What's your question?: I just took the second assessment exam. I am taking my exam soon and would like to know if I am ready. How predictive is the diagnostic exam of the usmle step 1? Your Med School & Grad Year: CMS 2013
This is a very important question as students are looking to use the USMLE practice examination more and more.
There are several students that have reported last year that the USMLE practice exam was fairly predictive, but in our past experience working with medical students, the practice exam is too easy. This practice exam is meant to familiarize students with the FRED software used on the exam and the clinical scenario question format and not to be a predictive examination.
The USMLE practice exam has been very easy in the past and several students have mistakenly taken the Step 1 exam believing that they were ready, when they needed more time to prepare. It is wise to take some NBME self-assessments (CBSSA exams) so you can get a better idea of readiness and take more than one as each one has something to offer. Students like NBME self-assessment 7 for content and self-assessment 11 and 12 for the longer vignettes to give them an idea to test whether they have gotten the pacing down and can finish the exam blocks in time.
Keep testing yourself for a better idea of whether you are ready or not. Rely on a pattern of test scores rather than just one score to estimate your readiness. All of the exams have standard deviations for a reason… in that they have limited predictive ability.
Good luck with your exam and thank you for your timely question.