TTUHSC School of Medicine
HomeSchool of MedicineSuccessTypes Medical Education

non-TTUHSC Expert Skills Program

Block 3: Step 1 Prep

USMLE Step 1 Prep is a course relevant, time efficient system for producing better and faster analytical thinking that is needed for best decision making on USMLE Step 1 (and beyond).  The goals below address the design features of this program that make it workable under conditions that apply to first and second year medical students.  Additional explanation and examples can be found in the video, Developing a Step 1 Brain.

Step 1 Prep Goals

Goal 1.  Improved performance in current coursework.

  • All Step 1 Prep activities coordinated with previous week’s study topics
  • Time spent in sessions is study time toward course exams.
  • Carry-over of thinking to individual study – improves study efficiency

Goal 2.  Faster thinking on exams and in the clinic.

  • Thinking requires both memory recall and decision making.
  • Most learning experience in MS1 and MS2 is memory recall.
  • Weekly practice in group decision making balances thinking skills.

Goal 3.  Better decisions on case questions from better analytic skills.

  • Analytic skills come from step-by-step methods to simplify cases and focus on important information.
  • Analysis requires knowing why not in addition to knowing why.

Step 1 Prep vs. Step 1 review courses 

A review “course” is a comprehensive coverage of essential concepts

  • Most effective immediately preceding examination
  • Ineffective in developing analytical skills

A preparation “program” is a regular focused analysis of key concepts

  • Only effective with regular “workouts” over a long period of time
  • Permits whole-brain dendritic growth
  • Facilitates pre-Step 1 review time

Instructions For Year 1

Instructions For Year 2

Developing a Step 1 Brain (NEOMED website)

©