So you’ve put in all this work and it’s finally a week to your exam. First thing first,
Right now, take a deep breath.
Here’s a short list of suggestions for pre-step week and Step day:
One week before, please drive to your exam center. Like drive there and go to the room and make sure you’re at the right place. Estimate travel time with traffic included.
If you’ve been mostly nocturnal or a late starter, this is when you start to fix your sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time everyday and wake up at the same time.
Pick out your outfit the day before. I wore sweatpants, with no pockets, a tank top and a huge cardigan. It was April in Atlanta. I also took my scarf in because I get cold. There’s most likely going to be an AC in overdrive, so be comfortable. You cannot sit in skinny jeans for 8 hours. No No No.
‘No pockets’ is important because during every break and before the exam, they take your finger print and you empty out all pockets and you get checked using a metal detector. You’ll also lift up pant legs and sleeves. ALL ON YOUR TIME. So save yourself time by having few pockets as possible.
Make sure you have government issued ID and your scheduling permit because you’ll need to show your CIN and write it down on a laminated board that you’ll have during the exam
Get there early. At least 30 mins earlier, for your peace of mind.
You’ll take off outer wear like coats and parkas and leave all your stuff including wrist watches and water in your locker.
I really think it’s a bad idea to bring study material, not just because you won’t have enough time to check answers but that’s also a bad idea. When you finish a block, it’s done. FORGET IT.
You get 45 mins break time but more time if you skip the tutorial at the beginning by clicking ‘END BLOCK’.
I say take as many breaks as possible, even if just for 10 minutes. Here’s how I used my breaks:
Block 1/Pee break/Block 2/Block 3/Lunch break+ Pee break/Block 4/ Coffee-chugging Break/Block 5/ Block 6/ More caffeine/Block 7
Each block is 44 Qs and an hour long.
5-10% of the questions will be things you haven’t ever heard of. EVER. It is crucial to not panic.
50-60% of the questions are super straightforward and things you will have heard of before. You may not know all the right answers but you’ll know what they’re asking.
If a question seems to appear too much time to figure out, pick your best hunch, mark it to come back if you have time. I recommend leaving at least two minutes at the end to come back to answer any marked or unanswered questions before your time runs out.
There’ll be a lot of guessing. Go with your gut and don’t overthink. Half the time no one is trying to trick you. So read the question as it is.
LEAVE NOTHING UNANSWERED. There’s no negative marking so if you leave any questions blank, you are 100% sure to fail it.
There are questions from every system but some systems will only make up 1/2% of your questions. This will vary for each individual. I think you should definitely add prayer to your to-do list. You’ll need it.
I personally had 2/3 questions very similar to those from Uworld so that happens. I did a little jiggle in my seat to celebrate.
You will see a couple of questions that look vaguely familiar but you may not remember the answers. That’s okay.
For lunch, I packed a kale salad that had eggs and fruits and nuts. I also took a chicken salad sandwich, a KitKat bar and an apple. Oh and a raspberry lemonade that I did not drink. ALSO had iced coffee which I sipped on every break for the entire 8 hours. There was also a 750ml bottle of water.
Take few items. Pack your lunch in one bag because the lockers you get for personal item storage are quite small and you don’t want to be the weirdo with way too much stuff.
Stay calm. I think this is your best weapon. Take a deep breath before you begin and many other deep breaths during.
After your exam, do not check your FA for anything. CELEBRATE. SLEEP. RELAX. You’ve done your best.
Be confident. You’ve prepared, you got this.