Category Archives: Step I


Caption: the blue fish is my resident, the orange one is me, this was literally our faces as we opened the score report today at 12:15pm…oh the horrrorrr

Third year of med school has officially started today. But in reality, it actually started 2 weeks ago when I started my psychiatry rotation. So why did it “officially start today?” Because today I received my Step I score report…and I could NOT believe my score! I PASSED (most importantly), and I got a “happy” score (Thank You Jesus!).

This anxiety-ridden day started at midnight with multiple Facebook status updates and classmates telling me that apparently we are to receive our scores today. I just got off a 16 hour shift, and really wanted some sleep, but after all this updating chats about scores, I almost threw up. Last night was both the shortest and longest of my life. Then this morning I woke up, went back to the psych ward, and hoping that work would cheer me up (clinical medicine has made me so immensely happy about my life the last couple of weeks!). But I was so nervous that despite my lovely patients, I was about to jump out of my skin. Then at 10am, my rotation buddy told me that scores report notifications have been e-mailed, and behold, I got an e-mail! Oh the horror! What if I failed? I can’t cry on the psych ward! Quickly closed e-mail without checking the score.

Toward lunch time, my panic attacks have peaked. I couldn’t feel my hands, my heart was beating next to my thyroid, and my eyes got teary. I couldn’t eat so my resident (aka my boss) told me that we would check the score together. She then mentioned that the deans have paged the students who didn’t pass. I pulled out my little pager, and behold…3 missed pages! OMG! My heart skipped a beat, almost went into A-fib. I quickly scan the messages…none from the deans. Oh God, I was shaking now, and really wanted to pee all the sudden. We opened my e-mail, logged on to the NBME website, I’m about to type in my password….and emergency consult patient shows up (of course they would!). After a 15min chat, patient was diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD (I’m the only one who should be diagnosed with anxiety today). Patient leaves…we open the score report one section at a time…PASS…2##…9#.

I felt like bliss for the rest of the day, on cloud 9, utterly undeserving of God’s amazing grace, and of course for the first time in 2 weeks, I feel like an official third year medical student.


USMLE Step 1 Day 17

I have about 12 more days left before the big day. So, what have I learned so far?

The worst advice I’ve been told:

1.Memorize every word of First Aid (what crackheads)

2.You’ll burn out after 2 weeks (are you kidding? I’m peaking with motivation after 2 wks)

3.Buy groceries for the months (how big is your fridge darling?)

4.Pick a date and stick with it (ummm, take it when you’re most ready, I could use 1 more month if I could)

5.Study 15 hours a day (how long have you lasted on this one?)

USMLE Step 1 Day 5

Picture: Dr.Tao Le, the author of First Aid.

Step 1 Q: Why is Dr.Le bald?

Ans: Dr.Le is bald due to late effects of DHT

For those who are not in medicine, the USMLE step 1 is the first step of the medical licensing exam that all med students have to take. Students in US take it at the end of their 2nd year of med school. My test day will be on 6/24 (breathe….). It kinda, sorta determines what range of specialties you can potentially get into. It’s a really important test, like the MCAT for med school, or the SAT for college. But unlike those 2 tests, the stuff on the USMLE exams are actually important fundamentals for patient diagnosis and care.

My Step 1 prep has officially started and I am 5 out of 31 days in my schedule. So what does a typical day look like for me?

8am-12:30pm study

1:30pm-3:30pm study

3:50pm – 6:30pm study

6:50pm-8pm study

9pm-11pm study

During this 11 hour study period, I mainly have a one way love affair with my First Aid book, click through about 140 UWorld Questions, drink mountain dew (36mg caffeine/8oz) to stay pumped.

Of course, I have my daily workout squeezed in there. I went home to mommy in LA, mainly for the food (she took me to have Pho tonight). There’s nothing like home cooked meals for board studying.