Postpone Step I?

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    Hi everyone,
    I am in week 7 of my step 1 studying and I am scheduled to take in 6 days. These past few weeks have been brutal – low confidence (low practice scores), disappointing news from not getting pregnant for our second despite trying for a long time, and just missing my daughter terribly/crying from barely seeing her because of crazy studying.

    I am now hitting low 220s on UWorld Self assessments but I hear they are overpredictors. I feel a lot of pressure because I committed to a year of research in a competitive specialty and I don’t know if I should postpone my exam in case I do want to pursue that specialty. I really am burnt out and don’t want to let more time pass with me not being a presence in my daughter’s life and I’m wondering if I should just let this exam go…study as hard as I can till next week and just accept what I get and figure out life from there….or should I postpone my exam and take it after my test scores have improve? My dedicated studying period will end next week and postponing the exam will mean doing research and studying at the same time..

    Thank you!



    I am studying for Step 1 too (test in just a few days, eek). I know the grind is horrible, but I’m trying to remember that my outlook probably won’t be so grim once this test is over (the days of studying really get to you!). I think the best thing you can do right now is take one of the more recent NBMEs and see where you stand – they are supposed to be more accurate than the UWSAs. Once you have an NBME score in hand, you can make a more informed decision about whether you can push through and be happy with the score you are likely to get, or whether you need to take a little more time.

    Sorry I can’t give more specific advice re: studying while doing research (I haven’t attempted it). Good luck!


    Hi there, I can’t say what’s right for you, but I think it is generally a bad idea to postpone…I don’t know many people who feel 100% ready. At some point, you just have to bite the bullet and take the test. I think the return on studying starts to go way down toward the end, and it’s better just to get the test over with, especially since it sounds like you’re emotionally drained. For what it’s worth, the UW self-assessments underestimated for me, so don’t place too much weight on them.


    What sort of score do you need for this competitive specialty?

    I actually postponed my exam & I think it made a difference in my score. I was pregnant & had morning sickness, so I sort of “lost” a few weeks of studying, so slightly different scenario. And it was super depressing to be home trying to study & feeling nauseous all day. Honestly, I think studying for Step 1 is just a depressing experience, based on my friends’ experiences, whether pregnant or not. So you’re definitely not alone there.

    I actually did not do well on the UWSA or the NBMEs and did much better on the actual test (not the case for everyone, obviously). For whatever reason, the stress of taking a self-assessment after all those days/hours of studying got into my head and I started scoring worse on subsequent self-assessments. What I did instead, especially to build my confidence, was to look at what I’d been scoring on my latest UW blocks. I was doing 2-4 blocks at a time anyway (similar length to a self-assessment). So, I kept averaging my last 7-10 blocks until I was consistently at a percentage I was comfortable with. It made me feel more confident and was a more accurate predictor for me.

    Good luck.


    I am old and took Step 1 a long time ago, but ended up postponing about 1 week because my other half brought home a very needy 5 week old puppy the week before I was to sit for it. And of course, it fell to me to take care of her, not let her out of my sight, etc.

    I think it helped. But YMMV, and getting it over with is a HUGE relief. Step 1 sucks. There is only so much you can do psychologically, and only so ready you can be.

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