Hello there! I just finished writing USMLE Step 3 and felt like sharing my experiences with you. I’ll try to do it to the beat of my ability. You see, I took the exam between residency interviews and so you might find it a bit rusty.
The Actual Exam : The exam, you know, runs for two days. Initially it is pure Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and then on the second day it is MCQs and cases.
Content : What knowledge you have gained during your internship is what is tested in Step 3. There is nothing to beat your clinical experience. I found that out at the very first set of questions that I got to do. The questions on neonatology were difficult; at least they were for me. That was when I found that I was woefully inadequate in clinical experience.
During my interviews I had the chance to talk to a PGY-3 IM resident who had only a couple of months back (actually prior to me) had completed his exams. Has had done exceedingly well in the exams. He told me one thing about his preparation. It was minimal but what stood him in good was his clinical experience.
As far as I am concerned, typically most of the questions relate to diseases and their management. Questions in relation to prognosis were also asked. Medications, the treatment preferred and the side effects of these medication could also be asked.
Some of the questions that I came across were ..
1. What are the methods for monitoring RA?
2. Anemia n infants. I got a lot of questions in this field of study. And variations of the same question in the same set.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) : The books and material that I used were
1. Kaplan QBank,
2. UWorld Qbank and
3. Kaplan Step 3 and some videos.
I finished studying all to the Kaplan books and the videos. I couldn’t finish either the Kaplan QBank or the UWorld QBank. If you intend to do the questions, do it with the intention of learning and not just for the exams. All the materials were helpful. I can’t, for the life of me, tell which one was the better one.
Summary of MCQs : Suppose I had to do it all over again, God forbid; I’d do more questions – more Kaplan Qbank and the UWorld Qbank.
Clinical Cases : Most of them were quite straightforward. The books I used were
1. UWorld Cases,
2. USMLE Steps 1, 2 & 3 (I got them off the Internet) and
3. First Aid Step 3 Cases.
I couldn’t finish all the cases. Just about 25% of all the material I had. Here’s my opinion of the material I used.
UWorld Cases : More than enough.
First Aid : Exactly what is needed. At least what I needed.
USMLE Steps 1, 2 & 3 : Decent. With the software for practice.
Summary Of Cases : That depends on your confidence on the management of real time cases. U can use either UWorld or First Aid. Get yourself acquainted with the software a week or two before the exam. Depending upon your knowledge of computers, the time to get used to the software varies.