Step One

My Review of Step One Review Courses

The most highly requested topic about studying for step one has easily been which step one review course to use. The problem when giving advice about which course to use it that it is incredibly subjective. Choosing which step one review course to use is like choosing between mac or PC, Xbox or play station, vanilla or chocolate. They’re both good. It just depends which one you have a personal preference towards. Which one best fits your study habits and study style?

I have been exposed to two major step one review courses- Doctors In Training and Becker (formerly Falcon). Although I have watched Kaplan videos during my first two years of medical school I do not know enough about their step one review course to constructively comment on it. I used Becker for the comp but I’m biased towards DIT because I used it for step studying. I like DIT because it consists of multiple online videos that you can watch at your own speed. I needed to be alone so I could discipline myself to focus on subjects that I needed to spend more time on, like HIV pharmacology, while I could fast forward through sections I was more adept in, like anatomy. Becker on the other hand is a live review course that is done in a small group that I knew would be too distracting for me.

DIT also provides students with personalized daily schedules and long-term study calendars. The daily schedule has blocks of time for resources you use like Picmonic, Pathoma, and UWorld whereas the long-term calendar provides you with a week-by-week overview of what you are going to study. For instance, six days of studying and then a practice test. While creating your schedule, DIT also asks about any scheduled holidays or study breaks and etches them into your calendar for you. They take some of the stress out of studying. For instance, I went on a weekend snowboarding trip and had three guilt-free days spent outside of the library on the mountain with nothing but fresh powder and a few shots of tequila (not at the same time of course). To be fair though, after speaking with friends who have completed the Becker review course it seems like Becker also creates a calendar and daily schedule for you too.

Two big differences between Becker and DIT are the cost and the overall style. DIT can be done alone with your review book and an internet connection whereas Becker is an in person review course completed with a small group of students. Financially, Becker is the clear winner for Ross students. Becker offers a free live review course for Ross students. DIT offers a student discount which takes the price to around seven hundred dollars. Now just like your career decisions, you shouldn’t make your choice about which review course to use based solely on the financial aspect. Make sure that whichever review course you choose is the right fit for you and that you mesh well with their overriding philosophy.

Ultimately, both DIT and Becker are great review courses. Friends of mine have done wildly successful with both of them. So don’t stress out about which one is more or less qualified. If you dedicate yourself to studying for step one and don’t cut any corners then there is no reason that either one of these two resources will provide you with the tools necessary to earn above a 240 on step one. At the end of the day your personal preference toward one or the other matters the most. So try out DIT for one day when you are studying for your final this semester and try out Becker for a day when you are studying for the comp. Do your research about the daily and monthly schedule that each one follows, find out which system works best for your specific needs, choose one, and go with it. Happy studying!

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