Many of you will be taking your Step 1/Level 1 exams in the next 2 weeks. First off good luck to you, this whole process really sucks but keep working hard through the fatigue.
Secondly let me share some quick tips for test day that I wish someone had told me so I didn’t have to figure them out on my own. These aren’t tips for how to study or what resources to use, the are enough of those you can find including a post I did way back. This is under the radar help that will hopefully get you more points on test day.
1. This one is a low key test hack as long as you aren’t a stress ball. Once you are checked in to the testing center, have gone through the pleasure of showing your empty pockets and fingerprint, you get a scratch paper and something to write with. This is yours to do whatever you want with once you sit down and officially begin the test. My advice is before you enter the testing center, commit one last chart, table, equations to short term memory and hang on to it for 30 minutes or so. This should be anything you didn’t get a chance to learn properly or forgot from dedicated. Once you get to your seat, start the test, and could begin writing on your scratch paper copy down the table or whatever you chose and leave it there for the remainder of the day. I did this with a chart on hormone receptor types that got me an additional question right. Keep in mind for just about everyone there is more material than is posssible to master, so it is ok to not know everything really well when you take this test, but doing this will hopefully help you get a few extra points.
2. Memorize normal values of common things that keep recurring. You might as well start on this while you’re doing u world. This is a timing test as much as anything else, so the 2-3 minutes you’ll save not constantly looking up lab values can be huge. I’d recommend at least knowing Na, K, Cl, bicarbonate, blood gases, and also highly recommend AST, ALT, Hgb, WBC, platelets, and bilirubin.
3. Have a gameplan for when to take breaks, fatigue is real on a test like this. You have 60 minutes total and you can add 15 minutes of you skip the tutorial (do this before test day if you really want to). Don’t forget you lose approximately 2-3 minutes for sign in/out every time you leave the. My recommendation is between block 1 and 2, stay in the room, close your eyes, let your mind relax for 3-5 minutes, then continue the test. You are most fresh at this time and doing this will help you space out the rest of the test. Then take 5-10 minute breaks the rest of the way with an 20 minute lunch break. Use this time to use the bathroom, recharge with food, and as Dwight Schrute would say replenish your fluids.
These tips will very likely get you an additional couple points on exam day, I hope these help and please share! Good luck.