
- Starting in July I used my book allowance money to purchase a year of UWorld Qbank. I started doing questions during my free time throughout the next few months. Nothing formal just the practice/teaching blocks that you get the answer to the question right away. I finished the qbank once before I even started officially studying.
- I also really liked USMLE secrets for step 3 its a smaller book that I put in my white coat and I would flip through or skim this starting in August when I was on VA nights or other rotations where I had down time. I didn’t actively study just read through leisurely.
- In December I started actively trying to study – I was on medicine and it was more difficult than I thought. I got master the boards step 3 (this was the only book I really used.)I was not a fan of First Aid for step 3 (although I have used it for every other step exam). I read through the book once and made highlights.
- Starting my week of vacation (about a month out), I figured up exactly how many uworld questions I would have to do a day to finish the whole bank a week before my test. I then did that amount of questions every day. I also divided up how many days I needed to finish Master the boards a week before my test. I ended up having several days per chapter. I would slowly read through, learn and understand the chapter over those few days. If I finished early I would review prior sections. I made myself stick to this plan.
- The week before my test I had did uworld twice (once studying and once in free time) and read MB twice. At that point I spent time focusing on the questions in uworld I missed or other areas I felt uncomfortable in.
- The area I wished I would have spent more time with was the CCS cases. I had heard rumors this was the easy part of the exam – we have been diagnosing all year so It shouldn’t be that hard. I played with the software and learned it felt good about it and tried to get through all the cases but I burnt out and lost interest. This was by far my lowest score on the test. I felt this was very difficult. My advice is to not blow this portion off. They are difficult cases some outpatient, some inpatient, some icu, some adults some peds. Practice these cases, read about them online. Do something to prepare. It is not as easy as people tell you.