How to Use Doctors In Training Part 1 and Increase Your Step 1 Score!

Using the Doctors In Training Part 1 Questions

student studyingThe Part 1 questions are in mixed mode to help you break away from thinking of the basic sciences by topic and to begin thinking of them as a whole - integrating concepts and applying information across subjects. This organizational approach also helps you practice switching from topic to topic (switching cognitive sets) as you will be required to do on your Step 1 exam. Further, Part 1 of the Step 1 Review Course helps you make a pass through your comprehensive review book, such as First Aid or Step Up to Step 1 the first time (or go through it a second time using a more active learning method). Research has shown that subjects learned through answering questions are retained much longer than more passive study methods such as reading.

Recommendations for Using the Part 1 Questions and Video Answers

For Part 1, we recommend dividing the total number of Part 1 questions by the number of days before your intensive study period begins. For example, if you have 4 months before your intensive study period begins, you might want to complete approximately five Part 1 questions per day.

  • First, attempt to answer the questions on your own before giving in to the temptation of looking up the answer or viewing the video answers. Write out your answer on the pdf question set, and if you do not know the answer, then write out anything you remember about the topic. Writing out what you know serves two purposes:

1. Often helps initiate recall, especially as you organize information on a related topic.

2. Helps you determine what you do and do not know on a subject and how much you need to review.

      • After answering the questions on your own, look up the answers in the cited resources.
      • After looking up the explanations, follow-up by viewing the video answer that Doctors In Training has provided and annotate your primary resource with any new additional information you have gleaned from the video answer.

There are additional methods students find useful, which you can find on our Step 1 page under course usage.  Proceed reviewing your primary review resource by subject and complete all of the questions by mid-April. Then take 5-6 full days and go through the questions using the above process. Use the video answers as a mini review before starting Doctors In Training Part 2.

Keys to Building an Effective USMLE Step 1 Study Strategy

Continue Focusing on Your Coursework

It is important to continue focusing on your coursework.  Part 1 can be utilized a little at a time according to your schedule demands.  You can answer questions that correspond with subjects you are learning in class.  Spring, and Summer breaks are ideal times to use Part 1 as you don’t have to worry about neglecting your coursework.

In the next blog, we will discuss Part 2 of the course along with study tips on how to tackle the final stretch of your Step 1 exam preparation.

About DIT Advising Team

The Doctors In Training Student Advising Team offers many advisory services including the following: customizing individual study plans for USMLE Step 1/ COMLEX Level 1 or USMLE Step 2 CK/ COMLEX Level 2, advising students with respect to combating everyday stress and test anxiety and preparing students for the residency application process.
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