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* Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  the28shogun - 01/16/19 15:22
  Hey everyone,

Can't believe that I passed, it is an extremely difficult exam but I wanted to share my experience with you guys and hope it will help.

First of all, do not take this test lightly, yes it is easier than other exams, but it is still a USMLE and repeating it can have severe consequences. Take it seriously especially if you are not in residency. I am in my first year of residency and I still thought that this exam was hard even though I have had one month each of medicine, ER and ICU.

Resources I used were: Uworld, Master the Boards Step 3, and Kaplan lecture notes. I used Uworld more than anything else. I read MTB 3 probably twice, but it was so spread out that it was not really that helpful. I used the kaplan lecture notes once in a while when there was a topic that I felt I had a poor basic understanding of or if I found a gap in fundamental knowledge. I did not read them in their entirety at all.

I did Uworld as often as I could and made sure to do the entire thing, then all of my incorrect questions, then all of my marked questions. Then whatever notes I made I reviewed those up until my test day.

I did both of the Uworld self-assessments, and I got something like 196 and 198. However I felt that the content of the uworld self-assessments was significantly different than the content of the qbank itself, and so I didn't let these scores worry me too much. Most people say that they score roughly 20pts higher on the actual exam than on the Uworld self-assessment. I did not use any of the NBMEs.

I used the Uworld Biostats package but it was not helpful at all for me because it is very basic and has only brief explanations with very easy practice questions. It is not similar to the actual test difficulty at all and most of the biostat questions in the actual exam are drug ads, of which there are 0 in the biostats package from uworld. If you practice the biostats that are in the step 3 qbank from Uworld, then that's good enough for the test. If you want to do more then honestly the best practice would be from looking things up online or finding a youtube video for it rather than wasting more money with Uworld. The calculations are important, but make sure you fully understand the definitions.

I also used the Usmle practice questions on the usmle website and feel that these are great overview of the things that will come on the exam. It might not be the exact same questions but they definitely cover all of the obvious topics that you do not want to miss easy points on.

Day 1 questions were random and difficult. I never had time to go back to any marked questions. I could usually narrow the choices down to two answers. There were 1-2 Step 1 questions in each block, some were simple and some were extremely specific.

Like always, be prepared for your actual test day. When I took my breaks, there were always people taking breaks with me. When I would sign out and sign back in I would lose another 2-10 minutes just waiting for others to sign in at the same time. On my second break I went over the total break time by more than 5 minutes and I thought for sure that this would ruin me in the exam.

Day 2 was more straightforward and more clinically oriented questions that you can think through. The CCS was a little too fast for me, and I felt rushed on the short cases because even though it is 10mins per case, two minutes are reserved for the last screen where all you can do is put in orders, rather than get any results back. You'll have to pretend that it's technically an 8 minute case if you want to make sure you do everything right. The hardest part about CCS for me was actually the easier and simpler cases. For example, office cases with stable patients who have benign findings that don't require admission, and you want to send the patient home and start some new long-term medications. When do you follow-up, when do you do more testing, who knows, etc, make sure you know how to handle the easy cases as well as the hard cases. The ER or very unstable patients are probably easier for everyone because resuscitation is more straight forward than trying to workup chronic fatigue or chronic headache. Crush CCS is a good book if you want something to read. I didn't use it but I looked at it and was going to use it if I felt that I needed some extra CCS help.

Hope this helps. Actual score was in the 220-230 range. Good luck everyone.
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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  kein - 01/17/19 08:41
  what days did you have your test
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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  sadizore - 01/22/19 20:53

do you have any active uWORLD subscription , I am willing to buy, please contact me at

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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  john004 - 01/23/19 22:48
  For your CCS portion, was there a significant network lag between each entry?  
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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  the28shogun - 01/30/19 17:01
  Hey John004,

There was definitely some lag, but I don't know if I would call it significant. Sometimes the lag was longer than other times and occasionally there was no lag. It didn't help me but I don't think it really hurt me either. The biggest issue is just knowing how to workup a case, and this is most important for the short cases since they are less than 10 minutes.

Hope this helps, good luck.
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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  tobit - 01/31/19 10:00
  Hi there, congrats do you mind sharing your uworld subscription?  
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* Need help advice
  ebonyh38 - 02/12/19 19:42
  2nd time taking step 3
1st time in December, 2016 came close to passing with 5 points.
2nd time in December, 2018, 2 years later, failed again by 9 months. Now I am in residency I have until next month (about a month from now to take it again, and maybe have until April to pass to get my contract renewed or loose my residency, career, and income. Done UWorld multiple times. Done it 2 or 3 times, getting 75-85% on each block, but the assessment exam was bad, highest maybe 64% and other 3 (and the rest in the high and low 50s and high 40s). Kaplan done that several times. Anybody have any other suggestions. Like which QBank was helpful? I have heard mixed reviews with MTB, currently reading that now. Don't know if it helps.
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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  ebonyh38 - 02/12/19 19:44
  I meant 9 points.
I also meant kaplan UBank.
Which other QBank is helpful besides UWorld and Kaplan?
Is MTB Helpful?
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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  the28shogun - 02/12/19 20:36
  Your situation is definitely unique, I'm not sure that I can help but it seems like maybe you're trying to cover too many different resources.

Kaplan is complete garbage for anything other than step 1 and lecture notes. They never update their questions but will constantly put the latest dates on them even if they just fix a missing period or other punctuation. The material is completely out of date and does not actually improve test taking ability as their qbanks do not stress strategy or concepts but rather just minute details that are either in your instant recall or not. I would personally suggest not using Kaplan qbank at all.

The good thing from Kaplan however is the lecture notes for Medicine, Surg, Peds and Ob Gyn. If you can get those then maybe you can skim some of your harder topics from there. I wouldn't try to read them in their entirety when you have a short timeline but they are good for fixing any broken concepts that you may have in your fundamental knowledge.

If you want something even more concise then grab the Pocket Medicine books for Internal Medicine and for Primary Care. The medicine one is orange and the primary care is red, they're both available on amazon and are great tools.

Don't forget that your main resource should be Uworld. If you have done uworld too many times then most likely doing it again won't help you, but you need to make sure that you didn't just memorize the answers and are understanding the concepts. You can try making your own questions to see if you really know what's needed.

MTB3 is a good book and if you use this and Uworld qbank then you should be fine.

I'm not sure if the study resources and qbanks are the issue though. Do you have any additional insight into why you may not have passed? One time is a fluke but two times means there's a good chance you made some sort of mistake. Did you run out of time, did you miss the step 1 questions, did you miss the spot diagnosis questions like skin rashes or chest xrays, did you not practice the CCS cases, etc? Finding another qbank is not the right approach. There's something else you need to focus on.
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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  grittymd - 02/12/19 22:41
  @the28shogun. I have a similar situation with not being able to improve my score.
Do you have any advice on how to improve on diagnosis which is 30-40% of the exam. I need to improve on that. Also how can you improve your overall day one performance of FIP?
Any advice you can give is truly appreciated.
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* Re:Passed Step 3- tested in December 2018
  the28shogun - 02/13/19 11:42

Personally I think there are things on day 1 that you just aren't meant to know. Even the people who get 250+ on step 1 and step 2 usually do not get this same score on step 3, and I think this is largely because some questions on day 1 are too random, subjective, vague, or just not from any typical medical resource. Your goal on day 1 is to correctly answer as many of the questions that you should definitely know.

My advice is don't worry about day 1 beyond what you're capable of. Use the materials that everyone uses, review your high-yield info from Step 2 CK, and go over some key points that you remember from Step 1 being important or easy to remember with mnemonics. Practice spot diagnoses like skin rashes and chest xrays for things like COPD or pneumothorax, or EKG for a-fib or heart blocks. You should not miss any of these. Apart from that, just worry about day 2 and the clinical cases section.

Hope this helps.
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