The real question should be, how prepared do you want to be? Most students assume preparing for the USMLE Step 1 Exam begins and ends with books, review courses, QBanks and an NBME self assessment. Students often overlook a valuable piece of the puzzle: experience. Should you also prepare for Step 1 by simulating the experience? Think of it this way… a pilot studying to get their license can read books about flying until they are blue in the face. However, books won’t allow them to gain the valuable experience of flight. The only thing close to actual flight time is flight simulation. By utilizing flight simulators, student pilots can recreate what it would feel like to pilot an aircraft without risking valuable lives. Although not as daunting, a USMLE Step 1 practice test at a Prometric Center will allow students to experience test day pressures without the actual score implications.
Taking a practice test at a Prometric center will allow you to experience bio metric check in, navigating through security measures, exit and entry methods during breaks and taking an assessment in a different environment with uncontrollable variables. Let’s not forget the importance of staying hydrated and satiated during your assessment. Although taking a Prometric assessment is not as demanding mentally and physically as the actually Step 1, you still need to go through the experience in order to maximize your preparation and comfort level on the actual exam day. Also, our blog 8 Test Day Tips for USMLE Step 1 can help with a simple exam day checklist. A decrease in anxiety and familiarity with the testing process on exam day will better prepare you to score higher.
Have you tried a practice exam? What help did the experience provide?
What benefits do you see of taking a practice exam?
In part 2 of our 8 part series on an assessment at a Prometric Center, we will discuss biometric check in.