The “Screw First Aid” Step 1 Study plan

What is the role of First Aid when you’re prepping for the boards?  While First Aid is essential for your preparation, it is merely a list of facts you should know for the boards.  That’s it.  Don’t spend your days poring over it.  Consider it a guide that tells you what you should know.  It can also serve in a limited capacity as a review book and occasionally provides a helpful mnemonic for learning something.  Since it is a review book, you cannot expect it to teach you anything effectively.  Consequently, here’s how to get the most out of First Aid:

During MS1 and MS2, consider skimming the relevant portion of First Aid during each course.  It should take you <30 minutes.  This will orient you to what’s important to know for the boards during your courses.  It’s not a big deal if you forget to do this; I only did it for a few courses and still did well.  A 2-year-old old edition will suffice for this purpose

During your step 1 study period:

  • Have the FedEx store hole punch your copy of the latest edition.  Then buy a three-ring binder and stick it in there.  Also, buy one of those folders that has three prongs in the middle.  Store the chapter of First Aid you’re currently studying in that folder; now you can bring it everywhere.
  • By the Sakura Pigma pens in a few colors.  These are great for writing on the glossy paper used in First Aid and in the GREATEST STEP 1 PREP BOOK THAT NO ONE’S HEARD OF (post coming soon). You can buy them from Amazon or Blick.
  • Skim the relevant chapter of First Aid before you start reviewing each subject.  Take notes/underline quickly if you like.  Spend <30 minutes on this.
  • At the end of your review of each subject, go back through First Aid, underlining/highlighting/taking notes more thoroughly.  Make sure you know what’s in there; otherwise, stop and look up what you’re missing. Make a flash card if there’s something you can’t seem to remember.  Spend about an hour (up to 2 for long chapters) on this.
  • Use the rapid review/high-yield associations at the back of the book in the final few days.

You need to remember that First Aid doesn’t really teach you any concepts, nor does it contain all of the information you need to know to slay the boards.  While it’s important, don’t over-emphasize First Aid and don’t spend more than a few hours per block total on it.

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