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What To Do If You Failed USMLE Step 1

You get your score, and it shows that you failed the USMLE Step 1. And you feel as if the world just fell on you. The feeling of disappointment is deep. But don't worry, it's not the end of the world. You still could get residency and practice as a doctor in the US. After you see that you didn't pass, don't try to get back up and start studying right away. You first need to get out of the house and go out with friends and family and clear your mind. You're going to think about "why" you failed, and you may think of things that you could've done to pass. I'm going to tell you stop thinking about it, but as human beings we will continuously think about it. Take a week or a month off, if you have time, and don't study or do anything related to the USMLE.

Failed the USMLE Step 1? Think of the failed score as a blessing in disguise. You know it's better to fail the USMLE Step 1 than to pass with a low score. If you got a passing score below 200, then your application will be considered weak unless you made a gigantic leap in your score for the USMLE Step 2. With a low score, you have to strive extra hard to gain a residency. You have to impress your clerkship doctors to write you outstanding letters of recommendation, and that's a long shot. After you cleared your head, and you are ready to get back in the studying game follow these steps:

  1. Take a fresh NBME practice exam

  2. Go over the areas where you are weak on

  3. If you don't understand a concept, then go over it again and again until you understand

  4. Take one day a week and have fun; you do not need stress to build up so give yourself some air to breath

  5. Jog in every morning to get your blood flowing and relieve your stress. Don't do any exercising at night because it will keep you up.

  6. Get at least 7 hours of consecutive sleep. That means not waking up at all. You need to reach the NREM stages of sleep to give your brain a rest.

  7. If you think you studied well, and you still failed then do not do anymore videos, especially Kaplan videos. You shouldn't be passively learning now. Now you should be actively learning.

  8. Do USMLE World question bank over and over again till you reach 80% or above. Make sure you do it in mixed, timed, and random. Make sure you go over every single question, even if you got the question right.

  9. AS you are doing USMLE World questions, read about the topic First Aid for the USMLE Step 1.

  10. After you are getting 80% or above on USMLE World, take a new NBME test and see where you stand.

  11. If you are getting a predicted score of 220 or above on the NBME, then schedule your test, and you are good to go.

I hope this helps, because if you failed the USMLE Step 1, it's ok, there is still hope. A lot of people failed the test, took it again and passed, and yet got excellent residency spots. So, keep your head up, have faith in God, and strive harder.


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