Track to USMLE STEP1 Success Part 1: Study Initiation to 3rd Month

Hello, it's R. I'm impressed by the strength of the Japanese national football team.

From this point forward, I'd like to share the trajectory of my USMLE STEP1 journey, leading to my recent success, divided into multiple parts. I want to emphasize once again that I experienced a setback before passing, so I believe more accomplished individuals might achieve success even sooner. Please consider this as a reference, and I hope it proves helpful.


June to September 2022: UWorld - First Pass

I vividly remember starting my studies on June 18, 2022. I took the plunge and began with UWorld, fully prepared for the challenges ahead.

UWorld is a go-to question bank for USMLE examinees, equivalent to QB (Question Bank) in Japan's national exams or CBT (Computer-Based Testing). At the time of my subscription, there were around 3,600 questions. My strategy was straightforward – solve questions relentlessly, make mistakes, and repeat the process of memorization.

Being a bit overconfident, I thought, "With six months, I should be able to pass," and casually opted for a six-month subscription. For reference, UWorld offers plans for 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months. I recall it cost approximately 439$at the time.

The actual exam involves answering 40 questions in 60 minutes per block, so I practiced with the same timed mode in UWorld. In my memorable first set, with moderate confidence in both English and basic medical knowledge, I confidently faced the questions.

The outcome was…



You're kidding, right?

I was flabbergasted. I only got 7 questions right out of 40. If anyone scored lower, I'd love to hear from you. I thought I could do a bit better, but this result was beyond my expectations. It's evident that my slow reading speed in English led to a time crunch. Even if I took my time to review, or even if the questions were presented in Japanese, there were many that I simply couldn't comprehend.

It goes without saying that I'm not the most adept, but it's also a fact that USMLE STEP1 tests deep knowledge. I mean really deep, or you could say nitpicking. For example, they ask about the enzyme deficient and the protein accumulated in each disease of lysosomal storage diseases. I, who had a silly mnemonic like "Phagopom" for remembering the initials of lysosomal storage diseases in university tests, was far from equipped to handle such questions.

With too many unfamiliar questions, reviewing took a substantial amount of time. I spent around 4-5 hours to review one set, systematically organizing my knowledge question by question.

I somehow managed to complete more than one set per day, finishing one round in three months. That's approximately 3,600 questions in 40 questions per day for 90 days.

As for the worrisome accuracy rate…



A somewhat optimistic accuracy rate, even with random guesses. I marvel at how my spirits didn't break.

By the way, there was the CBT (Computer-Based Testing) in August during the same period. As I had fully shifted my focus to USMLE studies, I hardly did any CBT preparation after June.


It got a bit lengthy, so I'll wrap it up here for now. I'll continue to share my journey towards passing at a leisurely pace, so please don't expect too much and wait patiently.

For now, if this article leaves you thinking, "Can even someone like this eventually pass?" I would be grateful.


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