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My USMLE Step 1 Arsenal

M. Taylor
The list author says: "These are the resources I am using for my USMLE step 1 review. My review schedule is spread across 7 weeks, with 5 weeks of comprehensive review and 2 weeks of rapid / high-yield review. These books are also being supplemented by questions (of course) from USMLERx and USMLEworld. See what you think of my choices!

UPDATE: To let you know how my study worked out...after about 2 weeks of study, I decided to compress my schedule down to 5 weeks and take a vacation after the exam. 5 weeks is considered a pretty tight schedule, and I wasn't studying more than 8-10 hours a day, so this is might not be a good fit for everyone. I focused on RR Pathology, Biochemistry and Microbiology; Road Map Pharmacology (which I read 2-3x); Robbins Review Pathology; HY Behavioral Science and Biostatistics; and many many questions, including USMLERx, USMLE Consult, and USMLE World; the questions that come with the RR books are okay but not nearly as useful as USMLE-style question banks. Each day started with 1-2 sets of 50 questions, ~3 hours of study, 1-2 more sets, ~2 hours of study, and 2-3 more sets, for a total of 200-300 questions per day (even more toward the end). I took off one day a week completely, i.e. NO studying, which helped. I also did NBME exams, 1-2 per week, to track my progress. My final step 1 score was 254, which I am satisfied with, particularly since I spent two weeks in Maine with my wife instead of being stuck at home studying.

P.S. I did not use First Aid...AT ALL...during my review time. I had spent much of my second year making notes in FA to make study easier, but I ended up going straight to the more heavy-duty RR books instead. Which is to say...First Aid is NOT NECESSARY to do well on the boards!"
Katzung & Trevor's Pharmacology Examination and Board Review: Eighth Edition (LANGE Basic Science)
Katzung & Trevor's Pharmacology Examination and Board Review: Eighth Edition (LANGE Basic Science)
"I've used a few different pharm books, and this is the best.  Let me say directly, K&T's review book is MUCH BETTER than Lippincott Pharmacology: better organized, more and shorter chapters, FAR more questions...and so on.  See my review of K&T for more details.  Some other alternatives: Integrated Pharmacology, Brody's, etc."
USMLE Road Map Pharmacology, Second Edition (LANGE USMLE Road Maps)
USMLE Road Map Pharmacology, Second Edition (LANGE USMLE Road Maps)
"Basically a much-condensed version of K&T Exam & Board Review, above.  Road Map Pharm covers most of the same drugs; it's also short enough that you can read it in a day.  I would recommend using them together.  Some alternatives: Rapid Review Pharm, High Yield Pharm, BRS Pharm...you get the idea."
Rapid Review Pathology: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 3e
Rapid Review Pathology: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 3e
"This new edition is much-expanded.  Basically you have to make a choice between Rapid Review Path and BRS Path.  In summary, RR is much longer and more detailed.  Pathology is important (duh!) so you probably want to have a pretty good grip on it.  My plan: read the relevant RR chapter(s) with each system, then move on to Robbins Review (see below)."
Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology, 3rd Edition
Robbins and Cotran Review of Pathology, 3rd Edition
"I used this (well, the older edition) throughout my first two years, and came to a simple conclusion: if you master the practice questions in this book, you don't miss pathology questions on the exam.  I can't think of a better endorsement."
Physiology (Board Review Series)
Physiology (Board Review Series)
"A good, concise physiology review.  Costanzo's full-size textbook is more detailed (obviously!) but who uses textbooks to study for the boards? I've not seen it but I understand there is a companion book of cases and problems, which I might invest in as well."
Guyton and Hall Physiology Review (Guyton Physiology)
Guyton and Hall Physiology Review (Guyton Physiology)
"This book isn't great-- there are a lot of questions, sure, but very few are clinical vignettes (which is, of course, the most common format of questions on the USMLE).  Still, questions are the way to learn, and these are good, tough physiology questions."
Wheater's Basic Histopathology: A Color Atlas and Text, 4e (Wheater's Histology and Pathology)
Wheater's Basic Histopathology: A Color Atlas and Text, 4e (Wheater's Histology and Pathology)
"I'm not sure who recommended this to me, but this is an excellent book for histopathology.  Emphasis on "atlas"-- the text is pretty slim.  Histopathology has always been tough for me, and the review books don't have images of everything, so this book can be a lifesaver."
Wheater's Review of Histology & Basic Pathology, 1e (Wheater's Histology and Pathology)
Wheater's Review of Histology & Basic Pathology, 1e (Wheater's Histology and Pathology)
"This is the best source of histology / histopathology image questions I've found.  The book is pretty short so it's not a comprehensive review, but makes a good histopathology supplement to Robbins Review."
Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 7e (Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology & Birth Defects)
Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 7e (Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology & Birth Defects)
"My favorite embryology book, and short enough that I hope to read most of it during my study time.  Embryology is tough for me, so having a prose-format book helps a lot.  Alternatives: Langman's, High Yield Embryology, BRS Embryology, etc."
Gray's Anatomy Review, 1e
Gray's Anatomy Review, 1e
"Should be called "Gray's Embryology Review".  Anatomy is generally described as low-yield for step 1, so I'm not planning on doing all of these questions (compared to Robbins Review, which I intend to do from start to finish)...but I've used this occasionally in coursework, and it's a good source of tough, clinically oriented anatomy / embryology questions."
Rapid Review Microbiology and Immunology: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 2e
Rapid Review Microbiology and Immunology: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 2e
"My microbiology book of choice.  My school used Lippincott's, which I did not care for; RR has an outline format and lots of online practice questions.  Microbes has always been a strength for me, so I will probably spend most of my three days of microbiology doing practice questions.  (Cross-reference to K&T Pharmacology to learn anti-microbials.)"
Case Studies in Immunology: A Clinical Companion (Geha, Case Studies in Immunology: A Clinical Companion)
Case Studies in Immunology: A Clinical Companion (Geha, Case Studies in Immunology: A Clinical Companion)
"Read my review for more details, but I think these cases are a good way to review immunology, since I don't feel the need to spend hours reading about the basics.  This book is also good for making cross-disciplinary connections (e.g. learning about MS from both an immunology and neurology standpoint).  Alternatives: pretty much any immuno review book."
Rapid Review Biochemistry: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 2e
Rapid Review Biochemistry: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access, 2e
"Mastering biochem for step 1 is probably worthwhile.  RR biochem is short and readable; there's also lots of free online resources (my favorite is here: http://themedicalbiochemistrypage.org ).  Like the other RR books, it also has online practice questions.  Alternatives: BRS Biochem, High Yield Biochemistry, Lippincott's Biochemistry."
High-Yield Biostatistics 3rd ed (High-Yield  Series)
High-Yield Biostatistics 3rd ed (High-Yield Series)
"This is half of one of my "easy days" (the other half is behavioral science).  The only challenge with biostatistics is definitions-- the math itself is pretty elementary.  This is the book that my course director recommended and it's worked fine for me."
High-Yield™ Behavioral Science (High-Yield  Series)
High-Yield™ Behavioral Science (High-Yield Series)
"The other half of my "easy day"-- yeah, there are lots of disorders, but they come up again in neuroscience.  Again, this is the book that was recommended, and it is working just fine.  (As a side note, I've been told that FA is adequate for biostats and behavioral science...I just don't like using FA as my sole source.)"
First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2010
First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2010
"Seems like every step 1 list out there has to have First Aid at the top.  I don't love it, but it's the classic "central text" for boards study, so…there you go.  I had the binding cut off a while back and put it into a 3-ring binder, and have been writing notes in it during coursework.  Honestly, I'm hoping to minimize my use of FA in favor of RR Path, K&T Pharm, and BRS Physiology."
First Aid™ Cases for the USMLE Step 1: Second Edition (First Aid USMLE)
First Aid™ Cases for the USMLE Step 1: Second Edition (First Aid USMLE)
"I also put this in my binder, with the cases for each section behind the same FA section.  I have an easier time learning from cases than from the classic FA factoid format...and naturally cases are more representative of what's on the exam.  Other sources of cases: Step-Up to the Bedside, Underground Clinical Vignettes (a lot of people love these...I'm not crazy about them)."
NMS Review for USMLE Step 1 (National Medical Series for Independent Study)
NMS Review for USMLE Step 1 (National Medical Series for Independent Study)
"A book of questions: 17 blocks of about 50 questions each (i.e. blocks the same size as those on the exam).  Not organized by system, BUT the explanations are good.  I'm told that these are pretty representative of actual step 1 questions.  My plan: 2 question blocks per week for the first 5 weeks, then 3 blocks in week 6 and 4 blocks in week 7."
Clinical Vignettes for the USMLE Step 1 PreTest Self-Assessment and Review, Fourth Edition (PreTest Basic Science)
Clinical Vignettes for the USMLE Step 1 PreTest Self-Assessment and Review, Fourth Edition (PreTest Basic Science)
"More vignette-type questions.  Like the NMS review book, the question blocks are not organized by system, so they can't be used for focused review.  7 blocks of 50 questions, i.e., basically like an entire USMLE exam; also has explanations.  I'm not sure where I will integrate these questions into my schedule."
High-Yield™ Gross Anatomy (High-Yield  Series)
High-Yield™ Gross Anatomy (High-Yield Series)
"I'm using an older edition of this book.  Anatomy is not generally considered "high-yield" for Step 1, but there's still things that are definitely tested (i.e. rotator cuff, nerves of the upper and lower limbs, etc.).  I probably won't read the whole thing."