USMLE Step 1 – How To Study For Genetics

Genetics isn’t that bad on the USMLE Step 1 exam. But it can get tougher if they mix genetics questions up with some scientific research.

Do you know what I mean by scientific research?

Those questions where they talk about data, chromosomes and genetic techniques and they ask a simple genetics question. Yeah, those are the ones I am talking about. But don’t worry there will be one or two of those type of questions.

genetics usmle step 1Now, most of the genetic questions are straightforward and fun.

Our genetic professor in medical school wasn’t as good. I am sure you can relate to that too if you went to Caribbean. So I basically had to teach myself genetics.

This is what I did for genetics and it took me a week to master genetics:

I read the entire Kaplan’s biochemistry and genetics lecture notes and also watched the videos on it. Once I completed one pass through lecture note and videos, I gave the lecture note another read just to make sure I understood everything properly.

After that, I read the entire biochemistry section of First Aid twice. I hope you guys realized when I studied genetics I also read the biochemistry too. This is because most of the genetic questions are connected with biochemistry. I wanted to make sure I don’t leave any important connection and point out.

Once I was done with Kaplan’s Biochemistry & First Aid, I started with USMLE World. I did all the genetic questions to solidify my genetics knowledge. Anything that I didn’t see in Kaplan or First Aid, I wrote it down on my First Aid.

That’s all I did for genetics. If you need help with any material, study schedule and exam tips feel free to check out my one-on-one consulting service.

Resources I used for my Step 1 genetics preparation to get 266:

USMLE Step 1 – How To Study For Biochemistry

I have been getting lots of emails recently from students asking me how should they study biochemistry. Let me tell you something.

usmle step 1 biochemistry

Biochemistry is one of the toughest and most important sections of the exam. If your biochemistry is weak don’t even go for the exam. I got emails from students who were strong in everything except biochemistry and failed the exam. So you better take it seriously and prepare strong!

Listen, the rule is if you are weak on any subject you should focus on that more. I was really weak in biochemistry when I came out of the medical school. Our biochemistry professor did not teach much. So I knew I had to learn it from the beginning.

So when I started to prepare for Step 1, the first subject I wanted to master was biochemistry. I bought these Kaplan Lecture Notes Biochemistry and Medical Genetics and I had the Kaplan videos. I watched all the videos and read the corresponding section of the lecture note. Both the Kaplan videos and lecture note were amazing. They are the reason why my biochemistry is super strong and I scored 266 on Step 1.

It took me about 3 weeks to go over all the biochemistry Kaplan videos and the lecture note once. I am never satisfied with one read. So I read the entire biochemistry lecture note all over again. After my second read, I knew I am good in biochemistry now. However, I wanted to read more and get stronger. So I read the entire first aid’s biochemistry section and it took me a week.

Once I was done with Kaplan & First Aid I started with UW’s biochemistry question. And believe me, I was flying through them. There were definitely some weird questions on the UW but I took notes on them on my First Aid.

Important things to remember when it comes to biochemistry:

Many students get scared when it comes to pathways. Let me tell you something, you don’t need to memorize the pathways at all. You just need to understand them but memorize the diseases on the pathways.

Make sure you know where each pathway takes place, which enzyme is the rate limiting enzyme and deficiency of which enzyme leads to which disease.

I also want you to be able to teach someone the pathways by looking at the pathways. If you can teach someone the pathways that mean you know them really well!

Next, let’s talk about the molecular biology section of the biochemistry. It is a very high yield section and exam loves it! When you study molecular biology section make sure you know everything about DNA, DNA replication, transcription, translation, and mutations.

When it comes to vitamins make sure you memorize everything about vitamins. On my exam, I had 5 to 7 question straight from the vitamin section of First Aid.

That’s all it is for biochemistry. If you still need my help and want me to make you a good study schedule feel free to check out my consulting service.

Resources I used for my Step 1 biochemistry preparation to get 266:

First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2017 Reviewed

Many of you probably already know that First Aid is really famous for Step 1. I know lot of my students already read first aid during medical school to start their preparation.

I also heard from many students that first aid is not enough because they heard from someone else.

Let me clarify that a little.

When I took the exam I used the 2015 version of First Aid. At that time first aid was missing lot of information. I had to personally fill it up with information from other medical books and Qbanks.

However, First Aid 2017 is absolutely amazing and it added lots of information and images from Usmle World, NBMEs, and other Qbanks.

So should you buy it and use it as your primary source?

Before I answer that question let me tell you something. There is no single medical book that you can use as your primary source.

Medicine is constantly changing. And these books get released once a year.

I had my success with First Aid, USMLE World, Kaplan Qbank, and Rx. You can read about How I scored over 250 on USMLE using those sources.

Now let me tell you why you should buy it and use it as your primary source.

First of all, you can buy it from amazon at a very affordable price. And I highly recommend a hard copy. Do not get a pirated PDF copy from online. Anytime you want to study for these exams you should get a hard physical copy of the book.

You should take all of your notes on first aid. I wrote a post on note taking skills. Make sure to read it.

Why should you use it as your primary source?

Because so you can review it multiple times with all the notes that you took on it. It is practically impossible to read entire Kaplan books over and over. However, you can easily read First Aid cover to cover within 7 to 10 days or even faster. Which is why I highly recommend First Aid.

But, what if it is missing information?

Missing information will happen with any medical books. As I mentioned earlier no medical books will have all the information. You will have to incorporate missing information from USMLE World and other question banks. And make it your to go book for USMLE.

First Aid’s strength:

  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology
  • Respiratory
  • Renal
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine
  • Hematology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Reproductive
  • Psychology

First Aid’s Weakness:

  • Genetics
  • Biostatistics
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Behavioral
  • Anatomy

I will have a separate post and recommendation on tackling the weak areas from First Aid.

Now, you can decide on your own.

But I would highly recommend First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 2017 as your primary source.

If want to speak to me directly about your preparation or study plan feel free to check out my consulting service.

Good luck studying!