If you haven’t already, check out part one of this post on my Instagram page @Carmenseradoctora. Linked in the sidebar of this post 🙂
I wanted to use this post on my blog to elaborate & answer some questions about STEP that were asked through my Instagram poll!
Useful Tips Elaboration:
#1 – I mentioned the importance of speed when completing questions. My goal of having 20 min. left by the end of each section meant that each question would be allotted a maximum of 1 minute, instead of the 1.5 minutes allowed in the section. It helps to strive to be as quick as possible in questions that are easier for you (30 seconds), so you can then spend 2-3 minutes on a question that is harder.
I think it is important to note that when I was doing Q banks during FIRST YEAR & EARLY SECOND YEAR, I was going based off class material. I mainly used Usmle-Rx bank because it was easiest to select specific concepts to test myself on. I also did the questions UNTIMED because I was trying to get used to the format, how to process of eliminate, and how to UNDERSTAND the concepts being stated. I would go slow to focus on LEARNING. It was not until mid second year, when I had gotten my strategy down, that I started timing consistently. Then during dedicated I started racing against my old times for reals! This is when, instead of finishing on time, I was trying to finish faster and faster. I just wanted to show you all that speed comes later, once you have the basics down! The more ime you spend familiarizing yourself with questions BEFORE dedicated, the more you can focus on speed during this time!
Answering Poll Qs:
#1: How did I finance STEP One and Prep Materials — I got a grant from my school to pay for Step One, you qualify if you are considered low income. But I had to pay the cost upfront (~$600) because the grant was offered later on. For the Prep materials, one question bank (Kaplan) was provided by my school, as well as 2 vouchers for practice NBME exams. The other 2 Q banks and resources I bought on my own. I used the loan money from my financial aid package – same one you will use for living expenses. I felt like I had more than enough to pay for everything because I bought them at different times throughout the year. I also would consider myself frugal lol so I usually have a decent amount of loan money in “my savings” for emergencies. If you feel like money is an issue, you can always talk to financial aid and work with them to ask for more loans as long as you show a need for it.
#2: What did I do for self care? Yoga, meditation and baths became my holy grail. I honestly do these all throughout the year, but I did them more often. I did yoga and meditation pretty much daily. I love either doing a free style yoga or following along with yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. It is also important to schedule a complete DAY OFF to recharge. Because I was studying at the peak of the pandemic, I couldn’t do anything too social. But I was still able to enjoy Netflix, video chats, online games, walks at the park, scooting, etc. Taking several ONE HOUR breaks during study days was also key to my success. It allows for a reboot several times throughout the day.
I think that is it for my first post in this STEP series. I hope that you all found this helpful! I look forward to answering more questions and sharing more about the world of preparing for standardized tests. In my next post I will go into the specifics of each resource I used, so stay tuned!