USMLE Step 1: The End

It was hard.

I mean, I knew that already – but I wasn’t 100% sure until I became formally acquainted with the “5-minute warning” pop-up.  (Oh, we spent some quality time together that day, “5-minute warning” and I.)

But the time pressure felt bizarrely reassuring, because I knew – having gathered some solid evidence from taking all 7 NBMEs in the preceding 7 days – the easier I find a test, the more patently obvious it is I’m missing something.

(And by “something”, I mean, “roughly twenty questions more than usual”. Dumb, sleep-deprived, face-palming mistakes on the order of repeatedly trying to swipe your driver’s license at the check-out till).

In fact, the only two practice NBMEs I was just SURE I had nailed were, ultimately, my two lowest scores (by a downright embarrassing margin). And the only two that had me reduced to tears, seconds away from dialing the Office of Student Affairs to sound the Official “Help, I’m A Risk to Our Pass Rate” Alarm? Those two scores were twenty points higher than the rest.

So, right – test was clearly hard, so I felt good. I went back to my hotel room, wikipedia’ed all the questions I was unsure about (common sense be damned, I was curious as hell), marathon-ed half a season of House of Cards, and moved on.

it's gone it's done

But now its one week later, and while I haven’t thought much about the test, I no longer feel “fantastic” about it: After a week of feeling cheerful, my mental pendulum has slowly swung to the opposite conclusion: “if you felt so good about the test, you definitely bombed it”.

It’s a dumb paradox, but there it is: I wouldn’t be surprised if I got >240, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I got < 220

The truth is, whether I bombed it or not, my score will be 10 points higher than I deserve. I lucked out with my test. It played to my strengths: very, very minimal biochem (4-5 questions total), tons of genetics and neuroanatomy (my two best subjects by far), what appeared to be the entirety of the OB/GYN shelf (?), and even a couple of questions that I could’ve sworn were on Step 2.

So as much as I love complaining about the NBME – if my score sucks, it’s on me. I couldn’t have asked for a better test, and that fact makes the waiting bearable.

(Meanwhile, I started my Family Medicine rotation. So far, Family Medicine seems to be 50% constant awesomeness, 40% riding a bus, and 10% getting up at 4:50am to catch it. The 4:50 am part is pretty inflexible, so I’ll call it quits on this entry for now. Thanks again for all the well wishes!)

2 thoughts on “USMLE Step 1: The End

  1. Oh man I had the SAME exact reactions coming out of step 1, as I have had with literally every test I have ever taken in my life. I don’t want this to sound trite, but I have faith you’re going to do just fine 🙂

  2. Pingback: A Guide to Usmle Step 1 | MJM World Wide

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