How To Take And Study An NBME For USMLE Step 1 Properly

If you are studying for the Steps, I am sure you get chills when you plan on taking an NBME. Many students get nervous when they realize they have to take the NBMEs.

Today I will explain when you should take an NBME and how you should study your NBME to get the most out of it.

First all, if you just came out of the medical school do not take any NBMEs yet. I highly recommend everyone to at least go over First Aid and USMLE World once and then take the NBME. Now you might ask why?

The reason why I recommend to take NBME after completing one pass of FA and UW is so that you feel a peace of mind. Not only that, but you will also feel much more confident taking it.

Next, when you decide to take your NBME, always take it early in the morning or as soon as you wake up. Of course after breakfast! This way your head will be clear, and you will be focused.

Do not cheat while taking NBME. You have to treat it like a real exam even though NBME only has four blocks. Make sure you have a pencil or pen, two blank white papers, and an eraser. These are the only materials I recommend you to have before you begin. Do not have any water while taking the exam. Now, you might say why not?

The reason is on your real exam you are only allowed to have two dry erase boards and markers. They do not permit you to take any water while taking the exam. That’s why you should stimulate the same system at home.

After each block, take 5 to 10 minutes break for washing face and snacks. Once you complete the exam and get your fabulous score, just relax. Even if you get a very low score its ok!

Next day, you should go over entire NBME. You can easily find all the questions and answers in Google. Go over each and every single question and mark the tested concepts in First Aid. Now be careful not all the answers you will find online are 100% accurate. So you will need to double check the answers from a trusted source like Usmle World, Kaplan, BRS or Robbins.

Next, you should study all the concepts that you marked on First Aid thoroughly. Because on your next NBME, they will test you on the same concept in a different way.

For example, if you had an NBME question on Friedreich’s Ataxia and it’s association with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy chances are they will ask you a different question on Friedreich’s Ataxia with a different association on your exam or another NBME. And this is why I highly recommend everyone to study the entire concept.

Overall, before you take your real exam, you should take at least three NBMEs. And if you add the number of questions there should be total 600 questions. Make sure you go over all of them correctly and mark them on First Aid.

If your NBME scores are very low and you are struggling with studying for Step feel free to contact me. I offer tutoring session over Skype at an affordable price and helped many students to score very high on the exam. Click here to contact me, or you can also visit my dedicated USMLE tutoring website

Which NBME Forms To Take For Step 1?

I get this question a lot from my students. Everyone wants to know which NBME forms to take since there are so many now. This post is going to be little longer since I am going to answer all the questions about NBME forms here.

My suggestion to everyone is if you have time why not take all of them.

There’s nothing wrong taking all of them if you have time. It will boost your confidence even more. But, if you want to be selective about them and want to know which one you must take before walking into the exam center then you should take NBME 19, 18, 17 or 19, 18 and 16.

which NBME to take for USMLE Step 1NBME form 19 is the latest one but it’s not the hardest. I always heard from students that the latest NBMEs are hard because they are the newest one and students want to keep it for the end.

Today I am going to clear that myth.

I went over all the NBMEs and I think 19 is the closest one that will test your knowledge from the First Aid and USMLE World. Now isn’t that what you want? Don’t you want an NBME to tell you how well you learned UW and First Aid? So take NBME 19 after you finish one round of UW and First Aid.

Now NBME 17 & 18 will test you on the similar concept. And they are also a bit difficult in terms of concept wise. But that’s good, right? Because you would rather face difficult questions on NBME and be ready for the actual exam.

NBME 15 & 16 pretty much test you on the similar concepts. So taking one of them is fine as long as you take 19, 18 or 17.

Which order should you be taking NBME forms?

I will say there is no order. They are all same. All of them test on the same concepts in different ways.

But, I will say start with the NBME 19 and keep working down. Here is how you should do it.

Take NBME 19 after going through UW and First Aid once. You might not do really well but that’s ok! I have seen students losing hopes and I always tell them one thing. If it’s your first NBME don’t expect a very high score. Just be patient and wait for the next NBME!

Next, you want to do a second round of UW and First Aid and take NBME 18. This time your score should improve because you are already familiar with NBME style questions and your knowledge should improve from the second round of UW and First Aid.

After that, read First Aid front to back again with UW and take NBME 17 and you should do even better.

And few weeks before the exam take USMLE World Assessment 1 (UWSA 1) and it should give you a good score. For me UWSA 1 was very predictable. You can read about How I scored over 250 on USMLE Step 1.

So you can follow my steps on NBME and you will be fine or any other methods that you prefer as long as you take multiple NBMEs.

Which one is most predictable NBME?

This is a pretty silly question. I remember I used to ask this question a lot too. But, honestly instead of asking this question, what you should do is take at least 3 NBME forms and then get the average of your scores and that should be close to your actual score, may be +/- 5 points.

Don’t forget to go over all the NBME forms that you take. It is highly recommended that you go over all of them. And make sure to take them online with the extended version.

This way you will know which questions you got wrong, so you can go over them. In the past, you needed to find answers online since NBME’s didn’t show the right answers. However, since July 2017 NBME’s show the right answers to the questions that you get wrong.

So don’t look for answers online because almost all the forms that I found online has at least 1 or 2 questions that were wrong

Should you take the old NBME forms?

I wouldn’t recommend anyone to take any old NBME forms such as 12 and below because they are old and outdated. You can take 13 and up.

If you need my help and guidance you can check out my one-on-one consulting service where I help students with study schedule, study technique, tips and skills they need to score very high on the real exam.

I think I should stop now.

Good Luck Everyone!