Mac S.

Recent Posts

What is the Most Important Strategy to Use on the Step 1 Exam?

Posted by Mac S. on 12/7/16 5:05 PM

When I was practicing for my Step I exam, I often found myself frustrated. I would take what seemed like a simple case, find some minute detail, and then pick some crazy complex answer. Eventually, I found a strategy that helped me get over that: treating the patient in the question like a real one.

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Tags: study skills, USMLE

The Most Essential Study Habits for USMLE Step I Exam

Posted by Mac S. on 10/19/16 5:37 PM

In this blog post, I’ll be talking about some of the study habits that I used both during the year and during my intensive study period (the time that BU had designated for exclusive Step I preparation). The most important piece of advice I could have for someone preparing for the step exam is to start early. Also, every week or so, designate some time to reflect on how things are going. Ask yourself “What’s working? What’s not working? How do I reduce the second column and augment the first?”

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Tags: study skills, USMLE

The Tools for Success on the USMLE Step I Exam

Posted by Mac S. on 9/30/16 6:00 PM

In this blog post, I’ll be covering an extremely important part of your USMLE step I preparation: Materials. In thinking back to my Step I preparation, I realized that I needed four specific tools: Primary sources, a tool to retain information, questions, and a tool for self-evaluation. The specific implementation of this doesn’t matter very much, but I’m going to define what I mean by each of these tools and provide examples of what worked best for me.

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Tags: study skills, USMLE

Why the Step I Exam Should Matter to You 

Posted by Mac S. on 8/26/16 8:00 PM


There’s a reason I wrote it all in capital letters: because it’s the greatest fear of all kinds of medical students. This test engenders a huge amount of anxiety, because of its importance for residency. To get to medical school, you’ve overcome a huge number of academic challenges -- the USMLE exam is no different. As a tutor, I’ve realized a key to success is adopting the proper mindset for the test and for test preparation.

I’m here to provide some perspective and tips from a student who has been through it  to keep things sane. I hope that this blog post serves as a good mental base for you as we work through the next parts of your test preparation.

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Tags: medical school admissions

USMLE Step I Exam: Introduction

Posted by Mac S. on 7/30/16 10:00 AM


Over the years that I’ve tutored for Cambridge Coaching, I’ve loved working with SAT, MCAT, and GRE students. Each test has different challenges and subtleties and tailoring each student’s preparation for maximizing success is always an interesting challenge. I’ve taken each of these tests, and use my experiences in helping students learn. But, for all of these tests, it’s been some time since I’ve actually taken them.

The most important standardized test for medical students is the USMLE Step I exam. As a medical student (and a tutor) who just completed Step I, I wanted to write down my thoughts and experiences about the test and share them in a coherent way that could help medical students who I wouldn’t have the chance to interact with directly. So, I’ll be posting a series of posts on this blog that talk different things that I found helpful during my preparation. 

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Tags: study skills, USMLE