USMLE Step 1 – How To Study For Pharmacology

Pharmacology is one of the easiest subjects for the Step 1. I mean its easy to get the questions right, they usually make them straightforward.

Now, you have to study the right material and memorize the drugs to get almost all of the pharmacology questions right on the exam. You are going to get 3 to 4 questions per block on pharmacology.

Trust me they don’t ask anything crazy. Everything they ask on Pharmacology is in First Aid. To get the maximum point on pharmacology you need 3 sources Kaplan, First Aid and USMLE World.

Here is how you should prepare for pharmacology:

Kaplan – Watch the Kaplan videos on Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacokinetics and Autonomic Drugs. Also read the same sections on the Lecture Notes. If you don’t have the lecture notes, download the pdf version of it. These are the only three sections you need to know from the Kaplan Lecture notes.

First Aid & USMLE World – Once you are done with the above three chapters in Kaplan, come back to First Aid and go over them on First Aid. And from this point on you need to go over one system at a time and memorize the drugs from First Aid.

So, for example if you memorize all the Cardiology drugs, then you should go through the Cardiology Pharmacology section on the USMLE World. Do this for all the systems. If you need to take down any notes take it on First Aid.

Lippincott Pharmacology – Unless you want to quit medical field and go into Pharmacy don’t bother with this book. I mean its a great book for pharmacology but too much for Step 1.

Here is how you should solidify the pharmacology section:

I know some people like to use Flashcards. I mean if that works for you go ahead. It is better, if you make one of your friend or a family member quiz you on the drugs that you memorized.

Trust me it will help you a lot! I personally sat down with a friend of mine at a Starbucks and we used to quiz each other on different drugs and not only that we would quiz each other on the notes that we took from USMLE World’s Pharmacology sections.

That’s pretty much it for pharmacology. I mean once you go over USMLE World’s pharmacology section twice you pretty much know it all.

Few Must Know Sections:

  • Autonomics
  • Toxicities & Side Effects (Specific Antidotes)
  • Drug Reactions
  • P450
  • Baclofen (Know everything about this drug)
  • Anti-Psychotics
  • Anti-Seizure Drugs