How I Scored 259 on USMLE Step 1

This post is intended to help those who are preparing for Step 1. I would like to share some information on my USMLE Step 1 preparation process which resulted in a score of 259. If you would like to see my overall profile you can visit My Residency Stats

Preparation Time: 4 months

Study Material Used:

  • Kaplan Step 1 Lecture Notes (7 books): I started with Kaplan Step 1 Lecture Notes to brush up my concepts because it had been a while since I had studied the basic sciences. These books were great for this purpose. You should spend no more than 3 months on this.
  • BRS Physiology: Explains the concepts in a simple manner and it is a must read book
  • Goljan Audio Lectures (Pathology): I used to listen to these lectures when I did not feel like “studying”. It was a great way to refresh my mind and helped me grasp the concepts which are otherwise hard. Goljan’s method of teaching is amazing and it made the concepts easy to understand. Around 40% of the questions on Step 1 (in my case) were based on pathophysiology of disease process – so if you are good in pathology it may help you in the real exam.
  • First Aid for Step 1: This book is written in a really clear and concise manner, I read it word by word and line by line three times.
  • UWorld: UWorld or other question banks will strengthen your understanding of the fundamentals in the context of the real-world. After 1 month of preparation I began doing UWorld’s random timed questions and I made notes from the UWorld with the purpose of last minute revision.UWorld is a good indicator of where you stand, however in the beginning I did not give the scores much weight and rather used it as a tool to strengthen my knowledge. I tried to go through the explanations carefully which helps to answer other related questions. I took me 2 months to get through the first time. I did 2 blocks (40 questions per block) on average per day. It took me 4-5 hours per block
  • Conrad Fischers 100 ethical cases: I noticed I was not strong in Behavioral Sciences based on my NBME results therefore I read this book. Its an easy read (took me 3 days) and it helps you in choosing the correct answers for tricky questions.

Assessment Scores:

  • NBME 13 (Offline): 244
  • NBME 15 (Offline): 248, I did this test whilst I was halfway going through UWorld for the second time
  • UWorld Self-Assessment: After going through UWorld a second time I did UWSA1 and UWSA2 with a 5 day gap and score 262 both times

Some of my notes

Real Deal: 259


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4 thoughts on “How I Scored 259 on USMLE Step 1

  1. Mariamaria

    Your experience is very inspiring, thank you! I would like to ask you some questions.
    1. Have you compared pathoma and Goljan materials? could they replace each other in prep for pathology?
    2. BRS physio, it seems me that i am the only person who really don’t like this book. 2 times of kaplan physio are not enough instead of brs?

    1. admin Post author

      1. In my opinion yes they can replace each other
      2. BRS Physiology explains the basics in a better way and given that Physiology makes a significant portion of Step 1 I would suggest you to read it

      Hope that helps!

  2. Saeed

    Hi, how long did you spend on the kaplan books?
    and how many UWORLD questions would you do per day?

    1. admin Post author

      1) I spent 3 months on Kaplan, you should not spend more time than that. Kaplan will help you build the basics, doing UWorld or other question banks will strengthen your understanding in the context of the real-world since the clinical scenarios in USMLE are more or less real-world scenarios.

      2) I did 2 blocks (40 questions per block) on average per day. It took me 4-5 hours per block


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