[Step] One and Done!


Yesterday marked a huge day on my path to becoming a doctor – step one of the medical licensing exam. I am SO happy to be done! For those of you not in the medical field, the medical boards are 3 steps. Here’s an overview:

Step One is an 8 hour exam taken after 2nd year of medical school, before you start your clerkships (clinical rotations). This basically tests everything we [should have] been taught during the first two years to make sure we know the “basics” before they let us loose on patients. I say “basics” because a lot of Step One is memorizing random and rare diseases we will never see. Oh well. The score from this exam plays a huge role in your residency options – if you don’t do well you can forget about going into a competitive specialty, like plastic surgery, dermatology, or radiology oncology. I think I will be doing family medicine or internal medicine, so my score doesn’t matter as much, but is still important. I need to wait 4-6 weeks to find out how I did. Until then, I’ll just tell myself I rocked it and move on with life 🙂

Step Two has 2 parts – clinical skills and a content test. From what I’ve been told these aren’t too bad. The clinical skills is just make sure we can interact and exam patients; it sounds like all US med students pass this without any problems and that it is mainly for international medical students (some of whom never touch a patient before becoming an MD). The content exam requires studying, but is nothing like Step One, since most of the material you have been regularly in clinical practice.

After medical school, graduates officially hold an MD (or DO if you attend an osteopathic school). This is when you start residency. The first year of residency is called your internship year. Step Three is taken after this internship year to make sure you know what you’re doing in an unsupervised setting. Many states allow physicians to moonlight in ERs after their 1st year of residency, so this test helps make sure people aren’t moonlighting that don’t know what they’re doing.

While there is still a long road ahead (2 more years of medical school, 3 years of residency), I have no doubt it will be here before I know it. The first two years of medical school have FLOWN by and I’ve heard that the next two go even faster.  I will try to post more about clerkships as I get started. But first, two weeks of vacation 🙂

To celebrate being done I made myself some Irish coffee. It was wonderful and exactly what I needed after 8 hours of testing.

Irish Coffee

irish coffee3


  • 12 ounces of freshly brewed coffee
    (French pressed>>>Drip brew)
  • 1.5 oz whisky
    (I used Kentucky whisky because that is what we had on hand, but I’m sure it is even better with Irish whisky)
  • 1 tsp honey

Mix the honey with the hot coffee until completely dissolved. Add the whisky and stir well.

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