Believe it or not, USMLE Step 3 is one of the hardest aspects of the medical school. Many students find it extremely difficult to prepare for it along with the rigorous academic demands and tough clinical rotations. After securing good marks in USMLE Step 1 and Step 2Ck/Cs, now is the time to prepare for the USMLE Step 3. It is a 2-day exam, 16 hours in total. The examination is totally computer-based and features a lot of multiple-choice questions and clinical simulations. Day 1 takes 7 hours of testing time in which you have to complete 233 multiple-choice questions. On the other hand, day 2 is a 9-hour testing day that contains 180 multiple-choice questions and a section of case simulations completed on the computer in a standardized format.
Passing this exam with flying colors will make you a licensed doctor who will be eligible for practicing medicine without any supervision. Once you are done with the test, you will be all set to throw yourself into the clinical and research work of residency and unsupervised practice of medicine.
It is important for medical school students to make the most of their time and use the USMLE free resources available to them. If you are a Caribbean medical school student and planning to prepare for this difficult exam, here are a few effective strategies that will help you ace USMLE Step3.
- Use Question Banks
Using question banks is the most effective USMLE Step 3 preparation strategy that provides hundreds of thousands of questions which allow test-takers to isolate questions by category and get the detailed answer of every question. One of the most important resources for USMLE Step 3 preparation is UWorld that will better prepare you for the exam by using practice questions. Give yourself enough time to complete the question bank as early as possible. However, it is quite difficult for many residents to set aside time for USMLE Step 3 preparation, but careful planning will make it easier for you to complete the question bank. Understanding the type of questions that will appear in the real exam is the key to success in the USMLE Step 3. Besides UWorld, Kaplan Qbank, USMLE Consult, and USMLE Rx are a few famous and reliable question banks that test-takers can use for preparing USME step 3.
- Use USMLE Practice Questions
Visit USMLE.org from time to time, as it offers free practice tests items for USMLE Step3, including overview, tutorial, and question blocks. These sections are intended to prepare students to deal with the Step 3 exam stress. It will give you a better understanding of how to navigate the computer system and make you familiar with the style of the questions.
- Enroll in USMLE Live Courses
It is one of the best USMLE Step 3 prep strategies for medical school students that provide them with lectures and preparation materials. Kaplan and Princeton Review offer USMLE Step 3 preparation courses for test-takers. Before enrolling in USMLE Step 3 courses, it is advised to carefully check the timeline, study materials, faculty’s backgrounds, class size, and success rates.
- Gear up for the Computer-based Care Simulations
The CCS is the most crucial part of the USMLE Step 3 exam, but unfortunately, many test takers take it too lightly. The computer-based Case simulations CCS is a videogame version of a patient encounter. You are responsible for ordering relevant tests, medications, IV fluids, and clinical procedure to diagnose a disease and treat a patient. Failure to order specific lab tests or treatments, false diagnosis or inappropriate treatment can result in unsatisfactory grades.
To succeed on the CCS part of the USMLE Step 3, it is advised to get yourself acquainted with primum CCS software and the format of the test. An animated demonstration of Primum CCS software will give you a more detailed idea of this section. In order to successfully ace the CCS portion, pay extra attention to clinical case simulation banks.
- Read Books
Make time to read books despite from your busy residency schedule and refresh yourself on topics that you may not have revised for long and to learn the topics or material that you are striving hard to learn through the question bank. Take your practice test as early as possible to check what topics needs your attention. Try to go through as many question banks as you can to better prepare for the exam. Pay your special attention to CCS preparation and familiarize with the software and work on completing the diagnosis and management aspects. Many students make the mistake of preparing for other specialties and topics and putting their own specialty off. Residents are advised to prepare for the questions in their own specialty to easily answer all the questions related to their specialty.
Over to You
Study what you don’t know and thoroughly review all the topics that you already know to boost your confidence. Don’t forget to take breaks, eat a balanced diet and most importantly, exercise well to stay physically and mentally fit before taking the exam.