Step 1 Prep--Worth the investment, in my opinion.

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Posted by Talia from IP on December 20, 2010 at 14:42:08:

A lot of people have been mentioning self-study options, books, online questionnaires, etc. I personally find it very difficult to study on my own... where do I start?

Seriously, Kaplan/test prep programs seem expensive, but it has been completely worth it. And I don't mean getting books/qbank. It's simply not enough to make us competitive against US students when 1) our scores actually (and unfortunately) do define us and 2) only around 40% of IMGs who apply to residency get accepted every year!

We already have our licenses. We've made it this far. I think "I might as well invest the time and money to make sure we even get in to a residency program"... which literally "pays off" later on.

I wasn't really sure if Kaplan or formal test prep programs were worth it, but they have these free days of study every now and then (you can probably find the schedule on and when I looked at the video library they have--the medical content from actual doctors-- plus questions, a system that tracks your progress, etc-- it made so much sense why I wasn't getting anywhere before (flipping through books, doing practice questions without improving).

If you think you're doing well studying on your own. Think again. If you were licensed in your country a few years ago, and are taking Step 1 without proper preparation, you're going to have a hard time. It's the hardest step, because it's basic science (which we don't have to use on the job everyday, as much as clinical knowledge). Don't underestimate how much you can forget over time.

I took a free practice test when I was looking at Kaplan and my score made me realize how far I had to go to be competitive for a residency program.

I hope this helps. Best of luck to all of you!

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